Learn how to use a SRAM Powerlink or Powerlock to fix a bike chain with this simple step-by-step guide. A chain hook like the one pictured at left can make this task easier.
To complete this task you’ll need a chain breaker or mountain bike multi-tool with chain breaker:
- I use the Crank Brother Multi 19 or the Topeak Alien II. I have both.
- a Shimano XT and XTR chain plus the included connecting pin
- and a SRAM Connecting Link. (optional – instead of the chain pin)
A Bike Stand also comes in very handy to do this and many other bike maintenance tasks. I waited years to get a bike stand, then wondered why I waited so long for this great convenience. If you’re hard on tools, here’s an even more durable Bike Stand.
Step 1 – Reduce the tension and position the chain
- if you’ve already removed the chain, still change to the smallest cog and ring, then go to step 3.
- shift to the smallest chain ring at the front and the smallest gear at the back. A loose chain makes the task so much easier!
- cycle the damaged section of chain to the bottom run
- move the chain to the bottom run by hand if it’s too damaged to be cycled into place
- if your chain is wrapped around parts of the bike, just access the damaged section with the chain tool any way you can
Step 2 – Hold the rear derailleur arm forward to loosen the chain fully
- Get a friend to hold the derailleur arm forward against it’s spring (or carefully use a stick or seatpost through the spokes)
- Keep the chain from sitting in the dirt.
Step 3 – Locate the first chain pin to be removed
- Remember – one Powerlink or Powerlock takes the place of one full section of outer link
- Looking along the chain to the left of the damaged section, locate the first undamaged inner chain link.
- Each inner chain link section has two pins, a left and a right pin, that goes through each end and secures the inner link between outer link plates.
- Once you’ve decided which is the nearest undamaged inner link, locate the right side pin through that inner link. That’s the first pin you need to remove.
Step 4 – Push the first pin out
- If you have a chain hook, hook it either side of the damaged section so that the chain is slack and has room for the chain breaker
- Position your chain tool onto the chain from underneath, lining up the chain tool plunging pin onto the head of the pin you want to remove.
- Ensure that the chain fits snugly into the tool between the guide teeth.
- Wind the chain tool handle or allen key to push the pin out. Hold the chain steady on the tool with your other thumb if you need to.
- Once you’re done wind the chain tool back out. Separate the chain and keep the good end out of the dirt.
Step 5 – Locate the second pin to be removed
- Holding the damaged section in your hand, look along the chain to the right of that damaged section and locate the first undamaged inner chain link.
- Locate the left side pin through that inner link. That’s the second pin you need to remove.
Step 6 – Remove the second pin
- Repeat step 4 to remove the second pin. Keep the damaged section of chain in your Camelbak for the day you need to fit a new chain.
- Why? Because you’ll need it to count how many links your original chain started so that your new chain starts at the right length.-
Step 7 – Install the SRAM Powerlink
You should now have a split chain that ends with inner links at both ends.
- Insert the pin of one half of the SRAM Powerlink into the pin hole on the left end of your chain.
- Next, insert the pin of the second half of Powerlink into the pin hole on the other end of the chain.
- Join the SRAM Powerlink halves together. Fit the Powerlink halves together by slotting the exposed Powerlink pins into each other’s link plate hole.
- Powerlinks can be secured by squeezing the links together between your thumb and fore-finger and sliding the plates in opposite directions.
- Powerlocks (10 and 11 speed): gently cycle the link to the top chain run. Apply the rear brake, then push down on the pedal till you hear a click.
- Lubricate your chain
Powerlink and Powerlock Top Tips
- Powerlinks make removing your chain to wash it or removing your chain for bike transport dead easy. (Powerlocks are non-removable)
- Keep two links in your camelbak so you can repair your chain on the trail
Where to next:
(1m:42s minute video)
(2 minute video)
(3 minute video)