Chain Tool Arsenal

rohloff chain breaker.jpg

Back in the days when I didn’t work in a bike shop, when I was simply the guy on the team with the most tools at home, I had an $8 chain tool. Sure, you could buy nicer ones that could handle heavy daily use, but you didn’t really need anything more to take care of your bike. I miss those days.

Now as head mechanic of a shop, I keep a small collection of expensive chain tools to deal with various manufacturers’ specialty chains. One for Shimano Hyperglide, one for Camp 10, one for Campy 11. I have a special drawer where I hide these so that they don’t get misused, because I need those tools to be in perfect working order for repairing top-notch bikes. If we were talking about cone wrenches or allen keys, I’d just buy a set for every mechanic’s bench, but those chain tools cost too much. And I’m talking about the shop’s money, not my own.

I don’t think that many cyclists are gonna drop $200 for a Campy chain tool to keep in their own tool box at home. As much as I love bikes all tech’ed out, I lament how bikes are becoming things that an average guy, even one mechanically inclined, cannot maintain without a specialty shop. I realize this sounds odd coming from someone whose livelihood is derived from specifically providing those services, but I got started as the guy on the team who did his own wrenching and could be bribed to fix others’ bikes after the bike shops closed. And I got a long way by teaching myself. But that doesn’t seem practical for a novice home mechanic anymore.