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Old 03-12-10, 03:39 AM   #1
mattbicycle
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Using a chain tool on tour

I have been looking at the multitool tools available which contain a chain tool. At the moment I carry the allen keys, screwdrivers etc. that I need but these items seem like a good idea.

In particular, after reading of chains breaking and seeing members' packing kits I am wondering if I have just been extremely fortunate to have never experienced a broken chain either while touring or riding/commuting locally.

If I am riding on sealed roads and bicycle paths with a well-maintained bicycle, am I likely to ever need a chain tool? Or is it something that off-road mountain bike users or tourers in Central Asia on terrible roads would expect to use? Is it simply bad luck that a chain breaks or bad roads?

Does anyone have an example of when they needed to use a chain tool and the circumstances?
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Old 03-12-10, 04:47 AM   #2
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I carry the Park MTB-3 on all my bike rides. Surprisingly enough the only time I ever have needed it was on a day long ramble along a rails to trails. My wife was riding her GT Slipstream hybrid and a scrap of steel rod jammed the derailleur. I was able to shorten the chain enough to allow her to finish the ride back to the truck. I have done multiple tours and have never needed a chain tool, go figure. To me it is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

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Old 03-12-10, 05:47 AM   #3
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As always it is a judgment call as to what and how much to carry. I think a chain tool is way more likely to be needed than a spare tire for example and a fair number of folks carry those.

I carry one in my little seat wedge even around town and over the years have used in a number of times, though mostly on someone else's bike. I do keep meaning to find the lightest one that actually works though.
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Old 03-12-10, 05:53 AM   #4
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I needed a chain tool on my first self supported tour. My chain broke when I was powering up a hill and it appeared a small rock lodged in the jockey wheels of the derailleur. I carry a Topeak multi tool that has the chain tool in it, I carry it on all my rides now, cause better to have it and not need than to need it and not have it.
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Old 03-12-10, 06:41 AM   #5
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I carry one of the small change tools and spare links with me on tour because if the chain gets mangled, you really do have to walk or get a ride. With most other problems you can "Limp" into the next town, but with no chain, your out of luck.

If you getting ready for a long tour, I think it's worth putting on a new chain a couple weeks before leaving. Also I have been having good results from the stainless steel chains.

Last edited by gregw; 03-12-10 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 03-12-10, 07:24 AM   #6
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I carry one of the small change tools and spare links with me on tour because if the change gets mangled, you really do have to walk or get a ride. With most other problems you can "Limp" into the next town, but with no chain, your out of luck.

If you getting ready for a long tour, I think it's worth putting on a new chain a couple weeks before leaving. Also I have been having good results from the stainless steel chains.
This is my tactic as well - if the failure is going to keep you from riding (safely) then you bring the tool/part.
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Old 03-12-10, 07:51 AM   #7
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I think a chain tool is way more likely to be needed than a spare tire for example and a fair number of folks carry those.
I carry both on longer tours, though my incident rate shows the opposite conclusion since I'll ride the tires until I need to replace them. I've only had one true occasion where a chain snapped and I needed to use a chain tool.

I did have an occasion where my chain tool itself broke. This is described here: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p..._id=66527&v=8F

However the short synopsis is I was re-assembling my derailer and chain and got things goofed up when the pin on the chain tool broke. I (carefully) cycled 187km with a chain that was partly open and that I closed with needle-nosed pliers every so often.
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Old 03-12-10, 07:55 AM   #8
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I don't tour yet but plan to this year when I get a bike finished for it. I participate in many mountain bike races though and carry the serfas multi-tool with the chain-tool built in and it has come in handy a few times for other riders that were down. It works very well.
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Old 03-12-10, 08:45 AM   #9
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I used to carry one of these before it got stolen (along with my bike)
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Old 03-12-10, 08:51 AM   #10
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I carry theses:

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Old 03-12-10, 10:49 AM   #11
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any recommendation for the lightest chain tool?
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Old 03-12-10, 10:50 AM   #12
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Ive broken chains on three occasions. I will not ride further than i want to walk without a chain tool. I have a crank bros multi tool which has been great.

http://www.rei.com/product/768257?pr...:referralID=NA
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Old 03-12-10, 10:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by mattbicycle View Post
Does anyone have an example of when they needed to use a chain tool and the circumstances?
My chain broke on the first day of my Pacific Coast tour. I'd been riding the bike fully loaded for about 750 training miles before I left on tour. The chain was an often-recommended lower-end model from a company that is generally well-respected... at least in the Road Forum. The chain broke at the master link, which wouldn't have been so bad except that it twisted several of the surrounding links to the point where they couldn't be used.

I used my Park CT-5 chain tool to remove the twisted links, reconnected the chain with a spare master link, and was on my way 15 minutes later. Which was a good thing: despite being stopped on the side of a relatively busy road (Highway 1 near Santa Cruz) and passed by many cars and bicyclists, nobody stopped to see if I needed help.

Park CT-5 and a couple of spare links only weight a few grams total. Can't see any reason not to bring them along...
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Old 03-12-10, 11:05 AM   #14
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First, use a chain with a masterlink. Second, carry a spare masterlink. I like the Topeak Alien II. It'll tackle most roadside repairs pretty handily. I've broken a lot of stuff on bikes. Even snapped a Campy bottom bracket spindle once. Never broken a chain. I keep them clean and lubed, and I check regularly for stretch.
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Old 03-12-10, 11:20 AM   #15
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Does anyone have an example of when they needed to use a chain tool and the circumstances?
In my case, the chain stayed on the chain ring and got carried into the chain stay. The chain twisted and bent. The chain-tool allowed me to remove the bent link and continue riding. I used a multi-tool that include the chain tool. Chain breaks are rare but chain-tools are easy to carry and easy to fix.
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Old 03-12-10, 11:29 AM   #16
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I carry the Filzer mini chain / spoke tool in my travelling kit and when I put on a new chain take a few extra links and a master link and throw them in there as well.

I have only broken two chains in my entire riding life and both of those breaks happened during aggressive off road riding in rocky conditions... having the extra links was good as the chains got pretty mangled.

Besides the low probability of a chain breaking there is a higher probability of a deraileur being damaged and then a chain tool can make it possible to single speed your bike and still be able to limp to where service can be done.

This is another reason I prefer horizontal dropouts as vertical dropouts make this procedure more difficult.
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Old 03-12-10, 11:34 AM   #17
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It's certainly something that you won't find lying around by the side of the road.

I've never had a chain break in transit, but my topeak multi-tool has a chain tool on it... I've definitely used it at home to crack a chain to clean it. Ditto on the masterlink, if you can use it, it's a good call to have one, and carry a spare, but you can be in a spot where the link might need to be forced open anyhow even if you have a masterlink.

The weight of a multi-tool, versus the weight of a multi-tool with a chain breaker is a minimal difference. Better to have it and not need it and all that.
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Old 03-12-10, 11:58 AM   #18
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Funny...

Am sitting here at my favourite coffee shop and watching the messengers come and go (used to be one of them) and see one of the guys having bike troubles so I go out to see what's up.

Fragged a link on his bike and did not have his chain tool or a 1/8 master link... but I did.

Took a minute to fix and he gets to keep working.
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Old 03-12-10, 04:20 PM   #19
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I carry theses:

Ditto on the CT-5. I find it almost impossible to get enough leverage with the multitool chain breakers.

Depending on what/where I'm riding there's normally a spare powerlink and couple of links of chain with me.
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Old 03-13-10, 12:39 AM   #20
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I have a couple of different multi tools that have chain tools, topeak alien and crank brothers. I like the chain tool on the alien more. I have never had a chain break on my bikes during a tour but on my last group tour, I was riding behind someone and their chain broke and fell off the bike. I stopped and help fix his chain since he didn't have a chain tool. So it is handy to have one on the ride but since I have a campy 10 speed chain I ought to carry the campy tool and a spare rivet.
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Old 03-13-10, 11:04 AM   #21
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I was mountain biking with a friend once who broke his chain. A guy with a chain tool happened along. He removed the damaged section, reconnected things, and my friend was back on his way, riding out of the woods back to his car, though with fewer gears available. Based on that I carried a chain tool for several years on tour. I never used it and it was heavy, so I stopped carrying it.

Then I got a gift certificate and used it to buy a multitool that was lighter than my old one and included a chain tool. So now I've got one if I ever need it. I also use a chain with a masterlink and carry a spare masterlink.
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Old 03-13-10, 01:00 PM   #22
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I always ride with a crank brothers multitool with a chain tool on it. On my first tour I snapped a chain, riding on the road. I don't know how it happened but it did, so I always bring a chain tool. The ability to turn your bike into a single speed is another good point. The stand alone chain tools definitely work better, but since it is only for emergencies I stick with the multitool. On the one I have it also doubles as a spoke wrench.
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Old 03-13-10, 01:25 PM   #23
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I prefer one that is not a part of a multitool. The thing with the elaborate multitools is that they have stuff that you don't need for your particular bike. I carry a very basic multitool and separate ignition sized 8 and 10 mm wrenches. I carry a 1" stub of 8mm allen wrench and use the ignition wrench to turn it. I find that the weight is a bit less and the tools are more specifically suited to my particular bike.

I carry a old Rivoli chain tool. I suspect I should shop for a lighter model.
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Old 03-13-10, 01:29 PM   #24
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I know Park, Fizer and Avenir make these like 12 part multitools with chain tools. They are about 24-30 dollars depending. We sold them at Dicks last year so I am sure you can buy them anywhere alike.
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Old 03-13-10, 07:07 PM   #25
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Chain Tool

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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I prefer one that is not a part of a multitool. The thing with the elaborate multitools is that they have stuff that you don't need for your particular bike. I carry a very basic multitool and separate ignition sized 8 and 10 mm wrenches. I carry a 1" stub of 8mm allen wrench and use the ignition wrench to turn it. I find that the weight is a bit less and the tools are more specifically suited to my particular bike.

I carry a old Rivoli chain tool. I suspect I should shop for a lighter model.
My experience with multi tools is quite the same. Most of them had tools I didn't need and didn't include everything I did need. I went through all the fasteners on my bikes and made certain each had a tool kit that included a tool for all of them except possibly the crank bolt. I always carry the Park CT5 chain tool with my recumbent that I use for longer distances and touring. I did remove the handle from it to make it lighter and smaller and just use a 6mm or 8mm allen key to turn it which works well.

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