Wipperman Chain tool  £21.99

2/10

As a concept it's a really nice idea, but in reality the Wippermann chain-tool doesn't work very well at all

Weight 81g   Contact  www.extrauk.co.uk

by VecchioJo   April 19, 2011  

WippermannChainTool Open

Now this looks neat, a compact chain-tool that could be discreet enough to hide in a seat-pack but sturdy enough to be genuinely worthwhile if anything goes wrong on the road, with the handy selling point of having a life-saving split-link compartment hidden in the body with actual split-links in it. Plus it's from the chain-meisters Wippermann so they should know what they're doing, especially as they're (national stereotype alert) German.

Looks can be deceiving.

If it's in any way possible the Wippermann tool manages to be both quite small and a little bulky at the same time. Although both handles fold in and the edges of the body are rounded off so when pocketed it won't chafe tubes or kidneys it's a chunky little tool, at 50mm x 35mm x 20mm it's almost as big as even some micro multi-tools and certainly fatter than other small chain-tools in our acquaintance and basically it takes up more room than it needs to.

An internal compartment holds the two halves of a Connex 9 speed split-link to facilitate the roadside rejoining of a snapped chain, obviously only if it's a nine speed one though, you could swap these for a 10 speed link should you have a more up-to-date transmission system. As a concept it's great, but as the "compartment" is merely two holes in the tool's body that the link pins slot into to be covered by the folded-in handle it means that as soon as you unfold it for use the links fall out. Probably into the verge, or a puddle. Best put those links somewhere more secure in the saddle-bag then.

Trying to actually use the tool is a pain. The handle to rotate the pin extractor, the one that cleverly retracts and folds over to lock the body's handle in place for portability, once unfolded and extended for use doesn't lock into place so spends the whole time wanting to fold back over and retract again any time rotating force is needed to push a sticky chain rivet, which is to say all the time. This might be bearable on its own but the handle that unfolds from the body doesn't lock into place either and flops around and wants to fold back in again with every movement so it's impossible to get a decent grip on the tool without grabbing the main body as well, whilst the other grubby hand uncomfortably wraps itself around whatever it can of the pin-extractor handle trying to get some purchase.

Splitting a chain with a mini-tool can be fiddly enough without having to struggle with controlling the actual tool itself, which is a shame as deep down it's solid and effective, the tool's prongs hold a chain securely and with enough perseverance and a full lexicon of swear-words the hardened pin can split 8/9/10spd and BMX chains, if only the handles would stay in place. Other comparatively small yet cheaper and lighter chain tools without fancy folding handles and hidden compartments, and even some chain-tools squirrelled away on pocket multi-tools are significantly more useable than the Wippermann. Look elsewhere.

Verdict

As a concept it's a really nice idea, but in reality the Wippermann chain-tool doesn't work very well at all. A chunky and possibly useful body is let down by folding and extending handles that make using the tool akin to splitting a chain with overcooked linguini. Thankfully all testing was conducted in the workshop rather than during any outdoors chain disasters, because we'd probably still be there, in the gutter, saying bad words. And crying.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Wipperman Chain tool

Size tested: n/a

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?

Wippermann are brave enough to state that this pocket emergency tool is exceptionally handy: It's one of the smallest of its kind in the world, and since it is ultra-light - only 80 gm - it's a smart addition to your tool bag. The chain tool is compatible with all derailleur chains, and it includes a spare Connex link. Operation couldn't be easier: If the chain breaks, simply remove the defective link from the chain and re-connect it with the Connex link.

It's actually chubby operation is deeply frustrating and Wippermann actually issue a caution in the operating instructions that the Connex link inside can easily drop from the body once the storage cap is opened.

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

Professional quality durability and precision in a pocket-friendly (3x4cm) design with no sharp edges. Internal compartment stores a conneX link (included). Hardened steel pin. Compatible with all standard 8/9/10spd chains.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
6/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
2/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
5/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
2/10
Rate the product for value:
 
3/10

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

As a chain-tool it was rubbish. As a pocket-tool it was quite chunky. The spare links were a nice touch. If you're running 9 speed.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The idea.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Everything else.

Did you enjoy using the product? No

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No

Overall rating: 2/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: It varies as to the season.  My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun

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