By Lars Hundley
In the past, I used a cassette lockring tool with a big adjustable wrench and an old chain whip to change cassettes. But I didn’t like dealing with the potential of the adjustable wrench slipping. And as I moved to SRAM 12 speed, the whip no longer gripped the much narrower cogs on my SRAM 12 speed cassettes very well, as it was made a long time ago for the wider spacing of 9 and 10 speed cassettes. Combining these two issues made me worry about busting my knuckles on the sharp cassette cogs if either of the tools slipped. It also made it difficult for me to put enough torque on the tools to break the cassette loose.
Fortunately, I discovered and purchased two tools that have completely solved this problem for me. The first is the Park Tool FR-5.2H – Cassette Lockring Tool with Handle. Combining the tool with a handle means that your wrench never slips loose from the tool, which was always a risk with my relatively low quality adjustable wrench that I used previously. The second is the Pedro’s Vise Whip II, a super cool tool that is a combination chain whip and vice grip. You simply adjust it, clamp down, and you have a chain whip that won’t come off until you release it.
I’m a mediocre mechanic, so I struggle if a tool requires a lot of finesse or skill to use properly. Using the combination of these two tools makes me feel like a pro when I’m working on my wheels now.
And the Park Tool FR-5.2H lockring tool also works to put on disc brake rotors for most wheels. (A few wheels require a tool that grabs the outside of the rotor lockring because of the hub design, but many of them work with the Park Tool.)