I recently found out about this tool from this answer.

I'm interested in understanding the steps involved in using this tool to remove/install motorcycle chains.

Also, would it be possible to use this tool to remove/install timing chains on car engines?

Chain Press

  • That tool is used to remove steering heads. Its called a steering head spanner. I did not know about it and had to re-read the answer you link to three times to understand what it was. A quick search later led me to the conclusion. (:
    – race fever
    Jan 2, 2016 at 3:47
  • @Zaid - You have the wrong tool shown up in the picture ... this is a spanner wrench used to adjust the shocks. The picture below it in the link you provided does the work on the chain. Jan 2, 2016 at 3:51
  • I guess that was part of the confusion then :) updated the question with the correct image
    – Zaid
    Jan 2, 2016 at 7:05

1 Answer 1


A motorcycle chain is made up of several parts. This diagram gives a great overview of what those parts are:

enter image description here

As you can tell from the picture, the chain is made up of:

  • Outer plates
  • Inner plates
  • Rollers
  • Pins (or rivets)

While these look like they were made to be just together, they are actually made to be taken apart if needed. The tool shown in your picture is designed to disassemble or break the chain. It can either push the rivet out or push it back in to reassemble. Here is another image showing basically a pin pushed out and the chain in a "broke" state:

enter image description here

enter image description here

For tool you have shown, I believe the small block at the base of the tool (orange arrow) is capable of turning (being removed and rotated) to allow it to do several functions (break or rivet). You put the unbroken chain in the cradle with the rivet lined up with the base hole (green arrow). You first tighten the larger screw (red arrow) to capture the link and hold it all together. It goes around the outside of the pin. You then use the smaller screw (blue arrow) to either rivet or break the chain. The smaller screw will push the pin out or in, depending on your need.

Most motorcycle chains, unlike car timing chains, are designed to be taken apart if needed. Timing chains come assembled for their specific design and are not designed to be taken apart. Motorcycle chains come as a long premade chain to parts stores, where the clerk can break the chain in the specific size needed for the application. This way the purchaser gets only what they need and nothing more, which means nothing is wasted.

  • 1
    But if it comes to it there shouldn't be anything preventing one from using a chain press to dismantle and reassemble a timing chain, right? See this picture for reference. It would have saved me a ton of work to replace a broken oil pump chain in retrospect...
    – Zaid
    Jan 2, 2016 at 16:44
  • 2
    I would say there is nothing stopping you from trying. If you were to try this route, I'd practice on a spare (used) chain first. Make sure it comes apart as expected, then goes back together the same way. There may be a huge of consideration: the chain size is a lot different, to include the pin, which means the tool would not be able to push the pin through without destroying the plates (both inner/outer). I'm sure the pins in the MC chain are about 2x the size of the one in your car. If you found one which was the right size, it would be worth a try. I can see the time savings here. Jan 2, 2016 at 18:25

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