Changing cogs on a bicycle can be a chore if you don’t have the proper tools, so when I read that Pedro’s was introducing the Vise Whip, I knew this tool would be worth trying. The normal way to remove the cogs is to use a chain whip. You wrap the chain part of the chain whip around one of the cogs, and use it to keep them from rotating while using a second wrench with a special socket to remove the lock ring. During this process, you have to be careful the chain doesn’t slip off the sprocket, causing you to bash your fingers against a sharp tooth on a cog. I’m frugal, so for years I used an old chain, a Vice-Grip, and a cheater bar. This works, and is free, but is an awkward substitute for a real chain whip. It’s easy to make a chain whip out of some scrap metal and a used chain, but I never got around to it. But, thanks to an automated eBay search, I eventually found a good deal on a new Vise Whip.
Instead of the normal chain whip that relies on a bit of standard bicycle chain to connect to the cogs, the Vise Whip uses a Vise-Grip style locking mechanism to securely clamp four pins around a cog. Now, instead of being an awkward job, removing a cassette from my bike takes a few seconds. The Vise Whip is a reasonably elegant solution to a common bicycle maintenance task, but it is rather expensive. The Vise Whip is one of my tools that is expensive and not used too often, but is a real time saver when I do need it. I could have just bought a normal shop quality chain whip, but the Vise Whip sure is a nice upgrade if you can find a deal on one.