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Field Expedient chain breaker

Old 12-24-19, 04:58 PM
  #1  
tommymc
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Field Expedient chain breaker

I travel with an S & S coupled bike in a soft case. It's neater to pack with the chain (10 speed) broken by the speed link and rolled up in a separate container. At home I have a purposeful set of pliers for the job but don't want to carry such on the trip. Is there any way to break the chain link without a tool that doesn't result in greasy hands at the airport or hotel?
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Old 12-24-19, 05:13 PM
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phughes
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Get a small breaker like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Park-Tool-CT-...229092&sr=8-18


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Old 12-24-19, 05:44 PM
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If the reason you don't want to bring your pliers for your chain is weight, buy smaller lightweight pliers. I bought a little set of pliers ( about the length of my thumb ) to break/assemble my chain on Amazon a couple of years ago - they work fine. Also bring some latex gloves to keep your hands clean.
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Old 12-24-19, 06:10 PM
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There's also these tire levers that turn into quick link pliers (google "KMC Missing Link Lever"). I have them and they work for opening the quick link, but they're not very good tire irons IMO.


Last edited by tyrion; 12-24-19 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 12-24-19, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by tommymc View Post
I travel with an S & S coupled bike in a soft case. It's neater to pack with the chain (10 speed) broken by the speed link and rolled up in a separate container. At home I have a purposeful set of pliers for the job but don't want to carry such on the trip. Is there any way to break the chain link without a tool that doesn't result in greasy hands at the airport or hotel?
First donít use oil based chain lube. That goes a long way to making the chain cleaner. Iíve used wax based lubricant...specifically White Lightning...throughout the US and never had any issues with it.

But for on the bike quick release pliers, check out Wolf Tooth Pack Pliers, it holds 2 extra links as well as having other features. There are also plastic versions of the pliers as well.
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Old 12-24-19, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by tommymc View Post
...break the chain link without a tool that doesn't result in greasy hands at the airport or hotel?
Carry a pair, or more, of nitrile disposable gloves. With patience you can break the link by hand, then toss the gloves.
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Old 12-24-19, 08:12 PM
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Some times when I go to the Dr or Dentist office, i ask if I could have a few pair of their disposable gloves for emergency bike repairs, they are always happy to say yes and give me several pair. I usually keep a pair with my spare tube in case i have a flat at an inopportune time, keeps my gloves and bar tape cleaner that way.

I usually have found that the eight speed KMC quick links that I use, once I have disconnected them a couple of times that they come apart easy enough with two hands, no tools needed.

I also remove the chain, put it in a quart sized freezer zip lock with the quick link when I pack up my bike in an S&S case.

Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
...
There's also these tire levers that turn into quick link pliers (google "KMC Missing Link Lever"). I have them and they work for opening the quick link, but they're not very good tire irons IMO.
...
I have never seen those or heard of them. Thanks for posting.
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Old 12-24-19, 08:39 PM
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I've tried a plastic tire lever mentioned above to remove a quick link and one promptly broke. It was a clone though, not the KMC brand. I've recently bought the wolf tooth, but haven't tried it yet.

I've had good luck with the metal handle from a binder clip as well.
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Old 12-25-19, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
. I've had good luck with the metal handle from a binder clip as well.
These binder clip "handles" do work well. Strong and light. But none of these ideas work well if there is crud in the wee slots that the quick link pins ride in, one in each link half. Best to have something like a tooth brush or eyelash brush to sweep out those two slots, and the center of the link so it's all clean. Then the link can be compressed and released. It takes very little crud to prevent the quick link pins from popping out of the 'keyholes' and releasing.
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Old 12-25-19, 02:06 PM
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Field expedient chain breaker

The file clip looks perfect. Thanks to all.
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Old 12-25-19, 02:35 PM
  #11  
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There are 2 types of links:
a) Non-latching: e.g. SRAM 8s & 9s,
b) Latching; e.g. SRAM 10s.

KMC produces both types, and I have found KMC 10s chains may be packed with either one, with no indication on the box which is included.
- A non-latching link can be removed by hand.
- You will never remove a latching type w/o some type of mechanical tool.
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Old 12-25-19, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
...
KMC produces both types, and I have found KMC 10s chains may be packed with either one, with no indication on the box which is included.
- A non-latching link can be removed by hand.
- You will never remove a latching type w/o some type of mechanical tool.
Thanks for the warning, I bought a 10 speed bike a year and a half ago, have not yet done any chain work on it so this was useful to know.
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Old 12-26-19, 12:11 PM
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Whatever method you choose, I suggest you try it at home on a chain on a bike that you have ridden some. Working with a new chain, or a worn chain, on a workbench, isn't very informative.

I've tried using my hands. I've tried using needlenose pliers. I've tried using cord. I've tried using baling wire. I've tried using the wire from a binder clip. I've tried all DIY methods I could discover that promised to open a quick link, hoping to find a method that was simple and reliable. None of them worked for me on 10 and 11 speed KMC master links. I have Park Tool master link pliers I use at home, and carry Wolf Tooth master link pliers in my on-bike took kit. They both work well. I'm still on the lookout for something better (smaller, lighter) for use on the side of the road, but haven't found it yet.
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Old 12-26-19, 12:34 PM
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Perhaps a Connex quick link (no tool required)
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