I just bought a KMC chain on Amazon, and to my surprise, it didn't come with any kind of master link or connecting pin. I thought this was standard. So, did I just forget to order the part, or can you assemble a chain without using a master link? Both end of the chain terminate in a "small" link.

I haven't seen any specific instructions on how to assemble a chain without a Master link. If your Google-fu is superior to mine, please post a link!

Note this is a 1/8" chain.

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    I used the search on this site "chain tool" to find do I really need a magic link is most of the answer, and chain attaching actually has instructions. Those were in the top three or four results for my search. I'm not sure whether some search tips is the answer you wanted, so I'm leaving it as a comment.
    – Móż
    Nov 17, 2015 at 21:09
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    You can buy quick links pretty cheaply as well.
    – Batman
    Nov 17, 2015 at 21:19
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    Believe it or not, magic or master links are a very recent thing, so welcome to a hundred years of cycling tradition!
    – PeteH
    Nov 17, 2015 at 21:22
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    You'll need a chain tool to adjust the chain length anyway. As for KMC chains, if you got older stock or a rebranded KMC chain, they sometimes don't come with the missing links.
    – Batman
    Nov 17, 2015 at 22:33
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    KMC does make quick links for 1/8" chains, but obviously 3/32" chains and links are not interchangable with 1/8" chains (and you obviously should have sprocket designed for 1/8" as well). I don't know if they ship their 1/8" chains with quick links, like the derailleur chains.
    – Batman
    Nov 18, 2015 at 4:04

2 Answers 2


You could try using a simple chain breaking/Rivet tool to break the chain at one point (while still keeping the pin in the link) and then put the chain on and use the tool again to push the pin in and join the chain like that. That's the way I always do it. Here's a couple of tools that you could try:

Best of Luck, Robert

  • Robert is right but if you're going to buy something to shove a pin in, I'd just buy a speed link or 10 and be done with it
    – atlaz
    Nov 19, 2015 at 7:45
  • To enter the pin back (yet if it's in the out hole) use a side pull pliers (hyperclaw.com/water_pump.shtml). It inserts very fine.
    – Alexander
    Nov 19, 2015 at 10:18
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    I have successfully used a chain tool to get a pin back in after it has been removed from the chain. It's not easy, but yoyo can do it.
    – Kibbee
    Nov 19, 2015 at 10:59
  • I have found it hard at the start as well Kibbee, but it gets easier with experience. After doing it a number of times in the past 2 years. I find it to be a quick and painless task now and I find using a BEND PAPER CLIP to hold the links together helps. Joining the links like this provides a solid and smooth chain that will not give up that easily. Mar 2, 2016 at 8:55

If you are going to be messing with 1/8" chains get a chain tool and forget those master links.

Add chain tool or chain breaker to your repertoire and power up your google fu.

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