Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Fixing a broken chain without a chain tool?

Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Fixing a broken chain without a chain tool?

Old 10-03-13, 05:32 AM
  #1  
Dimitri001
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Fixing a broken chain without a chain tool?

Is it possible to remove a pin from a chain link without using a chain tool?

I need to replace two links, is there any hope that the chain will still fit if I just remove the remnants of the broken links and reconnect it that it will fit or should I not even bother?
Dimitri001 is offline  
Old 10-03-13, 06:08 AM
  #2  
cny-bikeman 
Mechanic/Tourist
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Syracuse, NY
Posts: 7,510

Bikes: 2008 Novara Randonee - love it. Previous bikes:Motobecane Mirage, 1972 Moto Grand Jubilee (my fave), Jackson Rake 16, 1983 C'dale ST500.

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 477 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Is it possible? Yes - all a chain tool does is push the pin out, and obviously a small flat punch can do the same thing. How you proceed depends on the chain, so we need to know what your bike is - number of gears and year, and if the chain is original. Of course you could also have a bike shop do the one minute job - if you have a more recent bike of 7 speeds or more you must use a repair link or pin for a reliable repair, which will necessitate a trip to buy one anyway. If you anticipate having bikes for some time then purchasing a chain tool may be wise.
__________________
There's no such thing as a routine repair.

Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

Please respect others by taking the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 10-03-13 at 02:12 PM.
cny-bikeman is offline  
Old 10-03-13, 07:52 AM
  #3  
s0ul_chicken
Live to Ride!
 
s0ul_chicken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 264

Bikes: Airborne Goblin - Airborne Griffin - Airborne Black Plague

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
A chain tool should be part of your kit, and always along for any ride. They aren't that expensive!
s0ul_chicken is offline  
Old 10-03-13, 07:57 AM
  #4  
HillRider 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 31,491

Bikes: '''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1141 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 20 Times in 19 Posts
Don't bother. Yes, it is "possible" but very unlikely to be satisfactory so either get a suitable chain tool or have a shop do the repair. A broken chain along the road or trail is a certain show stopper unless you have the proper tool to fix it. If your chain is for a 7-speed or newer drivetrain, you should not reuse a standard pin so you need the correct repair pin or a master link to reconnect the chain properly.
HillRider is offline  
Old 10-03-13, 09:18 AM
  #5  
Looigi
Senior Member
 
Looigi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 8,951
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
...A broken chain along the road or trail is a certain show stopper ....
And offers significant potential for crashing or injury.
Looigi is offline  
Old 10-03-13, 09:32 AM
  #6  
dabac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 7,947
Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 813 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
Is it possible? Yes - all a chain tool does is push the pin out, ...
Indeed. You're not a seasoned rider/tinkerer until you've patched together a chain somewhere along the road/trail using a rusty nail and a stone as a hammer. Extra merits for doing this while surrounded by a cloud of mosquitoes/flies. Double extra merits for doing it while surrounded by a cloud of mosquitoes/flies and bleeding slightly from an injury caused by the chain breaking in the first place.
Doing it in sleet/snow would earn you triple extra merits, but finding that critical rusty nail is so much harder in those conditions.
dabac is offline  
Old 10-03-13, 11:54 AM
  #7  
StarDust4Ever
Member
 
StarDust4Ever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Shreveport, LA
Posts: 29

Bikes: 2005 Felt SR-81 (strait handled road bike), 2008 Kona Fire Mountain 26er HT (planning to upgrade to a 29er), Electra Swing Tandem 3i (cruiser built for 2), 2013 Trek Shift 2 WSD (comfort solo for my fiance)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It will be cheaper to just buy a chain link removal tool than to have a mechanic fix it.
Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
And offers significant potential for crashing or injury.
Assuming your trail ride likely has a free wheel and hand brakes, if you lose the chain completely you can just stop the bike and hop off. If you're riding on a fixie or coaster break, that's another story entirely. I've never had a chain break, but I've had a lot of chain derails over the years, especially while riding on a rough and bumpy trail. Occasionally I've even been able to use the shifters to move the chain back onto the gears without dismounting my bike. Unless the rear derailleur somehow gets mangled into the rear wheel spokes and locks the rear wheel simultaneously destroying both the wheel and derailleur, then that is another issue entirely. My original rigid steel Ralieh 18-speed mountain bike failed in this fashion. The frame also had a bad dent in it behind the headtube from an unrelated crash, so we determined it wasn't worth fixing. It's currently resting in that big bicycle graveyard in the sky, or more likely either buried in a landfill somewhere or sold for scrap. Honestly I have no idea since I just left it on the curb.

Last edited by StarDust4Ever; 10-03-13 at 12:01 PM.
StarDust4Ever is offline  
Old 10-03-13, 02:04 PM
  #8  
ak08820
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 566

Bikes: MGX MTB, Fuji Supreme, Miyata 90 and a Trek 700 in the works

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I never saw a chain tool in India where I grew up and used a bike for commuting everywhere in the city. The standard method of fixing chains there, used by roadside bike mechanics, involved an old cone from a wheel, a hammer and a punch. The bike was laid on its side and the chain carefully centered on the hole in the cone which was placed on a block of wood to provide firm support. The pin was then driven by hammering the punch.

There were far too many incidences of broken chains, too.

I was amazed when I saw a chain tool video on youtube and a chain tool for about $5 at Walmart.
I would not use a hammer, cone and punch.
ak08820 is offline  
Old 10-03-13, 03:13 PM
  #9  
HillRider 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 31,491

Bikes: '''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1141 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 20 Times in 19 Posts
Originally Posted by StarDust4Ever View Post
Assuming your trail ride likely has a free wheel and hand brakes, if you lose the chain completely you can just stop the bike and hop off.
A chain that breaks during a ride can be a lot more than just a ride ender even with good hand brakes. If you are pedaling hard, particularly while standing (which is when the chain is most likely to break), a broken chain can cause a serious crash.

I never saw a chain tool in India where I grew up and used a bike for commuting everywhere in the city. The standard method of fixing chains there, used by roadside bike mechanics, involved an old cone from a wheel, a hammer and a punch. The bike was laid on its side and the chain carefully centered on the hole in the cone which was placed on a block of wood to provide firm support. The pin was then driven by hammering the punch.
It's safe to assume those chains were older type chains with thick sideplates and longer pins, not the super narrow, flush pin designs that are used on 7+ speed bikes.

There were far too many incidences of broken chains, too.
So, even with simple, rugged chains that technique wasn't reliable.
HillRider is offline  
Old 10-03-13, 04:17 PM
  #10  
kmcrawford111
50/50 Road/eBike Commuter
 
kmcrawford111's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Valparaiso, IN
Posts: 780

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Fatboy, Sirrus; Brompton S2L, Nashbar Campus, Taga 2.0 Trike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I used a method similar to that in post #8 to drive a pin out - once. It involved laying the bike on its side, putting a small-diamter pipe underneath the chain with the pipe sitting flush on the floor, and holding all of that together while a second person drove the pin out with a hammer and pin punch. It's possible, but a chain tool is worthwhile even if you barely use it. My mentality is to periodically check for chain stretch and replace the chain at 1% stretch. I don't carry a chain tool while riding (road riding), but I would for mountain biking, where it seems to me broken chains are more likely.
kmcrawford111 is offline  
Old 10-03-13, 07:53 PM
  #11  
dsbrantjr
Senior Member
 
dsbrantjr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Roswell, GA
Posts: 6,230

Bikes: '93 Trek 750, '92 Schwinn Crisscross, '93 Mongoose Alta

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 651 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 46 Times in 42 Posts
"is there any hope that the chain will still fit if I just remove the remnants of the broken links and reconnect it".

I haven't seen anyone point out yet that if the OP removes two links from his/her chain and somehow reconnects the remaining chain that the result will likely be a chain which is too short. On a derailleur-equipped bike this could result in significant damage if the now too-short chain is shifted into a gear combination which requires a longer one. On a single-speed or fixed-gear bike the chain might prevent the rear wheel from being properly replaced.
dsbrantjr is offline  
Old 10-04-13, 12:54 AM
  #12  
kmcrawford111
50/50 Road/eBike Commuter
 
kmcrawford111's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Valparaiso, IN
Posts: 780

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Fatboy, Sirrus; Brompton S2L, Nashbar Campus, Taga 2.0 Trike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It would be helpful to know the circumstances of the breakage. In any case, if the chain has more than 1% stretch I would replace it.
kmcrawford111 is offline  
Old 10-04-13, 11:10 AM
  #13  
digibud
Senior Member
 
digibud's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Further North than U
Posts: 1,993

Bikes: Spec Roubaix, three Fisher Montare, two Pugs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
With older 8 speed chains you might have gotten away with some hack but in practical terms I think the answer is No if you have a typical modern 10speed cassette. If you have an older 8 or maybe even 9 speed cassette you might be able to pull it off but the aggrevation and hassle would not be worth it unless you want to do it just for the challenge.
digibud is offline  
Old 10-04-13, 01:29 PM
  #14  
pdxtex
Portland, OR, USA
 
pdxtex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: portland
Posts: 1,626

Bikes: kona paddywagon, trek 2.1, lemond nevada city, gt zrx

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ak08820 View Post
I never saw a chain tool in India where I grew up and used a bike for commuting everywhere in the city. The standard method of fixing chains there, used by roadside bike mechanics, involved an old cone from a wheel, a hammer and a punch. The bike was laid on its side and the chain carefully centered on the hole in the cone which was placed on a block of wood to provide firm support. The pin was then driven by hammering the punch.

There were far too many incidences of broken chains, too.

I was amazed when I saw a chain tool video on youtube and a chain tool for about $5 at Walmart.
I would not use a hammer, cone and punch.
have you seen the video of the indian road side dentist?!! and yeah OP, just get a new chain. im sure if you put the chain in a vice and tried to hammer out a pin with a nail you could, but the margin or error sounds extremely high. carry on.
pdxtex is offline  
Old 10-04-13, 02:04 PM
  #15  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,928

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6833 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 214 Times in 178 Posts
From a friend who brought a weight weenie chain tool with them, which Broke .. on a tour..
Argentina .. on the foothills of the Andes .. Nail and a rock to bang on the nail.

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-04-13 at 02:08 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 10-07-13, 10:00 PM
  #16  
StarDust4Ever
Member
 
StarDust4Ever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Shreveport, LA
Posts: 29

Bikes: 2005 Felt SR-81 (strait handled road bike), 2008 Kona Fire Mountain 26er HT (planning to upgrade to a 29er), Electra Swing Tandem 3i (cruiser built for 2), 2013 Trek Shift 2 WSD (comfort solo for my fiance)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
From a friend who brought a weight weenie chain tool with them, which Broke .. on a tour..
Argentina .. on the foothills of the Andes .. Nail and a rock to bang on the nail.
That's the way Chuck Norris does it, 'cept he uses his fist for the rock and his thumb for the nail!
StarDust4Ever is offline  
Old 10-08-13, 04:59 AM
  #17  
ak08820
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 566

Bikes: MGX MTB, Fuji Supreme, Miyata 90 and a Trek 700 in the works

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
From a friend who brought a weight weenie chain tool with them, which Broke .. on a tour..
Argentina .. on the foothills of the Andes .. Nail and a rock to bang on the nail.
I had a bike tool with a built in chain tool in it. Broke the first time I tried to use it. It was some cheap porous alloy.
ak08820 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Gary Fountain
Classic & Vintage
16
07-02-11 09:44 PM
iforgotmename
Touring
1
02-13-11 01:49 PM
mzeffex
"The 33"-Road Bike Racing
0
01-13-10 08:15 PM
Pamestique
United Kingdom
1
08-07-08 04:28 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.