Thursday, 14 November 2013

Removing and fitting a cassette

It's about to get cold, which means it's time to start thinking about fitting ice tyres for commuting to work.
Last year I loved the novelty of my ice tyres.
The sound of rice krispies as the metal studs hit the road, the ability to keep cycling to work no matter what the weather, arriving at work on time and not getting stuck in crazy traffic jams because a car has skidded or whatever and the perverse pleasure of cycling in really, really cold weather and arriving at work all warm.
But the downside of the ice tyres is that they are really heavy and Really difficult to take off and on, so once they were on, they were staying on - which was no fun when it was mild and there was no ice on the roads.
So this year I decided I'd buy an extra pair of wheels to fit the ice tyres onto.
Keep one pair of wheels with ice tyres, another with normal tyres, then swap between the two depending on the weather.

I bought a 2nd hand pair of wheels with cassette for €70 (budget Alexrims with a SRAM cassette) and another new Shimano 8 speed hyper glide cassette for the old wheels.
Then I bought a new chain to go with the new cassettes.
And a chain whip tool.
And lockring tool.
Then I wondered why I didn't just take the wheels to a bike shop and ask them to fit the cassettes for half the price.
But where's the fun in that?

So I set about watching about 20 you tube videos on removing cassettes, had a go myself, but nothing shifted.
Not having the experience I didn't know if it was something I was doing wrong, or the fact that the cassette had survived 7 Dublin winters, and even worse, 7 Dublin 'Summers' and was well and truly jammed on.
I posted on boards for advice - got loads, bloodied my knuckles when the chain whip slipped, hurt my foot as I sat on the floor with one foot pushing the lockring removal tool whilst the other kept the wheel against a ledge.
It wasn't pretty, I was trying my hardest to be a cool independent woman cyclist who could  remove her own cassette - but it just wasn't shifting.

One guy on boards suggested applying WD40 to the surface of the lockring and leaving it overnight.
Using WD40 on bikes is usually against the law, but I was running out of hope, so I squeezed out a few drops and left it til the morning.
In the morning either the bike elves had been in and done their magic or the WD40 had worked because the lockring shifted (easily).
I'm glad I pursued the work myself, I can now change a cassette, and what's more I can say it's actually a very easy job.

New wheels and cassette on hybrid and old wheels new cassette and ice tyres below.

Keep cassette still by pushing chain whip (left hand) down and loosen cassette lockring by pushing right hand down