A chain whip is a simple tool that’s used solely to hold a cassette in place to stop it from freewheeling while snapping the lockring loose. Nonetheless, it unsurprisingly sees plenty of use in the workshop.
A chain whip is, traditionally, simply a bar with a couple lengths of chain attached to it. Pedro’s changed all that with the introduction of the Vise Whip pliers – which lock onto the cassette, meaning zero chance of slippiage under misuse. For the past few years, Vise Whips have been a popular choice for dedicated mechanics, while Park Tool has stuck with the trusty, albeit dated chainwhip – until now.
Park’s new chain whip pliers are rather simple with a spring-loaded hinge being the only moving part. At the business end of the forged steel pliers are rounded tips with lengths of replaceable 10-speed chain attached to them.
Gently rounded tips help the chain to wrap around the cog:
Rounded edges give more wrap of the cog
The pliers’ operation is as simple as their looks. Just clamp the cassette between a 9-24t cog and squeeze with one hand. They work with all multi-speed drivetrains from seven-speed upwards. The larger the cog you try to clamp, the wider the grip gets. When clamping common 11, 12 or 13T cogs, the grip is perfectly comfortable, even for those with smaller paws.
The long 35cm (13.7in) length means there is plenty of leverage available to help snap free even the most stubborn of lockrings with your other hand.
In practical terms, for a pro the pliers won’t be much quicker than using a familiar chainwhip, but they hold securely and there appears to be less strain on the lengths of chain compared with a more traditional whip.
Lined up next to the aforementioned Pedro’s Vise Whip, the Park pliers are quicker to use on a variety of cassette sizes and afford even more leverage. They don’t, however, lock in place like the Pedro’s tool, instead being only as secure as your grip.
We’ve used plenty of chain whips over the years, and this is our favourite so far – although it’s a bit too big and heavy for our portable tool box: we’ve used plenty of chain whips over the years, and this is our favourite so far – although it’s a bit too big and heavy for our portable tool box
We’ve used plenty of chain whips over the years (including the Pedro’s Vise Whip), and this is our favourite so far – but it’s a hard pill to swallow when far cheaper options work nearly as well
Less frequent users are likely to find the simplicity – and ability to completely ignore the angle and side at which you install the pliers – a blessing. For many though, the cost of this workshop tool, which is comparably far higher in the UK and Australia than in its US homeland, may outweigh its convenience. Outside the States, it’s an option that’s best suited to the professional mechanic.