Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
We have a bit of catching up to do this week. The last Tech Talk, which you can read here was actually a rerun from 2018.
A reader named “Walt” commented and expressed surprise that it was a previously run Tech Talk. So I’ll explain for him and anyone else curious about this that we do that when the writer (yours truly in this case), is off riding (or perhaps something equally important) and can’t get a new column done in time to meet the weekly deadline.
We try to pick topics for these reruns that are still current and that have value. And because all online columns stay available to read and comment on, there’s usually added value in the remarks, tips and questions that come in over the time they’ve been live.
In the case of the last Tech Talk, the column was about fixing a loose cassette. But, interestingly many of the comments were about other cassette issues. So, with the comments, it became an even more helpful resource for anyone searching for cassette help who discovered the article. That’s one of the best things about the Internet in my opinion.
CASSETTE TOOLS TALK
This week, I’d like to add more value by recommending some cassette tools I use and recommend. And answer a compatibility question.
Abbey Bike Tools
The first tools are by Abbey Bike Tools. Abbey has earned a reputation for making excellent bicycle tools and one of their specialties is offering lightweight and compact ones favored by pro mechanics because they weigh less and take up less room in a toolbox.
The clever thing about their cassette tools is that one fits inside the other. Their Whip-It Chain Whip ($45) is the tool that you hold to keep the cassette from turning. And their Crombie Tool ($40 and up depending on which model you purchase) is their cassette lockring tool for both loosening the lockring (chain whip required) or tightening it (chain whip not required).
Pedro’s Vise Whip II
If you own a chain whip tool, you might have had it let go just as you push down hard on the lockring tool. This can be dangerous because your knuckles are close to the sharp and usually grimy teeth on the cassette cogs.
If you work carefully with a good quality chain whip it might never slip. But accidents can still happen. And, for just these reasons, Pedro’s came out with their Vise Whip ($69.99) Vise Whip II » Pedro’s NA (pedros.com).
The advantage of Pedro’s cassette holder is that it’s a plier tool that locks on to a cog. This means as long as you’ve adjusted the jaws and locked the tool closed, it will not slip.
Note that Feedback Sports and Park Tool also make cassette pliers of a different design from Pedro’s. Feedback’s are $45: https://www.feedbacksports.com/product/cassette-pliers/ and Park’s are $48.95: CP-1.2 Cassette Pliers | Park Tool.
A reader named “Katharine,” commented that the best way to ensure your cassette stays tight is to use a torque wrench to tighten it. That’s great advice. She points out that the torque required is often printed right on the lockrings – 40Nm was on the one I tightened this weekend.
The torque wrench I use is Park Tool’s TW-6.2 ($124.95, which can torque from 10-60Nm TW-6.2 Ratcheting Click-Type Torque Wrench — 10 to 60 Nm | Park Tool. This torque wrench accepts ⅜-inch drive sockets.
In order to torque cassette lockrings, you’ll also need the correct cassette lockring tool for your cassette – one that fits onto the torque wrench. Some types of cassette lockring tools accept a ½-inch drive in their center. For these you’ll want to purchase a ⅜-inch to ½-inch adapter in order to fit a ⅜-inch drive torque wrench into the cassette tool (luckily these adapters don’t cost very much).
Or, if you have the cassette lockring tool that doesn’t have a square hole for a ½-inch drive, that tool can be turned with a 1-inch socket that fits your torque wrench. So, once you get your torque wrench, choose the right setup that works with it and you’ll be set.
Cassette tool compatibility
Lastly, I wanted to answer a reader named David’s question. He asked if a Dimension cassettes can be removed with a Shimano cassette tool?
I haven’t ever seen a Dimension cassette, so I Googled it and found one. And what I looked for was its compatibility. Here’s what I found: https://www.modernbike.com/dimension-cassettes.
In the description it says, “Dimension cassettes feature Shimano/SRAM compatible spacing and fitment,” which tells me that it takes the Shimano cassette removal tool.
It’s good David checked because companies have been known to make components that require proprietary tools. By going with a tool that is already available and in the hands of many cyclists, Dimension made things easier for everyone.
Many thanks to all who left comments with tips, tool suggestions and questions!
Ride total: 10,022
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s cycling streak ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.