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Old 01-26-12, 03:58 PM   #1
jimmuller 
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Breaking chain

I'm curious what you folks do. I've been using PC870 chains lately. Nice quick-removal link, laterally stiff, seemingly very strong. But when I have to shorten one my Park CT-5 chain tool doesn't fit square in some configurations due to the chain's flared side plates. So far I haven't ruined anything or the tool but I wonder if there is a better alternative.
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Old 01-26-12, 04:04 PM   #2
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I use the Park CT-3 to shorten SRAM PC870s. No issues, although I go through pins at a faster rate than normal due to my own carelessness.
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Old 01-26-12, 05:18 PM   #3
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+1 CT-3 is an awesome chain tool, and be sure to have a couple spare tips handy.
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Old 01-27-12, 08:04 AM   #4
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+1 CT-3 is an awesome chain tool, and be sure to have a couple spare tips handy.
i learned that the hard way. after i busted the tip, i thought the whole thing was broken. then i found you can buy replacement tips, so i bought 4 of 'em. when they arrived, it was 4 packs of 2 (!), but i have no doubt i will manage to go through them.

it's also worth mentioning that at the LBS which deals with a lot of older donated bikes, they always just cut the chains off, rather than wasting their own time and wearing down the chain tools. i had never tried that before, but i think i'll do that from now on. even though my bolt cutters aren't nearly as beefy as their are.
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Old 01-27-12, 08:07 AM   #5
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JP, if you have a Dremel, the cutting discs will zip right through the chain. Plus, throwing sparks is fun.
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Old 01-27-12, 08:24 AM   #6
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JP, if you have a Dremel, the cutting discs will zip right through the chain. Plus, throwing sparks is fun.
Any old rusted chain that’s going in the trash bin anyway I take two adjustable crescent wrenches and put them side by side on the chain and twist in opposite directions. The chain will snap every time and no wear and tear on the chain tool.

No sparks though.


PS
This trick also works as a safe way to break steel banding straps that hold things on wooden pallet skids and the ends don’t go flying.

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Old 01-27-12, 08:26 AM   #7
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^ Good idea. Thanks.
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Old 01-27-12, 08:29 AM   #8
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JP, if you have a Dremel, the cutting discs will zip right through the chain. Plus, throwing sparks is fun.
I've never been able to cut with those disks long enough to get through an entire chain without shattering the disk. It's not a big deal to change them (and I always use a face shield when cutting) but it's just not worth the bother getting the tool out and swapping discs >1 times. Is there a beefier cutting disk for the dremel than the little 'splody ones that come in the cylindrical package of 50?

A big +1 to the CT-3. It's a great tool.

Even though it isn't really specified for use on single-speed chain it does fine as long as it fits. Some of the beefier heavy-duty BMX chains won't quite fit in it but your typical run of the mill 1/8" bicycle chain will work on the CT-3 just fine -as will the original chains that come on old 3-speeds and single-speeds from the vintage era. Just be careful to keep it lined up well and tips are not a problem. I've yet to break a tip or bend the lips on mine. If you are lazy or in too much of a hurry to get the chain pin lined up correctly the tool is quite capable of exerting plenty enough force on itself to ensure self-destruction.

When in a hurry to extract junk chain from a bike an inexpensive bolt-cutter is the best quick alternative. If time is not of the essence and good lighting and easy access is possible then the wear on the tool when properly used and positioned is very minimal -even when the chain is not going to be reused.
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Old 01-27-12, 09:14 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the notes, guys. Just for clarification, I was and still am curious about how you deal with the flared side plates of a PC chain. And FWIW, I'm not breaking them to throw them away. I'm shortening them but saving for re-use the links I remove.

If I need to break a chain in the sense of BREAK! ("Oh, dang!") I'm pretty sure I could do that without a chain tool.
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Old 01-27-12, 09:46 AM   #10
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If one is careful to load the chain straight and get the press pin exactly lined up with the tool pin it doesn't matter if the plates are flat or flared as far as I've found. Once the tool begins to work on the chain's pin it is being held in there with enough force that the chain will not move or twist as long as it is not torqued relative to the tool during the break/press operation. The tool is exerting hundreds if not thousands of PSI when it is doing its job. Like I said before it is quite capable of producing enough force to self-destruct if the chain isn't situated in such a way that the pin will give first before the tool eats itself. Always be aware of that and pins will break much less often.

Don't let it twist or bind and carefully watch what is going on within the tool with regards to the chain orientation. If in doubt while using the tool let up on it and reposition. I've never had a chain that I had too much trouble with. Perhaps I've just yet to come across a chain with enough of a flare on the sideplates to make this impossible. Then again I am used to working on motorcycle chains which are much bigger and orders of magnitude tougher than a bicycle chain while the chain-breakers available seem to be actually weaker and more fragile than bicycle breakers.

It is REALLY easy to break a press pin on a $100 chain press on a 620 motorcycle chain. In fact, I avoid using a breaker on a cycle chain and only take a chain off when I want to BREAK it and replace with a new one when it is worn out. I use the motorcycle chain press only to "rivet" or peen the special master link of a motorcycle and don't abuse it trying to break a chain. That is what side-grinders are for.

Bicycle chains with a good tool like the CT-3 are cake in comparison.
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