Every once in a while something comes along that makes your life so much better. I’ve been inspired to work on my bike more lately and on a whim I decided that I would buy a new pair of master link pliers. I didn’t even know these things existed. I wasn’t looking for them, but they popped up in an ad and I thought, “Huh… that looks useful.”
I wasn’t sure if I would find them useful at all. In the past, I’ve used an awkward combination of needle nose pliers and chain tools to do this type of thing. I always got the job done, but it definitely was very inconvenient and it made me avoid working on my chain and drivetrain.
But wow! The Park Tool Master Link Pliers (MLP-1.2) make this process simple. There wasn’t a big learning curve, I just inserted them in to the chain and did what felt natural. Eazy peazy. They can be used to separate or attach the master link on the chain. My Trek Superfly SS came with a KMC Z7 chain and uses the KMC CL573R master link to tie it together. I bought about a half dozen of them to keep in the tool box just in case.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been riding my bike for so long and I’ve never stumbled upon this tool before. Does everyone else know about this already? What tools do you use to separate the master link in your chain?
Here is the description of the pliers from Park Tool:
Many derailleur chains use a “master link” that allows the chain to be installed and removed by hand. While this type of masterlink doesn’t require a traditional chain tool, over time, dirt and corrosion can make it difficult to separate by hand. MLP-1.2 Master Link Pliers make removal and replacement of these masterlinks quick and effortless. Simply insert the specially sized jaws into the masterlink and squeeze the handles. Compatible with all 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11-speed derailleur chains that use a masterlink.
So, no great revelations here. I just wanted to spread the word about this tool just in case there was anyone out there who hadn’t heard about it yet.
I have a race on Sunday in Mountwood, West Virginia, so I’m heading down to the basement now to work on my bike. I might even take my bike chain off just for fun. It’s that easy.
Please let me know about your master link removals in the comment section!
Switching Gears (Literally)
This week I switched the rear cog on my singlespeed for the first time ever. I was running a 32:18 and I switched to a 32:17 to make it a little bit harder. I did this mainly because the terrain around my house is so flat. I needed a harder gear to make my workouts more challenging. I’m going to switch it back to a 32:18 for Sunday’s race because I still haven’t had a chance to test the 32:17 on singletrack and I’d rather not try something new on race day.
I opted for a set of Surly singlespeed cogs from Breakaway Cycling in Delaware. I will have 16t, 17t, 18t (which I will be racing on this Sunday), 19t, and 20t. The Surly cogs are thicker than the 18t cog that came on my bike. After removing the stock cog I can see the advantage of having a thicker gear. It helps protect the free hub by spreading the pedaling torque over a larger area. I could already see some wear and tear from the thinner cog and won’t be putting it back on the bike.
Have a great weekend! Go crush some singletrack! …and don’t forget to tell your friends to like Quickdirt on Facebook!