How To Remove And Change Bike Cassette


The most obvious reason for changing the bike cassette is if it is worn. After mountain biking for approximately 1000 miles, taking a closer look at the cassette is recommended – if the cassette’s teeth are becoming pointy and your chain is slipping, changing it might be a good idea. 

Some riders change their cassette when fitting a new chain – an unworn chain doesn’t work well with a worn cassette. Also, changing the cassette is often necessary when fitting different gear ratios. 

Knowing how to remove bike cassette is the first step to not struggling when maintaining your bike. In this detailed guide, we will show you how to change bike cassette. 

A Step by Step Guide on How to Remove Bike Cassette 

1. Check the Type of Hub on Your Bike 

The majority of modern bikes use a cassette freehub. For this reason, our steps on how to change bike cassette are designed for this type of hub. 

You can check your hub type by removing the rear wheel from your road bike and looking near the cassette’s small cog – our instructions on how to change a bike tire should help you with removing the bike’s wheel. If a lockring is sitting outside the smallest cog – this might have the word “lock” on it – then your bike uses a cassette freehub and you can use the instructions below. 

2. Gather the Necessary Tools 

The lockring holds cassette’s cogs in place on the bike’s hub. To remove the cassette, you will have to unscrew the lockring. To do this, you will need the following tools: 

  • A crescent wrench – This should be adjustable 
  • A cassette lockring remover 
  • A chain whip 

If your goal is to replace the old cassette with a new one, you will need the following additional tools: 

  • Torque wrench 
  • Cassette adapter 
  • Paper towel 
  • A new cassette 

3. Remove the Bike Cassette 

To learn how to remove bike cassette, you will need to first remove the rear bike wheel. After removing your rear wheel, you will need to remove the quick release skewer from the mountain bike wheel.

Next, insert your cassette lockring remover into the cassette and then turn it until it seats perfectly – it will only seat in 1 position. If the lockring remover fails to sit, you may need to find one that seats. 

To hold your lockring remover snug to your cassette cogs, you will need to remove the springs from the quick-release skewer, then re-insert your skewer back through the wheel and your lockring remover and then tighten. 

If your hardtail mountain bike features a thru-axle that screws into the bicycle’s frame, rather than the standard quick-release, threading the axle through your lockring remover might be a good idea. This will keep all parts of the bike’s cassette in order when removing the cassette. However, this option will not allow you to lock the cassette’s pieces together with your lockring remover. 

With the bike wheel vertical and the bike’s tire on the ground, stand behind the wheel. Drape the chain whip over one of the cassette’s larger cogs so that you can hold the handle using the left hand.

Adjust the crescent wrench to fit outside of your lockring remover and then hold it using the right hand. The chain whip should keep the cassette from spinning as you use the crescent wrench to unscrew the lockring on your cassette. 

Press the chain whip and wrench handles in opposing directions. Once your lockring becomes loose, release your wrench and chain whip, and keep unscrewing the ring via twisting the lockring remover using the wrench or by hand. 

Remove your lockring and then slide the bike’s cassette off the wheel. If you intend to reuse any pieces or parts of the cassette, remove it carefully – the spacers and cogs can come apart sometimes. 

4. Clean the Freehub Body 

Most cyclists access the freehub on their commuter bike only when they are changing the cassette. For this reason, it is always a good idea to clean the freehub after removing the old cassette. Simply use the paper towels to wipe down the freehub’s body before proceeding to attach the new cassette. 

5. Install the New Bike Cassette 

At this point, you should be familiar with how to remove bike cassette. The next thing you will need to know is how to change bike cassette. When investing in a new cassette, the first thing you will need to do is ensure that it is compatible with your bike’s hub – this should make its installation extremely easy. 

Slide your new cassette onto the body of the freehub. If the cassette is compatible with the hub on your touring bike, it will have grooves that line up perfectly with ridges on the freehub – this means that the cassette will only go on in just 1 direction. 

The shaped side of the cog’s teeth is supposed to be facing away from the bicycle. The size markings are supposed to always face outward. 

Ensure that every cog on your cassette already has a built-in spacer. If a spacer is not available, place one between every cog – new cassettes come with spacers. Once the cassette is assembled, check the cogs to ensure they are spaced the same. 

Once the spacers and all the cogs are on your bike, check the cassette’s smallest cog to make sure that it stands slightly proud of the freehub’s body. If it does not, there is a chance you missed a spacer. 

Next, rethread your lockring using your lockring remover tool. Using the adjustable crescent wrench, turn the lockring remover tool clockwise to tighten – be careful to avoid overtightening. Using the torque wrench and an ideal adapter, tighten to the specifications recommended by the manufacturer.  

Replace your quick-release skewer, ensuring the small part of its conical springs is facing inward. Finally, re-install the wheel on your aluminum road bike and shift through the gears to ensure everything is working correctly. If something is off, be sure to adjust the bike gears before going on a biking trip

What Bike Cassette Should You Use? 

Today, numerous cassette brands compete for cyclists’ attention. If this is the first time you are learning how to change bike cassette, selecting an ideal cassette can be tough. If you have no clear idea on what cassette to invest in, here is a product worth checking out: 

Globo Surf’s Recommendation – Shimano Ultegra R8000 Cassette

Featuring 6 distinct cog sizes – 14 x 28t, 12 x 25t, 11 x 32t, 11 x 30t, 11 x 28t, 11 x 25t – the Shimano Ultegra R800 Cassette is ideal for every type of bike and riding style. One of the lightest designs, the cassette is weighed to ensure maximum performance on the bikepacking trail.    

The cogs are made of nickel-plated steel while the carrier is made of aluminum. With both materials being resistant to both corrosion and rust, Shimano’s Ultegra guarantees durability – the cassette lasts for thousands of miles. 

If speed is a concern for you, this 11-speed cassette has got your back. Offering smooth shifting to its numerous gearing options, the Ultegra R8000 guarantees maximum speed on both uphill and downhill trips. 

Capable of offering the extra bit of kick for competitive riders, the cassette has everything you need for flat ground racing. If your goal is to explore slopes on your luxury ride, a combo of the Shimano Ultegra and a good chainring should eliminate all the stress from both your knees and lower back. 

What Sets This Cassette Apart 

  • It is both compact and lightweight 
  • Can be used on both luxury and competitive rides 
  • Easy to use for beginning riders 
  • Smooth-shifting even in the middle of a climb
  • Simple to install on both modern and traditional bikes 

Model & Accessory Specs

  • Product dimensions: 5 x 6 x 3 inches
  • Weight: 12 ounces

Bike Cassette Maintenance 

After installing your new bike cassette, you will want to take care of it to increase its lifespan. Part of maintaining your cassette will involve cleaning it – be sure to clean it at least a couple of times per year. 

Take extra care when cleaning around your hub. Avoid hosing the hub down or using a solvent to clean it – if you do, you might end up dissolving grease in the bearings. Grease getting dissolved in the bearings can be detrimental to your bike. 

Replacing the chain when changing your cassette might be a good idea. Chains and cassettes need to be compatible with each other – for example, if you have an 11-speed cassette, you will have to use an 11-speed chain. Hence, if you are shifting to a new type of cassette, this might warrant changing the chain too. 

Even with proper care, chains tend to wear faster than the cassette – this means that you may go through several chains before you have to replace your cassette. Keep in mind that poor chain conditions can wear down the cassette’s teeth faster than normal. 



Q: What Tools Do I Need to Remove A Bike Cassette?


The tools needed when changing a bike cassette may vary for different bikes. However, every bike will need the following tools to remove its cassette successfully:  

  • An adjustable crescent wrench 
  • Cassette lockring remover 
  • Chain whip

Q: How Do You Remove A Bike Cassette Without Special Tools?


It is impossible to remove the lockring without a lockring remover tool. The lockring remover tool ensures that you do not break the cassette assembly or the freehub. However, it is possible to remove the cassette without the chain whip – to do this, you will simply need to get an old chain and nail it to a piece of wood. This should function as a chain whip.

Q: How Do You Change A Cassette on A Bike?


To change a cassette on your bike, you will need to follow the steps below: 

  1. Remove the bike’s rear wheel.
  2. Use the lockring remover tool, the chain whip, and an adjustable wrench to remove the cassette. 
  3. Slide your new cassette onto the freehub body, ensuring that the cassette has the spacers in between the cogs. 
  4. Install the lockring and then put the wheel back on your college bike

Our guide has more detailed instructions on each step – read it to change the cassette without any confusion.

Q: How Do I Remove A Stuck Cassette Lock?


If your cassette lock is stuck, you can take advantage of penetrating lube. Apply the penetrating lube and then leave it to penetrate overnight. Once the lube penetrates properly, put a bent chain whip to use on your third biggest sprocket – attach it to the carrier to avoid damaging your freehub.

If your ring tool does have groves + a central hole, it should allow the socket or shifter to attach – otherwise, you will need a vice grip. Shove a quick-release skewer in the hole through the ring tool, put it in place on your ring, and secure it. Rotate the shifter/socket wrench to remove the lock.

Q: How Do You Remove an Old Cassette from A Bike?


To remove an old cassette from a bike, you will need to use a lockring remover tool, your chain whip, and an adjustable wrench. Simply remove the rear wheel from your bike and remove the quick-release skewer. Next, insert the lockring remover tool on the cassette, followed by the chain whip and then the crescent wrench. Finally, simply twist the wrench to open the lockring and then remove the cassette.

Globo Surf Overview 

A key component of the bike’s drivetrain, the cassette requires proper maintenance to guarantee a good riding experience. Although the cassette’s lifespan does vary depending on the type of riding, where you ride, and the condition of the chain, you will need to change it some point. 

In this article, we have shown you how to remove bike cassette. Also, we have shown you how to change bike cassette. Using the right cassette – for example, the one recommended in this guide – guarantees a long cassette lifespan.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!