Taking care of your cycle, tuning it up every now and then, is an inevitable part of the cycling experience. While some of us relish playing the role of a mechanic by ourselves, there are some of us who don’t take any interest in carrying around a toolbox and leave the maintenance duty to professionals. That said, every cyclist should have some on-road bike repairing skills should they ever find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere with a broken bike chain. Today, we will discuss how to use a chain whip as a cycle maintenance tool.
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The first thing that comes to mind when someone says the word ‘’chain-whip’’ is a close combat weapon mostly seen in martial art flicks. We, however, are looking at a far less ominous use of the tool as the only thing we would be keeping in line with a chain whip is the cassette whilst we unclasp the lock ring from the gear wheel. And of course, the chain whip versions we would be using are substantially toned down than the ones you have seen in movies. It’s basically a long wrench with two bits of bike chain attached on one end of it.
Chain whips are mainly used to keep wheel cassettes on the place while removing the lock-ring. We have broken down the entire process in simple steps for you:
First, you need to take off the wheel you intend on working on. Here, we will briefly discuss how you can remove the rear wheel of the bike. Start off by releasing the break. The purpose of releasing the brake is to spread the brake shoes so that the tire will drop between them. The next step is to shift the bike into the smallest bracket; this will make getting the wheel out easier. To take the wheel out, we will release the close release, loosen the nod on the right, and sometimes you’ll need to move the real derailleur out of the way before the wheel drops out; when you do, the wheel comes right out.
After removing the wheel, we need to turn our attention to detaching the wheel skewer. A skewer is simply the rod running through the center of the wheel. Taking off a skewer is quite easy actually all you need to do is hold the skewer acorn nut on one hand while you rotate the quick release lever counterclockwise. Take off the acorn nut and pull out the skewer from the axle.
Now we will get to use our chain whip tool on the bike cassette. But we also require some accessories besides a chain whip to get the job done. They are:
Before we place the whip, we should check whether our equipment is working or not. First, give the cassette a spin; it should spin freely. Next, wiggle the cassette; it will have a little play, but it shouldn’t be a lot. Now, do the same thing with the axle; there should be no play at all. If you find a lot of play on either your axle or cassette, that means you may have other issues, and you might want to have a bike shop check it out. Then place the chain whip on the cassette. This stops the cassette from spinning when you go loosen the lock-ring.
Once you are done placing the chain whip over the bike cassette, you need to insert the cassette lock-ring removal tool into the lock-ring now. If it doesn’t fit then, you most likely have the wrong tool. Now put the crescent wrench on the lock-ring tool, opposite of the chain whip. Hold the chain whip in place and push down on the crescent wrench; it should come right off! Note that it may make a clicking noise while you loosen it, that’s normal. Remove the chain whip and the lock-ring; the cassette is all free to be removed! The cassette should pull right off, if it fights you, wiggle it as you pull.
You can always buy one from the market but if you are a DIY enthusiast and want to whip up your own chain whip, here’s how you can do it:
The things you would need to build your chain whip are:
We are good to start our work as soon as we gather all these items.
So, the first thing we are going to do is to break a couple of pieces of our old chain off. The first piece is going to be three outer plates long, so it’s open on either end of the chain. The second piece would be 8 external links long plus an inner one, which is closed at the end. Use your chain tool to cut pieces to length.
As we have our two pieces of the chain now, we would want to mount them on the metal bar. We would need a drill to place them permanently of course, but firstly, place the open links of the chain on the bar to make some marks on the spots you would be using the drill. Place the smaller 3 link piece at the end and then, just a bit further along put the next piece of chain. Mark the drilling points with a screwdriver, afterward. Once you’ve marked the bar, you can take the pieces of the chain back off and then it’s time to mount your metal bar into your vice. Then, take your drill and carefully make the holes.
Now, we can mount the chain pieces to the metal bar using our nuts and bolts. While you are fastening the screws, you must remember they should be tight enough so that the chains don’t fall off but not too tight which might hamper the free movement of the chain.
At this point, we have a working chain whip at our hands, but we are not done just yet! To make things more comfortable, we are going to use our old inner tube, cut it up and wrap it around the end to make the whip more grip-friendly. Use some electrical tape to hold the tube in place.
Hypothetically speaking, there are alternatives to using a chain whip. You can try holding the cassette manually by putting on a pair of thick gloves and wrapping a rug around the cassette. Or, you could wrap an old chain around the cassette and secure the end by standing on it. But ask yourself this is it worth the hassle?
Chain whips can be bought at very affordable prices. The prices are so convincing that it’s really not worth going all cumbersome and dirty unless you are far away from a toolbox. Besides, chain whips are safe to handle and can get the job done in minutes. Whereas, pursuing a different method would cost you more time and expose you to the risk of injuring yourself.
You can use a pair of cassette pliers as a substitute, but chain whips are much easier to use and more importantly cheaper to buy.
Chain whips are one of the most common tools you’d find on a bike mechanic’s toolkit. So it’s easily understandable that knowing your way around a chain whip would make your bike maintenance endeavors way much easier. Hopefully, our article has given you a clear idea of how to use a chain whip properly. If you found this post informative and helpful, please share it with your friends and encourage us to continue our work.
A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!