How To Break A Gear Chain

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Whether you own a bike or work a lot with chains, you will probably have to break a chain to remove it and repair it. If you are trying to break a bicycle chain, you may need to use pliers if there is a main link in the chain or simply use a chain tool that breaks one of the rivets. Fortunately, whether you’re using a chain tool, pliers or wire cutters, there are a few simple and easy methods you can follow to break a chain.

How To Break A Gear Chain

4 Method 1 of 3:

1. Using a chain tool

Make sure the chain is tight. You should avoid loosening the chain while trying to break it. If you are working on a bicycle chain, change the chain with the larger front and rear sprockets. Then move it over the smaller gears so that the chain wraps around the shift pulleys and is as tight as possible.

If the chain is wrapped around the shift pulley, make sure that the pulley does not move so far that it makes contact with the chain.
Find the special connecting rivet and avoid breaking the chain there. Connecting the rivets will look different from the other rivets in the chain; They may have burns or special colors that other rivets do not have. When preparing to break the chain with a chain tool, be sure to break a rivet consisting of multiple rivets from any link rivet on the chain.

If you have trouble identifying the link rivets on the chain, look for the chain mark along with the words “link rivets”. If your chain has link rivets, the manufacturer will likely have a photo of him available on their website.

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Place the chain tool on the rivet where you intend to break the chain. Align the pin of the chain tool with the rivet in a straight line and make sure that the two are in contact. If the chain tool has a pin socket once removed, make sure that the rivet is also aligned with this socket.
It may be necessary to unscrew part of the chain tool to retract the drive pin before you can place the tool on the rivet.

Make sure that the pin is in the center of the rivet head; otherwise, you won’t be able to force it.
Force the rivet to break the chain. After aligning the pin with the head of the rivet, turn the handle firmly and slowly pull the rivet out of the front plate and partially through the rear plate. Before removing the rivet completely, remove the pin and break the chain with your thumbs, leaving the rivet slightly protruding from the back plate.
This method will allow you to easily locate the hole if you decide to reconnect the link.

If you are not planning to reinstall or repair the chain, do not hesitate to push the rivet all the way with the chain tool

Method 2 of 3:

2. Using pliers

Replace the bicycle chains so that they are tight. To prevent the chain from loosening, replace it with the larger front and rear sprockets, then change it with the smaller gears so that it wraps around the transmission pulleys. This will make the chain as tight as possible.
If the chain is wrapped around the shift pulley, make sure that the pulley does not move so far that it makes contact with the chain.

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Find the main link in the chain. In a linked chain, the main link will have a pair of unique side plates which may have a different color than the other links. This is the link you will release to break the chain when using the pliers.
The main link will likely also have a raised arrow pointing inside the chain loop.

Use pliers to disable the main connection. Position the pliers on the main link so that a head is positioned outside the main link pin and will be tightened in the direction of the arrow on the side plate. The other head must be positioned outside the opposite pin. Then, tighten the pliers to pull the pins together and press both side plates until the connection breaks.
If you have special grippers designed specifically for use on master connections, they will automatically press the side plates towards you.

4 Method 3 of 3:

3. Breaking a chain with wire cutters

Adjust the cutters to match the strength of the chain. Most wire cutters are equipped with an adjustment bolt that allows you to adjust the tension of the blades. Use this bolt to set the correct tension for the hardness of the chain that is breaking, as well as your own operating comfort.
For small chains such as bicycle chains, it is likely that it is not necessary to adjust the wire cutters; the weaker setting is probably sufficient.
Mark where you want to break the chain. To make sure you make a clean cut in the correct position, use a marking line or even a small dot to mark where you want the cut to take place. Use a marker, paint or sharpened blade to make the mark.
You should also hold the chain before cutting it, if possible, to facilitate breaking the chain. However, this is not strictly necessary to break a chain with wire cutters.

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Open the blades and place the cutters on the mark. Separate the handles of the wire cutter to open the blades, making sure to open them as far as possible before continuing. Then move the cutting head so that the marked part of the chain is between the blades.
Close the blades and apply force. Move the handles towards each other to close the blades on the chain, going slowly towards the beginning. Once the blades have made physical contact with the chain, continue to close them and apply force until the chain has broken.
Make sure to use a firm grip when closing the blades. If the grip is too loose, the blades can slip off the material and cause damage to you or others around you.
Some chains may require detachment from the initial cut, repositioning the blades on the cut and applying force a second time before they break.

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