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Chain Breaker

Old 10-23-15, 04:39 PM
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Chain Breaker

I'm looking to replace the chain on my Trek FX 7.1 w/ an SRAM 850 because I have been neglecting maintenance and it is way overdue.

Is there any reason why this Topeak 2011 Chain Tool won't work?
https://www.amazon.com/Topeak-2011-Up...+chain+breaker

Am I better off getting the Park Tool Mini Chain Brute?

Any other tools I will need to replace my chain?
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Old 10-23-15, 04:57 PM
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I like the Chain Brute, I have one in each bike's seat bag. I also use SRAM chains with the quick link but keep the tool (and spare links) with me in case a link gets damaged. No reason the Topeak tool shouldn't work OK as well. Lightly oil or grease the screw threads for ease of use.

Don't be surprised if the new chain skips on the old cassette, which may need to be replaced also if the chain is badly worn. But try the new chain first.
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Old 10-23-15, 05:01 PM
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Does the chain brute have enough leverage? I was reading Amazon reviews and people were recommending to still get a shop-sized chain breaker, but if it's not too hard, I'll just get the Chain Brute. 3 dollars is nothing.
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Old 10-23-15, 05:10 PM
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I recommend getting larger, heavier duty chain breaker (I use a Park Tool CT3.2, now). Modern chains have pins that have the ends peened or mushroomed as part of the manufacturing process to help keep them in place, since they no-longer stick way out from the sideplates.

Small, weak, inexpensive mini chain breakers are not storng enough or rigid enough to work regularly on modern chains, and the small, short handles have a tendency to bend or break as the frames tweek.

I traded up again last year from a Park Tool CT-5 mini chain brute (about $15) to a Park Tool shop size CT3.2 (about $35) when I started buying KMC chains, and I tweeked the frame and handle of my CT-5 shortening a KMC Z-51 chain. Shimano has a tool about the same size and price of the CT-3.2 and I expect it would work just about as well.

You might also want the Park Tool chain pliers (or other equivalent) used for lock and unlocking the reusable links that come with virtually every new chain (except for Shimano chains). Not really necessary for locking links onto a chain, but makes unlocking to remove a chain much easier. The Park Tool 1.2 pliers (about $17) can be used for locking and locking. KMC sells separate tools for locking and unlocking and they sell for $12-$15 each)/
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Old 10-23-15, 05:18 PM
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Hmm. I don't reallly ride my bike that much. I only commute like at best 6 miles a day so I'm hesitant about spending 35 bucks on a tool I'll use once every 2 years. So based on what you're saying, if I'm gonna be spending less than 15 bucks, I am better off going with the Topeak since it seems to be more robust than the portable Park Tool CT-5?

I'll get the chain pliers though since I plan on just removing the chain to clean it.
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Old 10-23-15, 05:21 PM
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Even a Wal-mart chain breaker will work fine. As noted above, make sure to lubricate the thread before using.

A production shop tool would not even have threads, it would be a fixture in a hand press. Labor is a lot of $$$$.
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Old 10-23-15, 05:54 PM
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Awesome, thanks! I'll get the Topeak one then.

edit: ack oos. Getting the mini brute then!
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Old 10-24-15, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr
I like the Chain Brute, I have one in each bike's seat bag. I also use SRAM chains with the quick link but keep the tool (and spare links) with me in case a link gets damaged. No reason the Topeak tool shouldn't work OK as well. Lightly oil or grease the screw threads for ease of use.

Don't be surprised if the new chain skips on the old cassette, which may need to be replaced also if the chain is badly worn. But try the new chain first.
Actually that bike uses a freewheel instead of a cassette. If the chain is already skipping I would go ahead and plan on replacing both and get a measuring tool to catch the chain wear sooner next time.
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Old 10-24-15, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by spdracr39
...get a measuring tool to catch the chain wear sooner next time.
Best is a decent rule; chain checkers are notoriously misleading. Just measure 12 links and replace the chain when they measure 12 1/16"; if you let it go to 12 1/8" you will likely need to replace the cassette/freewheel as well.
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Old 10-24-15, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr
I like the Chain Brute, I have one in each bike's seat bag. I also use SRAM chains with the quick link but keep the tool (and spare links) with me in case a link gets damaged. No reason the Topeak tool shouldn't work OK as well. Lightly oil or grease the screw threads for ease of use.

Don't be surprised if the new chain skips on the old cassette, which may need to be replaced also if the chain is badly worn. But try the new chain first.
Many people say they carry a chain breaker with them on the road. Is this from an abundance of caution, or do well-maintained chains sometimes break in normal use? With modern chains, wouldn't a full kit also need a master link and the tools for opening and closing it? I've installed and removed "Missing Links" without special tools, but at home.

Last edited by habilis; 10-24-15 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 10-24-15, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by habilis
Many people say they carry a chain breaker with them on the road. Is this from an abundance of caution, or do well-maintained chains sometimes break in normal use? With modern chains, wouldn't a full kit also need a master link and the tools for opening and closing it? I've installed and removed "Missing Links" without special tools, but at home.
And many people don't know how to, or will, shift with little pedaling pressure. Off road riding has moments where this good technique can be hard to accomplish. Tandems too. So the need to carry a chain breaker is somewhat rider dependent as well as where they're riding. I carry one on my MtBike, tandem and touring bike (when actually touring). Andy.
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Old 10-24-15, 07:43 AM
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Most bike multi tools have a chain breaker. It is a good idea to carry one in case of emergency along with a quick link. That way you can ride home and not have to walk.
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Old 10-24-15, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by habilis
With modern chains, wouldn't a full kit also need a master link and the tools for opening and closing it? I've installed and removed "Missing Links" without special tools, but at home.
Yes. I ride frequently with beginners and carry three or four removable links to cover various widths of 7, 8, and 9 speed chains. I really should add a 10 speed link to that mix. No tools needed to install. Just the links themselves

Almost every time I have had to use a breaker on the trail, I have also needed to install a removable link.
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Old 10-24-15, 07:59 AM
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I have had a couple of cheap chain tools and find the pin in them that pushes on the pin in the chain links are cheap and seem to detach easily. I have a high quality Park Tool chain tool now and it is so much easier to work with. Like going from a Model T to GT500.
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Old 10-24-15, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by habilis
Many people say they carry a chain breaker with them on the road. Is this from an abundance of caution, or do well-maintained chains sometimes break in normal use? With modern chains, wouldn't a full kit also need a master link and the tools for opening and closing it? I've installed and removed "Missing Links" without special tools, but at home.
I have had one occasion where I had a chain link get bent due to catching a stick; I removed the bent link and replaced it with a spare master link. I have also assisted a couple of other riders. A small chain tool and a couple of master links weigh under an ounce and I consider them to be cheap insurance. I leave the master link pliers at home, I've never needed to open a link on the road/trail.
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Old 10-24-15, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent
Most bike multi tools have a chain breaker. It is a good idea to carry one in case of emergency along with a quick link. That way you can ride home and not have to walk.
I carry just the ball-end hex L-wrenches (extracted from an inexpensive Harbor Freight set) needed on that particular bike, plus my chain tool and a couple of master links, wrapped in a rag which keeps them quiet plus you can wipe your hands with it. The combination weighs less and performs better than a multi-tool. Try installing a bottle cage with a multi-tool vs a ball-end L-wrench and you will readily see the difference.
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Old 10-24-15, 09:42 AM
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Any More you Only Shorten the current derailleur chains, You Never press the pin back In.

Quick links close the Loop.

As you say, Neglected maintenance, You probably need to buy a new cassette Too ..
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Old 10-24-15, 10:17 AM
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I looked at the free wheel, and it doesn't look too bad? I've only owned the bike for 2 years, and there can't be more than 3000 miles on the bike.

My chain is at like 12-1/8" or 1/16", but I was measuring with a tape measure and quickly. Do I need more special tools for the free wheel?

Last edited by SlvrDragon50; 10-24-15 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 10-24-15, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by SlvrDragon50
I looked at the free wheel, and it doesn't look too bad? I've only owned the bike for 2 years, and there can't be more than 3000 miles on the bike.

My chain is at like 12-1/8" or 1/16", but I was measuring with a tape measure and quickly. Do I need more special tools for the free wheel?
If 12 1/16" is correct you are likely OK. Try replacing the chain first, if it runs OK you are done for now. If you need to remove the freewheel a specific tool is required. A local shop will likely remove it for you for a nominal charge. No tool required for installation, just spin it on and pedaling force does the rest.
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Old 10-24-15, 11:20 AM
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I wasn't thinking about it, but I unfortunately lost my Pit Lock key so I can't remove my rear wheel right now. So what are the symptoms of a mismatched chain and freewheel? The chain will be like skipping every so often?
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