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Long story short, I need to remove the rear cassette on my bike. The cassette is a pretty basic Shimano one, and the drive shaft bit I bought a few years ago looks like it also fits the lock ring.

That leaves me with the chain whip. I have been unable to find one at stores nearby, but a few ones carry chain-type oil filter wrenches. The chain looks like a standard bike chain.

EDIT: I don’t have an image of the exact tool I have in mind, but this one is similar. Basically, it is a length of chain with a metal handle attached.

chain-type oil-filter wrench

Would this kind of oil-filter wrench work as a chain whip, for the purpose of loosening the lock ring on my cassette?

  • Do you have a link to the wrench you're considering? – Paul H Oct 19 at 17:16
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    @PaulH Not the exact same, but a similar one, see edit. – user149408 Oct 19 at 17:34
  • It might work, depends on the force it is supposed to withstand. The shape is not perfect, but it might work. Try to get some longer one. – Vladimir F Oct 19 at 17:34
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    two issues I can think of: 1) the pinch of the chain isn't 1 inch: this seems unlikely and I'd bet money that it is a 1-inch pitch chain 2) the chain is too wide to fit between cogs: this one is more probable, but I use an old chain whip from the 8-spd days on my 11-spd cassettes now so I'm still optimistic. Perhaps using it on the largest cog would work around such an issue. – Paul H Oct 19 at 17:47
  • @PaulH using it on the largest cog is probably a good idea anyway, in terms of torque – user149408 Oct 19 at 18:21
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You can make your own chainwhip, either "from scratch", as the video below shows, or using the oil filter wrench for sourcing the base parts (handle, piece of chain).

I agree with others that the "oil whip" has a somewhat short handle. Taking a cassette off can be a pain without proper leverage, so I would look for a longer (1.5 to 2 times longer) piece of metal to serve as a handle for a DIY variant.

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One alternative I’ve used for years: Just clamp an old chain into a vise (or tie it to any other solid object), stand the wheel on the ground, wrap the end of the chain around the biggest (or second biggest) sprocket, hold the wheel firmly and use your cassette wrench to open the lock ring.

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if the chain pitch between pins is 1/2 inch you might be able the chain oil filter wrench to work as a chain whip, but it looks like it would be awkward. and you may not get enough leverage as the handle is somewhat shorter than a regular chain whip.

You can see in the picture below a regular chain whip has two sections of chain. one of which stabilizes the lever where it presses up against the sprocket. The oil filter tool has a toothed edge designed to grip the oil filet in the equivalent area. You might be able to make hat work, maybe not.

When I'm missing an tool I will not use often I just use a local bike store to do the one operation I don't have the tool for. Sometimes they charge me but for quick jobs (like loosening a cassette lockring) they'll do it for free if I buy some small items.

You say that local bike stores don't have a chainwhip - why not just order one online?

You can also make one out of a stout section of wood and some old chain. It's only got to last for one job.

enter image description here

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  • The length actually looks similar length like the chain whip I used today. Hard to say what is :regular:, mine was from a box with multiple tools, Total length 25 cm. I did have to stand on it, though... But I was successful several times. (And my lockring tool ratchet was longer than yours). – Vladimir F Oct 19 at 18:32
  • @VladimirF Length is probably secondary issue, getting it to stay put on the cassette without the second piece of chain is probably the main difficulty. – Argenti Apparatus Oct 19 at 18:39
  • Could easily add a second bit of chain to the tool. In the one pictured, add it to the 'wrong side' could work better. – mattnz Oct 19 at 18:54
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On several occasions, I have used a vice grip (locking pliers) and an old chain. Wrap the chain all the way around the cassette, and clamp on to the chain as snug as you can. There will be a little bit of slack, but that is OK.

Depending on your cassette, make sure you avoid any aluminum cogs, if there are any. this would probably only be the case if your biggest cog is a 42 or bigger.

Lastly, worth noting, it is well worth the money to get a nice big wrench for the cassette tool. The first time I did this I was using an adjustable wrench that was barely big enough for the cassette tool and I struggled terribly. Once I got the big one inch spanner wrench, it was so much easier.

I have tried using the vice as another user suggested, although it has never worked for me, I agree that it is worth a try.

Good luck.

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