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Today, I installed a new chain to my bike, because it was badly in need of lubricant (squeaking) but Shimano TL-CN41 showed it is worn so I decided to install a new chain instead of lubricating the old. Hanging the chains side by side, the old 116 link chain was 9mm longer than the new 116 link chain (0.6% wear). The new chain is a 8-speed Shimano HG71. It was shipped with a reinforced connecting pin.

I pushed the reinforced connecting pin in with a chain tool. After the pin was fully in, the pointed side being fully protruded from the other side, I expected the chain might need some sideways bending to make it slightly looser.

I was surprised to find that the chain needed no such sideways bending. The link pushed by the Shimano reinforced connecting pin was already loose enough, definitely not a stiff link.

Is this some kind of design feature of the Shimano reinforced connecting pin that always results in no stiff links? Or is it possible that sometimes the chain has a stiff link after installation, and the chain needs to be loosened by bending sideways? I remember that before the days of Shimano reinforced pins, the chain often (always?) needed sideways bending.

In the end, I snapped the protruding end away with a 4" adjustable wrench, and am planning to check whether it needs a new cassette too after it stops raining.

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I've certainly had a stiff link at the join on my 8-speed hybrid. I usually use IG51 on that, but have used HG71 so I can't remember which one gave the stiff link. Since using master link chains on my newer bikes I've started to prefer them, but could only get HG53 recently, with a special pin. That didn't stick, but like you I was half expecting it to.

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