Fix a broken chain

A snapped chain doesn’t need to mean a phone call or a long walk home – though it might mean getting your hands dirty before you can get going again. Here’s how to make sure you’re prepared…

What you’ll need

A chain tool – portable ones are easy to pick up, and some multitools come with a chain tool. Slip one into your saddle bag and leave it there… you never know when you might need it. It’s also worth carrying a spare quick link if your chain fastens with one, or a spare whole link if it doesn’t.

Getting started

Fit your chain around the smallest chainring and the smallest sprocket so tat it has as much slack in it as possible. Position the break at the bottom of the chain beneath the chainstay.

Using the tools

Of your chain tool has two sets of pegs for the chain, you will want to use the set furthest away from the punch with the chain against the back of the tool. Screw in the punch to drive out the ‘male’ rivet from the broken link, which should give you a chain with ‘female’ rivet holes at both ends. Fit the quick link by threading one rivet through each set of holes and tension the chain by stamping on the pedal with the brakes on.

If you don’t have a quick link chain…

Follow the initial steps but don’t drive the rivet all the way out. Instead, drive it until it sits just in the outer link. Now take the chain out of the tool and flex it to pull the chain apart. Now fix the other end of the chain into place over the small bit of the rivet still visible on the inside of the link. Now put the chain back in the tool and screw the punch to drive the rivet back into place until it projects as far from each side of the link as the others.

Ready to go?

It’s worth giving your new link a few waggles to ensure the pressure of the tool hasn’t created a stiff link. You might find your chain won’t quite go big ring to big sprocket, but it should work otherwise. If you’re on a single speed or hub gears, you’ll need to attach that spare link rather than shorten the chain. Now just wipe your hands on a wet wipe if you have one – grass if you don’t – and ride on.

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