Shimano Quick-Link SM-CN09 quick connect chain link for 11-speed bicycles

Remember that Shimano quick connect chain link they offered? Probably not, either because you’ve banished it from your mind or because it never really gained popularity thanks to a severe lack of user friendliness.

Word on the street is we’ll see a new version this June that looks just like every other quick link option. Because, you know, it works…

Shimano Quick-Link SM-CN09 quick connect chain link for 11-speed bicycles

Thanks to an anonymous tipster, we have these photos of both the upcoming SM-CN09 Quick-Link part (top and bottom pics), and this image of one of several old designs (directly above). The early versions required a cumbersome contortion of the chain and pin, or bending the outer plate and snapping it on, to install. It ended up being much easier to simply press in a replacement pin like what comes with their chains.

Shimano Quick-Link SM-CN09 quick connect chain link for 11-speed bicycles

The new version is only for 11-soeed chains and has offset openings like links from SRAM and KMC, letting you simply slot them together and tension the chain to snap it closed. Like everyone elses’, they’re not intended for re-use, but (and this isn’t advice, merely an observation upon which you can make your own decisions) we’ve reused the other brands’ links with no issue.

Look for the part to retail for under $10. Shimano will recommend using their TL-CN10 to install and remove, but we like the Clever Standard tool that doubles as a tire lever and is far more packable.


  1. Yay Shimano!! I think the truth about Shimano is that if they played the ‘copycat’ game more often they could just blow the competition away every time. Seriously, who wouldn’t want an XTR/DA quality crank with a 30mm aluminum spindle and direct mount capability? Is it because it’s not manufacturable, or are they just stodgy…? Methinks a lot of it is the latter….

    • Shimano makes changes, or improvements, when they think they’re justified. They’ve said time and time again, that their spindles are plenty stiff, and that a move to 30mm aluminum spindles wouldn’t be worth it. They’ve made things like that as prototypes, so it’s not as though they’re blind to the idea.

      The quick link, while convenient, is totally unnecessary, as you need a chain tool to size your chain anyways. Just push out a different pin(preferably 180 degrees opposed) next time you remove for it cleaning. Or, you know, clean it on the bike. Pins are cheaper!

      If you can’t remove the quick link without tools, what’s the fuss pressing a pin? What if your chain breaks not at the quick link? How would you shorten it if you’ve stopped carrying a chain tool?

      • The problem here isn’t with the current cranks – they are still great cranks. Stiff as anything else, if not more. The problem is that more and more, we’re needing adapters to fit those little spindles in oversized press fit frames. The rest of the industry decided, and if they stick to what they like because they think it’s better for too long, they’ll start getting eye rolls like a certain italian manufacturer does.

      • Re: “Shimano makes changes, or improvements, when they think they’re justified. ”

        Or every 3 years, whichever comes first. Ex. D/A 7900 & 9100.

      • Quick links are a good idea becuause they keep people from reusing chain pins, which is the fast lane to a broken chain.

    • The reason aluminium spindles have to be 30mm is because they’d flex if they were smaller. The reason steels spindles, with minimal weight penalty, can be 22/24mm, is because they don’t flex. I’d prefer more space between spindle and BB shell for bigger ball bearings, with less disposability, personally. You guys can keep dealing with creaky throwaway cartridge races, if you like.

    • As Tyler said, with caveats, it isn’t really a one-time use piece. I have no idea why the companies say that. (The 9 speed and wider are reusable.) I reuse them all the time on my bikes and customers’, with zero ill effect.

      • For KMC I don’t. They openly state their non 11 spd links are reuseable 2-3 times. If their statement on 11 spd links was an effort just to sell more links, you’d think they would apply that philosophy across the board.
        I’ve snapped a chain under power. Avoiding that alone is worth the $8 piece even if its just for piece of mind.

    • User friendly.
      See Campag 11 spd chains, and really all 11 spd chains that require greater and greater tolerance of the connecting pin assembly. A quick link removes a lot of potential for user error.
      I’ll pay for the convenience, not to mention it allows easier off the bike chain cleaning and waxing for the cost of a link should one not want to reuse (i don’t)

  2. It’s my understanding that 8 and 9 speed SRAM power links were reusable but that 10 and 11 speed weren’t. At least according to SRAM. Am I wrong? I have noticed that the 8 speed SRAM chains I use on my single speed are easy to disconnect and reuse. The 9 speed SRAM chains on my commuter bike are almost as easy to reuse. The 10 speed chains were another story altogether and so I have recently been trying Wipperman and KMC chains which seem much better in that category whether or not they recommend reuse.

  3. I feel like a lot of people already go the route that I do and install SRAM or KMC quicklinks onto shimano chains. But hey, if they start including them with their chains than that just saves me a little bit of money and an extra step.

  4. Shimano has been fighting against quick links because they wear quicker than the rest of the chain and they tend to flex differently than standard links. Their first gen quick link solved the flex consistency, but wore really fast. Supposedly this new one is solid in the wear department.
    I, for one, think the flex difference thing is overstated.

    • Shimano, like campagnolo, they only produce things that make sense. “Other” companies, continuously squak about “innovations” just to exploit the consumer. They are very good at coming out with catchy products and take over the pres$… product itself are way overblown.

  5. Such a big deal for quick links, when you still need to carry a chain braking tool. Compare to the pins, does it even save a minute? Pins are lighter, cheaper, and do not snap. Plus you need to buy the plyers to remove the “quick” link.
    Pretty useless except if you are getting paid for racing. It is just a catchy gimmic to add $5, $10 dollars to the cost of you chain.

    • A chain repaired with a quicklink will be the same length, a pin repair will be a link shorter. Plus, just running the chain thru the derailleurs or, extracting a jammed chain can be facilitated(like that word) by a quicklink. FWIW the more you reuse- the looser the quicklink snaps back together.

  6. Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.

    Then think again about reusing quick links.

  7. How many people actually reuse quick links? I clean my chains regularly – usually monthly or so in a batch so I don’t waste degreaser and make more than one mess of it, and the only time I need to remove a chain is usually when it’s dead.

    If you took your chain off to clean it, what do you do to it? Short of having some kind of ultrasonic cleaner, what’s really doing more than an average chain cleaner used in place?

  8. I reused my 11spd sram quick link on my trail bike at least 5 times last year with 0 issues. And of all the chain snaps I’ve had over the past few years, not 1 was at the quick link.

  9. Cleaning your chain on the bike never gets all of the grit off and is messy, like wearing your jersey in the shower to wash it. I clean mine in a couple of solvent rinses (you could white glove it), dry it, then oil it.

  10. On my customers’ SRAM bikes, I use the Quick Link they recommend. On my customers’ Shimano bikes, I use the recommended pin. The reason I do this is simple. If the customer has a problem, I don’t want anything I’ve put on the bike to result in a denied warranty claim. I’ve been asked by a Shimano tech rep if there is a Quick Link on the chain. I also try to keep customers’ drivetrains in one family because they work better or the company dies trying to make it work better.

  11. My chain just broke on the quicklink and i could not find the other side piece to put it back in place. It was fun walk home from middle of nowhere.

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.