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…
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.
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.