Anyone who has ever removed or installed a master link on a drive chain knows that it’s not an exercise in astrophysics. But that doesn’t mean someone can’t come up with a tool that eases the task ever so slightly—such as the Masterlink Chain Tool Set from ZipTy Racing (www.ziptyracing.com), the company owned by accomplished off-road racer Ty Davis. These little molded plastic tools (part #CT-SET) either come in a package of 6 ($40), with each one sized to fit a chain of a specific pitch and width (415, 420, 428, 520, 525, 530), or individually ($15 apiece). Each tool has five long teeth, three equally spaced ones on the “back” and two thicker, more widely spaced teeth on the “front.” The teeth serve two purposes: They hold the chain in place while the master link is being either removed or inserted, and they provide an anchor that allows a screwdriver blade to easily push the clip on or off.
To remove a master link, you insert the correct tool into the chain’s rollers, with the center of the three rear teeth in the gap between the ends of the chain and the outer two bracketing the chain’s end rollers. You then push the clip off the link with a screwdriver, using one of the tool’s outer teeth as a leverage point. Once the clip is off, you can remove the outer plate and link while the tool continues to hold the ends of the chain in place. To install a master link, reverse the procedure by inserting the tool at the ends of the chain, slipping the master link through the rollers, installing the outer plate, and using a screwdriver blade to push the clip into place.
This isn’t a necessary tool, but it’s nonetheless a handy one to carry along in a tool bag or a fanny pack.