How to Use a Motorcycle Chain Tool
Whether you ride in competition and need to change your motorcycle chains as often as your engine oil, or simply like to do the maintenance on your bike yourself — including that once-per-year chain replacement — a motorcycle chain tool is an essential addition to your toolbox.
Using a Motorcycle Chain Tool to Break a Chain
Watch the video above to see how to use the Motion Pro motorcycle chain tool.
Step 1. Insert the extractor spring and the extractor pin into the body bolt, then screw the extractor pin guide into the end of the body bolt until it's finger tight.
Step 2. Back off the extractor bolt until the extractor pin is recessed about 2mm into the extractor pin guide.
Step 3. Position the tool over the chain, and align the extractor pin with the pin of the chain you want to push out.
Step 4. Tighten the body bolt so it is snug against the chain and is securing it in place.
Step 5. Use a wrench to tighten the extractor bolt and drive the pin out from the chain.
NOTE: There will be a lot of resistance at first, but once the pin is broken loose the resistance will lessen.
Step 6. Once the pin has been pushed through, back off the extractor bolt, then the back off the body bolt, and remove the old chain.
Using a Motorcycle Chain Tool to Make a Chain - Clip Method
Step 1. Using a digital caliper, measure the distance between the outer plates of the new chain you'll be installing.
Step 2. Grease the new chain's master link, outer plate and the O-rings.
NOTE: Never assemble a new chain without greasing the parts first.
Step 3. Put an O-ring on each of the new master link's pins, then install the master link into the chain. Next, install another O-ring on each of the pins and then install the outer plate.
Step 4. Back off the extractor bolt so the extractor pin is retracted within the body bolt, and install the press plate to the extractor pin guide.
Step 5. Position the tool over the chain, and align the press plate with the pins of the new master link.
Step 6. Slowly tighten the body bolt so it presses the new outer plate down onto the pins. The outer plate must not be too tight, or it will compress the O-rings and cause the chain to kink. Tighten the body bolt a half turn, then stop and measure the distance between the outer plates of the new master link. Continue tightening, pausing and remeasuring until the chain measurement is correct.
PRO TIP: Be patient and tighten the outer plate very slowly. If you do overtighten the new outer plate, put a flathead screwdriver between it and the inner plates, and gently tap the screwdriver with a hammer to bring it back out again.
Step 7. Install the new chain clip to the new master link. Make sure the front of the clip (the enclosed end) is facing the direction the chain will be travelling in when the motorcycle is running.
Using a Motorcycle Chain Tool to Make a Chain - Rivet Method
Step 1. Repeat Step 1 through Step 6 as described in the previous section.
Step 2. Using a digital caliper, measure the diameter of the existing pins on the new chain so you know how far to flare the pins on the new master link. The flare should be 0.02-0.03 inches wider than the diameter of the existing rivets.
Step 3. Remove the press plate and the extractor pin guide from the chain tool, and install the rivet set into the body bolt. Install the rivet anvil into the tool body.
Step 4. Position the tool over the chain, and align the rivet anvil with the back of one of the master link's pins, and the rivet set with the front of one of the pins of the master link's pin.
Step 5. Slowly tighten the body bolt so it flares the top of the pin to form a rivet. Tighten the body bolt a quarter turn or less, then stop and measure the flare. Continue tightening, pausing and remeasuring until the flare diameter is correct.
PRO TIP: Be extremely patient and tighten the body bolt very slowly, because if you make the flare too wide you'll have to press out the link and start over again with yet another master link.
Step 6. Repeat the riveting process for the second pin on the new master link.
Motorcycle Chain Tool Options
Of the many motorcycle chain breaker/press tools available, we recommend the Motion Pro chain press tool and the Motion Pro jumbo chain tool.
If the chain press tool is strong enough to push new pins into any size chain but struggles pushing out the pins from larger chains, you may have to grind the old pin head to remove the flare before the chain press tool can push out the pin and break the chain.
The Motion Pro jumbo chain tool is big and powerful enough to break chains without the help of a grinder. It can push out pins from chains up to 530 size. If you're frequently replacing chains; you value the time saved by not having to grind old chains; or you don't want the expense of having to purchase a grinder, the Motion Pro jumbo chain tool may be the best option for you.