I'm increasingly riding long-distance randonees/audaxes and I'm pretty confident I can fix most simple things which might go wrong with the bike. However, I've never done anything with a chain apart from clean it and would like to be prepared enough to be able to effect some kind of repair if it broke, even if I ended up single-speed.

I have an 11-speed Campagnolo Chorus chain. I'm considering getting this chain tool, but what spare pins or other kit would I need? I'd prefer not to carry a whole spare chain due to the weight and space.

  • If you replaced the chain then you probably removed links from the old. Even without fresh links you can usually lose two and still get home - you will only lose the lowest gear(s). Measure the stretch in your chain. Don't wait for it to break to replace it. If you have never done anything but a clean a chain then it might be time to replace it. I would say you have as much chance of breaking a spoke as fresh chain.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 21:32
  • The chain is the original, about 6000km in it, so I have not spare bits. Campag say replace at 8000 and I'm not a strong rider, so will probably go with that. From what I've read, measuring Campag chain stretch is not simple. Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 21:42
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    Use this chain wear measuring tool, dead simple. Park CC-2 biketiresdirect.com/productimages/images450/ptpcc1-1.jpg Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 21:55
  • Buy yourself another Chorus chain now (which you'll be able to use in the future). It will invariably have more links than you need, so when you shorten it to size you will automatically have a half-dozen or so spare links. Aside from that, all you really need is a chain tool. Small and lightweight makes sense for portability, but the workshop ones are far more meaty and make breaking the chain far easier. I have both types, after all you're mostly going to want to break a chain at home. Quick Links are useful, but strictly speaking are unnecessary if you have some links on you.
    – PeteH
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 22:32
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    @Blam. I mean I'm not a heavy/powerful rider. I have the Park CC-2, but it said the chain was worn from about 1000km. Then I read this: pardo.net/bike/pic/fail-004/000.html Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 8:17

5 Answers 5


Replacing your chain at regular intervals is by far the best maintenance money you can spend on a bike. Generally what goes wrong with a chain is a "stuck link" and the chain tool you have can fix that. Either by slightly tweaking the pin to loosen the link or by taking the link out altogether. If you do need to take a link or two out, avoid attempting to use the big/big gears. Generally there is no reason to carry a complete spare chain, only enough stuff to remove a link or two and put the chain back together.

Some chains require special replacement pins. Check with the manufacturer. Exactly what's required varies between 9,10,and 11 speed chains.

For chains that have quick links, the quick links can break. Carry a spare quick link. You can use this to make repairs quick and simple. You can have more than one quick link in a chain w/o problems.

For the new narrower chains, I am not confident about reseting existing pins using any chain tool that you can carry on a bike. This is why I only use chains that have a reusable quicklink.

I'd think about switching to a chain like this in your case. Makes any on road repairs much simpler. However, I don't know of any 11 spd chain links that are reusable.

I've done a bit more reading on 11 spd chains and I would definitely add a few spare used master links to your kit. KMC makes them and from what I read the old school method of pushing the pin back in just not safe with the very thin plates used to get chains narrow enough for 11 spd. KMC claims their quick links will work with any 11 speed chain.

  • IME even 10 speed chains it's 50/50 whether pushing the pin back in will work at all. Magic links/master links are a cheap and lightweight solution.
    – Móż
    Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 1:15
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    "For the new narrower chains, I am not confident about reseting existing pins using any chain tool that you can carry on a bike." If I am not mistaken, pretty much all of the 10+spd chains require you to use a new pin any time you rejoin the chain, so you are right to be suspicious. Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 1:18
  • The "new pin every time" thing is a fairly recent "innovation" from Shimano. There are several reasons for the approach, probably mainly that reusing a pin is tedious and is often botched. Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 15:26
  • I carry one or two of these on most longer rides. kmcchain.eu/products-connectors-missing_links
    – alex
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 0:00

What would probably work best is a "chain breaker" similar to the one in your link, plus several inches of chain, plus a couple of "repair links".

New chains are generally several inches longer than needed, so anyone who replaces chains regularly is apt to have some spare segments -- ask your buddies or go begging at a bike shop. Worst case a few inches of old (but not totally worn out) chain will work fine.

The repair links are made by several companies (SRAM, KMC, Wippermann, et al) and are "snap together", so you don't have to develop (and somehow maintain) the nontrivial skill needed to reassemble a chain with the "chain breaker".

(Do make sure that the spare chain and repair links you get are the correct width to match your chain.)

(And, as several people have mentioned, a chain with 6000km on it is likely well beyond end of life. I figure 2000 miles -- 3200km -- for mine. At twice that likely the rear cogs are shot too and will need replacement.)

  • 6000km on the chain and OP plans to do a randonees. Rather than ask or beg for links please explain why the OP should not replace the chain now. -1
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 0:03
  • The above answers the OP's question, which is what sort of kit to carry for on-road repairs. Yes, a 6000km chain is almost certainly worn out, but that's not what he was asking. Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 0:16
  • @Blam: Answering the question in the more general case is useful for other people in situations similar to the OPs, we don't want answers to be localized to only a single person in the world. Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 1:20
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    +1 for mentioning that the repair links are an alternative to the chain break. This was new information to me and very useful! Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 11:17
  • You still need a chain breaker to get the quicklink on though (and the re-assembly on Shimano/SRAM chains is easy with most decent tools like Park Tool CT-5; the process for Campy systems is more annoying (CT-4.2)).
    – Batman
    Commented Jun 7, 2014 at 1:35

Because you are using an 11-speed Campy chain, and are willing to lose some gear range if you have a mechanical, I'd recommend you carry 1 or 2 spare pins for your chain and a good chain tool. You're not going to be able to carry a shop-quality chain tool on your bike, but this folding one by Park is a good choice.


If your chain breaks during a ride you will need to remove a link and reconnect with the new pin. Assuming your chain was properly sized to begin with, with one (or more) link removed you'll be able to use fewer of the bigger cogs of your cassette in combination with your big ring, and possibly your small ring.

That said, the advice to check your chain regularly is a good one. I use a Park tool for that as it is the most accurate, and easiest of the chain checkers I've used. Rather than always replacing chain and cassette together, there are cassette checkers as well, or you can tell if the cassette is worn if a new chain doesn't go on and off the cogs smoothly.

I've ridden many thousands of miles on randonnees/brevets and for chain repair, only carry a chain tool and Wippermann Connex link. I've have had only one chain failure. That was 30 miles into LEL. It was caused because the chain got jammed during transit. To untangle it I had to break the chain with the only chain tool available. (I'd packed a different tool than I normally carry and hadn't checked it before I left.) The chain tool damaged the link so the new pin worked itself out after a short distance. The Wippermannn link saved my ride. If Wippermann manufactures a Connex link in the future that is compatible with 11-speed Campy, I'd recommend you carry that rather than a spare pin. It is also useful if you're packing your bike for flying.

As far as Campy on brevets, I personally ride Shimano, but know several randonneurs more experienced than I who use Campy. The best thing you can do is keep your bike well-maintained and "figure it out" if something goes wrong. You can't carry enough stuff to fix anything that can go wrong, and there may be no bike shops on the route at all. Improvising is part of the fun of randonneuring!

Bonne route!


You should be fine with a chain tool and maybe an extra few links which you have leftover after you installed it. You technically don't need extra pins as you can shorten the chain, put it in the small ring up front and you'll still have the full range of gears in the back to get home.

Generally you should replace the chain and the rear cassette at the same time. If you are experiencing some skipping in the higher gears (the small rings of the cassette) that is most likely the case.

Not to rain on the parade, but if you are truly getting into Randonees riding in the U.S. campy 11 speed is not the way to go. You run a high risk of bike shops in rural areas not having replacement parts.

  • 1
    While saying it's not the way to go can you give the OP positive advice on a better choice?
    – andy256
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 23:19
  • @andy256 What part of not campy 11 speed is not advice. +1
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 0:06
  • The better choice is to run Shimano/SRAM (there aren't really any other major options, and Microshift is Shimano compatible for the most part). Campy chains use different chaintools as well, which are more complicated.
    – Batman
    Commented Jun 7, 2014 at 20:40

According to the web site that chain requires special tool and a unique set pin

Assembling and disassembling Campagnolo 11 speed chain

As I suggested in my comment I think you have your priorities wrong if you a looking to buy a chain tool for road repair before you have even changed the first chain.

As for measuring the chain and chain maintenance have you referred to the manual?


It specifically states all assembly and disassemble should be performed with the special tool.

The manual has instructions on how to measure stretch.

From what you read it is hard to measure. Why would you not include the manual in your research?


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