How to Rivet Link a Motorcycle Chain

Updated February 21, 2017

If you drive a chain-driven motorcycle, replacing your chain regularly is an important part of your regular maintenance plan. There are two primary types of master links on bike chains: clip-style links and rivet-style links. Rivet-link chains are more durable, and they are less likely to fail when driven on high horsepower bikes. With a few simple tools, you can install a new rivet-link chain on your motorcycle in your home garage.

Install the first two O-rings in the rivet master link. Most high-quality rivet-style chains come with four O-rings and lubricant to use on the master link. Lubricate the link with approximately half of the lubricant that comes in the included package.

Cut the new chain to the appropriate length and run it around the sprockets on the bike. Run the chain until the open links get to a position where you can work on them when you install the new master link.

Push the master link into the open ends of the chain. Install the final two O-rings on the ends of the pin, which you push through the open links in the chain. Snap the plate carefully onto the protruding pins. Lubricate the link with the lubricant left in the package.

Tighten the plate into place with the chain press. Tighten the tool until the plate is firmly in place. Do not overtighten the tool. If you place too much torque on the tool when fastening the plate you can damage the link.

Mushroom the heads of the rivets on the master link with the chain rivet tool. If using a combination chain tool, you will have to reconfigure your chain tool with the correct heads for flattening rivets. Place the rivet in the tool so that each end is aligned with the respective end of the tool. The pin should be firmly in place. Tighten the tool carefully until the head of the rivet is flattened smoothly against the master link.


When tightening the tool on the rivets, do a small amount, then back the tool off and check the state of the rivet. This helps ensure that you only tighten the tool as much as necessary.


Do not overtighten with the chain tool. If you apply too much tension when trying to flatten the rivets, you can crack the rims, which are quite delicate.

Things You'll Need

  • Chain rivet tool
  • Chain press
  • Combination chain press/rivet tool (optional)
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About the Author

Hans Fredrick has been busy in the online writing world since 2005. He has written on diverse topics ranging from career advice for actors to tips for motorcycle maintenance. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan.