Loosening a Stuck Chain Link

Have you ever had a chain link that got stuck? Sometimes a link will get stuck during normal riding, and often times you will get stuck link after removing or installing your chain. The link becomes stuck when the side plates are too tight on the roller. A chain in this condition doesn’t run smoothly through the cogs, will cause shifting problems, get jammed, or at the very least, drive you nuts.

Loosening a Stuck Chain Link
Loosening a Stuck Chain Link

Thankfully there is an easy way to fix a stuck chain that doesn’t include violently bending it back and forth. Do you have a chain tool? They’re pretty affordable, and a good tool to have in your toolbox. I have a small chain tool from Park that fits easily in my pack for longer rides. It also does a reasonable job in the home toolbox, since I don’t have to use it that often.

You will notice that there are two sets of chain holders on the chain tool in the picture above. The set on the right is used for breaking a chain or putting one back together. As you tighten the chain tool, the plates are held in place, forcing the pin through the chain. But notice the other set of holders that the chain is on in the picture above. This is where you put your chain when you need to loosen a stuck link. As you can see from the picture above, tightening the chain tool pushes the pin and the plates together, since there is nothing for the plates to rest against. Simply tighten the chain tool until the plates have eased up on the roller, and the link has loosened to your liking.

5 thoughts on “Loosening a Stuck Chain Link

  1. I tried this method a couple of weeks ago while finishing my SS conversion. After futzing around with it for 20 minutes, I used the old technique of laterally flexing the chain … and was finished in 90 seconds. Sometimes, a little force is exactly what you need.

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