Bike cassette removal

Bike cassette removal is an important part of cycle maintenance, but you may be wondering how to remove a bike cassette and why do we need to do it? Here are some of the reasons why you might need to remove a bike cassette:

  • To wash it- A clean cassette will look and perform better.
Bike cassette removal
  • To service the hub or replace the freehub body- It’s not possible to access the bearings or freehub body without removing the cassette.
Bike cassette removal
  • To replace a spoke- The cassette blocks access to the spoke holes in the hub
Bike cassette removal
  • To replace a wheel- Before you transfer your old cassette to a new wheel, make sure that it fits.
  • To fit a new cassette- Your new cassette needs to be compatible with your derailleur, freehub body, and shifters.

Tools required for bike cassette removal

  • Cassette removal tool- This slots into the lockring. Some of the tools are equipped with a lever. Most cassette lockrings use the same tool.
  • Chainwhip- This tool holds the cassette steady while undoing the lockring.

  • Spanner- This needs to be big enough to fit onto the cassette lockring tool.
  • Lever/jolly bar- This goes over the wrench and/or chain whip to add leverage.

The process

  • First remove the wheel.
  • Remove the wheel nuts or quick release lever.
  • Stand behind the wheel and support it with your feet.
  • Hold the chain whip in your left hand and put the fixed chain part onto one of the lower gear cogs. The tool will be less likely to slip as they are often less worn. Put the free length of chain over the other teeth on the same sprocket. The final position of the arm of the tool should be pointing up towards your left arm.
  • Place the cassette removal tool into the lockring. If it feels like it might slip off then secure it lightly with the wheel nut or quick release lever.
  • If your lockring tool has a lever, attach the tool so that the lever is pointing up towards your right arm. If using a wrench then make sure that it is pointing up towards your right arm. The final position of the tools should be a “v” shape for maximum leverage.
  • Now, using your body weight press on both of the tools. The lockring may be very tight and you may need to use maximum force. The lockring should eventually loosen, if it doesn’t then use a bar to add extra leverage. As it starts to undo, you may well hear a cracking sound.  This is not you doing irreparable damage! It’s the sound of the locking ridges on the lockring and the top cog running against each other.
  • Once the lock ring is loose, take off the chain whip and remove the lockring.
  • Put the wheel so that the cassette is upright.
  • Grasp the whole cassette in both hands, holding the small cog with your thumbs and remove the cassette. If it’s stuck then wiggle it a bit. If there is a plastic spoke protector leave it in place unless it is damaged.
  • If you are keeping your cassette to transfer to another wheel, now is a good time to clean it.  If you are replacing it, then keep it until the new cassette is in place and working in case there are compatibility issues. There are quite a few loose bits on a cassette so have a cable tie handy so that you can keep it together.

Leave a Comment