39. How to Use a Chain Tool To Break a Chain
How a chain tool works, and how to use it to disconnect and reconnect your bike chain.
This week we’ll learn how to break a chain using a chain tool. I’ll cover the quick release method next week.
The first thing to do is check to make sure your chain does not already have a quick release link. Do this by turning your pedals backwards and carefully watching every chain link as it goes by. A quick release link will stand out as they look different from all of the others. If you find one, you can refer to next week’s tutorial for removal and installation instructions.
If you can’t find a quick release link, then your chain probably doesn’t have one. This has traditionally been the most common type of chain, and it requires a chain tool for both removal and installation. Beside this video you’ll find a few links where you can order a good quality one.
Turn the handle of your chain tool counter-clockwise until the pin has backed off enough so you can place one of your chain links on the outermost slot, furthest from the handle. There are two places on chain tools where you can place a chain. The outer slot is for disconnecting and re-connecting the chain, while the inner slot is for loosening chain links.
Now tighten the handle clockwise until the chain tool’s pin connects with the end of your chain pin. Continue tightening the handle and you’ll see the chain pin get pushed into the link and start coming out the other side. The tricky part here is to push the chain pin far enough so that it is gets about halfway through the first of the two outer chain plates. If the chain pin gets pushed all the way out of the chain there is really no way to get it back in, and you’ll be forced to shorten or replace your chain.
One way to prevent this is to pay careful attention to how easy the handle turns as you push the pin through. When you get close to the end, you’ll feel resistance and the handle will become a slight bit harder to turn. As soon as you feel this, stop tightening the handle, and then give it another half a turn. This is usually the perfect spot to disconnect the chain. When you take the chain tool off, you’ll notice the chain is still barely held together, but can be easily disconnected by twisting and pulling the chain.
Notice how a tiny bit of the pin is still poking out of the inner side of the outermost plate. This is perfect, as it will help us re-install the chain. Twist and push the links back together until the chain pin clicks back into the inner link, once again holding the chain together.
Now back off the chain tool’s handle and place the chain back onto the same outer slot of the chain tool. This time position it so the protruding chain pin faces inward toward the chain tool’s pin. Now tighten the handle until the tool pin starts pushing the chain pin back through the link. Continue tightening until a tiny bit of the link pokes through the other side. Now take a look at both sides of the link… the chain pin should stick out roughly the same amount on either side.
The process of re-connecting the chain caused the chain links to compress together, making a stiff link. To fix this, we use the inner slot on the chain tool. Back off the chain tool all of the way so that you can place the freshly connected link into the inner slot. Now tighten the chain tool’s pin until it connects with the chain pin and tighten it just barely, about a quarter of a turn. This usually loosens the chain link plates enough. Remove the chain from the tool and check to make sure the link is loose. If it’s still tight, try loosening it with the chain tool another quarter of a turn.
Is there a crankset out there that will allow a less than 32 tooth 2nd chainring to be fitted. Any ideas? Thanks. Giant Yukon FX. Has a SR Suntour XCT V2 on it now.... Read more >>
This area is the most polluted in the US. Chains get gunked up with grey & black crud amazingly quickly. It gets on the ground around your bike, gets tracked onto the carpet & you're screwed.
I use a chain cleaning reservoir, the Park Tool.
Any reason not to use Simple Green brand as the fluid??? I've got a bunch of it. Is there some reason to avoid it?
I wash the chain. Rewash with a super diluted solution. Rinse with hot water three times, drying gently with a cloth and an air compressor after each rinse.... Read more >>
First time on here so please be gentle lol
Rather odd issue coming up lately.
Sometimes when I go to pedal it can take a quarter or half a pedal for my chain to actually catch and do anything.
This can happen at all speeds and gears and when starting off.
Sometime it will also just slip completely and make a horrible clunking noise (which also causes me to loose balance if it "drops" whilst i pedal)
is there a way of tightening it up without shortening the chain dont know if there is a chain tensioner on r... Read more >>
My wife and I both have new ICE Adventure trikes...we both have experienced chain slippage...when I am on my largest front ring and on the small rings in the rear and pedaling hard I get slippage at times. Everything is new so don't think it is a wear issue...otherwise everything works great! Shifts fine between gears....
Thanks!... Read more >>
Hi Guys, as i couldn't find my exact situation i thought i'd best post up.
i recently replaced my chain and have since been having a right nightmare when riding as it keeps jumping forward on every downstroke.
the chain isn't skipping gears or anything it is just lurching forward, i have checked for loose cranks, bottom bracket etc and they are all fine. when trying to diagnose the problem thou it is very difficult as the problem only appears under load. when i was testing it out thou i could look down and see that the rear derailleur lowest jockey wheel was pulling ... Read more >>
Anyone know.. if Sunrace 8 speed cassette cogs are interchangeable with Shimano hyperdrive cogs? IE: could they be used in the 'stack'.. so to speak? I'm aware of rear derailleur specs etc.. possible shifting indexing issues. Or the reverse... Shimano into a Sunrace unit... ?
Thanks!... Read more >>
I have a Triban 3 bought a few months ago. I have noticed recently that there is some slight forward play on the right crank before the drivetrain is engaged. It's more noticeable when setting off and putting my weight on that side and when cycling up hills. What do you think is causing it ? Regards Andy... Read more >>
I just got a Schwinn Meridian Adult 26-Inch 3-Wheel...trike and added an electric front wheel hub motor. The problem is it's a single speed. I can't keep up the the motor without pedaling like crazy. I was told the easiest way to fix this would be to change the front gear at the crank to a like 52 tooth gear from the current 42 tooth one. I'm not sure if I can just change the gear or if I need to change the entire crank set. I need to know exactly what to buy to do this . I know I need a crank puller . It would be appreciated if anyone could send a link with... Read more >>
I have an old 10 speed I'm converting to a single speed and cant seem to find the right tool to remove the freewheel. The markings on it are a RD, 333, and a S in a circle. And of course Shimano Freewheel. I have a Park Tools FR-1 and FR-5 freewheel tools but both are too large. Need a 12-spline tool under 20mm.
Any ideas?... Read more >>
When the chain is at the smallest cogs both rear and front, then some times (depends which mood the bike is in that day), the chain jumps when I go from soft to harder pedaling. It does not happen very often. The feeling is like it goes on top of the cog teeths, but I can not be 100% sure as I haven't managed to see it happen. When I operate the derailer with my hand it feels like it not tensioning the chain as much as I would assume it needs to (too much rotational friction), and that tension is significantly better when the chain is at larger cogs (be it larger rear or larger front). The... Read more >>
Hello. I am by no means an expert when it comes to bikes but I bought this bike from a friend for 40$. Its a peugeot. I thought I had fixed the problem with the chain and gears but alas it's still broken. The chain will fall off when I switch gears or pedal backwards. Also, the tension in the chain is very low and clanks up against the metal. Hopefully you can see whats up from the pictures. Thanks in advance.... Read more >>
It says XC Shimano Singapore on it.
Thanks in advance.
... Read more >>
Greetings everyone! Long time reader first time poster.
I just got a new bike and when I'm riding it there is a slight wobble in the sprocket. Just enough to rub on the front derailer. It's not all the time. Only at certain gears (not extreme gears). When I spin the gears on the stand there is zero wobble. Is this normal?
I will add I am NOT light. I weigh around 225. Maybe that has something to do with it?
Thanks in advance!... Read more >>
The chain on my mountain bike hasn't snapped yet (touch wood!). It has accumulated about 5000 miles of wear so I don't know whether or not this is good going.
What's the best tool to carry in a kit for squeezing one of these emergency chain links into place on a chain? I've practised doing it with a flat and snipe nosed pliers in the comfort of a workshop (just the two parts of the link without a broken chain) but working with a greasy chain under bad lighting conditions would undoubtedly be more difficult. Would a crimping/ferrule pliers be a better tool if it could fit between the roll... Read more >>
I'm using a cassette/gear set from an MTB as a reduction gear on a DIY project. I need to remove a gear do to clearance. all the info I've found so far is, throw it away & get a new one & r&r info. I NEED to disassemble it. I'm also on a real tight budget.... Read more >>