How To Use A Motorcycle Chain Tool

Has your motorcycle chain seen better days? When it’s time to replace the chain on your streetbike, special tools make the job a whole lot easier. Today on MC Garage, we’re going to show you how to use a chain tool.

Here at the Motorcyclist office, we are blessed with a supply of perfectly prepped new motorcycles from manufacturers to review. It’s not often that we have a bike in our possession long enough to need a fresh chain. Case in point: this 2020 Husqvarna Svartpilen 701. Obviously, the chain is still in working condition but we are replacing it anyway, as an example. Ideally, we recommend replacing the sprockets at the same time as the chain, but for the sake of demonstration we will not be doing that today.

Break The Chain With A Motorcycle Chain Tool

First thing you need to do is remove the old chain. This requires “breaking” the chain. The breaking method is disconnecting the continuous loop, and I’ve seen some wild ways of doing this… I actually witnessed a friend use a pair of bolt cutters on his dirt bike chain. But to be fair, he isn’t a man of subtle and refined measures, and would probably fish with dynamite. We prefer using a chain tool.

Editor Justin Dawes demonstrates how to remove the drive chain from a motorcycle.In this episode of MC Garage we demonstrate how to remove the drive chain from a motorcycle.Albert Beltran

This D.I.D KM500R chain tool will press the rivets out of the chain using a hardened steel pusher pin applying tremendous force using the mechanical advantage of a threaded plunger, and the leverage of a couple of box-end wrenches. Just open up the tool, and place the U-shaped holder around the chain. Turn the pin around in the holder so that it protrudes. Slide the body in and set it in the “A” position so the pin lines up with the hole on the U holder. This is where the old riveted pin will exit the chain.

Line up the pin with the riveted pin, and hold the tool with one wrench while turning the pin holder clockwise to tighten the pin holder assembly. Simply put, this tool is a miniature press; turn to add more force until the riveted pin is pushed through. Back the tool out, and the old chain is broken. Time for the new chain.

Install The New Chain

Here’s a tip: When cutting the chain, push the pin out of the forward pin when working on the bottom of the chain. This gives you a free link to attach the new master link and chain to, so you can just pull the new chain through the front sprocket. Also don’t clean the shipping grease off until installed on the bike, especially if it’s an X-ring chain. You need lubrication to remain in the master link pins to be held in by the X-ring.

Install The Master Link

Now it’s time to install the new master link. Make sure the pins are greased. Lubrication is important to the life of your chain, and once the link is installed, the internal lubrication is sealed by the X-ring. If you don’t have enough lube, it can lead to early wear of the master link.

Slide in the master link and make sure the X-rings are in place. Place the X-rings in the pins sticking through and mount the link plate. Then install the U holder with the riveted pinheads lined up in the depressions. Flip the pin around in the pin holder and line up the pressure plate with the link plate with the holder marks lined up in the “A” position. This gives even pressure across the entire pressure plate and thereby the link plate. Turn and tighten until it is properly seated.

Rivet The Master Link In Place

Lastly, it’s time to rivet the new master link’s pins which will hold the link plate in the proper place until it’s time for a new chain. Pull the pressure plate out, set the holder to the “B” position in the tool, and line up the small nipple inside of the hole in the master link pin. Then once again tighten. The pin will flare locking the master link plate in its place. Tighten until the flare contacts the link plate. No more, no less.

Too much force and you can fracture or tear the metal pin at the flare, then there is a chance of a failure of the entire master link when it breaks free because of the weak flared rivet end. Not enough force will result in a loose link plate that will let the internal grease past the X-ring and the extra slop can wear the link pins prematurely.


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