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I've been making a lot of kilometers recently. Although I do proper maintenance on my chain (replacement, cleaning and lubing). It can always happen that one of the links break, or that I am with someone, or encounter someone that has problems with the chain. I always carry my Topeak multitool, which contains such a chain link removal tool as well (don't know the word for it).

However, it is probably not the best tool in itself for emergency repairs. I am considering to bring one or a few extra pins, such that I can do a repair. At the same time I also read about these easy in use links that you can also use. My question is: what do you recommend me to bring on my bike trips in addition to what I already got, and why?

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    You should carry a chain tool, about 6 inches of chain, some quick links (if you use those), and a length of wire or cord to hold the chain together while you fasten the ends. – Daniel R Hicks May 24 at 12:42
  • Have you ever had a broken chain? I’ve ridden like 60Mm and never had a broken chain. In my opinion it’s so unlikely that it’s not worth to carry a relatively heavy and unwieldy tool for it. I have the suspicion that it mostly happens to people who push normal pins back in instead of using a proper pin or master link. Or people who have too short chains, badly adjusted shifting or shift under (heavy) load. – Michael May 24 at 13:00
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    As long as you do not ride on Monday, you can likely walk to the next open bike shop. (That is a bit of a joke, Sunday is often also a closed day and the local day may be a different one.) In the Netherlands, local bike shops are well spread but their closed days can be awkward. – Willeke May 24 at 15:52
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    I had my chain break on me, a few days after coming home from the bike shop, wrongly installed connecting link. Easy enough to replace with a different kind of repair link. – Willeke May 24 at 15:55
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    @Michael - I've never had my own chain fail on the road (I do all my own maintenance), but at least twice I've assisted someone else with a failed chain. In both cases it appeared to be due to getting the chain jammed somehow, not a poorly-installed pin. – Daniel R Hicks May 24 at 19:51
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Taking a piece of chain can be useful one day, but what is the likelihood? I say take a multitool with a chain-breaking tool, that you verified you are actually strong enough to use (some have very small leverage) and a quicklink. That's good enough for normal rides, unless you are going for a week on your own. Many other people don't take anything. Assess the dangers yourself. On a road bike you are less likely to do more than breaking a single link, on a mountain bike it may be more likely, depending on the kind of your riding.

If you are so worried that you need a full piece of chain you could also nee some spare spokes, tools for removing your cassette (including a wrench with enough leverage) or even a spare rear derailleur (apart from the usual spare hanger). And your torque wrench in case your stem or saddle becomes loose. Ad you will find out it is simply impossible to stuff everything in your saddle bag. Especially if you planned to take two spare tubes as well.

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    I always carry a spare bike with me in case of a crash. I tie it with straps on my back. A spare rider also sits on my shoulders, in case of a knee injury. – Robert Lee May 24 at 17:30
  • @vladimirf : Hope for the best is an essential tool. ;-) – Carel May 24 at 19:33
  • People do bring spare spokes and cassette tool ( youtube.com/watch?v=jcuUjEzsuT8 ) along on bike rides. More for touring in remote areas than on a casual sunday ride though. – GrecKo May 24 at 21:36
  • @GrecKo I do believe that, that is why I mentioned "unless you are going for a week on your own". I honestly believe it is overkill for a normal ride. – Vladimir F May 24 at 22:03
  • Best answer. I recently had my Hydraulic brake lock on due the return valve in the lever blocking, If only I had taken a bleed kit with me..... What counts is having basic tools and having the knowledge and skills to apply a few trail side hacks. How far from 'home' you are determines your tolerance for hacks (I carrying the bike is the ultimate tool free hack. A cell phone to call mate/neighbour/worst enemy, wife (in that order) next best for road rides. Note that if riding a 1x setup, a shortened chain will loose the lowest gear or three. – mattnz May 25 at 2:08
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Get a small chain-tool to remove a broken link, like the one in your multitool, two or three adequate quick-links for the chain width that you use and the bit of chain that remained after you shortened your new chain to the correct length. Workshop quality chaintools are quite heavy to carry on a bike tour and the likelyhood of needing one rather small. As for helping out others with that kind of chain related emergency, it will only work, if they use the same type of chain that you use. You'd have to carry quite a number of different types of pins and/or quick-links!

With the afore mentioned tools and parts you can repair the chain if only one link breaks or put in several links at once if for instance some links get damaged.

You may also pack a small bottle of chain-lube if you take a really long trip that includes the possibility for rain.

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  • Thanks for your answer. So the quick-links and not the pins. I am driving 10-speed, which is not at all that common anymore I think. – Bernhard May 24 at 11:48
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    Yeah - don't take spare pins, take some quick links / master links. If you've munched more than a couple of links on a chain, then there will be significant other damage too. Used master links are fine for spares. – Criggie May 24 at 11:53
  • +1 to this. The only (minor) problem with removing broken links and replacing with a quick link is that you might wind up shortening your chain, which could prevent you from riding in your big/big combination. But that shouldn't be a big problem. There are small chain-breakers suitable for carrying on rides, independent of multi-tools. – Adam Rice May 24 at 17:23
  • @AdamRice : That's why I recommended carrying the 5 or 6 links removed from the new chain when it is put on the bike. They can always be used to replace a damaged bit. If the chain is mangled further or if the rear derailleur is broken it may still be possible to make a single speed bike by bypassing the derailleur and routing the chain over the small ring and a convenient cog rather than walking. – Carel May 24 at 19:31

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