Posted by: audaxing | July 3, 2014

No drama

On a recent 400km ride I was making good progress when suddenly the drive train made a horrible noise.

Not what you want with 100km still to do

Not what you want with 100km still to do

The chain had apparently broken and wrapped itself into the chainrings

For once I did the right things. Here is my account of a good mechanical fix

How to do emergency repairs the right way

1) I went back and looked in the road for any other bits that might have fallen off. I couldn’t actually see anything

2) I carried the bike to a safe position. The problem had occurred on a moderately busy road with verges. I found a gateway nearby with hard standing. Ideal. I propped the bike against the gate

3) I ate a pasty. This is the audax specific side to repairs. Before you start getting your hands dirty you may as well eat. This make you feel more relaxed too.

4) Get out the tool kit. I hadn’t looked at the problem properly yet but it seemed like the chain. I will be needing stuff to fix it. I wanted to check that I had a spare powerlink first. I did.. the links I use are Wippermann Connex Connector Chain Links, 10 Speed They seem easier to join than other types

5) Find something to clean hands with. I was about to get oil all over my hands. So I dug out the package of tissues from the bottom of the barbag and got one out. When I am finished I will be able to use this without getting oil on everything in the bag

6) Diagnose the problem. I disentangled the chain. It seems to have jammed which made the chain go slack which meant that the power link came undone. So hopefully all I have to do is reattach the chain with the spare powerlink. One half of the old powerlink is still there. The other half had disappeared. A tiny black object somewhere on the black asphalt where it flew off.

7) Use the tools to do the job. The multitool has a special device – which is simply a piece of rigid wire with hooked ends – to hold the chain so that the ends are loose. This makes it easy to clip the powerlink together. Then hold the middle with pliers and remove the rigid wire. The chain link snaps shut. The multitool I use is a Topeak Hexus II Bike Multitool – Black,

8) Check the bike is still ok. With drive train problems like this I just hold up the rear wheel and try a few gear changes. If I’d have taken the wheel out I would be extra careful to check the brakes. All ok

9) Clean up. The tissue and nearby vegetation get 90% of the oil off

After I’d been riding again for a while it became apparent that the middle chainring is bent. I don’t know if that caused the problem or was a effect of it. But everything is now going well enough to get me home


  1. You can also shift front mech to small chainring, shift rear mech to smallest sprocket. Fit the chain so the gap is at the top (flex rear mechanism cage if needed), fit powerlink, stand over bike and press down on pedal to snap/lock powerlink.

    • Yeah that’s what I would do normally. The little bit of wire makes it a bit easier though!

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