Top positive review
Not designed for narrow chains?
on 21 January 2016
I've had one of these for over ten years and it gave sterling service until one of the locating tangs snapped off. I don't actually know how I did it, I last used it to split a 9 speed chain without issue, and it's been used on 10 speed chains. I suspect it might not be designed for narrow chains (9 sp and up), meaning the outside of the chain's link plates do not actually contact the main support, putting all the force on the inside of the plates and the tangs instead. It's certainly perfect for 8 speed or less, though.
Yes, it's soft metal, yes the handle requires a bit of dexterity to lever against the t-bar when tightening, yes the t-bar had an annoying habit of dropping off the pin shaft when a rubber boot popped off (should have glued them), yes the handle occasionally unscrewed itself (threadlock). But it reliably split and rejoined every chain I've had in that time, with no breakages. Saved my riding buddies' bacon on many outings, too.
The trick is good technique; if you're breaking this after a single use, you'll break a more expensive one eventually, too. Chain maintenance (or lack thereof) might be an issue as well if you need such excessive force to move a pin. Mine had some play in the threads, but lining the pin up was never an issue until the tang broke - in fact the play was useful in that regard.
All in all it was excellent value for money and proved itself indispensable in the field and at home.
I've replaced it with a Park Tools mini brute which I now expect to last 25 years given the price difference.