With the unfortunate situation with the snow this has left training by turbo non-existent recently. Having taken by bike out in the snow and using relatively high gears to prevent skidding, I found on Tuesday morning that my bike chain suddenly snapped. One of the pins had broke and I had nearly fell off as I went up a slight in climb. This is the fourth time in my life this has happened, quite an achievement.
I thought it would be useful to share my knowledge on my experience as this has become a trivial matter which I have learned over the years without being a road bike enthusiast.
Surprisingly the outer link is quite bent but the remainder of the chain looks fine on a closer inspection. In the mean time I’ve been waiting for a spare link to come – sadly Royal Mail has failed to deliver this week.
Introducing SRam Power Link:
These are handy to have on any expedition or even on a bike ride. If you chain suddenly gets caught anywhere and bends or even snaps then you will be walking back to the nearest bike shop.
They are quite easy to use and are re-usable. Simply push the links together between the connecting ends of the chain and pull the chain taught. Bob’s your uncle and you’ll be back riding. They can be bought individually or a pack of three off eBay for £2.00 and are satisfactory It saves buying a new chain although it is recommended to swap every few months to reduce stretching – although as an engineer I cannot understand the logic behind that…
The other benefits are that you can easily dismantle the chain which allows you to thoroughly clean and remove grease improving the performance when changing gear and increasing the lifetime of the chain (dirt will act abrasively).
When Distaster happens: Removing a faulty chain link/pin on the go
This has happened to me one time and I was lucky I had a tool available with me and a spare power-link at hand.
Standard chains conventionally use a master pin which is permanently riveted into the chain and requires a chain pin extraction tool to remove. This is the same for all other links. Once these are removed these need replacing. Having the correct multi-tool will allow you to remove these easily without fuss or worry.
A Multi-tool for life:
Put the investment for a decent multi-tool, they are like the swiss-army knife for bikes, no joke. If you are in the middle of no-where and you have to rely on yourself you need to be ready for whatever situation. There has been many times for me when a bike shop has been nearby but was closed because it was the weekend.
BBB BTL-41L – MaxiFold Multi Tool:
A good multi-tool will last for a long time – mine is a (below) has lasted nearly three years without a problem. Purchased at an over-inflated price (£30) when I lost all my gear on a trip in Norway it can be found most places online at £18.
Having a steel tyre levers are really useful especially trying to life the bead (wire around the open edge) of a tyre tightens when over a long time. Plastic (acrylic) tyre levers become strenuous and for me have even snapped.
A midrange tool will do you justice by using better alloys than cheaper equivalents for the tool heads improving durability so the tool head keeps it shape.
A worn allen key head will destroy bolts and will make them impossible to remove.
A good multi-tool sometime feature a chain extractor and spoke keys which are essential for any expedition. Simple operation of the chain extractor is fitting the chain link with the pin to remove aligned with the ‘pin punch’. Winding the punch will push out the faulty pin and you can then attach the powerlink connector between.
Hopefully this quick guide may serve to be useful to someone.