Birzman's Damselfly Universal chain tool is your one-stop* chain splitting shop. It'll handle anything from a singlespeed chain to a modern 12-speed, and the clever spring-retaining plate automatically adjusts to fit and hold the chain firmly.
- Pros: Nice to use, looks good, sprung plate works well
- Cons: Expensive, no stiff link adjuster
The Damselfly is very nicely designed and solidly CNC'd from aluminium. It feels weighty in the hand, and the big handles mean it's easy to grip, and to apply a bit of force to your chain. The locating plate for the chain is sprung, so it both adjusts to fit whatever chain you're tinkering with and also clamps down on it to hold it in place. It's a neat system that works well. You're good for anything from a singlespeed chain to a new 12-speed here. The only chain it won't do is a Campagnolo 11-speed one where the pin needs peening. That's a job for the more expensive Dragonfly tool.
Anyway, with the chain held securely and a big lever to act on, pushing a pin out of a chain is child's play. I've not had a problem with the chain mislocating and the chain tool's pushing pin getting bent, as can happen on cheaper tools. I've used it on singlespeed, 8-speed and 11-speed chains with no issues. I haven't gone to 12-speed yet but I'm confident you wouldn't have any problems there either.
Now I'm the first to admit that since the quick link became ubiquitous there's not much day-to-day need to loosen a stiff link. Normally the only reason you'd need to do that is because you'd rejoined a chain and you needed to slacken off the join a touch. However, if you're buying a workshop-quality chain tool I guess you're more likely to be working on a variety of bikes, some with chains that need splitting and rejoining. That being the case, it's a pity there's no way to loosen off a stiff link on this tool. It's only a couple of extra prongs, it wouldn't be that hard. Other than that it's all good.
As for value – £34.99 isn't exactly small change for a tool that does one job. That said, there are other tools out there such as Park Tool's CT-3.2 that are workshop staples for the same money; even that doesn't have a stiff link adjuster these days. You can spend an awful lot more on something like the Pedro's Tutto, but the Damselfly is going toe to toe with probably the most popular workshop tool here. The performance is comparable, though, and it looks nicer.
*unless you have a Campag chain that needs peening
High-quality breaker of chains with a stylish design
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Birzman Damselfly Universal Chain Rivet Extractor Tool
Size tested: 160 x 100 x 22mm
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?
Birzman says, "The patented "Smart Cradle System" is adjustable to securely fit chains of different sizes, while the ergonomic handle offers substantial leverage to break even the toughest links."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Compatible with 5-12 speed; 3/32" and 1/8" single speed chains.
Handle : CNC machined 6061 aluminium / Body : CNC machined 6061 aluminium / Pin : S2 tool steel
160 x 100 x 22mm
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well for cutting chains to length.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Spring-loaded plate works well and accepts chains across a range of sizes.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No stiff link adjuster.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's at the top end of the market, for sure, but you can buy more expensive chain tools from Park Tool and Pedro's, and Birzman's Dragonfly is £59.99.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes for serious spannering.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a very nicely made chain tool that's very effective. You're paying for that.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
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, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.