Gently turn the push bolt or extractor bolt until it reaches the chain pin. Once you start turning your bolt, you should see the rivet sliding off as you continue rotating.
If you wish to reconnect your chain later on, we suggest that you do not remove the rivet entirely; just leave enough area so that the master link can still be removed while keeping the rivet attached.
Pro Tip: Do not break roller chain via the special connecting rivet. This rivet usually has a special color and an indication such as ‘connecting rivets.’ Choose a link a few segments away from this component to break your chain.
Method #2: Using Pliers (For chains with a master link only)
What to prepare
Step #1: Locate the Master Link of your bike chain
For those who don’t know, a master link — also known as a quick-release link — gives you the ability to attach or detach a chain without a chain breaker.
To determine if you have this chain type, look for a unique-looking link that is a tad bit wider than the others and has one of the side holes elongated or oblong in shape.
Step #2: Position your pliers
With pliers or special quick link pliers, position their tips on the chain so that the master link is enclosed between the two jaws of the pliers. The jaws should be nestled on each side of the master link and between the gaps of the chain.
Step #3: Split A Bike Chain Quick Link
Apply a good amount of force to the pliers. Once done, you should hear a popping sound that indicates your master link has been unlocked. Carefully remove your pliers, and your chain should have been successfully broken.
Pro Tip: Some master link chains are for single use only. Always prepare some spare bike chain master link just in case you might need them.
Can I do this for split links?
If you are using a split link chain, you can use needle-nose pliers as a bicycle chain breaker.
Simply position your plier jaws so that one jaw rests on the pin while the other is on the locking faceplate. The locking plate should slide off easily once force is applied on the pliers.
Then, you are free to remove the chain.
Method #3: Using Bolts Cutters
What to prepare
Step #1: Adjust your bolt cutter’s tension
To avoid applying too much force and literally breaking the chain, adjust your cutter’s setting to its minimum level.
Check your manufacturer’s manual on how to properly alter the tightness of your bolt cutter.
Step #2: Locate and mark the part you want to cut
This method, unlike the first two above, will literally break your chain and possibly damage the link you’ll cut beyond recovery.
You should mark the spot where you want to break a chain link before proceeding with the cutting step to avoid potential confusion and mistakes.
Step #3: Use your bolt cutters
Bring your chain breaker tool close to the marked spot until the jaws are touching the chain. Grip the handles firmly so they won’t slide off during the process.
Apply a great force until the blades are closed and the chain is cut. Remember that some people cannot do this in one take, especially if they haven’t tried it before.
If your chain is not yet broken, feel free to reposition your bolt cutter at the same exact spot and apply force until you have successfully cut your chain.
Method #4: Using a makeshift chain tool
You can also break a chain even without tool made specifically for breaking it.
What to prepare
Screwdriver, nail, or any strong thin stick
Hammer or any blunt object
Socket or any objects with a hollow middle area
Step #1: Position your chain to your socket
Place your chain on top of the socket. Set it down in a way where the chain is laid face down and the rivet is sitting on top of the hollow area. This setup will make it easier for the rivet to pop out later.
Step #2: Remove the rivet
With your hands, put your screwdriver or any durable stick on top of your rivet. When choosing your tool, check and confirm that its tip is the same or at least smaller than the diameter of your rivet.
Then, drive down the screwdriver with a hammer to push the chain rivet off. You can apply mild continuous force if you don’t want to fully remove the rivet. Otherwise, take a nice swing until this component is detached.
Why Break Bicycle Chain?
When your chain starts to wear, you must break chains and repair or replace them, so they last longer. Proper maintenance will also prevent chain malfunction when you are riding, which can lead to road accidents.
People also break motorcycle chain for the same reason.
A bike chain tool kit is a must-have for cyclists that are always up and running.
But whether you have a chain splitter tool or not, just follow our methods on how to break a bike chain, and you’ll be able to get your bicycle running in just a few minutes!
“I ride my bike to work for years, but is that enough? Our carelessness towards our surroundings has taken a toll on the environment. And now, everyone is responsible for changes; even the most minor contribution is counted. With this hope and spirit, I started with my partner to establish Biketoworkday to help more individuals commute to their work sites on their bikes.”