Broken chain and broken chain tools

The other day I was riding up Brill hill, with a nice tailwind at my back. At the steepest point of the hill, I stamped on the pedals and promptly broke the chain. Fortunately, because I was going quite slowly I stayed upright and didn’t fall on the ground.

broken chain

I would like to think it was due to an extraordinary transfer of power, but it was nothing that should have broken a chain. It is the third Dura Ace chain I have broken in as many years. It is possible, I am not fixing them correctly. But I don’t think so. There was a bad change of gears just before, and then the increase in power snapped through.

I always carry a chain splitter with me. Usually as part of a multitool. I got a new multitool for Christmas and this was the first time I’d taken it out on a ride. The problem was the multitool didn’t work at all. It couldn’t move the pin in the chain even an iota. Despite standing on the multi-tool to try and get more leverage, nothing worked. I gave it up as a bad job and called a taxi. £45 for a taxi from Oakley to Oxford was an expensive bike ride. I think it’s the first time I’ve called a taxi whilst cycling, I can’t remember a previous occasion. At £45 a pop, I hope it’s another 20 years to the next one. The one crumb of comfort is that I had a tailwind on the way out from Oxford – I didn’t have to ride back into headwind but that is really clutching at straws to try and look on the bright side.

Waiting for tax by Oakley Church

You could take a broken chain as a metaphor for my season which is struggling to get out of second or third gear. I have lingering aches and pains which come and go. Ironically, it got worse after three days holiday in Germany doing no cycling at all. But, I’m still riding through and hoping for the best. Yesterday I went back to Brill Hill and went surprisingly quick up the hill. So there is hope.

Hopefully, next time I blog I will have something more illumining to talk about than a broken chain, a useless multi-tool and tales of expensive taxis.

Notes on Chain splitters

I used this VC MultiTool from Amazon. It came with good reviews but you don’t think to test chain splitter until you need it.

I’m a big fan of this Park Chain splitter. It does the job very well. I recommend getting good chain tool for home use, it is money well spent.

7 thoughts on “Broken chain and broken chain tools”

  1. I blew a sidewall deep in Kent the other day and had an ignominious tramp in my socks (trying to save cleats) to the nearest station, followed by a long old wait for a Southern train. After, that morning, deciding that my suspect tyre would be fine for the day.

    Personal favourite chain tool would be the Park CT5 Compact. Easily the best action, lightest and most dependable breaker I have used.

  2. I hope that you already owned the Park Chain splitter and don’t have to add it to the taxi ride expense. It’s difficult to know how much to spend on tools unless you are rich enough to buy the best of everything! I’d rather spend money on the bike and kit. When I bought my first road bike I continued to carry the mini pump that I’d used with my hybrid. It was two years before I realised that it wouldn’t work on my road bike. I had been very luck with punctures until then!

  3. I use a Park chain splitter at home and carry a Toppeak multitool on rides. A few weeks ago I broke a chain probably because I hadn’t seated a linked properly and the multitool worked fine. The tyre levers on the side contain a socket for the chain splitter pin and that gives a lot of leverage. Whilst the taxi fare is hard to bear at least you and the bike got home. If only local buses took a couple of bikes!!!

  4. At least you can fix a chain with a suitable tool. Over the years I have (very) slowly taught myself brakes, seat posts, headsets and puncture recovery (either new inner tubes or patching). I’ve never even attempted the more fiddly chains or cables, knowing the limited nature of my manual dexterity. This was further backed up this week when installing a 4iiii left sided crank power meter – snapped the plastic retention pin in the process! Thankfully it’s largely superfluous…
    Only had the misfortune to snap one (very poorly maintained) chain in time, back in the day of riding a hybrid. Had to scoot and walk a good few miles to the nearest train station and got a 3 inch thorn through the side of my shoe and into my foot in the process – should’ve called a cab!


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