3 May 2016


Breaking your chain mid-cycle could ruin any ride, whether you’re on-road or off, but with the right tools and our essential advice it’s not the deal-breaker you might imagine. Preparation is key to any ride and, when it comes to potentially rectifying a broken chain, choose a multi-tool that’s equipped with a chain tool; and the very best idea is to carry a replacement chain link – or two – and Drive Link Connectors (11-speed) and (10-speed) from FSA are ideal. Spare Drive Pin Connectors are worth packing too. Then all that’s left is to head out on two wheels, without a care about whether you might break your chain!

Drive Link Connectors are almost certainly the best value 2.5g you can carry!

Replacement link
1. If you break your chain, the first thing you need to do is remove it from your drivetrain and carefully – so that you retain the integrity of the chain as a whole – remove the remnants of your broken link. This will leave you with two inner links. Then it’s time to put the chain back. Begin by feeding the chain through the front mech and around the bottom-bracket shell rather than the chain rings.

2. Out back, feed the other end over one of the smallest cogs on your rear cassette and around the jockey wheels, ensuring it slips through the inner tabs of the mech cage. This can be delicate so be precise and don’t rush.

3. Then attach either end of your replacement link to each end of the broken chain. Put the two ends together and pull the chain tight. It should feel fully engaged but, if it doesn’t, shift your gears into the small chainring, and circle it round until the replacement link is located around the middle and above the chainstay. Then apply pressure to the pedals while simultaneously pulling the front brake lever. This will create tension and force the links in place.

Missing link

1. If your parents haven’t taught you to be prepared and you don’t have a replacement link, you’ll have to do this ‘the hard way’, and remove a link from the broken chain. This is where the chain tool on your multi-tool is essential. However, once your chain tool is clamped onto the link, don’t haphazardly rotate the chain tool as (unless you’ve brought your spare Drive Pin Connectors with you), you don’t want the pin to come all the way out – because it needs to be reused.

2. When threading the chain through, ensure that the pin is away from the bike and rest it on the floor. With the other end of the chain, thread beneath the BB shell – like you would with a replacement link – up through the front mech and around the cassette and jockey wheels, again as above. Then pull the two ends of the chain together. Ideally the pin will be protruding slightly through the link and it stays in place. Now you can start pushing the pin through with a chain tool.

3. The link will be stiff at first but flex it, and the ones either side, to free it up. Obviously you’ve shortened your chain, which creates greater tension so ideally keep it out of the bigger cogs for the remainder of your ride. In effect, you’ve weakened the chain so you must do all you can to maintain its integrity. This includes unleashing a high cadence to reduce the torque through the chain.

Finally, when you get home, source a new chain and return your ride to its former glory, then enjoy our video and stick to a regular maintenance routine.