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Old April 18th, 2021, 02:34 PM   #1
Gearbox Paul
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Chain Master Link: Clip vs Rivet

I have a 2010 250R and my chain is nearing end of life. Bike has 21000 km (about 13000 miles) on it. I suspect this is the original chain and sprockets but I can't be sure. I've been reading up on chains on this forum and others. At this point, I've decided that I want an o-ring or X-ring chain as opposed to a standard, non o-ring chain.

But I haven't decided on clip vs rivet masterlink. Many people seem to discourage clip style masterlinks saying they are not reliable, while others use them on their track bikes... Rivet masterlinks require a chain breaker/riveter tool that I will need to buy. There are many on Amazon, most of which have terrible reviews with people reporting that they break or squish pins or strip threads the first time they use them. I don't know if that's just people not using the tools correctly or not. Motion Pro makes a tool that has good reviews but it costs more than the chain.

So getting a chain with a rivet masterlink ends up being much more expensive for me because I have to buy the tool (which I'll likely only ever use once) compared to a chain with clip masterlink that I can install with common hand tools.

I'm looking for some honest advice on this. Am I a fool to consider a chain with clip style masterlink? What if a I safety-wire the clip? Or should I just bite the bullet and purchase a chain with rivet masterlink and the chain breaker/riveter tool. If so, some advice on a reasonably-priced tool would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old April 18th, 2021, 05:10 PM   #2
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I've had no problem using the master link with the clip. Make sure the clip is facing the right direction, though.

With the master link on the top of its run, you want the closed end of the retention clip to be forward and the open end to be facing the back.
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Old April 18th, 2021, 05:51 PM   #3
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I have been running a clip on my chain for about 10,000 miles with no problems or worries.
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Old April 18th, 2021, 07:31 PM   #4
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Clips work fine if you do whatever it takes to verify that the clip is snapped in place properly and completely. Unless you're young and/or nearsighted, this might require clip-on glasses lenses or other closeup vision assistance. If you don't get it on right, there will be trouble!
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Old April 19th, 2021, 07:28 PM   #5
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im a clip user
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Old April 19th, 2021, 11:45 PM   #6
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There is nothing wrong with using a clip connector on low powered machines (<50hp) provided they are fitted correctly & checked periodically as well as maintaining correct chain tension. The one thing that brakes them is poor chain maintenance, to loose or worse to tight a chain will cause issue.

Remember if using O-X ring chain with a clip you will need a means to compress the side plate into place correctly to allow the clip to be fitted. Racers can use a clip because they don't use O-X ring chain & only do a few miles at a time & are always adjusting the chain tension during wheel changes & maintenance.

That said a rivetted chain is always a better choice, especially if your chain can last 15-20k miles. Best bet is to enlist the help of someone with a chain tool who knows how to use it. I've seen many that don't & complain that the tool is crap when they break it, when its the stuff between their ears that was the problem. Rivet tools should be called softlink tools & are only designed to work on the soft ended joining link, no others ! Do NOT try to break a chain with a tool on a random link, you have been warned.
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Old April 20th, 2021, 08:11 AM   #7
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Thanks for all your replies. I think I'll just purchase a chain with clip master link.
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Old April 20th, 2021, 03:51 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your replies. I think I'll just purchase a chain with clip master link.
I was in the same situation some years ago and got the chain with the clip.
As someone said above, it's very important that the clip is properly seated. What tool will you use to compress the plates before putting the clip?
I didn't have the compressing tool, so I used a pliers. I managed to put the clip. It looked good to me. Went for a test ride and the clip was gone.

So I bought the cheap compressing tool from Amazon. I guess it was 12 or 15 dollars and a new rivet master link for about $5. This time everything went better. With the compression tool, I could see the plates were in the right place and even felt that I could put the clip now, but I didn't have it anymore.
Anyways, the tool worked just fine to rivet the master link and my chain was good for many miles.

I read many complains about the tool not working well, but some were also saying that the tool works fine if used properly.
I didn't have to cut the chain with the tool, but it looks like many people tries to cut the chain without 'dremelin' the connection pin first. And that's when the tools bends or breaks.
As for compressing the plates and riveting the pin, the cheap tool worked fine for me.
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Old April 20th, 2021, 08:01 PM   #9
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This link from YouTube is an excellent resource for using the tool correctly. He is very thorough.

https://youtu.be/6Yj4sKsguvU
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Old April 21st, 2021, 05:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I was in the same situation some years ago and got the chain with the clip.
As someone said above, it's very important that the clip is properly seated. What tool will you use to compress the plates before putting the clip?
I didn't have the compressing tool, so I used a pliers. I managed to put the clip. It looked good to me. Went for a test ride and the clip was gone.

So I bought the cheap compressing tool from Amazon. I guess it was 12 or 15 dollars and a new rivet master link for about $5. This time everything went better. With the compression tool, I could see the plates were in the right place and even felt that I could put the clip now, but I didn't have it anymore.
Anyways, the tool worked just fine to rivet the master link and my chain was good for many miles.

I read many complains about the tool not working well, but some were also saying that the tool works fine if used properly.
I didn't have to cut the chain with the tool, but it looks like many people tries to cut the chain without 'dremelin' the connection pin first. And that's when the tools bends or breaks.
As for compressing the plates and riveting the pin, the cheap tool worked fine for me.
I plan on compressing the plates with a c-clamp and nut like what this guy is doing in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvRSXmnRRFg. Compress the plate evenly by alternating on each side until the distance between the inner and outer plates of masterlink is the same as the distance on the other chain links (as measured Vernier calipers). Once there, the grooves of the masterlink should be exposed far enough for me to install the clip. But I'll slide the clip on unlike what the guy in the video is doing. At least that's my plan.

And thanks for sharing your experience with the cheap tool on Amazon. When I read the reviews I got the feeling the users who broke the tool weren't using it properly. Agreed, if someone tries to push out a pin without grinding off the mushroomed head, they will break the tool.
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Old April 21st, 2021, 09:43 AM   #11
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^^ Looks good. Give it a try.
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Old April 21st, 2021, 03:26 PM   #12
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Ive used both types of master links and both are fine. Adding safety wires for the clip type will help keep it in place. I prefer the rivet type link for the obvious reasons but even an entry level chain with clip will last with proper care. The Motul chain care kit works great.
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Old April 22nd, 2021, 08:38 AM   #13
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Just did a chain replacement a few days ago. Bought a JT 520 chain and new sprockets. I also have the chain rivet / breaking tool. I used the rivet master link but don't like the way one of the rivets set. When I compressed it, the set tool rolled off one side of it and only compressed about 1/3 of the head. Ordered another rivet master link from Ebay so I can do it again. Not comfortable riding it like that.. .
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Old April 27th, 2021, 08:09 AM   #14
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I use a clip but safety wire it and then put silicone over the wire and the clip. Still easy enough to remove but really isn't going anywhere
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Old July 31st, 2021, 10:44 PM   #15
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How do you safty wire a chain clip ? never heard of that before !
.......
...I've used regular roller link chain and their master link... I really dislike having to dig out the chain breaker and bend another pin in it...
a 520 chain is virtually bullet proof you'll never break it in normal use
so a master link type connection is fine...
as mentioned by triple,... a "O"Ring chain may need extra attention to make darn sure the clip in in it's slot and not on top of it I do this by simply putting on the clip ( you can see that the clip is not closed on the back end) and then compress it with a pare of vice-grips till it snaps closed , easy peezy
and you can visually see the difference when the back end of the clip is fully closed... meaning it is now in it's slots... and your ready to go .
....
depending on the chain you may have to move the vice grips from end to end
but I usually put it right in the middle of the master link and just squeeze
and that does the trick for me ...
a riveted chain is a P.I.T.A. I've not found a chain breaker that is worth a darn yet, the pins alwayse bend and then your up a creek and have to brake out the hammer and punch and a extra set of hands to hold the backing bar
so you don't put the hammer force into the bike.
normal master links are the way to go !!!!
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Old August 1st, 2021, 12:49 AM   #16
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The problem is not the chain tools fault but the user. Chain breaker tool is VERY poor name, unfortunately. They should be called chain joiner tools, because they are only designed to work on the SOFT RIVET JOINING LINK, and NOT any random link on the chain. Everyone I've ever spoken to about bending pins has just used the tool to try to force out a factory fitted hardened pin in the chain, that being all of them apart from the soft rivet joining link !

Its not hard to spin a wheel to find the soft link.

Have fun.
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Old August 1st, 2021, 01:18 AM   #17
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that explains why I've bent so many pins before LOL
because I use them anywhere on the chain .... even made my own out of good quality steel and the pin still bent some chains are really tough !
I found its easiest to simply lay the chain on the jaws of the vice with the jaws open about 1/8" and then smack the pin with a flat punch or 1/2" rod to get it started... then use a tempered "Nail set" punch and drive the pin out
although the putting the pin is much easier as the pin has moved and is loose
their still a press fit ...but the vice puts the pin the best I've seen.
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Old August 1st, 2021, 06:57 AM   #18
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It looks like the factory chain in my N300 was a 'closed' chain, meaning there was no connecting link. They were all the same.

I picked one link and ground the rivet with a dremel. Then gently used the $20 Chinese riveting tool and everything went fine.
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Old August 1st, 2021, 07:26 AM   #19
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It looks like the factory chain in my N300 was a 'closed' chain, meaning there was no connecting link. They were all the same.
Often factory fitted chains are continuous link. Because they fit the chain in a production line & it saves time and hassle. Owners don't want to strip half their bike including removing the swingarm to fit replacement continuous chains. Even though if you get 20K miles out of one its a great idea. So you can clean & regrease the suspension linkages & swingarm bearings !

So the rivet link was invented to allow us to just pull a new chain through using the old one & hey presto 👍
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Old August 1st, 2021, 10:01 AM   #20
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My stock chain didn't last that long. I stopped liking it at 11k miles and changed at about 13k miles.
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Old August 2nd, 2021, 06:57 AM   #21
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I just replaced the chain on my Versys 650 this weekend. It was not an OEM chain and was put on with a clip master link by the PO. Low and behold, once again the clip was missing. I replaced it with a clip style link because I prefer them but once again safety wire and silicone to secure it just like I do the race bikes. Like that I have never had a problem.
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Old August 3rd, 2021, 11:26 AM   #22
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Hay Sharky How do you safety wire a clip on ?
I've never heard of such a thing in all my years !
I'ed like to know !
sounds like a good place for it, but how do you do it without interfering with the sprockets ? ya can't circle the chain and there is no room in the clip grouves
to put even a small wire there.... so how do you do it ?
( a photo close up of the safety wired clip would be real helpful ! )
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Old August 3rd, 2021, 01:47 PM   #23
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Quote:
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The problem is not the chain tools fault but the user. Chain breaker tool is VERY poor name, unfortunately. They should be called chain joiner tools, because they are only designed to work on the SOFT RIVET JOINING LINK, and NOT any random link on the chain. Everyone I've ever spoken to about bending pins has just used the tool to try to force out a factory fitted hardened pin in the chain, that being all of them apart from the soft rivet joining link !

Its not hard to spin a wheel to find the soft link.

Have fun.
Forgive me for asking... but I have searched endless chains many times for a "Hidden link" and found nothing not even a link with no divots but straight backs... what's the secret of finding the "SOFT Link " ???
I have no doubt that what you said is true, but I've not seen a single chain like that that has discolored links or pins or any thing of the sort to give it away.... whatt'a ya gott'a do hold a seance ? LOL
....
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Old August 3rd, 2021, 02:21 PM   #24
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I've always used rivets, spent the money right the first time, and get a quality tool, I have the DiD one.

As far as cutting the old dead chain, I use a death wheel ☠️☠️����⚰️
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Old August 4th, 2021, 08:36 AM   #25
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Forgive me for asking... but I have searched endless chains many times for a "Hidden link" and found nothing not even a link with no divots but straight backs... what's the secret of finding the "SOFT Link " ???
I have no doubt that what you said is true, but I've not seen a single chain like that that has discolored links or pins or any thing of the sort to give it away.... whatt'a ya gott'a do hold a seance ? LOL
....
Bob......
Factory chains are endless, so no soft link. Just cut it or grind off a pin head to separate & remove it.

Generally Only aftermarket chains have a soft rivet link.
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Old August 4th, 2021, 11:16 AM   #26
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and then use your chain breaker to push out the pin right ?
and more than likely you'll bend the pin....
I've even used tempered nail sets that are the same size or slightly smaller to push out the pin in the link with varying success, some times they come out fairly easy most of the time their really hard to move, a short socket behind the pin ( so the pin has some place to go) and a heavy backer bar behind that and a fairly large hammer and drive the pin out... then you can get the chain off
if the chain is to be replaced with a new one it is probably easier to just cut a link in half with a thin cutting wheel and angle grinder...as it's faster and easier and can be done with 1 person
putting a chain like that back on a motorcycle is silly use a master link and you won't have any problems just make sure that the clip is on with the open in facing the back of the bike when the chain is on top of the sprocket.... and make sure the clip is closed and on properly
....
if you grind the pin of a link off so you can push the pin out you destroy the chain.... you can't use it again unless you remove that link and use a master link so some people will try to push the pin out without grinding the pin flush
that can be accomplished but it is not easy by any means.
a flat punch short socket and heavy backer bar are your only hope
smack it hard and get the pin to move to the flush position then use a hard nail set ( most nail sets are not hard and will mushroom) and drive the pin out.... when putting on the chain turn it around so the pin in the back link is sticking out where you can get to it...drive the pin back in till it hits the back link and put a pare of hefty vice-grips on that link and squeeze it together and try your best to drive the pin through the back link ....some times it works and some times it doesn't and you bend the back link....
but again it is easier to just remove that opened link and put a master link back in it instead. but ...it can be done... I've done it back at the Ranch.
....didn't have to buy anything I couldn't afford and I got the bike working again...so all was good.... i wouldn't do that now though I'ed just buy a new chain... with a Master link ! LOL
....
Bob......

Ps. Nails Don't work they bend ...but concrete nails Might if you can find one
their much harder... but you do the best you can, with what you got, under the circumstances ! no one can ask more !
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Old August 9th, 2021, 08:36 AM   #27
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Hay Sharky How do you safety wire a clip on ?
I've never heard of such a thing in all my years !
I'ed like to know !
sounds like a good place for it, but how do you do it without interfering with the sprockets ? ya can't circle the chain and there is no room in the clip grouves
to put even a small wire there.... so how do you do it ?
( a photo close up of the safety wired clip would be real helpful ! )
Bob.....

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Old August 9th, 2021, 09:47 AM   #28
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LOL Well how about that ...it can be done !
Well ya' learn something new every day !
that is ingenious Sharky ! I'll have to do it to all my bikes now !
thank you !
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Old August 9th, 2021, 10:56 AM   #29
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Husband is going to change the chain on his Triumph soon; I don't know what kind of fastener the new chain has but I've filed this in my brain for reference. Thank you for the excellent close-up picture!
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Old August 14th, 2021, 01:57 PM   #30
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and then use your chain breaker to push out the pin right ?
and more than likely you'll bend the pin....
If you grind head of pin to slightly lower than outer-surface of plate, it'll be narrow enough to push through link without damaging bushings or pin on your tool. Angle-grinder disc makes this easy as its curvature will carve concave spot on side-plate.
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Old August 14th, 2021, 02:05 PM   #31
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+500bhp dragster bikes use master-link with clip with no issues. Power-level doesn't matter because it's applied 90-degrees to chain-pins and there's minimal force against the clip. It's vibration-levels over time that walks it off.

And most people who have had problem installed clip incorrectly. These people would have same issue with staking a rivet link in place as well. So one would not be better than other.

Issue is that there FOUR different ways to install master-link clip. Most people know about 2 of these cases and install opening of clip facing back. However, there's also beveled vs. flat edges of clip. This is created by the stamping process, similar to washers where one edge is sharp while other has slight curve. It may seem intuitive at 1st to install with flat-edge against chain plate so it sits flush right? NOPE, this places beveled curved edge outwards where it can slide off groove in pin easier. Proper installation places beveled side INWARDs, towards chain plate. This makes it more difficult for clip to slide out of groove.

This picture shows incorrect installation of clip with curve beveled edge of clip on outside. You can see this smooth beveled edge on outside edge & tip of clip as well as on inside holes that goes over pins.


These picture shows correct installation with sharp edge on outside and smoother curved edge on inside. You can sometimes spot the sharp side by it showing some post-stamping machining to remove the burr on opposite of smooth edge. In this case, you can see shadow between clip and plate shows curved edge facing inwards.


This last photo shows some rounded edge on bottom of inner hole of clip. That's from pliers being used to remove previously. That's OK, because actual hole that engages pin groove is still sharp on outer edge. This one can also use a little deeper seating of clip into grooves (see gap at seam where open-ends meet). The safety-wire is good extra insurance. Not allowed in some racing circles due to it being stop-gap measure since properly installed clip won't need safety-wire.

Last futzed with by DannoXYZ; August 14th, 2021 at 06:34 PM.
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Old August 14th, 2021, 03:07 PM   #32
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