Best Rear Wheel Cassette Tools
So you need to swap out your Rear Wheel Cassette, but you’re not sure what tools you need, well I have some great news for Shimano and SRAM owners. In most cases you will only need 2 tools and they are currently some of the Best Rear Wheel Cassette Tools in cycling industry.
What IS A Bicycle’s Cassette?
A bicycle’s cassette is the cluster of metal sprockets or rings of teeth on a rear hub of a bike wheel that the chain goes around. The cassette is held in place by a threaded cassette lockring.
Cassettes come in various configurations including
- 9 speed cassettes
- 10 speed cassettes
- 11 speed cassettes
Most current road bikes use either 10 or 11 speed cassettes. Cassettes usually fall into one of 2 camps, Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo cassettes. Depending on the type of cassette and components the cassette is for will dictate the type of lockring tool needed. Shimano and SRAM use one type and Campagnolo or Campy use another. Both are used for locking or unlocking a cassette.
Why Do I Need To Know How To Remove or Install Cassettes?
You may want to replace your existing cassette with a brand new one at some point or remove it to clean it.
If you own a smart direct drive indoor trainer like the Tacx Neo or the Wahoo KICKR, you may want to swap cassettes based on the various bikes you ride or add a new one in the case of the Tacx Neo that doesn’t come standard with one.
Shimano & SRAM Cassette Removal and Installation
For years changing a rear cassette would require something called a Chain Whip, a Cassette lockring tool and an adjustable wrench. While not too difficult to work with, it seemed like there was a better way. The chain whip was a little wacky to work with and the lockring tool would often slip out of the adjustable wrench’s grip. It just seemed a little cumbersome to work with all 3 tools, but that is the way it had been for years.
Recently Park Tools introduced 2 cassette tools that would eliminate the need for both the chain whip and adjustable wrench and would make removing and installing cassettes a snap.
Park Tools | FR-5H Cassette Lockring Tool with Handle
Park introduced a Cassette Lockring Tool with a handle called the FR-5H. It features a modified FR-5 tool that allows use without removing most quick release skewer nuts. As an added bonus the removable, threaded steel handle makes it possible to replace a worn or damaged FR-5H heads. This new lockring tool totally eliminates the need for an adjustable wrench, since it already comes with a handle.
It’s a fast and convenient tool to remove and install 12-spline Shimano®/SRAM® style cassette lockrings, as well as similar lockrings on rotor discs. The FR-5H features a modified FR-5 tool that allows use without removing most quick release skewer nuts.
- Fits Shimano®, SRAM® (including 1x), SunRace®, SunTour®, Chris King® and other cassette lockrings
- Also fits some Shimano® disc brake lockrings
- Removable threaded handle for quick and easy replacement of worn or damaged head (Replacement Head: #2301)
- Retail: $43.95
Park Tools | CP-1 Cassette Pliers
The 2nd tool in Park’s Cassette removal and installation lineup is called the CP-1 Cassette Pliers and replaces the need for a chain whip. I absolutely love this tool and it makes so much more sense than the chain whip to use. You simply just camp down on the cassette and use the FR-5h lockring tool for easy removal or installation of cassettes.
The CP-1 quickly grips cogs from 9 to 24 teeth with no manual adjustments. A great shop tool, the CP-1 is 13.7″ (35cm) long and can be used with one hand to hold any 5- to 11-speed cassette solidly during lock ring removal. Forged steel construction with a spring loaded return and comfortable dual density grips.
Those with small hands might have a little more difficulty using this tool, but for the vast majority of cyclists who love to tinker with their bikes and their cassettes, this is a must have.
What About Campagnolo Cassettes?
For those Campy riders out there and there are quite a few, your options aren’t as bright on the lockring side, but you can still replace your chain whip tool with the Park CP-1 Chain Pliers making life a bit more easy.
Park does sell a specific Freewheel remover wrench that works in combination with the bottom bracket lockring tools. By using that tool, you don’t need an adjustable wrench, but removing Campagnolo cassettes still requires 3 tools vs 2 with Shimano/SRAM.
Alternatives to Park Tools
Abbey Bike Tools (https://www.abbeybiketools.com/) sells an alternative to the Park FR-5H called the Crombie Tool – Dual Sided that works with both Campy and Shimano/SRAM cassettes. The tool gets rave reviews, so it’s a good bet the Abbey Crombie tool rocks.
What is particularly nice about the Abbey Crombie wrench is it’s dual sided. Most other wrenches to day are single sided and only can remove Shimano/SRAM cassettes.
Feedback Sports (https://www.feedbacksports.com) sells alternatives either of Park’s cassette tools called the Feedback Sports Bottom Bracket Cassette Wrench and Cassette Pliers.
Now I haven’t tried the cassette pliers, but I assume they work similarly to Parks and might even work better.
Feedback’s cassette wrench has an extra hole for hanging purposes and also comes with a bottom bracket tool.
You can buy the tools separately or purchase them as part of Feedback Sports Team Edition tool kit. Currently Feedback’s Bottom Bracket Cassette Wrench only works with SRAM and Shimano cassettes.
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The steps to remove bike cassette without special tools: First, It’s advisable to wear gloves to detach your bike’s back wheel. Then, remove cassette, the arrow’s direction will indicate the correct way to rotate your cog for locking. Take your bicycle chain, which you removed earlier, wrap it around your bike’s sprocket. Stick your needle-nose pliers into the grooves of your bike cassette, slowly turn the pliers. Keep applying strength while turning until you hear a clicking noise as the baring teeth of your bike’s locking ring detach away.