So I recently bought a used bike from a person and I wanted to remove the front derailleur without taking off the chain, since I don't have a chain tool. I also do not have any equipment that could cut through the cage of the front derailleur.

  • 3
    Could you provide more detail on the big picture of what you're trying to accomplish? Switch to 1x ? Swap in a new FD? Maybe the existing chain has a reusable master link. Also, chains are normally cheap and are often replaced on a new-to-you used bike as part of a tuneup process.
    – Armand
    Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 18:02
  • 2
    A picture of your front derailleur would help. Often the front derailleur cage can be disassembled so that it can be removed without needing a chain tool.
    – David D
    Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 19:04

2 Answers 2


If the rear most part of the derailleur is riveted the answer would be no. If the rearmost part is held together with a screw, then removing the screw and the derailleur mount clamp (typically a 5mm allen or a nine mm hex head bolt) will allow removal. You can purchase a chain tool for about $15 and a masterlink for about $5. This purchase will allow you to perform chain maintenance and replacement for many years to the future.

  • If buying a chain tool doesn't work for your budget at the moment, check if your town has a bike co-op where you could use one for a small hourly fee. As a bonus they would usually have an on-site mechanic to teach you how to use it and debug any issues.
    – SSilk
    Commented Jul 19, 2023 at 12:18
  • If bike co-op is not an option, you could ask at a local bike shop if they'd be willing to pop a chain link rivet out for you, and later pop it back in. You could go off and deal with the derailleur removal yourself in between. Depends on the bike shop - don't be annoyed if they say no, they need to make a living. But some will do this out of goodwill and the increased likelihood you'll think of them next time you need service or parts.
    – SSilk
    Commented Jul 19, 2023 at 12:20

Often yes. Many front derailleurs have a small screw-bolt holding the cage closed.

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If your front mech cage is rivetted or formed of one piece of metal, then you're stuck and will have to cut the chain or the front mech.

Your other option is to simply do nothing - the front mech is not a significant source of drag as long as it is well-adjusted. Simply use the limit screws to lock it in one place, using it as a chain guide.

  • Nevermind i figured it out and used a pair of scissors as a chain tool and then got the chain off!
    – Keyin Liu
    Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 22:26
  • 3
    @KeyinLiu If you're going to do any bike maintenance, a chain tool is a good investment. And scissors are absolutely the wrong tool for this job.
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 22:54
  • 1
    @Keyin Liu Could you elaborate on how you got the chain off? Surely you aren’t able to press a pin out with a pair of scissors…
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 0:27
  • 3
    @KeyinLiu Ah. Terminology discrepancy then: chain tool refers to a press-type tool that presses out one of the chain pins. What you emulated are master link pliers, used to remove master links obviously. Completely different tools. Using scissors sounds like an excellent way to catch an acute case of oligodactyly.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 5:59
  • 1
    Yea sorry, I didn't know the difference.
    – Keyin Liu
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 16:47

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