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I know my bike's rear cassette needs replacing, but before I do that, is it feasible to dismantle the 8 sprockets to reverse their spin? Can you increase the lifespan of a cassette by letting the cogs wear and tear the other way?

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After you solve your problem, don't forget to replace the chain when it's time, otherwise you will ruin other cassettes. –  heltonbiker Aug 15 '12 at 13:34
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seems like way more work than its worth. A cheap cassette is like $35. –  Matt Adams Aug 15 '12 at 14:18
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tooth/teeth - the projections that fit into a chain. Cog - the round thing with all the teeth. Cassette - a group of cogs. ;-) –  JohnP Aug 15 '12 at 15:21
    
If you know you need to replace the cassette then you'll probably need to replace your chain too. They tend to wear down as a unit. If it was possible to do what you want, flip all the cogs, then you'd have a nice new tooth on each cog that probably will have issue working with your old chain. In short, swap out the cassette for new and see how your chain works under load on the smallest cogs. If you have no slippage then great - go on with your life. If you do have slippage get a new chain too. –  Chef Flambe Aug 20 '12 at 19:18

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Assuming you have Shimano-compatiple Hyperglide cogs: No, you can't. The cassette body is not symmetric, the cassette fits in only one position. You could resort to adapt the cogs with a file, though. But shifting will be problematic at least, the cogs have certain indents to make shifting smoother.

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I have had success with disassembling the cogs and reshaping their worn teeth profile with a file. A lot of work, though, I only recommend it if you like to tinker and think this could be an interesting challenge. In case you succeed, this really works, and you can use the cassette with no restrictions. –  heltonbiker Aug 15 '12 at 13:33

The problem is that any rear cluster designed for indexed shifting has directional cogs. There are ramps embossed on the sides of the cogs to catch the chain pins and lever the chain up to the next larger cog when the chain is shifted. If you somehow reverse the cogs these ramps will be on the wrong side of the cogs and will be running the wrong direction.

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The other problem would be that the sprockets wouldn't fit onto the freehub the other way around. –  Trengot Sep 19 at 15:25
    
@Trengot - Easily solved with a good sharp file. –  Daniel R Hicks Oct 25 at 16:48

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