Pulled a Shimano Ultegra chain off my bike for cleaning and noticed the mechanic had installed it with a pin and not a magic link. Because I have a magic link handy (and, if I'm honest, because I pushed the pin out when breaking the chain), I plan to reconnect the chain using a magic link (or quick link or whatever Shimano calls it).

Do I need to remove one link from the chain to compensate for the added length of the magic link? I think the answer is yes, but just checking...thanks.

2 Answers 2


The usual term in English is quick link. Powerlink may be a trademark. Nevertheless, that or magic link would be understood.

With a quick link, you join two ends that are made from the inner links. With the connecting pin, you are joining one inner and one outer. Thus, to convert your pinned chain to use a quick link, you need to remove half of a full link.


Authentic 8/9/10 speed and some 11 speed Shimano chains are provided with a one-time use pin that is pushed in and the stub gets snapped off. That the LBS used this makes a lot of sense, over charging for a master link as well.

The only thing to note is once in, these pins are not to be pushed partially out and reinserted. You can push them all the way through and use a new one-time use pin, though this tends to expand the bore.

You're supposed to push out a factory pin next time and use a new one-time use pin, or Shimano would have you use a new chain completely.

You're right - a master link by all its names replaces a pair of OUTER plates. So you need to remove one link, effectively shortening the chain by 1/2 inch. The master link replaces this.

Also remember to put a spare master link into your toolbag cos they can fail in use.

  • 4
    Shimano switched from the one-time pin partway in the 11-speed era, and now most or all of their 11-speed chains and all the 12-speed ones come with their 2-piece link design, which they call "Quick-Link". The 11-speed chain designs themselves didn't change, so 11-speed Quick-Links are backwards compatible with them. Dec 5, 2023 at 2:32
  • 2
    The last time I broke a chain it was at the (KMC) master link - and I had a spare. Of course with a suitable tool they're also good if the chain breaks somewhere else. I wasn't immediately convinced by them but wouldn't go back to the old way now
    – Chris H
    Dec 5, 2023 at 15:36

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