Taiwan-based Birzman has developed a pretty wide range of cycle products, focusing particularly on tools and pumps. The Dragonfly is its most expensive chain tool and also the most shiny. It's a rather lovely thing to hold in your hand, or have on your desk, and can be used on a wide range of chains, including Campagnolo 11-speed. It doesn't hold the chain in place as well as some competitors, though, and for the non-Campag-users there are probably better, cheaper alternatives.
We've covered the rest of the range over the years, and reviewed the Damselfly Universal a few months ago, which is a similarly hefty device. I've seen it suggested that the Dragonfly is "light enough to bring with you on the ride", but I'd have to disagree – there are much smaller, lighter devices I'd favour if I didn't have a multi-tool with a chain breaker. I'd suggest this is more of a home-use device, and certainly the weighty arms give you plenty of leverage to push a chain pin out.
One of the main selling points of this device is that it can be used on 9, 10 and 11-speed chains, including the Campagnolo 11-speed chain, which requires you to peen the chain rivet once it's in place. To this end, there are a couple of interchangeable chain shelf pieces, one used with 11-speed chains (with a little plate that pivots around for the peening) and one designed for 9 and 10-speed bikes. You switch from one shelf to the other by unscrewing a couple of little screws. There's nowhere to store the piece you're not using at the moment, which seems unfortunate as I'm sure I'd be prone to losing it.
In reality, I found there was a fair degree of interchangeability and you could fit an 11-speed chain on the 9/10-speed shelf and, more surprisingly, vice versa. The teeth that go through the chain links aren't as long as on some devices, and there's no sprung grip to hold it in place, so you need to be quite careful to keep things lined up while you're winding the drive pin in.
Because of this, it's a more fiddly process than with something like Park Tool's CT-4.3, which seems like an obvious competitor. The Park tool is a whole lot less shiny but I suspect would probably be the one that most bike workshops would plump for; the chain sits in a shaped channel, which holds it in the right place without you needing a free hand to do this.
Pushing pins out was relatively straightforward – trying to push a partially removed pin back into the chain was less reliably achieved. I know, you're supposed to use a new pin each time, but I suspect I'm not the only one who does this. There's generally too much play – in how the chain is held, and in the driving pin itself. This is a bit hard to forgive in a £50 chain tool, even one this shiny.
I don't own a bike fitted with Campagnolo 11-speed so wasn't able to test this, but the peening shelf seems fairly straightforward to use. If you go by the book and fit a new pin, there's a neat hole in the handle here to snap off the other half of the pin once fitted – a nice touch.
If I was buying a chain tool to look pretty on my desk, with money no object, this would be my first choice. If I was buying one to make the process of breaking and rejoining a chain as easy as possible, I'd look elsewhere. And that's probably all you need to know.
Compatible with all chains and very pretty, but there are better chain tools out there
road.cc test report
Make and model: Birzman Dragonfly Chain Tool
Size tested: Reversible for 9/10 and 11 speed, Shiny Silver
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?
Dragonfly Chain Rivet Extractor
1.It is the perfect tool for quick exchanges and repair applications.
2.Perfect T-design for extra handling leverage.
3.Reversible for 9/10 and 11 speed.
4.Special-steel S2 replaceable rivet pin
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Compatible with 9, 10 and 11 speed transmissions. Includes a widget for peening the rivet of Campagnolo 11-speed chains.
It's very shiny. Like it should be sitting on an office desk rather than in a grubby toolbox.
Not sufficiently better than smaller, cheaper alternatives to merit the cost, in my view.
No obvious vulnerabilities besides the pin (as with any such tool), which can be replaced.
I've seen it suggested that this is "light enough to bring with you on the ride". I disagree.
Long, smooth handles give plenty of leverage in comfort.
Unless your value judgement is heavily biased towards how shiny something is, I can't see this offers great value compared with more prosaic alternatives.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Does a good job at breaking chains, but doesn't hold the chain in place as well as some. I found it less good at pushing a re-used pin back through a chain.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Doesn't hold the chain in place very well. Easy to lose the alternative chain shelf and spare pin.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes mostly.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.
Use this box to explain your score
There are things that you'd pay extra for because they just look/feel nice, but I'm not really convinced chain tools are one of them.
About the tester
I usually ride: On-one Bish Bash Bosh My best bike is: Rose X-Lite CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.