Beaking Chains???

screenman

Legendary Member
Happened to me once and it was my fault, trying to change from bottom sprocket to top one whilst going up a steep hill out of the saddle.
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
@steveha you will find numerous opinions on what the well prepared cyclist should carry on a bike ride. I'm always surprised people anticipate such serious mechanicals will occur. I don't know how it was back in the day but today a well maintained, modern bike is highly unlikely to let you down.

In my lifetime I've had to be rescued once - about three weeks ago!!! I punctured 6 miles from home, it was my first experience of fitting a tube in a tubeless tyre, I struggled. Texted my wife to say I'd be late and she offered to pick me up. Hardly life-threatening!!

My routine is to carry the tools I need to fix the things which are within my abilities. I carry spare tubes and a multi-tool meaning I can fix a puncture, snapped chain and tighten loose Allen screws. Anything else is beyond my mechanical ability so I don't worry about it.

Look after your bike and it won't be a problem.
 

Mo1959

Legendary Member
Just once ten miles from home. Back in the days when I was still using flat pedals and trainers so a ten mile walk was bearable as not a bugger stopped. Lol. Wouldn't like to walk any more than a couple of miles even in shoes with Spd cleats so carry a chain tool and quick link now.
 

oldworld

Well-Known Member
Only once and it was my wife's bike. She'd only had it for 3 weeks so it was repaired by the shop.
Luckily we were close to home so not to far to walk.
Since that time I take a quick link and a chain tool plus a few other bits. Latest addition was a tyre boot. I've added this as it would have got me home the one time I had to ask for a lift.
I like to feel I can make it home from miles away even if it's slow.
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
Only once and it was my wife's bike. She'd only had it for 3 weeks so it was repaired by the shop.
Luckily we were close to home so not to far to walk.
Since that time I take a quick link and a chain tool plus a few other bits. Latest addition was a tyre boot. I've added this as it would have got me home the one time I had to ask for a lift.
I like to feel I can make it home from miles away even if it's slow.
Many years ago I was out cycling with friends and we were on a small lane near a village called Kimcote, it was very quiet, just the rustle of gears and the quiet murmur of conversation, and my back tyre went bang, thing sounded like a shotgun going off, the bead had failed, fortunatly someone had got a tyre boot which meant I could finish the ride and get home, and since then I've kept a tyre boot in my saddle bag. I've only ever needed it for myself once, but I've bailed other people out a couple of times.
 

MichaelW2

Veteran
I have snapped one chain on a borrowed 8spd mtb as I reached home. The ride had been an epic descent into a massive canyon then a 3hr drag riding back up. I would have been in real trouble stuck at the bottom if a desert canyon with a 9hr walk back.

Tyre failure is slightly more common but you can boot a tyre with paper money, ductape or the Parktools boot.
 

Flick of the Elbow

Expecting vaccination in August at best
Location
Lothian
Broken about 7 chains in 40 years, all of them since the 90’s. I agree with the OP, it was very rare before then but I did see it on one occasion back then. Anyway, it’s no big deal, most multi-tools have a chain tool on them that allows you to remove the broken link and then it’s a simple job to fit a new connecting link, they snap together so no tools required. I have done this by the roadside several times in recent years, it’s a permanent repair not just a get you home bodge. Though of course it’s worth asking why the chain broke in the first place, it might be nature’s way of telling you that it needs replacing anyway.
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
Happened to me once only. In the early 80s. Ye olde 5 speed. Like @Smokin Joe it was entirely my own fault because I hadn't closed it properly. So it didn't really break, it just came undone. I wasn't using a "quick link". I was unaware of their existence. That was a memorable day including a lift through Pembrokeshire to the nearest town on the back of a trailer pulled by a tractor.

More recently I've stopped at the roadside and lent my chain tool (built in to multitool) and donated spare quick link to someone who had a broken chain. I don't know the details of what had happened and how. I just pulled up - lent some tools to the group of people there, waited while they faffed then set off on my merry way.
 
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fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
I've never broken an 8 or 9 speed chain, but have found 'damage' to 10 speed chains that I know needs changing before it snaps, but it's on an MTB that gets a hard life.

Quite a few issues can be down to poor maintenance and not checking the chain - mickle method of cleaning chains is good for this (i.e. checking chains). 10-12 speed chains are much narrower than 8 speed.
 

Flick of the Elbow

Expecting vaccination in August at best
Location
Lothian
The most recent occasion was on my best summer and dry weather only bike that I’ve only done a few hundred miles on. It has an 11 speed Ultegra groupset fitted by the supplier. The chain appeared to break for no reason at all. I weigh 10stone and have very little power in my legs so its not like the bike was under much load. There’s very little wear in the chain, it looks perfect. So why it broke I’ve no idea. I fitted a quick link, gave it a good look over when I got home, have ridden it a few more times since and it seems fine.
 

Milkfloat

An Peanut
Location
Midlands
I have only broken one myself, a 9 speed on a bike that was only about 20 miles old, so I can only assume that it was defective from manufacture or installed badly. I have however rescued 3 people whilst out riding either with quicklinks or carefully reusing a normal link. Modern chains are much thinner and lighter than the brutes of old and are asked to cover a lot more sideways movement, so it is not too surprising that they can break, however, it is not very common.
 

Ajax Bay

Guru
Location
East Devon
I keep reading stories of people breaking chains out on the road and how important it is to carry a chain tool? . . . .
Is there a way to avoid this nuisance?
A chain might break, but very unlikely. But without a tool (and the expertise to use it), this would likely be ride ending. For cyclists riding a distance, if it matters to them to complete their ride (or divert if necessary but without external assistance), the easy mitigation is to carry a chain tool and a spare quick link. And to do so is grammes (?100g), little volume and £8 plus £?1 for a quick link. I do this, but have only had cause to use it (on the road) on other people's chains.
Avoidance: Do not fit your own Shimano chain. Check your chain regularly (during lubrication process) by using a cloth to wipe off excess: a broken outer plate should catch on the cloth or otherwise be spotted. Ease the power off during changes on a hill. Avoid riding too far. Don't worry about calling someone to rescue you. Convert to a belt drive.
 

Paulus

Started young, and still going.
Location
Barnet,
I have never had a chain snap on me in over 55 years of cycling on my own. But, what did happen to me a few years back was one of the side plates of a KMC 10 speed chain came away from the pin and got jammed in the rear cassette. Initially it seemed the chain was jumping every revolution but then it got jammed in the cassette.
 

boydj

Guru
Location
Paisley
10 and 11 speed chains are just not as robust as the 5/6/7/8 speed chains of years gone by. I've twice snapped chains in the last 20 years or so and seen a couple of others go on club rides in that time. A chain tool and spare link can easily be carried in a small tool roll/bag, so why wouldn't you carry them?
 
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