The times when you had to use the chain tool are gone (or just about to be gone). Big bike manufacturers are starting to equip all models (even entry-level models) with PowerLink chains. What does PowerLink mean? It is a system that will let you easily remove your chain with no tools (you only need your bare hands).
The advantages are more than clear: easy and fast installing and removing and reduced risk for the chain to dismantle at the point of the pressed rivet.
KMC and SRAM offer chains with PowerLink installed. On a Shimano chain such a PowerLink can be installed later; you only have to check if the PowerLink you want to buy is compatible with your chain (the price will be around 5 to 10 euros). Even so such a procedure is pretty expensive. For the moment Shimano proposes a longer connection rivet. Shimano does not recommend the reutilization of this rivet. Instead you should replace it and this will cost you no more than 2 or 3 euros.
Coming back to the removing process of the PowerLink chain we will show you the simple steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Press on the link with both fingers from the side. Then push the chain from its front and its back to bring it into the position which facilitates its removal. For extra help move the chain on the small ring. This way the chain will not be stretched.
Step 2: Now the chain has been removed.
Step 3: Attention, after removal the sides of the PowerLink can easily get out of the pin. Take care not to lose them.
Step 4: In order to install the chain all you need to do is to put together the two segments and then easily push to the sides such that the pins come back in to the link.
KMC offers a cleaner way to remove the chain, a tool which has the shape of a nipper which fastens the chains from two sides. However you will still need to press on the link with your hands if you will want to remove it.