The chain breaker is one of those tools where you’ll forget it’s even in your saddle bag, but you’ll be glad you have it when the inevitable strikes.
With it, you can break and then repair a broken bicycle chain on the fly.
You’ve probably considered picking one up to give you that extra peace of mind on those rides in the country, but maybe you didn’t know where to start. Not all chain breakers are the same in how it’s designed and intended to be used.
There are many options on the market today, which can make buying a chain breaker a bit daunting. But don’t worry, we’ve done the leg work for you on this page.
A Quick Glance : Our Favorite Chain Breaker Tools
Park Tool Chain Tool - CT-3.3
Designed to stay in your shop, the Park Tool Chain Tool CT-3.3 works with everything from single speed half-links to 5 to 12-speed bikes, and on any width chain when removing and installing chain rivets.
Simply put, this chain tool does its job. It’s easy to use. And it can break chains.
While you could technically bring it with you on a ride, it is on the bigger side. To take advantage of Park Tool’s quality engineering, check out the CT-5 or CT-6.3, which are more mobile chain tools. Make sure the chain breaker pin is properly aligned before using. When misaligned, the pin can break more easily.
Pedro’s Pro Chain Tool 2.0
Now in its third iteration, Pedro’s Pro Chain Tool 2.0 works on chains from single speed to 12-speed. More importantly, it includes a peening bit and backer that are compatible with Campagnolo 12-speed chains.
We like a few things about this chain tool. One, it’s extremely ergonomic and comfortable to use. And two, they include two replacement pins, which are stored in the handle. That will come in extremely handy when a pin ultimately breaks.
Pedro products come with a lifetime warranty that protects against normal wear and tear, so you can rest assured this chain tool will last you a long time.
Birzman Dragonfly Chain Tool
Chain tools aren’t the most beautiful pieces of cycling gear, but the Birzman Dragonfly Chain Tool breaks that mold thanks to its chic silver finish. More importantly, this is a super-tough chain tool made of forged aluminum.
The T-handle does give some leverage but isn’t the most ergonomic after extended use. This tool is designed for 11-speed chains, but it’s also reversible and can also work on 9 and 10-speed chains. Some cyclists have reported successfully using it on a 12-speed chain, but the manufacturer doesn’t promise that performance.
Birzman’s chain breaker tool is also a little more affordable than other tools on this list.
Lezyne 11-Speed Chain Drive Breaker Tool
In addition to the rivet peening function, the Lezyne 11-Speed Chain Drive Breaker Tool also includes four spoke wrenches, which is a welcomed addition. Lezyne’s product is significantly cheaper in price than the competition, and can be used for splitting and joining a Campagnolo 11-speed chain.
You can tell the body of this tool has been made using a CNC machine because it feels very high quality and heavy-duty. Lezyne also includes a spare breaker pin.
If you’re on a budget and your bike has a Campagnolo 11-speed chain, you can’t go wrong with Lezyne’s tool.
Feedback Sports Chain Pin Press
An affordable chain tool that works with single to 12 speed Shimano/SRAM chains, the Feedback Sports Chain Pin Press can break chains with extreme precision and accuracy.
The first thing we noticed was the durable cast steel construction. This tool feels tough and performs quite well. Its accuracy is thanks to the spring-loaded retainer, which helps the pin driver and chain pin align nearly perfectly.
It’s the price tag that has us most excited. At this price point, you can’t afford to not have this Feedback Sports chain breaker in your bag or at your shop when you undoubtedly need to shorten a chain.
Abbey Decade Chain Tool
The most premium chain tool on our list, the Abbey Decade Chain Tool is as tough as it gets.
Abbey Bike Tools is known for its extreme prototyping and absolute quality. They allegedly tested a single tool by breaking more than 10,000 chains during its development. So, don’t let the three-figure price tag frighten you.
This chain tool works with 7- through 12-speed chains.
So, what do you get for the most expensive chain tool on the market?
Something that’s going to last several years and likely decades. Something that simply works each time you use it. And a floating pin that should last longer than the competition.
Chain Breakers Buyer’s Guide
If you’re new to cycling, there’s likely going to be some terms related to chain breakers that you may not understand.
Use this buyer’s guide to learn more about this trusty tool and make the best-informed purchase.
Anatomy of A Chain Breaker
Chain breaker tools are essentially made up of three main parts;
- Main tool body that you hold
- Tool pin
- T-handle to crank
The tool’s body has to be tough to sustain day-to-day use, but also ergonomic. If your hands are uncomfortable holding it, it could mess up your alignment of the pin and chain, which can cause the pin to break more easily.
The pin is used to press rivets out when removing chains and in when you’re installing new chains. Make sure it is screwed in all the way to ensure it works properly and stays in good shape.
After a while, the pin will likely wear out. Know this will likely happen, most manufacturers actually include a spare pin or two with the tool, like the Pedro’s Pro Chain Tool 2.0.
The T-handle is used to push the pin into the rivets. Some cyclists recommend oiling up the base of the T-handle to make everything turn easily and smoothly.
The most important thing you need to do before purchasing a chain breaker tool is to make sure it’s compatible with the type of chains your bike uses.
Most chain breakers on the market are compatible with 7- to 11-speed Shimano and SRAM chains.
A few are also compatible with Campagnolo chains, like Pedro’s Pro Chain Tool 2.0.
Using a chain breaker that isn’t compatible with your chains will either damage the tool or simply won’t work.
In general, the bigger the chain breaker tool, the more leverage you have when breaking chains.
But if you like the idea of bringing this type of tool with you on the road in case a chain breaks during a ride, you won’t want something so big that it weighs you down. The Park Tool Chain Tool CT-3.3, for instance, is designed to stay in a shop and not a gear bag.
Smaller tools, like Feedback Sports Chain Pin Press, are great options to keep in a gear bag that comes with you on the go. Those smaller tools, though, do have less leverage and are a bit trickier to use.
Ergonomics are important not only for comfort, but also for safety.
If you’re not comfortable holding a chain-breaking tool, your hand could slip and catch on a chain, potentially cutting yourself.
A proper grip on the tool also helps with aligning the pin with the chain. A failure to correctly align the pin could result in the pin breaking.
Over time, the breaking pin is going to wear out and eventually break. That’s nothing to be alarmed about because you can always purchase replacement pins.
Many manufacturers actually include a spare pin or two, including the Lezyne 11-Speed Chain Drive Breaker Tool.
Make sure your tool is in good working order and even oiled in order to preserve the pin as long as possible.