Chainlift: Solution To A Problem That Doesn't Exist?

by Jeff Whitfield on | 2 Comments

Commentary

Chainlift Bike Tool
Chainlift Bike Tool

Noticed this in an advertisement on Facebook. I don't know about you but this looks like a case of over-engineering to me. Just seems overly complicated for what should really be a simple solution. Why would I spend $80 on this when I can spend just $15 on a Pedro's Chain Keeper

Granted, there appears to be a few cases where a tool like this might be useful. On their own website, Chainlift talks about using it for disc brake/caliper alignment. If the chain isn't engaged then aligning the back brakes is definitely easier. But, even then...does spending $80 justify this? Personally, I don't think so. (At least until someone changes my mind! Thanks Fernando!)

The main complaint I can see with this is using it while cleaning. It does not appear that you can turn the cranks while it's engaged. That really sucks. With the Pedro's Chain Keeper, I can turn the cranks while cleaning which allows me to clean my chainrings and derailleurs more effectively. Not being able to do that with the Chainlift is a big showstopper for me.

Update 1/15/20: 

Ok, I stand corrected. Fernando Tages, the founder and designer of Chainlift, posted a comment and, yes, you can turn the crank while engaged. That's super good to know. Thanks Fernando for the info!  :D

That said, does that change my opinion of Chainlift? A little, yes. 

I think Chainlift is probably a good product for someone within a certain niche. For someone that spends a lot of time removing their back wheel, doing maintenance, cleaning, indoor training, and transporting their bike, maybe the Chainlift is a good fit. 

Crap...that last sentence is me in a nutshell. I do all of that. Sigh...maybe I just need to buy a Chainlift and find out. After all, I can't make a judgement on something till I've experienced it first hand. 

Now, where the hell is my checkbook? :P

Update 5/30/2020:

So I bit the bullet and purchased a Chainlift. Gotta say, Fernando and the folks over at Chainlift excel at customer service and support. They're super passionate about their product and it definitely shows!

However, because the Shimano RX-810 rear derailleur wasn't listed, I contacted Fernando about it. He said that the current Chainlift wasn't compatible but that they have modified it to work with the RX-810. As such, they sent me out a hand modified version and will send me one of the newer ones once they finish production. Very cool!

Unfortunately, I'm still having problems with it even with the modification. Now, I honestly can't ding Chainlift on this. The Shimano RX-810 is a rather unweildly rear derailleur. The Garbaruk Rear Derailleur Cage for Shimano GRX 11-speed works only for the RX-812, not the RX-810...which really sucks. The reason is that the cages are quite different. So it would seem that Chainlift isn't the only ones having fun figuring out solutions for this rear derailleur.

Aside from that, I can tell that the Chainlift is indeed a quality product. Once I got one in my hands, it was clear that they really took the time to develop something that is made to last. 

Is it expensive? Yes...but any good tool will be (Park Tools anyone?). 

Is it over-engineered? Not really. The problem they're trying to solve is rather specific. Rear derailleurs are actually pretty complex so the answer to that problem is equally complex. As I've witnessed myself, derailleurs can vary so having one single device that works with them all is a pretty hard problem to solve.

So, I basically ate crow and found that the Chainlift is a very worthwhile solution. It's a tool that, if it solves your problem, is worth having in your shop. Only thing you have to watch out for is that your rear derailleur is compatible with it. If it is and it works then you'll likely be very pleased with the Chainlift.

Check it out on the Chainlift website



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Comments
on

Hi Jeff, I am the founder and designer of Chainlift. I want to correct your statement. With Chainlift you CAN spin the crank and clean the chain (you can see a glimpse of this in the Ad video https://youtu.be/2Pg4FyM3j6k). We launched Chainlift 2 months ago on Thanksgiving Day after 2 years of development and was awarded a US patent. You can read reviews by verified buyers that have used it here https://chainlift.com/products/chainlift. You can also learn more on our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRhelcI9GVZ17p2Zsb6DQKg. If you perform routine maintenance, cleaning, or use a smart trainer, I guarantee Chainlift will become your most used bike tool.

Sincerely, Fernando Tages fernando@chainlift.com

on

Thanks Fernando! Updated the post to reflect a more fair assessment. I’ll likely pick one up to try. Good opportunity to review something for the blog. ;)