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  1. #1
    jmX
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    Roadside chain repair, what do I need in my seatbag?

    I've got a 6700 ultegra chain on my bike, along with a park tool combo that has a chain tool on it. Having never seen a broken chain, I'm not quite sure what to expect.

    What does a typical chain repair involve, and what else do I need in my bag? 10speed KMC missing link to use for a repair? A spare shimano pin (I'm not even sure where to buy these)? Without either of these, I assume a repair is impossible. Is that correct?

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    Your LBS will have the extra pins. You should practice changing one at home so your roadside repair is not the first time. Plus you need to make sure you are ok with the chain tool you have.

    The Park CT-5 is a great portable chain tool if you decide you don't like the one on your multi-tool.

  3. #3
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    The chain is most likely to break at an outer plate. To fix it using the replacement pin method, you'd want to have two Shimano pins and two outer plates.

    Personally, I prefer to carry just one KMC missing Link or similar quick-link. You'd still want the chain tool to drive out the pins connecting the broken plates. Some chain tools may not be the best at installing pins, but they'll all get one out well enough.
    Quote Originally Posted by slopvehicle View Post
    Not wearing a helmet makes me more aware of my surroundings. I find myself anticipating the hardness of concrete 50 or 100 feet in front of me, it's almost a zen-like connection between my face and the pavement.

  4. #4
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    I just carry a SRAM power link on all of my bikes. The chain tool can then be used to remove the damaged link and you will be back on the road in no time. The suggestion above that you practice at home on an old chain or some spare links from a bike shop is a good one. FYI, I have only repaired a chain once on a long MTB ride since I started carying a spare in over 10 years and 20,000 miles of riding so it is rare but so worth it when you can ride home or out of a trail.

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    I would go with the master link.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blamp28 View Post
    FYI, I have only repaired a chain once on a long MTB ride since I started carying a spare in over 10 years and 20,000 miles of riding so it is rare but so worth it when you can ride home or out of a trail.
    I'm glad you said this, because when I first read the topic of this post, I thought maybe everyone else lived in a weird alternate universe where chains break. I've been riding and abusing bikes since I was six years old and I've never broken a chain. What does a rider have to do to a chain to cause it to break? Is it bad maintenance, bad riding technique, or just bad luck?

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    "What does a typical chain repair involve, and what else do I need in my bag?" --jmX

    Because I don't like the idea of a long walk in cycling shoes; I carry a mini multi tool, spare pin (a master link would really be better), two tire levers, spare tube, patch kit, tweezers or small needle nose pliers, CO2 inflater with a spare cartridge and a mini pump on the frame. Primarily I rely on a thorough check of the bike the night before and inflate tires the day of the ride to prevent the long walk.

    Brad

  8. #8
    Senior Member ezdoesit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveizdum View Post
    I'm glad you said this, because when I first read the topic of this post, I thought maybe everyone else lived in a weird alternate universe where chains break. I've been riding and abusing bikes since I was six years old and I've never broken a chain. What does a rider have to do to a chain to cause it to break? Is it bad maintenance, bad riding technique, or just bad luck?
    There is also manufacturing defects. Shimano recently had some batches of (Ultegra) chains that snapped easily. I believe SRAM had made recall on some of their 10 spd. chains. While I never had a chain break, I have experienced chain suck that resulted in a severely twisted link. Without a chain tool and extra powerlink it would been a long walk home.

    --
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveizdum View Post
    I'm glad you said this, because when I first read the topic of this post, I thought maybe everyone else lived in a weird alternate universe where chains break. I've been riding and abusing bikes since I was six years old and I've never broken a chain. What does a rider have to do to a chain to cause it to break? Is it bad maintenance, bad riding technique, or just bad luck?
    In 25 years and 150,000 miles I've never had a chain break on any of my bikes and that includes 6,7,8,9 and 10-speed chains by Sedis, Shimano, SRAM and Wippermann. However, I have helped a couple of other riders who did have chains break so it's not unheard of, just uncommon.

    Beside the infrequent manufacturing defect, poor installation, either in improperly installing the special pin or trying to reuse a regular pin, is the most common cause as is machanical damage from a road hazzard getting into the chain.

    A multi-tool's chain tool is adequate to remove a pin from a damaged link and, I agree on the use of a master link for repair.

  11. #11
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    In 25 years and 150,000 miles I've never had a chain break on any of my bikes and that includes 6,7,8,9 and 10-speed chains by Sedis, Shimano, SRAM and Wippermann. However, I have helped a couple of other riders who did have chains break so it's not unheard of, just uncommon.
    +1 I'm with Hillrider on this, I've been riding a long time and have never broken a chain.

    But last year on a group tour, I was riding along some guy and his chain just broke and fell off his bike. The grade was flat and we were just cruising at a slow pace. It must be lack of maintenance or a cheap chain.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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  12. #12
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclist2000 View Post
    +1 I'm with Hillrider on this, I've been riding a long time and have never broken a chain.

    But last year on a group tour, I was riding along some guy and his chain just broke and fell off his bike. The grade was flat and we were just cruising at a slow pace. It must be lack of maintenance or a cheap chain.
    I've broken a chain once in 30+ years of riding, but then I was very happy to have a chain tool and spare Shimano pin with me. It took a few minutes, but I was saved from limping home. Nowadays I have a chain tool on the multi-tool and a master link, and I hope I never have to use them.

    Just last week I was cleaning and oiling my wife's chain, and I found one link that had broken its outer plate (SRAM PC-59 chain). Strangely, it was still working fine, and we had completed a short but hilly ride. It must have come apart on the last few miles- I can't imagine the chain staying together with any sort of torque being applied.
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  13. #13
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    I've got you all beat in years riding. My first Peugeot 10 speed I bought in 1970. I've been riding ever since and I've NEVER broken a chain either. It seems silly to carry a tool for a once in ten year occurrence, never mind 0 in 40. Do you carry around a spare front derailleur? I broke one on a ride that meant walking. It would be crazy to carry one around. We all have cell phones don't we?

    I've never broken a spoke either, but I carry a spoke wrench because I built my wheels myself and I don't trust the mechanic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    Do you carry around a spare front derailleur? I broke one on a ride that meant walking.
    Why should a broken derailleur, especially a FD, require walking?

    Broken FD? Remove the FD - cage and all - and use only the RD. It's a workaround that eliminates walking. Oh yes, you may need to break and re-attach the chain to remove the FD.

    Broken RD? Remove the RD, cut the chain, and select a front/rear combination that is both comfortable and won't slip out if you have vertical dropouts. You now have a SS. It's another workaround that eliminates walking. Oh yes, that chain rivet tool is required.

    Moral, if you want to avoid walking in case you break a derailleur, carry a chain rivet tool. It's also useful, if you break a chain.

  15. #15
    sch
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    Altho Shimano pins are acceptable at home, I would experiment (only $1 per experiment)
    with the tool set needed to snap the pin off after it is driven into place. Doubt you want
    to carry the pliers needed. Master links are more user friendly and a short length of chain
    from your last shortening wouldn't hurt to provide donor parts. I never carried a chain
    tool til recent events prompted the purchase of 4 Park CT minis, one for each bike and
    the tandem. In less than a month our tandem broke the drive chain, a friend's tandem
    broke the timing chain twice and one of my singles had a side plate pop off twice. I
    have approx 60 kmi since my last chain break on a Peugeot PX10 about
    1975 but 5 chain events in less than a month changed my mind and I decided not to
    rely on the charity of others.
    Last edited by sch; 09-18-10 at 04:08 PM.

  16. #16
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    If the bike is working fine and you do not make weird stuff like Andy Schleck besides having patches for flasts, maybe an extra tube, some air tubes or a pump and some super duper multi allen tool you should need anything else. Chains usually do not brake unless u have very bad luck or maybe a wippermann that a few years were famous for snapping, havent heard a thing yet since last year about those chians, probably nobody wants them no more. Oh forgot a spoke tool just in case.

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    Used to be Conspiratemus
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    If you're going to carry a chain tool -- we do on the tandem -- you might as well carry three or four links too. Just save them from what you cut off the stock chain when you buy a new one. That way you don't have to resect damaged links and end up with a too-short chain for the ride home. And if the front chain breaks on a tandem, you can't restore it without fresh links (from the bag or stolen from the rear chain.)

    Good point about the chain tool being helpful if a derailer breaks. The second (of two) times we've ever needed a chain tool was when our rear derailer broke....and that was the day we didn't have our chain tool with us! (Long taxi ride home, since of course when you break down on a tandem, the person who might otherwise drive out and rescue you is stranded out there on the road with you.) The only other time we ever needed it (and had it) was when the rear chain broke. In retrospect, I realized the cause was that I had reassembled the chain several weeks earlier with a worn tool that didn't drive the rivet perfectly straight, and it punched a tiny sliver of metal off the hole of the outer link plate. I saw the little sliver sittting on my thumb and thought, "Should I....?" Made the wrong decision, obviously. Now with quick links I hardly ever drive rivets out except when the chain is being installed new, and it's the Park tool that gets the call.
    "I did not know that!" -- J. Carson

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBinNYC View Post
    Broken FD? Remove the FD - cage and all - and use only the RD. It's a workaround that eliminates walking. Oh yes, you may need to break and re-attach the chain to remove the FD.
    You don't have to break the chain to remove a broken front derailleur or, for that matter, to install its replacement. All you need is a screwdriver. Remove the small bolt at the rear of the derailleur's cage and spread the cage plates apart until they will slip over the chain.

  19. #19
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    As others have said, broken chains are rare, I have had one in 20 years or so. On that occasion, no-one had a chain tool, so it meant coasting and pushing back to the start. A lot of multi tools have a chain tool, so that's taken care of, a suitable master link ( make sure it matches your type of chain ( up to 8 speed, 9 or 10 speed ) SRAM are popular, and you can deal with pretty much any chain problem. You might end up shortening the chain, but that just means you have to be a little careful with the shifting.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBinNYC View Post
    Why should a broken derailleur, especially a FD, require walking?

    Broken FD? Remove the FD - cage and all - and use only the RD. It's a workaround that eliminates walking. Oh yes, you may need to break and re-attach the chain to remove the FD.

    Broken RD? Remove the RD, cut the chain, and select a front/rear combination that is both comfortable and won't slip out if you have vertical dropouts. You now have a SS. It's another workaround that eliminates walking. Oh yes, that chain rivet tool is required.

    Moral, if you want to avoid walking in case you break a derailleur, carry a chain rivet tool. It's also useful, if you break a chain.
    That went about 10000 feet over your head. My point is that ANYTHING can break and you won't always have a replacement or tool. I've had seat post bolts break, pedals fall apart, bottom bracket bolts come loose, cables snap. All these things and more can happen. If I had to carry my tool chest with me I'd never ride. A chain tool is really low on my list of items that I would even consider taking.

    You live in NYC too, and you should know about the $2.25 long silver sag wagon that'll take you just about anywhere within the city limits.

    And the front derailleur broke about a 10 minutes walk from my house in Prospect Park, so there was absolutely no thought of doing a roadside fix.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    That went about 10000 feet over your head. My point is that ANYTHING can break and you won't always have a replacement or tool. I've had seat post bolts break, pedals fall apart, bottom bracket bolts come loose, cables snap. All these things and more can happen. If I had to carry my tool chest with me I'd never ride. A chain tool is really low on my list of items that I would even consider taking.

    You live in NYC too, and you should know about the $2.25 long silver sag wagon that'll take you just about anywhere within the city limits.

    And the front derailleur broke about a 10 minutes walk from my house in Prospect Park, so there was absolutely no thought of doing a roadside fix.
    If one is tethered to a range of 10 minutes walking time from one's home, then there's little reason for carrying any spares or for that matter riding a bike.

    The choice of tools/spares to carry depends on both the severity that their absence would cause and also on how easy it would be to find a substitute at a nearby garage. If one is travelling where towns are 20 miles apart, then a 10 mile hike is not that appealing, especially if one is wearing cleated shoes.

    I brought up the case of busted derailleurs to show that chain rivet tools have uses besides repairing broken chains.

    I go on a lot of "club" rides and use the chain rivet tool about two times a year in emergency situations. I was a marshal on TA's Tour de Queens (my home borough) and somebody simultaneously trashed his RD and bent his chain. TA runs a ride for 2000+ participants without a SAG because the Manhattan-centric organizers believe there's a subway within a 10 minute walk everywhere within NYC's boundaries. This emergency occurred in northeast Queens and about 4 miles from the closest subway/LIRR stop. I took out my rivet tool and that person was back on the road in 10 minutes. He even managed to reach the lunch stop before the food ran out.

    Walking is not the preferred way to propel a bike. What one carries should be designed to make it possible to ride a bike, if only to the closest bike shop. That's why we usually carry spare tubes, pumps, tire irons and other tools. A local garage is not likely to carry something as specialized as a chain rivet tool. It's light and compact enough to put in one's bag and forget about until needed.

  22. #22
    Ridin' South Cackalacky dahut's Avatar
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    Wheres the best place on the internet to get replacement quick links?

    (I ask, because I wont darken the doorstep of my LBS.)
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

  23. #23
    Senior Member 58Kogswell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dahut View Post
    Wheres the best place on the internet to get replacement quick links?

    (I ask, because I wont darken the doorstep of my LBS.)
    You might want to order quick links when you order something else so that you don't pay shipping just for the QL. Watch for sales and find an internet supplier you can trust. I like AE Bike: http://aebike.com/product/sram-power...h1063-qc30.htm
    where a bag of 4 QL is currently $17.85 but that is not a great price.

    Looks like they are $3.75 each at JensonUSA:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...Powerlink.aspx

    A good price can be offset by an excessive shipping charge.

    They even have them at Amazon:
    http://tinyurl.com/2ak4uee at around the same price.

    They are something I try to buy at LBS because I like to buy something every time I go in, just as a habit. I know that is not the cheapest price but sometimes I want something right away and having LBS close and friendly is handy in those situations so I try to do my part, plus in Minneapolis we have many, good LBS.

  24. #24
    Ridin' South Cackalacky dahut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 58Kogswell View Post
    You might want to order quick links when you order something else so that you don't pay shipping just for the QL. Watch for sales and find an internet supplier you can trust. I like AE Bike: http://aebike.com/product/sram-power...h1063-qc30.htm
    where a bag of 4 QL is currently $17.85 but that is not a great price.

    Looks like they are $3.75 each at JensonUSA:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...Powerlink.aspx

    A good price can be offset by an excessive shipping charge.

    They even have them at Amazon:
    http://tinyurl.com/2ak4uee at around the same price.

    They are something I try to buy at LBS because I like to buy something every time I go in, just as a habit. I know that is not the cheapest price but sometimes I want something right away and having LBS close and friendly is handy in those situations so I try to do my part, plus in Minneapolis we have many, good LBS.
    I hear you. But, my one and only LBS isnt one of those warm and fuzzy shops we laud on BF.
    Last time I went there, I wanted to buy some parts to mount a rear rack on my road bike. I told them what I was looking for and took out my wallet, prepared to purchase the parts there. I knew what I needed.... you know support my local LBS and all that stuff.

    "Yeah, we have that stuff somewhere around here, I think........ But, that won't work, you cant' do it. You should forget about it.
    Oh, by the way, we're going on vacation for a week, starting tomorrow. Did you need anything else?"

    Huh? You have the parts I need - "somewhere around here" - but won't bother selling them to me?
    Vacation?? What does that have to do with anything?... Oh, never mind...

    That is the normal for them, and not a one time occurrence. Even rudimentary customer service is a foreign concept to them. SO, I don't bother wasting their time with my trivial needs.
    The nearest shop besides them is 45 minutes away, by interstate. By the time I buy what I need off the internet, I'm saving money on gasoline alone.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As for the links, Im finding some people carry a few specific ones, but not a wide assortment. Because I ride a road bike and a commuterized MTB, I need two divergent sizes. I like www.BikeNashbar.com, for example. But they don't have the two sizes I need (6 speed and 9 speed). I would like to find one place that carries both sizes (6.6mm and 7.3mm). I'll keep looking.
    Thanks for your reply.
    Last edited by dahut; 09-19-10 at 09:02 AM.
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

  25. #25
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dahut View Post
    But they don't have the two sizes I need (6 speed and 9 speed). I would like to find one place that carries both sizes (6.6mm and 7.3mm).
    I'm fairly certain that 6 speed chains are the same as 7/8, so the Wipperman one that Nashbar sells should do.

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