The classic Cyclo Rivoli chain splitter still has its place as a carry-along tool, but you might want something more sophisticated for some chains.
The workmanlike Cyclo Rivoli chain tools are tough to beat in terms of cost if you're looking for an occasional use chain splitter, but they're not really tough enough for constant use. The pointy steel pin that pushes the flared pin out of the chain tends to distort with regular heavy use so we'd say one of the more costly tools with replaceable pins is a better bet for frequent bike fettlers.
The Rivoli used to accept replaceable pins but it has to be said that the whole tool now only costs a little more than replacement pins for other tools. For example, pins for Park's £12.99 Compact Chain Tool will usually cost you £2.50 each.
The Rivoli is still more robust than the majority of chain splitters on multitools, and that's probably why it's still around after all these years. I remember using one about half a century ago on my first five speed 'racer'.
Gears and chains have progressed but the Cyclo design is little changed from the way it was all those years ago. In theory, it hasn't really needed to change as chains are still joined by pins with flared ends. The tools just have to accommodate different chain widths and pin styles.
Cyclo has done that by offering separate tools for 5- to 8-speed chains and 9- to 11-speed chains. In case you get them muddled, the 5- to 8-speed one is black and the 9- to 11-speed one is nickel plated. Both come with two push-plate thicknesses to hold the chain and a hardened steel pin in the threaded handle that winds in to push the chain pin out.
Most of the more expensive chain splitters are accurately spaced so that you wind the pin in just the right amount without it pushing all the way through. On some chains this is important. With the Cyclo you need to take some care not to push the chain pin all the way out if you want to reuse it.
For most chains this is not a problem as you can simply replace the whole link with a joining link that can be assembled, and with some brands disassembled, by hand.
If you do your own bike builds at home, bear in mind that almost every chain brand has slightly different splitting and joining instructions, and some brands insist on very specific chain tools.
You can usually manage with the Rivoli, so it's a decent emergency option for a saddle pack, but it's certainly not perfect for a bang up to date chain where the pins are fitted precisely flat to the link plates.
A decent low cost option but needs care with modern chains where accurate pin fitting is crucial.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Cyclo Rivoli Chain Rivet Extractor suitable for 5,6,7,8,9
Size tested: 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?
Aimed at riders on a budget. Fine for emergency use. Not up to regular heavy use.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Rivoli's basic design and adaptability theoretically suits any chain, and it's easy to use, but a more expensive and accurate tool will be more reliable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Small size good for tool packs.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Care needed on modern chains if you want to rejoin them.
About the tester
Age: 58 Height: 181 Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Merlin Ti My best bike is: Ibis Silk SL
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
<p>Steve's passion for riding started around fifty years back with blatting about in the woods, closely followed by CTC rides, touring, schoolboy track league, a brief obsession with time trials then onto road racing, touring and cyclo cross... roughly in that order. Mountain biking and triathlon got a look in later. He tested and wrote about bikes for over 25 years and rode about 2000 of them. Steve also rode for the British team in three World Championships in the very early days of mountain bikes. He left us after <a href="http://road.cc/content/news/115389-cycling-journalist-steve-worland-dead... a heart attack at the Ashton Court Parkrun</a> in March 2014, and is fondly remembered and greatly missed.</p>