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Verdict: 
Premium shop-ready tool for sensible cash; covers all chains bar 11-speed Campagnolo and will last a home mechanic a lifetim
Weight: 
241g
Contact: 
Birzman Damselfly Universal Chain Tool
8 10

When Dave reviewed the previous incarnation of the Birzman Damselfly chain tool he wasn't overly-impressed given the price. So does the 2015 Damselfly Universal deserve better?

Firstly let's be clear here. Birzman have re-designed the Damselfly, and now offer two options: the Damselfly, and the Damselfly *Universal*. We're looking at the Universal variant here. So what do you get for an extra £15 (based on RRP) over the original Damselfly?

The key difference is in the spring-loaded retainer plate. This adjusts to the thickness of your chain's plates, meaning the chain is held tight against the load-bearing face of the tool regardless of dimensions. Hence Birzman can now say the tool is good for BMX, single-speed, 9, 10 & 11-speed chains, as well as older 6, 7 & 8-speed ones. The only chain it can't do is 11-speed Campagnolo, which requires peening. For that Birzman offer the Dragonfly at £50 RRP. The original Damselfly is restricted to 9 & 10-speeds only.

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Much more expensive tools like the Pedro's Tutto have fixed 'teeth' that the chain sits over, and the thickness is adjusted using a wheel behind the chain to ensure a snug fit and that the pin is driven out or in squarely. This complexity costs, so the movable teeth-plate option is a smart design that just works.

One of Dave's gripes with the Damselfly was that the chain wasn't held in the tool, requiring a few extra hands to make the job painless. With the spring-loaded plate holding the chain the problem is sorted. The wide 'wings' and the pistol grip afford plenty of purchase and leverage to shift the most stubborn pins with precision.

>>Read more: How to clean and lube your chain

A bonus is that the gap in the 'pin receptacle' end of the tool has been narrowed, so it can be used to snap off the excess bit of a Shimano joining pin - no need to reach for the pliers.

At 242g it's a hefty tool and the matt-black finish is certainly premium, even if the angular design may not be for everyone. There's a spare rivet pin included for when you wear out the first one - but that'll probably be a fair few years, even with frequent chain fettling.

Verdict

Premium shop-ready tool for sensible cash; covers all chains bar 11-speed Campagnolo and will last a home mechanic a lifetim

road.cc test report

Make and model: Birzman Damselfly Universal Chain Tool

Size tested: BMX/Black

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

It's for people working on all sorts of chains frequently, or who want a top-quality chain breaker.

Birzman says:

The baby brother of the Dragonfly tool - and a design award winner in its own right.

BMX and Single speed chain specific

1.Lightweight Aluminium design.

2.3/32" and 1/8" Single Speed Chain and 9/10 and 11 speed chain compatible.

3.Innovative spring secures the chain during breaking and makes it easy to drive the pin out accurately and easily.

4.Rivet Pin is replaceable.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

It works on every bike chain I can think of.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Tight tolerances make for accurate chain work.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

It does a very good job of driving pins in or out, with just the one pair of hands.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Still looks as-new months later, and the pin and plate mech are replaceable.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10

Hefty. Feels premium.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10

Very comfortable in the hand, and in use.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Compared to other multi-chain tools offering the same or nearly the same performance, it's pretty good value.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well. Can't fault it, except it doesn't peen 11-speed Campagnolo chains.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The spring plate. Less faff.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing really.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Use this box to explain your score

My benchmark has to be the class-leading-for-remotely-sensible-money Pedro's Tutto, which at over twice the price does basically the same job, except it peens Campy 11-speed too. On this basis, and given it comes with a replacement pin, looks snappy and feels pro, the Damselfly Universal gets a 'Very Good'.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72KG

I usually ride: Charge Juicer  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, MTB, singlespeed and Dutch bike pootling

 

2 comments

Avatar
nod [72 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Does it have a stiff link loosening shelf function like the Park mini chain brute?

Avatar
KiwiMike [1368 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
nod wrote:

Does it have a stiff link loosening shelf function like the Park mini chain brute?

No - the design precludes that, as that requires a fixed tooth or 'shelf' to hold the link plate while you push against the pin.

The fixed-tooth design means it has to be as wide as the thickest chain - in this case, 5-speed. It doesn't do 11-speed, as the tolerances would be simply too loose. I imagine 10 or 9-speed might pose accuracy challenges too. This is a totally different class of tool to the shop-grade Birzman, so there's really no comparison.