Having a reliable chain tool is an absolute must for any rider or home mechanic. A broken chain is a common mechanical issue that anyone should be ready to fix without notice at any time. It is also necessary if you plan to install a new chain, whether you are building a bike up from the frame, or just replacing a worn chain.
I purchased the Park Tool CT-5 Compact Chain Tool because I needed a portable and reliable chain tool for breaking my 12-speed SRAM Eagle Chains. I originally had only a multitool that has a chain tool on it. I assumed the multitool would be sufficient for on-trail and in-home use, but I was proven wrong when I used it to break a chain at home. The chain tool on the multitool did not have nearly enough leverage to break a chain using only my hands; I had to grip the lever on the chain tool with an adjustable wrench in order to generate enough torque to break the chain. It’s a good thing I was not caught out on the trail with only the multitool because I wouldn’t have been carrying a wrench and would not have been able to repair my chain.
Browsing chain tools online, the compact chain tool from Park Tool seemed like the best option for something small enough to carry in my pack and also robust enough for home use. I have learned to trust Park Tool quality with other tools, so I felt confident with this option.
The build quality of the tool is evident out of the box. The metal has a nice finish and the handle spins smoothly to tighten or loosen the breaker. The chain fits in the notch where it goes with ease. The handle is large enough to provide enough torque to break the chain and small enough to keep the tool compact enough to fit in the tool compartment of my pack. When installing the new chain on my latest bike build, I confidently applied torque to the handle in order to break the chain successfully. The tool did not feel like it was overly stressed, it was clear that the only thing that was going to break was the chain. I now carry this tool in my pack on all rides (along with some master links!), knowing I will be able to confidently handle an on-trail chain repair. I have yet to use this tool to repair my own chain, but one time I did come across a rider who had broken his chain. He did not have a chain tool or master links, so he was pretty bummed thinking his ride was over. Fortunately, he was able to use my tool and a master link to get his bike running again! I highly recommend anyone looking for this type of on-trail dependability go with the compact chain tool from Park Tool. The small weight penalty is well worth the confidence of knowing a broken chain will not end your ride or leave you stranded somewhere remote.
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