I've been trying in vain to remove a rear cassette that I myself installed about a year ago. I may have over-tightened the lock ring and now I can't remove it no matter what position I hold the wheel-chain whip-wrench combination. Any advice on what to do to get this cassette off (short of going to my LBS)? The wheel is relatively new and the cassette is very new, and the reason I want to remove the cassette is to replace a broken spoke.

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    have you tried a cheater bar (aka a long pipe to add leverage) on the wrench holding your casette lockring tool? You may need someone else to hold the wheel / chainwhip while you do this.
    – Benzo
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 19:39
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    the thing is your LBS will be equipped, they will probably have a vice set up to do this. I struggled all weekend once with a cassette - I like to be self-sufficient - and very reluctantly took the wheel to a shop on the Monday, they were able to loosen it straight away.
    – PeteH
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 22:27
  • Make sure you're doing it right. Check the Park Tool website for instructions, to be sure. Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 2:49
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    A vice is the way to do it. +1 for a well equipped LBS.
    – WTHarper
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 6:25
  • Also, I think I remember hearing that the US and the UK use the term vice differently: a bench-mounted clamping vice is the way to do it.
    – WTHarper
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 13:13

8 Answers 8


Have you tried holding your tool like this:

Way to hold your tools

I have just discovered it (instead of the classical "one tool per hand" technique) and it helped a lot.

  • Totally works! As mentioned above this totally works. Just apply pressure gradually until the mating surfaces start to click. Thanks for the suggestion. Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 13:06
  • To clarify, this is using the right hand to squeeze both tool handles toward each other for maximum leverage. For most people, your hand is stronger than your arm, but the travel distance is shorter.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 21:11
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    Oh my God, you totally saved me. Been trying over and over on a cassette of an old Raleigh I am working on. The tool started to get damaged, and I was thinking about trying to do it with a vice+hammer combination. Finding a correct angle between the tools was key, and then it started moving as I squezzed - slowly, but surely. Thank you so much, you are a total legend!
    – Mark
    Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 20:25

I used a domestic hairdryer for 2/3 minutes , applied the extension and it finally gave. Would also advise against using a blowtorch as may damage components.

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    Gentle heat is a very-underrated solution. Excellent suggestion, thank you for signing up to SE to share. Do please take a moment to browse the tour and feel free to have a go at any other question too.
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 27, 2020 at 0:43

Did you yourself grease the threads before installing? This is especially important when the lock ring is aluminum. I'll assume your free hub body is either steel or titanium and there's no grease. If force alone won't move it, it's time to try leverage or impact or both.

In the shop they'll ask you the above question before putting the wheel on the ground with the right (or cassette holding) chain whip in a position where it cannot move (under a table or something solid and heavy). The lock ring tool or wrench can have a longer lever attached to it and push straight down. If that doesn't work, get a plastic hammer and try impact. Good luck, and always grease your threads..

  • I recently broke a ParkTool chain whip by forcing it too suddenly. Good thing that a short piece of chain is enough to repair the tool.
    – Vorac
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 9:18

Try engaging the chain whip on different cogs of the cassette. Overlap the chain on the chain whip so that it binds itself in place if necessary.


You should secure the cassette lockring removal tool with the quick release skewer or axle bolt, just enough to hold it in place (although some removal tools don't have a hole in the middle for you to do this). This means you can use more force without fear of the tool slipping.
Then use a long handled wrench (spanner) and chain whip. A box-end wrench (ring spanner) will give you more purchase. Otherwise use a vice in place of the wrench (spanner) and just turn the chain whip counterclockwise when looking from the side of the wheel not fixed in the vice.
When using the wrench and chain whip, if you can't push the two tools toward each other to remove the cassette, you can inflate the tire fully, and go for the most mechanical advantage by having the spanner and whip handles forming a v with angles of about 120-150 degrees. Then push down on both handles. This does run some risk of damaging your wheel though, so only try this as a last resort.
You can also try putting the chain whip on the larger sprockets for more purchase.

  • This is my go-to method as well.
    – Andrew
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 20:33

I'm an engineer and encountered many stuck bolts, nuts and threads in my time. I just tried to remove my rear shimaneo cassette off a 3 year old bike. I used the correct tools and really put all my weight and force into it, but it wouldn't budge. So i decided to apply a little heat from a blow torch. Being careful not to overheat the whole wheel hub, i gently heated it up and then i tried the sprocket socket, and it turned without even needing a spanner. I should have tried that before i applied all my weight and what might have happened, if it suddenly gave way. Even though I've done this before, i was amazed what a difference it made, much safer than jumping up and down on a 5ft scaffold tube!

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    I’d avoid heating bike components with anything more powerful than a hair dryer as heat can damage paint and other finishes. I also suspect heat can degrade bearing grease. Commented May 6, 2019 at 16:36

Wow... I pretty much gave it everything that I could find in my garage tonight, but like most... I have no vice. I even tried a pry-bar between the whip and the wrench, but the whip (Park Tool) is not real rigid and it started to bend. Before I shamefully gave up to go into the LBS, as a last resort, I clamped the chain whip to my workbench table thinking that maybe I can get enough clamping force to simulate a vice before it slips.

Voila. I couldn't believe how easy it was by comparison. While I still needed a breaker bar, this was the most effective thing to do.wood clamp holding park chain whip


Use a massive pipe wrench instead of the chain whip

I have a Shimano Claris CS-HG50-8 11-34t cassette which I wanted to change for a new one, and was trying to remove it for the first time with Park Tool PAW-12 adjustable wrench + Park Tool SR-12.2 chain whip + Park Tool FR-5.2 Cassette Lockring Tool but failed.

I took it to the bike shop, and the mechanic, unable to do it with my tools either, took out the big guns: a massive adjustable pipe wrench, with teeth that look a bit like this:

enter image description here


but longer than the one on the photo, maybe it was like 50/60cm long.

He wrapped the teeth of the pipe wrench around the cassette directly (more or less as the chain whip would), and together with my PAW-12, he was able to remove it but putting the wheel on the floor and pushing down on it as I had been trying before with the chainwhip.

I guess a similar effect could be achieved with a cheater bar, but that worked really well.

This might not be a great idea if you want to reuse the cassette. I didn't see severe damage though, but I didn't inspect the cassette very closely afterwards.

  • Was the cassette reusable or was it damaged by removal? Aside, this tool is also known as a stilson
    – Criggie
    Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 18:23
  • @Criggie Most likely reusable in a pinch, but it would definitely be severely damaged by the aggressive teeth. I’ve used such a tool to remove a stuck hollowtech 2 BB before, and it left some sizable gouges.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 19:21
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    @Criggie I didn't see severe damage, but I didn't inspect too closely either. Although if something is that stuck, you generally want to get a new one I suppose, which was my goal :-) Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 19:26
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    @Criggie - In the US it's a pipe wrench. To most folks a "stilson" is some sort of archaic wrench. Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 19:39
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    @DanielRHicks Either that or a cheese they don't know how to spell correctly. :) I've never heard "stilson wrench" used in real life either.
    – DavidW
    Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 20:00

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