Whether it's to replace it entirely, to remove it for cleaning, or to repair it in the event of damage, your bike chain will require a specific tool in order to remove it.
Sometimes, your chain will be fitted with a split-link, which is specifically designed to be split open, so that you can remove the chain from your bike. To split open this link, you'll need a pair of chain pliers, which as the name suggests, are pliers created for the sole purpose of splitting these links open.
If your chain isn't fitted with a split link, the required tool will be a chain splitter - otherwise known as a chain breaker. This is a tool designed to remove the pin from one of the links and effectively provide the same end result of breaking the chain open. This tool also will also allow you to remove links from a damaged chain or a brand new chain that is too long for your needs.
Below, we run through a pick of the best options for each need.
Park Tool branded pliers that will stand the test of time
Park Tool has a reputation for the quality of its bike tools, and the same rings true with this, the MLP-1.2, which is a pair of simple chain pliers.
Compatible with five- to 12-speed chains, it caters to almost every bike chain on the market, and at just 6 inches long with a weight of just 5.29 ounces, it'll slot into your toolbox unobtrusively.
Lightweight, easy-to-use splitter with integrated hook
If you need to remove the pin from a chain for any reason, this universal chain tool from tool experts Topeak is a great solution. Measuring just 3.27 inches in length, it's a small, but powerful addition to your toolbox.
It comes with an integrated hook that will hold the chain in place while you remove the pin, and it also offers a small storage compartment for added pins, should you want to take it with you on the road or trail.
The hole in which the hook lives will double up as a pin breaker, too, so it comes with everything you need for your workshop or trailside repair.
Bike Link Plier + Chain Wear Gauge + 6 Pairs Bicycle Missing Link, Chain Plier Quick Link Plier for 6/7/8/9/10 Speed Chains Repair | Professional Bicycle Chain Tool Kit
Budget splitter with free chain checker and spare links
If you're the sort of person who removes and refits your chain regularly for cleaning or you have multiple bikes, you might be in frequent need of replacement split links. This option solves that concern. In addition to a pair of good-value chain pliers, you'll get six pairs of split links, as well as a chain checker, which is designed to help you check how much your chain has worn over time.
Oumers Bike Link Plier+Chain Breaker Splitter Tool+Chain Checker, Chain Missing Link Opener Closer Plier Chain Cutter Connector Wear Indicator Tool
Everything you need to check, remove and refit a chain
If you're unsure whether or not your bike uses a split link, then save yourself a trip to the shed and get the best of both worlds. The splitter will undoubtedly come in handy in future, should you ever need to shorten a new chain. The addition of a chain checker will help you keep on top of maintenance going forward, and the pliers will come in handy if you eventually replace your chain with something that splits.
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