After you’ve been bike touring for a while, sometimes you forget that the tools you take for granted as ‘standard’ aren’t known to everyone else. We were reminded of this when we recently got this email from a reader:
It seems to me that the tools we carry are a lot of weight that we rarely use. I have a very good multi tool but am seeking out ways of saving weight on other tools. Does anyone know of a cassette removal tool that uses the frame as the lever arm, rather than having to carry a chain whip and removal tool?” -Dave
For Dave, and everyone else out there who’s worrying about having to carry a chain whip, don’t worry! There’s a much lighter and better solution out there for bicycle tourists. It’s a tiny tool (about 2 inches long) that will let you take the cassette off the back of your bike, which you might need to do if you break a spoke on the rear wheel, for example.
In fact, there are two of them on the market.
1. The Mini Cassette Lock – This is the one we use. It’s made by J.A. Stein. Here’s the PDF explaining how it works. We haven’t had to use it often but on the couple occasions when we needed it, we were certainly happy to have it in our tool kit! It sells for $35-40 U.S.
2. The NBT2 – This one is made by a Dutch bike builder and mechanic. It weighs 26 grams and costs €22. We have no personal experience with the NBT2 but we know many people who use it, and we know the man who makes them. We have every confidence in this product to perform (to find it on the website, click on ‘hard to finds’ in the left menu).
If you’re going on an extended bicycle tour, or just planning to do many bicycle tours over the coming years, this is one tool you’ll want to have in your kit. You may only have to use it once or twice but when you do need it, it’s very handy indeed, and could be a lifesaver in extremely remote areas.