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Good Enough Him Chain Breaker/Tool

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Good Enough Him Chain Breaker/Tool

Old 07-16-19, 12:41 PM
  #1  
metalheart44
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Good Enough Him Chain Breaker/Tool

I prefer to take my bike to a shop for most maintenance issues, but for the 2-4 times a year I change chains on my bike, I have decided to change chains myself. I only uses Shimano 11 speed chains and I need a reliable easy to use chain breaker tool. I don't mind buying higher end tools if they make an appreciable difference but I also get easily frustrated by cheap tools that make a simple task frustrating.

A "good enough" chain breaker for my limited use should work, but being completely unfamiliar with these tools, I'm not sure what is "good enough." The easy but more costly choices are the Birzman Damselfly, Union Professional, Shimano CN28, or the Park CT 3.3, all of these being between $40-$50+. There are a bunch of chain tools in the $10-$20 range, but are these good enough to not be frustrating to use, but get the job done.

What would be your choice for a good enough easy and comfortable to use chain tool?
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Old 07-16-19, 02:02 PM
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Quicklink chain has been my choice of late. I do have an older Park chain breaker that was cheap and works just fine. CT-5. I've used it for years and years, but only on 8 spd. chains. I don't know if there are radical differences in the newer ones.
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Old 07-16-19, 02:40 PM
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Even with Quicklinks, you still need a chain tool to cut a new chain to the correct length.

Buy a good quality chain breaker. The cost isn't that much and it will be a lot easier to use, more durable and less likely to damage an expensive chain. I recommend the Park CT-3.3, or at a minimum, the Park CT-5 but the CT-3.3 is worth the cost difference.

There are indeed cheaper chain tools but I'm sure you've heard the cliches about cheap tools. They happen to be correct.
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Old 07-16-19, 02:48 PM
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Park, Ritchey... Get a good one; I've had a couple fail on me during use even though they seemed like good tools.
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Old 07-16-19, 05:47 PM
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I haven't had an issue with the chain breaker on my Topeak Hexus II multitool, which costs less than those fancy dedicated chain breakers. I only need to break some pins off a new chain once before reconnecting with a quick link, so it's not like I need to use it tons. Am I lucky or are problems with cheaper chain breakers overstated?
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Old 07-16-19, 05:56 PM
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I'm seeing the Park CT-5 for $13 to $20 on EBay. Other sources?

Anyway, it should be fine.

I've had some issues with the modern hardened/peened chains being tough to break, and wouldn't recommend going with anything cheaper. I have a multi-tool with chain tool that has a nice bend in it.
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Old 07-16-19, 06:07 PM
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I used the Park Tool CT-5 mini tool for years with my 10 speed chains. It's small enough to bring on epic rides, far from civilization. But it's a real struggle to push out a pin on 11 speed chains. I needed an adjustable wrench on the loop handle to get more leverage.

So I got a Park Tool CT-3.2. A very nice tool, with great leverage on longer handles, and a nice cast body. Recommended. I see it's on sale, is the CT-3.3 a replacement? The 3.2 works great.

Quick link
I've never used the special pin that comes with chains. I used Connex links on 10 speed chains. They are extremely easy to install and remove. They got very expensive on 11 speed (I think they are more affordable now?). So I've been using Sram Powerlinks, and I reuse them if I want to remove the chain for cleaning.
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Old 07-16-19, 09:01 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I ordered the Park CT 3.3 should be more than good enough for my needs.
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Old 07-16-19, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by metalheart44 View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. I ordered the Park CT 3.3 should be more than good enough for my needs.
You will not regret spending the money for a tool of that quality. I suggest that you also buy a couple of replacement pins to fit it. By the time you will need them they may no longer be available.
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Old 07-16-19, 09:29 PM
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Keep in mind some chain tools are for 10 speed only. Get a large shop tool with large leverage for home. On the road one on a multitool will do in a pinch.

I had the small Park tool, but it was tough to use on chains. Or I'm too weak... I now have the larger Park tool that works much better.
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Old 07-17-19, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
Keep in mind some chain tools are for 10 speed only. Get a large shop tool with large leverage for home. On the road one on a multitool will do in a pinch.

I had the small Park tool, but it was tough to use on chains. Or I'm too weak... I now have the larger Park tool that works much better.
Campagnolo 11 speed chains require an expensive chain tool to peen the end of the replacement pin. No thanks. I used the Park Tool to push out a pin to size the chain, then a Sram Powerlink to join it. Easy.

Shimano Ultegra 11 chains now come with a quick link, no special pin or tool needed.


Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
You will not regret spending the money for a tool of that quality. I suggest that you also buy a couple of replacement pins to fit it. By the time you will need them they may no longer be available.
Pins for the tool, not the chain itself. I didn't get a spare. I use the tool a few times a year for two bikes. The tool pin is screwed in, and is sturdy. I expect it to last for a long time. If I was servicing more bikes, I'd likely get a spare pin (but then would need to keep track of where I put it!).

Last edited by rm -rf; 07-17-19 at 05:52 AM.
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Old 07-17-19, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
You will not regret spending the money for a tool of that quality. I suggest that you also buy a couple of replacement pins to fit it. By the time you will need them they may no longer be available.
I'm curious to how long a pin lasts in home use. Per chain you need to use it at least once. More often if you sized the chain too large or reduce cog or chainring sizes. Assuming a chain lasting 1000 miles or longer, does a normal rider really wear out the pin? A shop yes, but a guy like me who just rides and takes care of some barely ridden family bikes? I would hope they build such tool sturdier...
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Old 07-18-19, 09:46 AM
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good chain breaker like the park is night and day. Also I have found getting a quick link tool has made my life better I got the park, but the shimano one looks really good...but expensive
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Old 07-18-19, 09:59 AM
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The CT-5 has been good enough for me. I managed to wear out a pin after ~10 years, and only had one 'incident' (involving an old, nasty Shimano chain - the kind with the stupid little pin rather than the quick link.)
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Old 07-18-19, 11:06 AM
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...and speaking of the CT-5, I'm seeing some ads saying they work with 5-10 speeds, others saying they work with up to 11 speeds, and others saying they work with up to 12 speeds. They all just have "CT-5" on them, no "CT-5A", or "CT-5 gen 2".
So what's the deal, are there different variations, or are they all the same, and all compatible with up to 12 speed chains?
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Old 07-18-19, 12:07 PM
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I have a Park CT3.3 but also carry a CT5 in my bike tool kit. They both work well.

Are you replacing your chains 2-4 times a year? If so, how many miles are you riding? I got over 3,000 miles from my last Shimano 11 speed chain.
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Old 07-19-19, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Campagnolo 11 speed chains require an expensive chain tool to peen the end of the replacement pin. No thanks. I used the Park Tool to push out a pin to size the chain, then a Sram Powerlink to join it. Easy.

Shimano Ultegra 11 chains now come with a quick link, no special pin or tool needed.

).
Not sure how Campagnolo came up in this discussion, but a Park Ct4.3 with campy peening tool goes for $20 more than the Ct3.3, so it's not crazy more expensive. Campy chains likewise ship with the special pin included and last the duration of the chain itself. It really only takes a few minutes to pin and peen once you know how it works. If you're into the remove-chain for cleaning thing (I'm not), then you could get a quicklink for that purpose I suppose, which cost about the same as the special pin, but may be (depending on the model) reusable.
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Old 07-19-19, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Brocephus View Post
...and speaking of the CT-5, I'm seeing some ads saying they work with 5-10 speeds, others saying they work with up to 11 speeds, and others saying they work with up to 12 speeds. They all just have "CT-5" on them, no "CT-5A", or "CT-5 gen 2".
So what's the deal, are there different variations, or are they all the same, and all compatible with up to 12 speed chains?
This question was answered in your other posting. Yes, it's the same tool. The 5-10-speed claim was made before 11 and 12-speed chains were available but the standard CT-5 works with 11 and 12-speed chains too.
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