Become the MacGuyver or B.A. Baracus of MTB.
Replace approximately £900 worth of useful but rarely used workshop tools with a DIY set that will only cost you about thirty quid or so.
Bodge jobs covered in this video
- Removing headset crown race
- Installing headset crown race
- Removing headset
- Installing headset
- Installing star fangled nut
Keep scrolling below to get a bonus: DIY chain whip how-to.
Things you will need to get from B&Q or around the house
- Flat blade screwdriver
- Cutlery knife
- 40mm plumbing pipe
- 25mm metal curtain pole
- Threaded rod
- 2 nuts
- 2 washers
- 2 spanners
Bike tools costs money and while it’s a false economy to scrimp on tools that you use regularly like Allen keys and the like, you can bodge together several major tools from some everyday hardware found in B&Q, Wickes or wherever.
Not only is this a cash saving exercise, it will saves time because it’s unlikely that your local bike shop will have a headset press and a rocket tool to sell you, or the workshop time available at the last minute to replace your knackered headset.
All the materials used here were bought from B&Q; they cost about 30 quid in total and made three sets of tools, which would have totalled around £900 for the real deal!
Obviously our ghetto tools aren’t of the same quality, but they will get the job done and for the money who cares?
A word of warning just make sure you take your time and avoid damaging something more precious, such as your frame or hand!
DIY chain whip
On your bike the rear cassette is secured to the freehub body by a lock-ring but because the freehub spins backwards, if you want to remove the cassette, say for cleaning or replacement, you need to stop the cassette from spinning as you unscrew the lock-ring. The tool normally used to hold it is a chain whip and it’s basically a long bar with a short length of chain attached to the end that you ‘whip’ round one of the sprockets. There’s nothing sophisticated or complex about this tool, which is why we’re going to show you how to make your own version. And the best bit? It’s only going to cost you about £2-3 for the parts, which you can get from any DIY/hardware store.
For the lever you need a straight piece of mild steel but we found something called Heavy Duty Restraint Strap in Wickes for £2.95. It’s 3.5mm thick, 1200mm long (so will easily make two levers) and even comes pre-drilled.
Cut the strap down to the desired length – we’d go for around 350mm but a good idea may be to go for the longest length that will fit inside your tool box. File down any sharp edges and round off the corners.
You’ll need about 200mm of chain for the whip. To fit different speed cassettes most whips that you can buy use 3/32” chain but you can just an old piece of chain that came off you bike, that way you’ll get an exact match to the sprocket width. Also cut a short length for the tip of the whip, this stops the tool for slipping as you lever it. Attach the chain to the bar using either M3.5 bolts or 3.2mm rivets.
Finally, apply some grip tape or shrink wrap to the handle – this just makes it feel nice to use.
Three alternative chain whips
Left to right…
Park Tool Cp-1 Cassette Pliers £59.99
The CP-1 is basically a big plier with short lengths of chain on the end, which grip the smaller (9 to 24 teeth) cogs on your cassette allowing you to then loosen the cassette lock ring as normal. It’s pricey but it works on 12-speed and, at 350mm long, has a ton of leverage.
Unior Freewheel Remover £33.99
To hold the cassette stationary, Unior’s Freewheel Remover has three prongs that locate into the teeth on one of the smaller (13 or 14t) sprockets. It engages firmly over the axle and, due to the extended prongs, is even compatible with 10-50t Eagle cassettes. Solid, simple and should last a lifetime.
Pedro’s Vise Whip £49.99
Based on a pair of locking pliers (Mole grips), the Pedro’s Vise Whip is the only tool that locks in place round the cassette. It’s adjustable to fit 11-23 tooth sprockets and, while Pedro’s says it only works on 11-speed, we’ve successfully secured this tool to a 12-speed Eagle cluster. The best tool for eliminating skinned knuckles!