Why Is Your Cassette Lockring Not Tightening?- 6 Solutions

A loose cassette lockring can be very problematic. You might fall into a severe problem while you’re riding your bike. So it’s always suggested to keep it all right.

So why is your cassette lock

ring not tightening?

Your cassette lockring may not tighten if the cassette is loose on the freehub. You might find a burr stick inside the hub. The hub might have dirt in it, that prevents it from being tightened properly. There might be problems with the spacer rings too. Or you might have been using the wrong tools. 

Whatever the reason is for your case, we promise to give you a way to troubleshoot. And you’ll be able to get rid of this problem in no time. 

What are you waiting for then? Just dive in!

Ideal Tension for Cassette Lockring

Before we start with the problems, let’s learn about the ideal tension for a cassette lockring? It’s very important as loose lockring means that the spokes will lose tension. This makes them bend and possibly break.

The tightness is measured in newton meters. A torque wrench may be used to determine this. Shimano cassette lockring torque may be anything from 30 to 49 Nm. However, it’s usually a good idea to torque your cassette lockring to at least 40Nm.  

So, how tight should cassette lockring be?

Use a 1′ long wrench and click in a few notches. Keep doing it until it becomes difficult to click more than 2 at a time is usually sufficient. Trial and error will bring you to the point where you know how tight to make it.

Source: Pedro’s

You don’t have to be too concerned about it. Just remember that your cassette lockring should be as snug as you can get it. However, to obtain proper torque, you don’t need to use a torque wrench.

6 Reasons Why Your Cassette Lockring is Not Tightening!

Here, we’ve compiled all the prominent reasons for this lockring tightening problem. We’ve also mentioned how to fix a loose cassette on a bike as well.

Reason 1: Cassette Loose on Freehub

You might see that there is a burr stick inside of the hub shell. This happens most commonly when the hub is not properly sealed. This makes it a little harder for you to insert a cassette into the hub. This can also happen due to poor quality control.

Solution

To get rid of this, remove the cassette lockring first from the wheel. You can use pliers or another external device to do this. Next, remove the cassette from the wheel. Do this carefully so that you don’t damage or scratch up the 6 pawls inside of the hub.

Source: Park Tool

To do this you can use Luditek’s Bike Cassette Removal Tool.

Use your fingers to unscrew and remove any spacers present in your hub (if there are any). There is no need to take out any inner tubes if you have a solid axle.

Reason 2: You are Using the Wrong Cassette Lockring Tool

There are several types of lockrings. So, make sure you use one that matches your cassette. Using the wrong tool might stop you from making the right adjustment. 

Solution

The two most popular tools are Sram/Shimano cassette lockrings and Campagnolo cassette lockrings, respectively. Park Tool’s BBT-5/FR-11 is the tool for fitting Campagnolo lockrings. Park Tool’s FR-5.2 is the one for Shimano and Sram lockrings. Each item costs less than $10.

You’ll also need the means to spin the tool in order to utilize it. It’s best to use a big adjustable wrench such as Tekton’s 15 Inch Adjustable Wrench. However, anything that grips the instrument will suffice. Water pump pliers, often known as the plumber’s pliers, can come in handy.

If you work with cassettes frequently, you can acquire a lockring tool with a built-in handle. It’s to save you from having to use the huge adjustable wrench. Park Tool also produces a version for Shimano/Sram cassettes. The FR-5.2H is about $42.

However, if you’re in an emergency, here’s how to tighten a cassette without a tool. 

Place your wheel between your legs and brace it. Place a solid piece of wood, like a 2×4 on the left side of your cassette. Then, without using a cassette wrench, slam it down with a rock to release the cassette. Use a lockring tool and hold it with anything that grips the instrument and tighten it.

Reason 3: The Lockring is Damaged

If there are any rough edges, dents, or burrs, it will not fit properly in the hub. Sometimes, using cassettes of different widths might damage the lockring. 

Like on a 7-speed hub if you use an 8-speed cassette, it might be problematic. It’s not that it won’t work, but sometimes it damages it.

Solution

Tap the dents out with a hammer and a screwdriver. This may seem drastic, but it’ll make the cassette lockring fit into the hub with ease.

Apply some high-grit sandpaper to both the inner and outer surfaces of the cassette lockring. The rough surface will give grip to let it slip into place in your hub.

Reason 4: Dirty Hub

There might be dirt or grime that is preventing the lockring from seating properly into the hub. Thus making it tough for the lockring to be tightened properly.

Solution

The solution to this issue is simple. You need to clean the dirty hub and then re-install the whole cassette along with the lockring. You can use Muc-Off Nano-Tech Bike Cleaner to clean your entire bike along with the hub.

If you can’t get it in even after cleaning, then lube up the threads with some grease and thread it in. Get a cheater bar there. Or get a friend to help you and turn that sucker down hard. If you can’t get it all the way in, stop and try again another day. 

You need the threads to be clean for this to work. Let the hub sit for a few days, then come back at it with some grease again.

Reason 5: Spacer Rings Too Thick

The spacer rings are too thick for the lockring to properly tighten down. Make sure that you use spacers of the appropriate thickness for your cassette.

Solution

Use a thin enough spacer. A thin spacer means that your lockring will definitely tighten down. But your cassette might not be as secure as you’d like it to be. A thin spacer is good for shorter rides. As you don’t have to worry about the cassette slipping out of the freehub body. 

Source: Road Cycling UK

But this doesn’t work If you’re riding for a long time on rough terrain. If you plan to use your bike for commuting, then use thicker spacers with the lockring. It’s the same if you plan on using it for other heavy-duty purposes.

Reason 6: Old Cassette, New Lockring

Old cassettes were made with thicker cogs. And so they need thicker spacers in order to accommodate this extra thickness. So this stops the cassette lockring from tightening properly. And so you’ll get the Shimano 11-speed cassette loose.

Solution

Before doing anything, take the cassette off your bike. And check what kind of cogs your cassette has. 

If you have a 9-speed, then you need two spacers (separate) to accommodate the extra thickness. Make sure that both the spacer & cassette are square to each other. 

If you have 10-speed or 11-speed, then you only need one spacer to accommodate the extra thickness. Regarding compatibility, you should get a glance to know if an 11-speed cassette fits on a 10-speed hub or not.

What Can Happen for a Loose Lockring?

There are several problems that can come up because of a loose lockring. So you must have it fixed as soon as you can. Here are some of the common problems-

Inaccurate Shifting

You will notice that you are jumping gears if your cassette is not tight enough. Your chain can constantly hop from your gears to your spokes. Or it would jump cogs and give you extremely poor shifting. 

You will notice the biggest problem when you are riding up a steep hill. If you need to shift to a harder gear or downshift to an easier gear, your rear wheel will struggle to keep up. 

And you’ll find yourself pedaling hard, just to stay in place. If your components are not tight, you won’t be able to use your gears properly. Thus, you’ll have constant problems with gears.

Cassette Wobbling

This can happen for a loose lockring. But is cassette wobble normal? 

It’s not unusual for there to be a tiny wobble. A bent rear axle might also cause this. Even so, it isn’t a major issue. You’re just bothered by the wobbling. 

That’s all about the tightening issue with the cassette lockring.

FAQs

Is it possible to overtighten the cassette lockring?

Yes, overtightening your cassette lockring might cause the lockring to rip through your cassette. The lockring would be harmed as a result of this. You’ll also need to carefully remove all of the threads from the cassette so that no pieces are lost.

Is it possible to change the cogs on a cassette?

Unfortunately, some of the huge cogs on cassettes are glued together. And they operate as one piece, which limits the options for changing them. Only another set of cogs can be used to replace that set of gears.

Is it necessary to grease the cassette lockring?

Yes, you must. Greasing the locking mechanism is critical when installing a fresh cassette. The cassette’s cogs are held in position on the freehub by the lockring. And lubricating it boosts its performance.

Final Thoughts

We hope now you can find your way out of cassette lockring not tightening. One last tip- always keep the gears greased. It enhances the performance. And protects the hub from rusting too. 

If you still face any issues after troubleshooting according to us, you should take your bike to a mechanic. There are some issues that can be only understood when examined in real life.

All the best wishes!

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