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shortening chain without a breaker

Old 08-27-22, 08:51 PM
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mschwett 
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shortening chain without a breaker

my dumb-ass didn't realize that the 12 speed (shimano) chains on my newest bike don't fit in the chain breaker tool i have.

the interwebs says a hammer and nail will do it over a hole, but all i have to show for that is a lot of bent nails. no sign of movement. is my AM ride a lost cause or does anyone have a suggestion for hammering out a pin without a chain breaker? of course tomorrow is sunday so nothing will be open until 10/11am!

CN-M8100 chain.
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Old 08-27-22, 09:00 PM
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A hammer and nail? No way, no how, would I ever mangle a chain like that.

This is why you need multiple bikes. Mess one up, just ride another one.
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Old 08-27-22, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett View Post
my dumb-ass didn't realize that the 12 speed (shimano) chains on my newest bike don't fit in the chain breaker tool i have.

the interwebs says a hammer and nail will do it over a hole, but all i have to show for that is a lot of bent nails. no sign of movement. is my AM ride a lost cause or does anyone have a suggestion for hammering out a pin without a chain breaker? of course tomorrow is sunday so nothing will be open until 10/11am!

CN-M8100 chain.
Hammer and nail, 12 spd chain, you're kidding, right?
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Old 08-27-22, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by HelpSingularity View Post
Hammer and nail, 12 spd chain, you're kidding, right?
serves me right for googling!
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Old 08-27-22, 10:48 PM
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If your bike is that new how is it that you need to change the chain so soon?
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Old 08-27-22, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
If your bike is that new how is it that you need to change the chain so soon?
it has about 3,000 miles on it. gets filthy/sandy/dusty/grimy after almost every ride so i figured iíd try drip wax. picked up a new chain and the plan was to remove the old one, thoroughly clean the drivetrain, clean the sticky factory grease off the new chain, install, drip wax, let set overnight, ride.

did all the cleaning, went to pop a bunch of links off the new chain and realized i couldnít. whatever kinds of chain you can hammer a pin out of, this wasnít one of them. fished the old chain out of the trash, scrubbed it, soaked it, scrubbed some more and put it back on. lame.
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Old 08-27-22, 11:17 PM
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Time to order a new chain breaker!!

What did you have behind the chain when you were trying to hammer the pin out? What tools do you have?

You could try to grind down the outer plate on the side you're working on slightly before pounding out the pin. Make sure you have a hole, or nut, or something behind the chain when attempting to pound out the pin.

Any chance you would have a finish nail set punch? Any other punch?

Screws may be tougher metal than nails. I suppose if one is desperate, one might try grinding a punch out of a small screw driver.
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Old 08-27-22, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Time to order a new chain breaker!!

What did you have behind the chain when you were trying to hammer the pin out? What tools do you have?

You could try to grind down the outer plate on the side you're working on slightly before pounding out the pin. Make sure you have a hole, or nut, or something behind the chain when attempting to pound out the pin.

Any chance you would have a finish nail set punch? Any other punch?

Screws may be tougher metal than nails. I suppose if one is desperate, one might try grinding a punch out of a small screw driver.
yep. new breaker en route.

i put the link to be popped through top of a socket, with two wood boards of matching height to the sides. tried a nail, then a short screw, then a nail set. the result of the latter was bent chain plates with zero apparent movement of the pin!

i might have been able to grind the plate one one side of the pin enough to get it into the chain breaker, but obviously iíd only want to do that on the side being removed.
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Old 08-28-22, 02:20 AM
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Iím surprised the nail set didnít work, and Iím assuming you had it on a fairly small socket so that you werenít just flexing the chain. Sounds like you need a bigger hammer.
Grinding the head a bit then hammering might work, but how much grinder dust do you want to get on the new chain?

Edit: If youíre bending the side plates then you have the chain over too large a hole.

Sounds like itís time to put the old chain back on until the new tool arrives.
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Old 08-28-22, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
A hammer and nail? No way, no how, would I ever mangle a chain like that.

This is why you need multiple bikes. Mess one up, just ride another one.
To try this is one thing but to then admit to it on the interwebs?
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Old 08-28-22, 09:49 AM
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To this day I still use a hammer and a cold punch. However you have to position the pin over a hole in something to be driven into. You can use a steel nut if the hole is just big enough for the pin.
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Old 08-28-22, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
To try this is one thing but to then admit to it on the interwebs?
i thought this was a safe space! iím kidding, i know itís not. itís BF

and yesÖ old chain is back on. hole in the socket was probably too big, leading to the plates flexing which might also bind the pin at the top. as for a bigger hammer Ö.. IDK, i pounded the carp out of the thing, enough to significantly bend the plate.

i watched a few videos of people doing this and by comparison the others just popped out.
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Old 08-28-22, 11:22 AM
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Keep an eye on that link. (Can you now find it?) I would consider it compromised and likely to break in a hard standing climb or the like. The strength of chains comes from the exact fit of a cylinder inside an exact fitting hole of a parallel plate. That bent plate is no longer parallel. Broken chains can lead to: slamming your knee very hard against your handlebar, slipping off the pedal and goosing yourself. Crashing quite likely in those scenarios. (I typed "broken chins". Could lead to that too.)
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Old 08-28-22, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Keep an eye on that link. (Can you now find it?) I would consider it compromised and likely to break in a hard standing climb or the like. The strength of chains comes from the exact fit of a cylinder inside an exact fitting hole of a parallel plate. That bent plate is no longer parallel. Broken chains can lead to: slamming your knee very hard against your handlebar, slipping off the pedal and goosing yourself. Crashing quite likely in those scenarios. (I typed "broken chins". Could lead to that too.)
it doesnít flex anywhere near smoothly anymore at that link. if i use that poor chain itíll have to be 2 links shorter.
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Old 08-28-22, 12:06 PM
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You could buy another chain that you'll need in a few years anyway and just size it, then use the links leftover from that to replace the buggered up links on your current chain. Or just use a few links out of the old chain.
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Old 08-28-22, 12:12 PM
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Best way to break a chain without a chain breaker is to pay a shop to do it with their chain breaker.

Also, as someone who hasn't bought a new chain breaker since the 8 speed era yet has no trouble with 9, 10, or 11 speed chains, why won't it work for 12 speed?
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Old 08-28-22, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
Best way to break a chain without a chain breaker is to pay a shop to do it with their chain breaker.

Also, as someone who hasn't bought a new chain breaker since the 8 speed era yet has no trouble with 9, 10, or 11 speed chains, why won't it work for 12 speed?
a bit difficult at 10pm on a Saturday night!

the 12 speed links physically donít fit in the breaker. You can partially jam them in at an angle but obviously the screw wonít push the pin out at an angle. Apparently the plates are just slightly larger...
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Old 08-28-22, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett View Post
a bit difficult at 10pm on a Saturday night!

the 12 speed links physically donít fit in the breaker. You can partially jam them in at an angle but obviously the screw wonít push the pin out at an angle. Apparently the plates are just slightly larger...
I can't for the life of me figure out why your chain 'won't fit in the chain breaker'. Makes no sense, the inner dimensions are the same and the pitch is the same, the plates are actually thinner.
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Old 08-28-22, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
I can't for the life of me figure out why your chain 'won't fit in the chain breaker'. Makes no sense, the inner dimensions are the same and the pitch is the same, the plates are actually thinner.
the chain tool is actually advertised as working up to and including 12 speed. i do note that many are listed as only working up to 11 speed, but i dunno (obviously) which aspect is limiting that. this is the chain tool:



the plates do not fit between the curved metal surround which keeps the chain in place and centered on the pin. it's the dimension below, not the pitch (obv the same) or the width (which wouldn't matter at all.)



for what it's worth, the only other chains i've ever used it on, with zero issues, are SRAM 11 speed chains.
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Old 08-28-22, 10:24 PM
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Looks like you, unfortunately, as you have already found, have a 12 sp design chain tool that won't take the Shimano "DYNAMIC CHAIN ENGAGEMENT+" (cough, cough) design with the larger side plates. Buying a chain tool is complicated these days but I think most all 12sp compatible tools without the enclosed link style setup will work, or you could grind off the upper lip of the chain tool you have.

Last edited by Crankycrank; 08-28-22 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 08-28-22, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
Looks like you, unfortunately, as you have already found, have a 12 sp design chain tool that won't take the Shimano "DYNAMIC CHAIN ENGAGEMENT+" (cough, cough) design with the larger side plates. Buying a chain tool is complicated these days but I think most all 12sp compatible tools without the enclosed link style setup will work, or you could grind off the upper lip of the chain tool you have.
Is this a Shimano design or is this a trend for all 12-speed chains?

I'm still dabbling with 10 speed systems, so now I have something to look forward to.
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Old 08-28-22, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by MudPie View Post
Is this a Shimano design or is this a trend for all 12-speed chains?

I'm still dabbling with 10 speed systems, so now I have something to look forward to.
Ha ha, don't know if it's just Shimano as I just discovered this now. Maybe will be obsolete in a year or two or maybe all chains will use this design in the future. I'm still waiting for my 10sp to wear out.
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Old 08-29-22, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
Ha ha, don't know if it's just Shimano as I just discovered this now. Maybe will be obsolete in a year or two or maybe all chains will use this design in the future. I'm still waiting for my 10sp to wear out.
the 12 speed shimano chains have been around for 3 years or so - considering that they didn't change them at all for 12 speed dura ace, they're probably here to stay for a while. a very annoying little misadventure but i can't think of too many other situations where the exact size of the plates in that dimension would matter.
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Old 08-29-22, 10:39 PM
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When I was a kid, we used to break chains with a hammer, nail set (punch, whatever you call it) and a large nut (as in one that threads to a bolt). Place pin over nut and knock it rhrough with the hammer and nail set. Maybe I used nails back then, but in my mind it was a nail set with an end that was just a tad smaller in diamerter than the pin.

Now, since I've had a chain tool since about 1970, I have absolutely no idea if it would work with a modern chain. And when i got the 12 speed bikes components, I bought a new chain tool at the same time. It's not only suitable for 12 speed chains, it works on all the chains and is actually easier to use than the inexpensive tools I've been using for many years, mainly because it's got larger handles.

Someone above asked if it was only Shimano. Our bikes are Sram AXS and IIRC, I read early in the process of putting them together that they needed a tool suitable for 12 speed, so I don't believe it's only Shimano. I might have even eyeballed my old chain tools with the 12 speed chain and could tell it wouldn't work correctly.
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Old 08-30-22, 09:12 AM
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I have one of THESE ("Cyclo Rivoli") that I bought over 50 years ago. It works on all my bikes (9-speed maximum), but I see there's a newer version that may work with narrower chains.
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