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Bike Tools – The Bike Chain Tool

By Jo 2 years agoNo Comments

Choose to know what to do with a chain tool…

Let’s gain some knowledge that will help when you are reaching for this particular bike tool under a little bit of time pressure and you need it to work the first time. All you want is for everything to go smoothly so you can get on your way, how hard could that be?

To ‘get ready’ you need to invest a little bit of time to understand your bike tools. Choose to know what to do then you can goRide with a SMILE.

What is a chain tool?

A chain tool allows you to remove and reinsert pins/rivets of the bike chain.

There are a variety of different chain tools on the market. Different sizes, made from different materials. Some are part of a multitool, others are a separate tool. goRide has chosen a separate chain tool for ease of use. A light small one that can used as part of your home kit and popped into your riding tool kit depending on the type of ride you are going on.  A reliable tool that can be used to remove the damaged link and then we ideally suggest using a spare link that you are carrying to repair your chain…unless you get caught out.

The bike chain components

Know the parts of the bike chain. Identify the pins/rivets. Learn more at – Know your bike chain.

Mini Chain Tool

Lightweight Bike Chain Tool with easy turning capability to push out the pins. goRides choice of chain tool.

Multitool with a chain tool

Chain tool can be part of a multi-tool.

Why do you use it? 

You will need to use your chain tool if  you have a broken or twisted chain. Use the tool to remove the damaged link or links. Then repair your broken or twisted chain by inserting  a spare link that you are carrying  (recommended by goRide) or if this is not possible use the chain tool to reconnect the chain.

Note : A chain tool is also necessary if you are replacing your chain.  You will need to use the tool to remove the old chain from your bike – by breaking it. This breaks it from being a continuous loop and you can remove the chain from the bike. You will then need to replace with your new chain.

How do you use it?  

Learn how to use your chain tool so you know you can always make it home. That has to make you SMILE. You will need to be able to identify the outer and inner plates on your chain as well as the pins/rivets. See photo above and know your bike chain for more information

#1. Completely remove the pin/rivet from the bike chain  – (To remove the damaged or twisted link/s or to break the chain to replace with a new bike chain)
  • Place the chain on the tool as shown. Align the pins. (Note without correct alignment the pin will be very challenging to remove)
  • Rotate the lever pushing the pin out (this can take a bit to get the pin going – so some force is needed)- continue until the pin is completely removed from the chain. The chain is now no longer a continuous loop.
  • If removing damaged or twisted links -Repeat on the next pin so you completely remove the damaged link or links.  (this will mean you have completely removed 2 pins). You need to end with 2 inner plates at both ends.

Repairing the chain with a spare link –  Your spare link is an outer plate and reconnects the 2 inner plates. See Bike Tools – A Spare Bike Chain Link  Bike RepairHow to fix a broken or twisted bike chain 

The major benefit of using the spare link is that this does not shorten the length of the chain so all gears can continue to be used for the ride home. The repair is also a lot easier as the pins can be completely removed from the chain.

Align the pins

Place the chain onto the tool and align the pin on the chain tool with the pin on your bike chain

Chain tool on bike chain

Continue to rotate the lever clockwise pushing the pin completely out of the chain. Rotate the lever anticlockwise then remove the tool from the chain.

2 inner links of bike chain

Repeat to remove the other pin of the damaged link. You should be left with 2 inner links.

#2.  Partially removing a pin or rivet (Remove the damage or twisted link and reconnect the chain using  an existing rivet)

This is your last resort option for repairing a chain. The above method is recommended but it is important to know how to repair your chain if you did not have access to a spare link.

  • Remove the damaged links using your chain tool. This time you need to be left with at one end of your chain an inner plate and at the other end an outer plate. The outer plate still needs to have its rivet/pin attached. You are going to reinsert this pin/rivet to reconnect the chain.
  • To do this – when removing the pin/rivet you are not going to push the pin/rivet completely out you want it to remain in the outer link. Be careful it may mean testing it a few times to see if the chain can come apart. You won’t be able to pull out the inner link until the pin is removed from the inner link and only in the outer link( You don’t want to accidentally push it all the way through)
  • Make sure the chain is traveling along its correct path on the bike. See know your bike chain for details. Then reconnect the chain by using your chain tool to reinsert the pin/rivet to a depth that matches the other pins.
  • Make the re-connection as easy as possible –  reconnect where you have easy access to the chain (along the top of the loop and make sure there is little tension in the chain -smallest sprocket/cog on the chain ring and rear cassette).

Because you have removed links of your chain and not replaced them then your chain will be shorter and you will need to avoid gears that are on the larger cogs at the rear and the larger chain rings at the front for the ride home. This is a temporary fix and your chain should be replaced with a new chain at home before your next ride.

Chain tool on bike chain

Place the chain onto the tool and align the pin on the chain tool with the pin on your bike chain

Outer and inner link with rivet still inserted

Remove the damaged link.  On the second pin only push out the pin until it still remains in the outer link. You should be left with an inner link and an outer link with the pin still inserted in the outer link

The z of teh bike chain goRide

Before re-connecting the chain make sure the bike chain is travelling along its correct path.

bike chain tool - reinsert an existing pin

Reconnect the chain and use the chain tool to re-insert the pin.

get Ready and goRide –  Bike Tools – The Chain Tool

Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.

Related Resources:

Bike Tool Terms

Bike Tools – A Spare Bike Chain Link

Bike Repair – How to fix a broken or twisted bike chain

Know your bike chain

goRide helps you find your riding SMILE.  Now it’s your turn….Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback will make us SMILE.

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