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Back to Kit Instruction Index

1) Chain Basics
2) Customizing the Length of a Chain
3) Examples
4) Specific Sprocket Sets vs. Chain Length





                   Chain Basics

                                                             Fig 1

Chains are made from the basic elements indicated in Fig 1 above. 
                                         Scroll down to continue

                                                                 Fig 2

When the pins are driven into the plates and rollers, a complete link assembly
results. For purposes of clarity, let's call the left side of Fig 2 the male and the
right side the female end of the link. (use your imagination)

NOTE: It is important to remember that once a pin (see Fig 1) is driven
into place, it cannot be removed AND reinstalled! The reason? When a
pin is driven through the holes of a link connecting plate, the holes are
enlarged and will no longer provide a secure press fit! This fact is
important, since it plays a role in determining why "single links",
"master links", and "offset links" are required to achieve specific
chain lengths!

                                                                Fig 3

Let's line up 3 link assemblies as in Fig 3. Notice how the male and female
ends of each link are assembled.

                                                                Fig 4                                                              

After the pins are driven in place, we have a completed section of chain
consisting of 3 link assemblies. Notice that the left end of the chain
section is male, while the right end is female!
If we were going to just
connect the ends of this little chain together, we'd insert the male into the
female end and drive in a pin. However, remember the NOTE from figure
above. If we drive a pin to connect the two ends, we will not be able to
re-open the chain without damaging the press fit between the link con-
necting plates and the pin. As a result, the chain cannot be easily removed
for service in the future. There is a simple solution as you will see below.

                                                            Fig 5

By driving out the pin on the right and removing the link connecting plates,
we have made a chain with 2 male ends. What's needed now, is a device
that will allow us to connect the two ends together and still be easily
removable without causing damage to the chain parts. That device is a
"connecting link" or more commonly known as a "master link". (see below)

                                                          Fig 6

As you can see on the right, the "master link" or "connecting link" will allow
us to connect the ends of the chain together. Since the master link is made
to be removed and re-installed many times without damage, we will be able
to easily remove our chain whenever necessary.

 Customizing the Length of a Chain