Assembly of derailleur chains

In order to assemble the chain on a bicycle, the chain has to be adjusted to the right length and then connected. All links of the chain are strained evenly. Therefore, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

One can distinguish four different methods of connecting a chain:

  • Use of a standard chain tool or plier with which one can open and close any pin of the chain.
  • Use of a chain tool and a special pin with which the chain is ought to be connected.
  • Use of a special connector which can be opened and closed without a tool (i.e. superlink).
  • Use of the Rohloff Revolver 3 chain tool which can open, close and rivet any pin of the chain.

The advantage of the special connector is the simple and fast assembly. However, the connector is by far not as strong as all the other links of a high performance chain. Therefore, it is not suitable for mountain biking and racing.

Indeed, most chains do not have a special connector. The pin must be moved through the roller and pin link plate by using a tool. Whereas all other pins are riveted during the production process of the chain to improve its lateral stability, the connecting pin is only moved back in its fitting of the pin link plate by standard tools. This means that one side of the pins remains unriveted with the effect that the retention force of this pin will reach only about one third of the retention force of all other pins. The result is the same as with a connector: Where the chain is connected, it is by far less strong than at all other links. Therefore, standard chain tools and pliers should only be used for connecting chain provisionally (during trips, for example).

Shimano addressed this problem by introducing a special pin which is mushroomed on both sides in order to increase the retention force. In reality, however, this solution is not always satisfactory because the mushroomed pin can damage the pin link plate with the negative effect that the pin can move in the hole of the pin link plate.

Both the connector and the special black pin have a contructional disadvantage: for connecting the chain you need special parts which do not always work reliably.

Rohloff solved the problem without changing the construction of the chain by inventing a new chain tool that can rivet the pin back to full strength. Any standard pin can be riveted with this tool, generating a spindle force of around 3 tons, and is marked. Therefore, only by using the Rohloff Revolver 2 riveting tool the connected link of the chain is as strong as all the others and can be identified at any time. The Rohloff Revolver 3 can be used for all derailleur chains without connector, including Shimano chains. For connecting Shimano chains you should not use the special black pin at all or rivet it on both sides.

Finally, the Rohloff Revolver 3 is easy to use and durable. Even in the bicycle factories it is used more and more often because the stringent product liablility laws force the manufacturers to make their bikes as save as technically possible. The same applies to the workshops of the dealers where the Rohloff Revolver 2 should not be missing.

In any case, a chain should only be assembled by trained personnel. After the assembly you should verify that the pin sticks out equally on both sides of the pin link plate.