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What's the least I can bring? Do you need a chain tool?(28 posts)

What's the least I can bring? Do you need a chain tool?Oshboro
Oct 5, 2003 8:48 PM
I am considering losing my seat pack for storage and just keeping the bare minimum in my jersey. This would include a basic multi-tool, one tube, patch kit, food, cash, and some band-aids - no chain tool. I often ride alone up to an hour or two from home, so a broken chain would suck, but I keep my bike well maintained and don't know anyone who's broken a chain on the road. I'm interested in some feedback on this regarding the minmum to bring and whether that includes a chain tool. By the way, even when I'm an hour from home, I'm always within a few minutes walk of somebody's home (i.e. somewhere on a suburban back road).
don't need the chain tool IMHOOffTheBack
Oct 6, 2003 3:16 AM
In 15+ years of riding, I have never broken a chain on the road, and only once on a mountain bike. IMHO, if your bike is well maintained you don't even need the multi-tool. I often just carry a tube, patch kit, and tire levers.
generally agreeSteve_0
Oct 6, 2003 3:54 AM
though I'm a minimalist by nature, I do carry an alian (or at a minimum, 3 hex keys). Even though my bike is well maintained, it's come in handy: Helping other stranded riders. Tweaking stem height or saddle position. Opening Heinekin.

I'd much rather have the MT than a spare tube (assuming a patch kit, of course).
bad adviceColnagoFE
Oct 6, 2003 7:20 AM
If you need it you won't get home without one. I finally broke a road chain (Campy 10) and managed to cobble it back together with a chain tool so I could get home. I was about 45 minutes up a canyon so the cell phone was worthless. It would have been a long walk home. Now for Mountain biking breaking a chain is much more common. Bring one along. They don't weigh that much.
I agree...miposy
Oct 6, 2003 3:01 PM
...a chaintool gives you the option of riding home. If you pedal hard, and most people occasionally do, even a well-maintained chain sometimes lets go.

I needed mine 11 miles from home. A short time later I was able to finish my 55 mile loop.
Also agreejtlmd
Oct 7, 2003 6:28 PM
I've rarely needed it but if I didn't have it last month I would've been stuck out after dark when the Permalink broke on my Campy 10. Interesting that the new Campy 10 chain I bought doesn't use the Permalink anymore. I've needed it 2-3 times on the mountain bike in the past 10 years and once on the road for myself and a few times for others who didn't carry their own.

The Crank Brothers Multi-17 has all the tools I need, mountain or road, and a chain tool built in.
broken chains aren't common, but...BenR
Oct 6, 2003 3:02 PM
when they're broke, the bike don't go very fast.

I've used my chain tool on the road 4 times in four years, once on an improperly installed 8 speed chain and once again on my new campy 10 that broke at the permalink. The other 2 times were to make singlespeeds on friends' bikes whose derailleurs were trashed due to either being shifted into the spokes (loose limit screw) or a frozen freehub. In both cases, we were out in the middle of nowhere but able to ride home because I had a chain tool. A few ounces just isn't worth it in my mind. I always take a multitool, patches, pump, tube & levers, and chain tool. I've also carry a spoke wrench but have never used it because it was either something that could be ignored until the ride ended, or something major that a spoke wrench wasn't going to fix.
If you're looking for 'least', I go less...Steve_0
Oct 6, 2003 3:47 AM
scratch the tube, replace with an extra tube of rubber cement.

Scratch the bandaids, minor cuts you can live without them till you get home, major cuts they'll be useless anyway.

No chaintool. Just keep a master link in the patch-kit box.
I broke..........Mike Tea
Oct 6, 2003 4:47 AM chain on my winter fixed gear bike when I was 26 miles from home in the middle of winter. I whipped out my chain tool and was on my way in two minutes.

Why risk saving about 50g against a very long walk or having someone come and get you?
I agree..........bent_spoke
Oct 6, 2003 5:16 AM
I was lucky that mine broke about 2 mi from home & I had the cell phone to call my wife. Also, it was summer and I was just finishing up, so it could have been worse.
I weigh over 200lbs and have never broken a chainlonebikeroftheapocalypse
Oct 6, 2003 5:29 AM
on road or off, but it seems like a risk not worth taking.
you better knock on some wood--you've offended the chain god(nm)ColnagoFE
Oct 6, 2003 7:21 AM
re: What's the least I can bring? Do you need a chain tool?tarwheel
Oct 6, 2003 5:38 AM
I carry a Crank Brothers Multi-17 tool which is reasonably small and light -- and has a chain tool. I also carry a spare tube, tube repair kit, spare seat post bolt, tire tools, and an extra Connex chain connector link. The Crank Bros. tool weighs half as much as a Topeak Alien and has just about any tool you could need. It's very well made and takes up little room. I've used mine a number of times on the road. I've broken a chain once while riding. Fortunately I was only 3 miles from home, and a cyclist in an SUV gave me a ride home. I carry a spare Connex link now. I used to carry a CO2 inflator and extra cartridges, but now use a Zefal HPX frame pump. It's just as light as the inflator and 2-3 cartridges and I never have to worry about running out of CO2. Carrying a seatbag with tools is like having insurance -- hopefully you'll never need to use it, but you'll be glad to have it if you need it.
Second the Crank Bros Multi-17 ToolB2
Oct 6, 2003 8:12 AM
Very well made, compact and has just about everything you need on it.

I take the Multi-17 tool, tube, patch kit, levers, CO2 & a Crank Bros mini-pump. The whole works will easily fit into a jersey pocket as well as the smallest saddle bag I was able to find.


BTW - Although mostly mtn biking, I've seen many chains break. Take a chain tool along!
yes, bring it alongcommuterguy
Oct 6, 2003 6:44 AM
I have never broken a chain, but I did once have what I think is called "chain suck." I shifted from big to small ring, but the chain hopped off the small ring, and then got caught between my rings and the chain stay. It was twisted too severely to go through the derailleurs. With a chain tool (part of an Alien multitool) I was able to remove the twisted parts of the chain, put chain back together, and get back on the road.

Also, and I know this is just superstition, but carrying these tools is like carrying an umbrella--it just seems to keep the bad stuff from happening. And, as someone else mentioned, you might be able to bail someone else out of a problem. So, my advice, FWIW, is to carry a multitool that includes a chain tool.
Why I carry a chain tool ...Humma Hah
Oct 6, 2003 6:52 AM
... For decades, I carried a chain tool and a short length of repair chain. Never needed it. So, one day while preparing for a fun run, I decided to lighten the pack. Left out the chain tool and repair links. This is the ONLY time I ever broke a chain.

My LBS was running the SAG stop, and had a chain repair tool, but did not have a new chain or repair links to fit mine. I DNF'd.
yup...same when you forget your pump and/or tube (nm)ColnagoFE
Oct 6, 2003 7:24 AM
re: What's the least I can bring? Do you need a chain tool?Leroy
Oct 6, 2003 7:08 AM
I don't think you need the multi-tool. If you have an adjustment issue you're working through maybe you'd need it or only 1 or 2 allen wrenches. I take 2 small allen wrenches, 2 tire levers, a tube, & park patch kit, all in asmall seat pack. In the jersey go some $$bills, drivers license and hmo card banded together- sometimes keys or garage door opener. Where I'm riding it's out in the country so I usually take a cell phone. One bike has a frame holder for a minipump, otherwise the pump goes in the jersey.
Used a chain tool twice in 30 yearsCory
Oct 6, 2003 7:59 AM
I always carry a chain tool offroad, and sometimes on the road. As a semi-serious rider since the early '70s, though, I've only used it twice. Once on my bike, when I ripped off a rear derailleur and shortened the chain to ride home as a one-speed, and once on a tandem I came across on the road--the stoker pedaled when the captain was shifting and popped the chain.
Worth carrying? Probably not...but they don't weigh THAT much.
How's your karma?Spoke Wrench
Oct 6, 2003 8:30 AM
People have differing needs. I think that it's necessary for some people to carry a lot more tools and spares and stuff than others.

Personally, I only carry enough stuff to handle one flat tire. I don't bother with a cell phone either. That's all that I carry in my car too. Actually, I've considered leaving even that home when riding my retro grouch bike because I have nearly puncture proof Armadillo tires on that bike.

I think that the weight of the tools is insignificant. By far the greater burden is the worry you have allowed yourself to pack along by concentrating on all of the things that might go wrong. As each day goes by, the tendency is to expand your worry burden to more and more possibilities and the tool pouch gets ever heavier.

I've had a few experiences in my cycling career in which I've had to rely on the charity, or at least the patience, of others. Almost all of these have turned out to be friendly, positive experiences. The rest have given me some entertaining stories to tell my bicycling friends so every single one has been a winner.
Are you a good looking female?LC
Oct 6, 2003 8:58 AM
If not then you better carry everything cause I'm not stopping to help you out ;)
Guess I'll keep that seatbag then. :-/ (nm)PseuZQ
Oct 6, 2003 7:30 PM
Pennywise, pound foolishpmf1
Oct 6, 2003 10:07 AM
Why lose the bag? So you'll be 300 grams lighter? You don't carry that stuff because you need it on a regular basis, you carry it for an emergency. I assume you have insurance. Same idea.

I've broken 3-4 chains over the years. Its not even close to one a year, but break one miles away from home, or half way to work and you'll never be without the chain tool again. Same goes for tubes -- some are defective. I always carry two.

Another thing that's saved my butt a few times is the emergency power bar.
Maybe that's "ounce wise, penny foolish?"Humma Hah
Oct 6, 2003 1:52 PM
I dunno, maybe its a stretch, but my time's worth something, and I'd hate to waste a ride dragging the bike to a phone (you tried to find a pay phone lately?), um, did I bring that phone card, 'cause its long distance from down here to home. Then she has to burn dinosaur to come pick me up, while I sat around embarrassed and bored and not riding.

And I left what I needed in the garage, could have been back on the road in 5 minutes.
re: What's the least I can bring? Do you need a chain tool?MShaw
Oct 6, 2003 10:09 AM
My repair kit has a spare tube, a glueless patch kit, a Ritchey tool that looks like a pair of tire levers with wrenches on the ends, a CO2 inflator with a total of 3 cartridges, and a valve extender.

There's also a piece of plastic bag for those days that I somehow end up out when it gets cold/rainy.

All this fits in a Niterider battery pack that I got when I was working at an LBS. For long rides, its a little inconvenient, but for short rides, it just takes up a bottle cage that I wasn't going to use anyway.

If you're looking to do something like my battery pack tool pack, a Skippy peanut butter plastic "jar" is the perfect size.

Do you wear a helmet?Straightblock
Oct 6, 2003 2:31 PM
I wear one almost every ride, but I've rarely needed it. When I did need it, I was glad I had it.

You make your choice and take your chances.
THANKS!! Your input has made me a smarter rider!!Oshboro
Oct 7, 2003 5:50 AM
I want to thank all the people who took time to give me their opinion. I don't ride as much as some of you and I think it is great that there are so many people out there that make a forum like this work. For the record, the chain tool is going to stay, but I think I'll lighten up on the tools (Do I really need the full metric and english socket sets?). And the band-aids stay. They're for blisters, and a little one can make a big difference.
Needed one three timesbimini
Oct 7, 2003 6:10 AM
Two times I broke the chain climbing some killer hills. Not very long but the steepest hills around. If don't get to the top you have to turn around and try again kind of hills.

First time it happened, I did not have a chain tool, so had to call the wife and do a pickup.

I bought a multitool with a chain breaker. Used it twice on the road since. Once when I broke a chain again on a steeeep hill. And again when my front derailuer mounting bolt fatiqued off and the front derailuer got eaten by the front crank. I had to break the chain to remove the front derailuer.