One of the most critical components of a motorcycle is the chain. Without it, there is no mechanism that will drive the rear wheel. Unfortunately, motorcycle chains do not last forever. They also tend to break. You may also want to break it so you can put a new one or fix the broken link. Whatever the case, you will need the right tools for the job. One of these is a motorcycle chain breaker. So, how do you break a chain using this tool?
The Chain Tool
This is a very simple gadget that people use to remove one of the links on a motorcycle or bicycle chain. If you look at the chain, it is composed of plates and links. A pin secures one plate to a link. A series of these connections create the chain.
Since it’s the pin that connects the plate and the link, pushing the pin out can remove the connection. This is the inherent function of the chain breaker tool. It works by pushing the pin out of its socket. This allows the person to remove either the plate or the link. You can remove the entire pin or leave a section of it in the chain. Everything depends on what you want to do.
There are two important positions in the chain tool. These positions allow the person to insert the chain perpendicular to the chain breaking gadget. The first is near the area where there is a movable screw. The other position is in a section that is lower than the first position. This is above the chain’s fixed end.
A pair of tabs protrudes from the chain tool. These two tabs take their positions over the center of two adjacent links. The tabs secure the two adjacent links so that the pin will be in the center of the chain tool. This positions the movable screw directly over the pin. When the person turns the screw, it pushes the pin out of the link. The screw has a smaller diameter than the pin in the chain. This allows it to move the pin out of its position.
Steps to Breaking a Chain
Learning how to use a chain breaker is easy. Our description of this tool already gives you an idea on how you can use it to break a chain. It is almost similar to using a rivet extractor. The tool works by anchoring on two adjacent plates. This is important to help position the pushing mechanism – the movable screw – over the pin. The only thing you need now is to turn the screw so that it pushes the pin out. Here’s how to break a motorcycle chain using a chain breaker tool.
- Prepare the Chain
It is important to make sure that the motorcycle chain has the right level of tension. It should never be too tight nor too loose. If you are working on your bicycle, it is best to shift the bike chain to the largest sprockets of the bike, both the front and rear. Next, shift the chain to the smallest possible cogs in the system. This will wrap the bike chain around the derailleur pulleys. This will make the chain taut.
- Determine the Location on the Chain Where You Will Make the Break
Understand that there are two kinds of links in a chain. One is an inside link and the other is an outside link. These are easy to identify on your motorcycle chain. When using a motorcycle chain breaker, it is important to position the tool over the inside links and not over the outside links. The outside links are also called rivet links or master links.
Check the chain to see where you want to make the break. Again, keep in mind to position the tool over two adjacent inside links. Once you have identified the segment to break, mark it with a permanent ink. You can also use a paint pen to mark the link that you are going to break. This helps prevent breaking the wrong link. It also helps make sure you will be able to reconnect the two links back together.
- Get Ready with the Chain Breaker
Before you start breaking the chain, it is advisable to prepare your tool first. You want to grease the different parts of the chain tool before storing it. If this is your first time using the contraption, make sure that the different components are working.
Check the push bolt, the breaking pin, the alignment bolt, and the tool body. The surfaces of the bolts and pin should be a bit slippery. This is a sign that it will not cause too much friction once you are already pressing on the mechanism.
Look at the diameter of the pin in the motorcycle chain. The breaking pin or movable screw should have a smaller diameter than the chain pin. As such, choose a breaking pin with the correct diameter. Hold the alignment bolt and spin the push bolt in a counterclockwise manner. This will help move the breaking pin back into the tool’s alignment body. This also opens up space in the tool for you to insert the chain link.
Be sure to extend the alignment bolt to as far as it can go. The push bolt should also be in its full retracted position. It is best to keep in mind that the alignment bolt supports the pin. If you extend it as close as possible to the end of the pushing pin, you can maximize its support function. This also helps minimize deflecting the pusher pin.
- Align the Tool to the Chain Link Pin
One of the most critical aspects of learning how to use a chain breaker is ensuring the correct positioning of the tool. Look at the marked link on the chain and position this in the space between the alignment bolt and the push bolt.
Make sure to center the pusher pin with the pin of the chain link. This will help push the pin all the way through the link, avoiding the outside surface of the link plate. Ensuring the correct alignment of the different components will make breaking the chain a lot easier. It also helps prevent wearing down the push pin unnecessarily.
You have to keep in mind that the push pin is not as tough as the chain pin or the plate. Pushing it against these surfaces can damage the pushing surface of the pin.
Also check the alignment of the push pin in relation to the hole in the chain breaker tool body. The ideal is to allow the chain link pin to drive straight through this hole. If you do not align these two components properly, there is a chance that the chain link pin will not slide through the tool body’s hole. Again, the chain pin will not break. Your pusher pin will.
- Start Pushing the Chain Link Pin
Once you are sure that everything is in perfect alignment, you can start cranking the pusher bolt. There are two types of pusher bolts in a motorcycle chain breaker. There are those that look like a cross-drilled hole. Others will have a hex head. Many chain tools have both types of pusher bolts.
You will find the first few turns to be quite difficult. This is why many people like to grind the riveted head of the chain link pin that they want to remove. It is not a necessary step. However, doing so can help removing the pin a lot easier. It is also a lot friendlier to the pusher pin. You wouldn’t have to worry about damaging or breaking your pushing pin if you grind the rivet head first.
As soon as you get past through the initial stages of cranking the tool, your work will become easier. Always watch the progress of the chain link pin through the motorcycle chain breaker tool body. Most people recommend leaving a certain portion of the chain link pin so you can locate the hole of the link and plate when reconnecting the chain.
This depends on what you want to do. If you only want to fix a partially-bent plate, then leaving a small protrusion in the pin should help. If you want to replace the plate, then you will need to remove the pin.
- Retract the Bolts and Tidy Up
You can start retracting both the push bolt and the alignment bolt once you are done breaking the chain. If you are not going to fix the chain yet, you may want to clip the opposing ends of the broken chain. If not, then you can rivet the chain. You can then clean up your tools. It would be wise to grease your chain tool before storing it to help preserve its function.
There is one very important thing you have to keep in mind when learning how to use a chain breaker. Never join two chain sections that have two master links. This will only increase the chance of chain failure.