Back in October of 2014, British entrepreneur Mark Windsor turned to Kickstarter to fund production of his chain-removing cycling multi-tool, The Breaker. A couple of years and a design award later, the unique gadget has been supplied to backers and is now heading to retail store shelves. We recently had a chance to try it out for ourselves, to see what makes it so special.
The Breaker follows on from Windsor's previous creation, the Nutter.
In both cases, the basic concept is that of a flat stainless steel tool which incorporates a nylon-covered tire lever, a spoke wrench, a bottle opener, and that can accept an included selection of interchangeable bits. These consist of five sizes of hex tools, a Philips head screwdriver, a flat head screwdriver, a T25 torx bit, and a magnetic tool bit extender. All of them are stored in a carrying case made from leather and repurposed inner tubes, which can be mounted beneath the saddle using built-in Velcro straps.
In the case of The Breaker, however, an included hardened steel chain pin can also be threaded on. Using the bit extender as a magnetically-attaching handle, that pin can be used to "pop off" a damaged or worn-out chain. Of course, dedicated chain-break tools can do this too. The Breaker's flat form factor makes it less obtrusive to carry, however, plus it's always nice to have all your tools consolidated in one device.
We found that The Breaker worked just as well as any other chain tool. It also serves as a perfectly good tire lever and spoke wrench. Using its interchangeable bits to tighten and loosen nuts was likewise no problem. It's worth noting that it has two magnetized holes for receiving those bits – one on the very end, allowing it to be used like a screwdriver, and one on the side, giving it a long lateral handle for added torque.
We did notice that removing the bits from their rubber storage sleeves takes a bit of work, particularly if gloves are being worn. Fortunately, there's a magnetized slot on The Breaker for keeping two of the more commonly-used bits within easy reach. Should you ever actually use its bottle opener feature, it does work, but it doesn't pull the bottle cap off in one nice fluid motion. You more have to work it around the cap, taking it off in a couple of stages.
It's also worth noting that the case doesn't hang all that nicely from narrower saddles – that said, it can instead be slung around the top tube, or just stuffed in a pack or jersey pocket.
Small quibbles aside, though, we would definitely recommend The Breaker. It's got all the functions you'd want in a cycling multi-tool, and is considerably slimmer than a stand-alone traditional chain tool (although for another take on one that stays out of the way, check out the Mini Bar/Barstow system).
You can purchase it now, for £44.99 (about US$64).
Product page: The Breaker