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Fitting SRAM quick link wrong way around

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Nick Payne
Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 2624
Location: Canberra, Australia

11/9/22 2:17 AM

Fitting SRAM quick link wrong way around

Does anyone know why SRAM say that their quick links (11s XX1 chain) should be fitted with the arrow on the outside half of the link pointing in the direction of chain travel? The instructions don't give a reason. I just noticed that on the replacement chain that I fitted a few weeks ago, I've absent-mindedly/accidentally fitted the quick link the other way around, with the arrow on the inside half pointing in the direction of chain travel. I can't really see why it would make a difference, and I've had no problems with the chain on the rides I've used it so far. They also say it's a use-once link, so I'm reluctant to use chain pliers to re-fit it the other way around unless there's some compelling safety reason.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 5078
Location: Nashua, NH

11/10/22 4:34 PM

Considering that it's comprised of two identical pieces with arrows pointing in opposite directions when it's assembled, I agree that it makes no sense. Although I don't typically use SRAM chains, I've worked on a fair number of them and never even noticed the arrows. I wouldn't worry about it; I don't see how it could possibly create a safety problem, or make any difference at all, for that matter.

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Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 1724
Location: SE Pa, USA

11/11/22 7:40 AM

On 11 speed the arrows just point to direction of engagement. 12 spd are curved and in fact are directional.

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Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3345
Location: NorCal

11/12/22 5:50 AM

A chain's outer link can be asymmetric both in terms of which side faces driveside and in terms of which plate edges face away from the center of the sprockets.

This in addition to directional considerations.

Some reasons given (by Shimano) for some of these things have to do with shifting quality and some for strength.

SRAM isn't telling us the reason(s) that their master link needs to be positioned the way that they suggest, but a careful examination of the top and bottom edges of the link plates might show some variation from top to bottom and/or from the left and right half of the link.

A master link is structurally different than the other links, both because of the slotted holes and because of the way that the pins attach to the plates.
As such, the dimensions of the links may have been subtly altered in some asymmetric way that perhaps increases/restores strength while still providing clearance and shaping for best shifting.

Even if the dimensions of the link plates suggest complete symmetry, the edges of the link plates facing the sprockets might have received some sort of treatment that allows the plates to better fend off stress-inducing nicks from the sprocket teeth. A process difference rather than a dimensional difference in other words, however unlikely.

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