How To Break A Motorcycle Chain Without A Chain Breaker?


Motorcycle chains often get severely damaged that cleaning or repairing don’t suffice. It can be a cause of accidents. Therefore, in case of severe chain problems, it is important to break them. But what to do if you don’t have a chain breaker? Is it possible to break a motorcycle chain without a chain breaker?

There are quite a few alternatives to chain breakers. You can use other tactics to break a motorcycle chain during emergencies. But if you don’t know these alternatives, I am here to help you out. 

From years of experience, I have found some fantastic ways to break a motorcycle chain without a chain breaker. In this article, I will help you to solve this issue. So keep reading.

3 Alternative Ways To Break A Motorcycle Chain Without A Chain Breaker

There are three excellent alternatives to breaking a motorcycle chain without a chain breaker. These alternative techniques are instrumental and helpful during emergencies. The tools are easily accessible, and you can manage the situation smartly. So have a look at these tactics and find the best-suited one. 

1. Pliers:

Pliers are extremely helpful in breaking and detaching motorcycle chains. If applied correctly, they would effectively do the task just like a chain breaker. Follow these simple steps to use the pliers for unlinking the chain link. 

  • Find out the master link in the chain. The master chain is an attachment that attaches two chains. They are hooked with two chains on both of their sides.
  • Locate this link as this is where you would break the chain.
  • Once located, position the pliers correctly. 
  • One end of the pliers goes between the link of the master link to the excellent chain. The other end of the pliers goes between the link of the master link to the left chain. 
  • Finally, press hard inwards. This would break the master link. As the master link fails, the entire chain is now free. 

2. Bolt Cutter:

A bolt cutter is similar to pliers but more robust and more significant. Unlike pliers, you can cut the chain from anywhere using the bolt cutter. The tension of the cutter is adjustable, letting you decide its strength. Very convenient and practical. To use it, follow these steps. 

  • Customize the tension of the bolt cutter first. One adjustment is attached to the handle and the other around the blades. 
  • Increase the strength and tension as motorcycle chains are robust and hard to break. 
  • Then find a position to cut. Try finding a vulnerable place in the chain which has become fragile. This would make the task easier for you. 
  • Put a mark on this point. Then wide open the handle of the bolt cutter. Place the blades at the marked end. 
  • With all your energy, put maximum force and pressure on the chain. Press the handle hard so that the pressure is sharp and strong on the chain. Otherwise, it may slip away. 
  • Try that the handle closes with a single press. This would exert maximum pressure. Done!

3. Nail And Hammer:

A very traditional way to break or shorten a motorcycle chain is to use a hammer and nail. A conventional yet useful method! As most houses would have nails and hammers, many of you would find this convenient. See how you can use the nails and hammers to cut the chain. 

  • First, remove the chain from the motorcycle. It would be troublesome to operate the nail and hammer with this process while the chain is in the motorcycle.
  • Place the chain on a stable and rigid platform. It can be on a wood plank or a metal path. 
  • Then decide a point where you would cut. A convenient point would be the roller diameter. This has a solid shape that can be broken apart. 
  • After positioning, place a thick and hard metal nail on the point. The pointed end would be on the chain. 
  • On the flat end, hit the hammer hard. Be steady and slow to avoid hurting your fingers. Keep hitting the hammer until the chain breaks. 

Among these three alternatives, my favorite choice is the bolt cutter. This is because it can be cut from any point of the chain. And you can do the task with a single hit. It also keeps the entire chain untouched except for the cut point. This means it cuts the chain accurately. 

However, pliers would be your second choice if you find it hard to access a bolt cutter. But make sure to find the master link to apply it. 

5 Reasons To Break Or Shorten A Motorcycle Chain

Why would you need to break a motorcycle chain in the first place? A very legit query. There are several reasons why you may need to shorten a motorcycle chain. This is generally related to repairing and maintenance concerns. 

1. Cleaning:

For effective cleaning, you may like to separate it from the motorcycle. Soaking the chain in vinegar water makes it clean and rust-free. So if you want to clean the chain thoroughly, you would require breaking or detaching the motorcycle chain from the motorcycle. 

2. Rust:

If the chain is heavily rusted, it is dangerous to ride the motorcycle. A rusted chain consumes more fuel and is inefficient to perform. In this case, you would like to replace the chain. And for replacement, you first need to remove the rusted chain by breaking it. You can also replace the rusted part only. 

3. Shortening:

The length of the chain must be appropriate. The tension on the chain would be improper if the chain is too long or too short. A long chain causes a complex alignment issue. In that case, you would need to shorten the motorcycle chain by breaking it. 

4. Elongation:

Like a long chain needs to be shortened, a short-chain needs to be elongated. If the chain is short, the excess pressure on the links would ultimately break the chain. To avoid this risk, you would need to delink it. Then extend the chain by linking chains. Once elongated, reinstall the chain.

5. Replacement:

Due to various reasons, you may need to replace the motorcycle chain. Before returning, you need to cut open the old chain from the motorcycle. So if you require replacing the motorcycle chain, you would need to break the previous one first. 

5 Mistakes Should Be Avoided While Breaking Chain Without A Chain Breaker

Without a chain breaker, you may get confused. This may make you make mistakes. But you should avoid making any mistake while using equipment other than a chain breaker. Let’s know what mistakes should be avoided while breaking a chain without a chain breaker.

1. Cutting The Strong Chain Part:

Don’t cut anywhere on the chain. Choose the most vulnerable part of the chain for breaking. When you cut the substantial and intact portion of the chain, you damage the entire chain. Also, it is tough to break the strong part. Instead, choose the weak point to cut the chain, like the rusted area. 

2. Choice Of Tool:

Though all the alternatives can be used for all purposes, some tasks need specific tools. For example, if you want to repair a part of the chain, you won’t want to affect the entire chain. So use pliers to break the master link only. But with a bot cutter or hammer, it would be difficult to break the master link only. So as per requirement, choose the cutting tool.

3. Breaking After Lubricating:

Never try to break the chain after lubricating it. Lubricants make the chain slippery. So when you place the pliers, bolt cutter, or the nail, they would simply slip away from the chain. This can hurt your hand as well as make the task impossible. So never lubricate the chain before cutting it. 

4. Incorrect Tension:

While working with a bolt cutter, make sure to adjust the tension. If the chain is sturdy and the minimum tension, it may crack the chain instead of breaking. This makes the task even more complicated and faulty. So tune the tension before breaking. 

5. Breaking Dirty Chain:

When you work on a dirty chain, the task becomes difficult. Your elbows may hurt, and you would struggle to break them effectively. Take a few minutes to clean the chain with soapy water. Dry it with a towel. And then break open the chain quickly. Never work on a dirty chain!

These are some common mistakes to avoid effectively breaking the chain without a breaker. 

Related Questions:

How Do You Take A Chain Apart Without A Chain Breaker?

The best tool is a plier to take a chain apart without a chain breaker. With pliers, you would be able to apart the chain without affecting the whole chain. You can unlink the chain with a plier by breaking the master link only. Just hold the pliers in a way that it cages the master link. Then press hard inwards. This would break the master link. 

Once the master link is broken, the chain will be divided into two parts. Now you can work with these parts for cleaning or repairing. Even for replacement, this is a useful tactic. 

How Do You Cut A Chain Without A Chain Breaker?

You can use a bolt cutter instead of a chain breaker to cut a chain. The young tool releases pressure on the chain and breaks it in one stroke only. Especially if you want to cut a chain in good condition, a bolt cutter is the best tool. It has a handle and two blades that let you customize the pressure. 

First, adjust the pressure to be exerted. Next, place the blades on the chain to encode the breaking point between the blades. With all your force, hit a solid stroke to cut the chain. In this way, you can cut the chain from any point with a bolt cutter.

How Do You Split A Motorcycle Chain Without Tool?

Without a chain-breaking tool, you can use a traditional method to split the motorcycle chain by using a hammer and a large nail can help. Though conventional, it is a very effective way during urgency. Just place the thick pin on the breaking point. It is best to choose a point in the roller diameter. It has a solid base to put the nail on. 

Put the nail on this point. Now hit the hammer on the nail. Don’t hit too fast to avoid accidents. Steadily stroke the hammer on the nail, and it would slowly split the chain. Simple! 

How Do You Break A Chain Link On A Motorcycle?

To break the chain link is to keep the entire chain intact. If you just want to take the chain apart from the motorcycle, you should just detach the master link. If you don’t have a chain breaker in hand, a plier would be perfect for the task. The teeth of the plier should be placed around the master link. I mean, the master link would be caged by the pliers.

After positioning the plier, squeeze it with full force and energy. This would break open the master link. As the master link is delinked, the chain is now open. Note that with other tools, this could be a bit messy. So use a plier, if not a chain breaker. 

What Is The Best Tool To Shorten The Motorcycle Chain?

A bolt cutter is the best tool to shorten the motorcycle chain despite a chain breaker. A bolt cutter is designed for breaking chains effortlessly. It is a handy tool and does the job quickly. You need to open the handle and place any chain point between the blades. 

Now press the handle to push the chain against the blades. Put maximum force to cut the point of the chain. However, if you have a chain breaker, the task becomes more accessible and convenient. 

How Do You Tighten A Bicycle Chain Without Removing A Link From The Chain?

It is possible to tighten a bicycle chain without removing a link from the chain. To do so, you first need to use a wrench to loosen the rear wheel’s axle. As the rear wheel axle is open, slowly pull the wheel backward. As you pull the chain backward, the chain gets rolled around the rear wheel’s axle. This means the chain is getting tightened. 

Once you see that the chain is tightened enough, you can secure the axle again with the wrench. Now the chain is not loose anymore. 

Final Words:

You have learned quite a few tactics to break a motorcycle chain without a chain breaker. These processes are super simple to apply and amazingly effective. So if you are further required to break open the chain, don’t panic! Use any of these tactics and avoid making the mistakes I have noted.

Don’t forget to maintain the chain condition to have a smooth and safe ride. In case of any difficulty, repair or replace the chain as required.

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Ahsan Ullah

Hi guys, This is Ahsan Ullah. I have been riding motorcycle for more than 15 years. In this long period, I have experienced a lot of things about bike riding. Now I am trying to share my experience with you on this website.

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