3. How to Replace a Cassette Cluster

Applies to most Shimano cassette/freehub combos (not freewheels).

IMPORTANT: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
How to Replace a Cassette Cluster
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Today we're going to replace a common rear cassette cluster. It's actually quite a straight forward procedure, but you will need a couple of special bike tools for the job: a chain whip and a lock ring tool. Some lock ring tools have a built in handle, but the one we are using today is most common, and requires the use of a large wrench or vise clamp to hold it in place.

Cassette Removal

The first step is to wrap the chain whip around one of the bigger sprockets. This basically holds the cassette body firmly in place while we loosen the lock ring. Next, insert the lock ring tool into the lock ring's inner notches and place a wrench securely over the hexagonal fitting.

As you can see in the video, I've positioned both tools to give me maximum leverage. Now simply push the handles toward each other until the lock ring loosens. Once you remove the lock ring the rest of the cassette should easily slide up and off the freehub body. Since the cassette is removed, it's a good idea to check the freehub body to make sure it spins freely and is not loose.

Click on this image to visit Sheldon Brown's page on this topic:
Cassette Freewheel

Cassette Installation

Installing the new cassette is basically the opposite procedure. Take a close look at the splines on the freehub and cassette. You'll notice that one of the notches on the body and cassette is wider than the rest. Once the notches are lined up, simply slide on the cassette body, spacer and outer sprocket, and then thread the lock ring into place.

This time we only need the lock ring tool for tightening. We certainly don't want the cassette coming loose, so it's a good idea to stand the wheel up, so we get enough downward leverage to tighten it properly. You'll hear the lock ring ratcheting as it tightens.

Once installed, check again to make sure the cassette spins freely and is not loose. It's also a good idea to examine your sprocket spacing to make sure all of the sprockets are correctly positioned. If it all looks good then you're ready to reinstall your wheel and go for a ride!

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11/07 Chain dropping?

I'm having an issue on my CX bike. Which is shimano with 38/48. On the last 2 rides when I'm in the lowest gear on the cassette my chain drops off the small chain ring. It doesn't happen on the 2nd from lowest gear on the cassette.

I decided that maybe my rear mech was limited enough so perhaps was pulling the chain off at an angle. Therefore I played with the Lo limiter screw and indexing adjustment to ensure that wasn't the case. On on my bike stand it was fine but once riding the bike again it dropped? Given that it has only just started happening could be be wear relat... Read more >>

09/11 Stay spacing for 6-speed freewheel

I have an older frame with an ultra-6 freewheel.  When the rear wheel is removed the stays measure 122.78 (hub is a 120 for the ultra-6).  I can cold bend it out to 126, I'm sure, but do I need to if I just put a regular 6-speed freewheel on?  I'm not sure how tight that would be as far as the chain scraping the frame.  has anybody tried it?  Has anybody bent a 120 out to 126 or 130 without problems?... Read more >>

09/10 Chain wear indicators

I recently picked up a Park CC-3.2 to put in my portable bike tool-bag (12 inch ruler won't fit).  With it one of my chains that measures fine with the ruler, fails, even at the .75 side.  Reading on the subject states that the CC-3.2 doesn't take into account roller wear, which the Shimano TL-CN41 does. So, I took a popsicle stick (perfect thickness) and shaped it to press the roller nearest the drop-in end of the Park to give similar results to the Shimano and eliminate roller wear anomalies.  Sure enough, measurements come out differently, and what "failed" previously with the Park, now ... Read more >>

09/03 Changing cassette fail

Hi all. 1st time post. I am unablr to remove the cassette from my rear tyre. I followed the easy tutorial on bikeradar but havent managed to get any success.

See link to pics of my cassette and the lockring i bought. http://s1067.photobucket.com/user/Nexus62/library/Mobile%20Uploads

I think i know where i went wrong. The lockring i purchased didnt fit properly, so i just used a spanner to remove the bolt. Now all that is left on the wheel is the old cassette..

... Read more >>

07/26 Chain slipping off gear shifter(?)

i've recently started riding my bike for exercise. was going well for a couple weeks, but a few days ago the chain on my bike has been slipping off of what i think is the gear shifter. it is very annoying and i haven't been able to ride my bike because of it.

Edit More info: i have a Schwinn Ranger 10 speed. the gear only slips like that in high gear. it does not slip while in low gear.


i have a video of basically what happens. can't get a video of it while riding. it is a video of it slipping off stationary.



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