Question on removing/adding links to a chain

Hi all,
I have some questions about removing/adding links in a chain. From my reading online it seems many people do not use a master link and simply use a chain breaker to assemble a closed loop chain. However, from my observation, because the pin is peened at the end to have a larger diameter, pushing it through the outer and inner chain link would damage the holes on the links, thus rendering the links unusable. So my question is: What are best practices when removing/adding links to a chain? Specifically, I’d like to pick you brain for the following specifics:

  1. Is a clip style master link a weak point on a chain? People in the bike community seem to prefer no master link / rivet style master link.
  2. Can a pin removed from a chain be reused? What about a link? If not, I can’t find new links/pins from my specific chain manufacturer.
  3. If I’m shortening a chain and using a master link, should I grind the peened portion of a pin before I push it out to avoid damages to the inner chain link?

I have an lo206 with 35 chain, RLV gold on gold. However, I’d love to get answers for a boarder scope.


Many are against master links but personally I’ve never had any issues with them on my dirt bikes and I’m currently running one on my 206. I bought the proper ARC tool below and have a spare RLV in the toolbox but haven’t thrown/broken the current chain with the master link yet. Makes it convenient to clean in a bucket of solvent, air blow and lube when you have a master link. Maybe next time I change it, I’ll make the new chain to the proper length using the tool but until then, I’m sending it. Just my .02 :man_shrugging:

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I wouldn’t look to add links to an existing chain. Start with a fresh chain get yourself a chain breaker. I think it is the best way.

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I use master links, no issue. I’ve spliced chain in using a chain breaker, no issues there, either. Main thing, never push the pin all the way out of the outer link. Ever. Usually, when I get a new chain, I need to shorten it, so I save the extra links. Depending on gearing choices, I’ll add a few links, or take a few out. 35 chain is pretty easy to deal with once you get used to it. No grinding needed either.

I use master links on the 428 chain on my shifter without any trouble. I wouldn’t touch them on a 219.