SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
Feeback Sports Cassette Pliers
14g £ 50.00
The Feedback Sports Cassette Pliers are designed to effortlessly hold cassettes, while you whip in the lockring tool and release them. An end to grazed knuckles, agricultural language, or primal grunting. It’ll also shift fixed sprockets, too.
Pros: Sensible length, comfortable handles, self-adjusting, intuitive to use, compatible with 3/32 (1-12 speeds) and fixed sprockets, limited lifetime warranty.
Cons: Better fit with 3/32, rather than traditional track sprockets.
Cassette pliers aren’t a new thing but compared to the humble chain whip (which I’ve never got along with) have a quiet following. Prior to getting my oily little digits on the Feedback Sports, Pedros’ Vise Whips have been my go-to's for the last twelve years.
Both work to the same basic principle, although measuring 25 x 8 x 2 cm the Pedro’s are fractionally shorter and adjust like a mole grip, while the Feedback Sports Cassette Pliers automatically adjust to fit sprockets between 10 and 26teeth (that includes track sprockets, which the Pedro’s doesn’t (at least not officially).
Feedback Sports have gone for cold-forged chrome vanadium steel with an equally hardy nickel-plated finish. Handles feature rubberised sleeves with a ribbed texture for improved grip. Welcome, especially when working on stubborn patients. Oh, and there’s a limited lifetime warrantee against manufacturing defects, which inspires confidence.
The Feedback Sports is so easy to use, slip it on your chosen cassette and the cantilever design will literally mould to fit the sprocket. I’ve tested ours on 6,7,8, 9 and 10 speed cassettes, and the odd track unit for good measure.
Press the handles together. Although not strictly necessary, for best results, I’ve found flicking the catch into the locked position affords some additional security.
Now slot your cassette tool into its lockring, hold the block still while pushing your cassette tool counter clockwise. In terms of technique, I’ve found it easiest with the wheel upright- even with weathered examples, such as Ursula’s long serving Shimano Tiagra, which had sat on its XT freehub for 18 months.
Mercifully I’d put a very thin layer of grease on the freehub splines and lockring, which was still doing something useful. Momentary resistance but minimal effort released said lockring and I got down to the important business overhauling the hub.
No grunting, just a brief celebratory cheer. Much the same story freeing more weathered cassettes of unknown, dare I say, dubious history.
Since we’re on the subject, though the handles keep knuckles way out of grazing territory I’ve tended to slip the Feedback Sports tool midway across the block, and a safe distance from my long handled freewheel/cassette tools. This allowed maximum, worry free torque to be applied. Team, or workshop mechanics tending a bit fleet will appreciate their auto adjustment and conveniently positioned locking catch.
Admittedly, I could just set the Pedro’s to a certain sprocket size and crack on, but that self-adjustment saved a bit of time.
Fixed sprockets get wound on very tight, are right in the firing line of wet, sometimes salty grot and are easily overlooked. Credit where its due and much to my relief The Feedback Sports shifted this neglected 16tooth titanium example. Admittedly, I gave it a liberal blast of release spray, leaving a minute for it to penetrate. It had been left for a decade ... cassette pliers locked on, I heaved, grunting like a second-rate aspirational porn star, when I felt it budge and then spin free. Even with this kind of force, the tool didn’t feel under undue strain. However, I’d avoid this kind of customer too regularly and it seems happiest with 3/32 road types. Sprocket released; I applied a good helping of Peaty’s Bicycle Assembly Grease to the hub threads and spun the sprocket back, snugging it tight with the cassette pliers.
Several weeks, some brute force and the usual, everyday workshop carelessness hasn’t left any calling cards. They certainly haven’t turned to jelly.
The finish is similarly hardy - I've deliberately left ours outside for a few nights in wintry weather with no hint of tarnish. Obviously, residual lube collected from cassettes will help, as will the occasional once-over with an oily rag.
Though hardly small change, £50 is very competitive, given the specification. £7 cheaper the Pedro’s Vise Whip and £15 cheaper than Park CP-1.2 Cassette Pliers. These are apparently compatible with 5-12 speeds ranging between 9 and 24 teeth. Forged steel construction, spring loaded return and dual density grips bode well for long and regular service. However, they’re not compatible with fixed sprockets, which could be a deal-breaker for some of us.
Home mechanics who change cassettes infrequently may find BBB Cycling T-Rex Grip Bike Sprocket Tool with Cassette Pliers 11-26 Teeth a more cost-effective choice. As the name suggests, it will entertain 3/32 sprockets between 11 and 26 teeth. The design doesn’t lock like the Pedro’s Vise Whip and is less convenient than the Freedom Sports - especially when tackling a weathered cassette. Then again, it's less than half their price.
The Feedback Sports Cassette Pliers are a refined, comfortable and intuitive alternative to the humble chain whip. Pricing is closely aligned with similar workshop quality models and arguably best suited to shops, or riders with big fleets. I certainly wouldn’t be lending it for fear of not seeing it again! It also has a two small but significant refinements over the original Pedro’s Vise Whip, which I remain fiercely attached to.
Horses for Courses springs to mind. If you’re regularly swapping cassettes, or a racer using lighter greases in your hubs, it will quickly repay its investment and last many years. However, those of you changing cassettes, or stripping hubs infrequently may find one of the budget models a better fit.
Verdict: 4/5 Refined and competitively priced workshop quality cassette tool.
Feedback Sports | Cycling Equipment for Discerning Riders
PUBLISHED MARCH 2023
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH