The Unior 2-in-1 Pocket Spoke & Cassette Lockring Tool is one of those little gadgets that you pick-up for bike touring once and then don’t use for years at a time. But because of its small size and light weight, it hopefully travels with you & your bike on most trips, just waiting for its chance to get you out of a jam.

Unior 2-in-1 Pocket Spoke & Cassette Lockring Tool

Unior Pocket Lockring Tool, bike touring compact travel 2-in-1 Pocket Spoke & Cassette Lockring Tool

I’ve had my $9 / 6€ made-in Slovenia, Unior 1669/4 tool for probably about four years now. (You could have glimpsed in my tool bag from a Unior tool test I did several years back, even though I hadn’t used it yet.) And while I have never really had cause to put it to work, that changed a couple weeks ago. When its time came, the little gadget truly saved the ride, plus I also realized that I will be putting it to more use as I pack & repack my S&S coupled bikes for travel going forward.

Unior Pocket Lockring Tool, bike touring compact travel 2-in-1 Pocket Spoke & Cassette Lockring Tool

For a quick overview of what the tool actually is, Unior developed the 2-in-1 Pocket Spoke & Cassette Lockring Tool to allow cyclists on extended bike tours to be able to replace broken spokes. If a driveside rear spoke breaks, you need to remove the cassette to replace a spoke. And the Unior tool replaces the need for both a separate chainwhip & a standard cassette lockring tool, plus it adds in a spoke wrench.

Unior Pocket Lockring Tool, bike touring compact travel 2-in-1 Pocket Spoke & Cassette Lockring Tool

All that fits in the palm of your hand ~3x5cm (or buried in a saddlebag) at just a 17g insurance penalty. The tool itself consists of a low profile steel lockring tool, and a removable plastic plate to protect your frame.

Review: Removing or tightening a cassette

Unior Pocket Lockring Tool, bike touring compact travel 2-in-1 Pocket Spoke & Cassette Lockring Tool

To use the Pocket Lockring Tool, you remove the wheel from your bike, slide the tool over the wheel’s axle, and engage the teeth into the cassette lockring. Then you reinstall the wheel into your bike, with the Pocket Lockring Tool sandwiched between your frame & cassette.

Here you have to pay careful attention to where you align the 90° bend (the square edge of the tool) relative to your derailleur hanger and frame. You want the tool to press against the dropout or hanger (not against any part of a carbon frame.) Generally, you want the tool behind the hanger when you are tightening a cassette, or in front of the hanger when removing the cassette. But it will vary bike-to-bike. The white plastic piece is not always a necessary part of the setup, but is there to be used as needed to protect more sensitive parts of your bike from contact with the steel tool. Tighten a cassette by simply spinning the wheel backwards, loosen a cassette lockring by using the pedals & chain to rotate the wheel forwards.

Unior Pocket Lockring Tool, bike touring compact travel 2-in-1 Pocket Spoke & Cassette Lockring Tool

The reason the Pocket Lockring Tool saved our ride was because one of the guys I was heading out with was riding a borrowed bike and was having big problems with intermittent ghost shifting. Any time he put any power down in the easier half of the gears on a SRAM 1x gravel bike, the chain would jump and make a terrible noise. The culprit was a loose cassette. It is an easy thing to fix, but without a complete tool kit (or a nearby bike shop) there isn’t much you can do.

Unior Pocket Lockring Tool, bike touring compact travel 2-in-1 Pocket Spoke & Cassette Lockring Tool

But with the Pocket Lockring Tool, less than 60 second later – wheel off, tool on, wheel on, spin, wheel off, tool off, wheel on – and we were good to go. Crisis averted. Perfect shifting and a beautiful day on the bike in Murcia, Spain.

Other roadside/trailside fixes – spoke adjustment & rotor removal

Unior Pocket Lockring Tool, bike touring compact travel 2-in-1 Pocket Spoke & Cassette Lockring Tool

Unior calls the tool “2 in 1”, and interestingly the day after I tightened a cassette on one gravel bike, it got used on another road bike for spoke tightening. On the bent square edge of the tool, Unior includes four-sided spoke wrench flats for a typical 14 gauge nipple. (Unior calls it 3.4mm, which is oddly between the usual 3.3 & 3.45mm sizes, but it worked fine with a secure fit on a set of mid-level alloy Mavic wheels.) We put bigger tires on a rim brake Synapse and needed to do a tiny bit of on-the-fly redishing to avoid tire rub. Crisis number two averted, in two days.

Unior Pocket Lockring Tool, bike touring compact travel 2-in-1 Pocket Spoke & Cassette Lockring Tool

Lastly, I found use three while packing my bike up in its S&S case to fly home. Always being more difficult to pack for the return trip, I was able to use the same technique as removing a cassette to remove my centerlock disc rotors from the bike. Remove the wheel, engage the tool on the lockring, reinstall the wheel, spin, and the lockring & rotor could be removed.

Unior Pocket Lockring Tool, bike touring compact travel 2-in-1 Pocket Spoke & Cassette Lockring Tool

This let me stuff a bunch of extra goodies into my checked bike box (pretty much just boxes of Colombian bocadillos, plus dirty cycling kit) without worrying about bent rotors.

I’ve been carrying around the Unior Pocket Lockring Tool in my travel case for a few years, but now it looks like I will be putting it to more use than ever. Maybe I don’t need to haul around all the super fancy tools I have stuffed inside that Unior Pro Kit tool travel case at the start of this review. It’s a wonder what you can do with the multi-purpose tools that fit in a small saddlebag.

And at just $9 or 6€, I would recommend every bikepacker, backcountry rider, or anyone who travels with a bike far from home should add one to their saddlebag tool kit.

Unior-bike.com

15 COMMENTS

  1. I’m sorry, but a cassette lock ring needs 40nm of torque, no way you’re a.) getting a 40nm-torqued lock ring off and b.) getting a lock ring to 40nm with that tool.

    • Assume a 170 mm crank arm and approximately 1:1 gearing (e.g., 34T front and 32T rear). 40 Nm / 0.170 m == 235 N == 52 lbf. So that end is really easy to do on a pedal.

      Let’s check the other end: the plastic arm looks like it extends almost out to the edge of the cassette, so let’s assume 50 mm radius. 40 Nm / 0.050 m == 800 N. Let’s assume the plastic part is 40 mm long, 5 mm thick, 20 mm across, made of a common non-filled but relatively tough plastic like acrylic, point load on the end. Rough math says the total deflection of the beam will be well, well less than 1 mm.

      The derailleur hanger can probably suffer 800 N (180 lbf) along that axis without too much concern.

      So, as a first guess: should work fine.

    • Mmmmm yes you will. Spinning the wheel with the tool engaged will put a massive amount of torque on the cassette lockring, it’d actually be very easy to overtorque the lockring with this.

    • it’s almost like you just looked at the first picture, without reading how it worked at all, then rushed to the comments to be the first to complain about it.

      1: basic math: the rim is a longer lever than any tool you’ve ever used. Using the rim as a lever, you can apply a lot more torque than you could with a wrench (I’d be more concerned about over-torquing than under, but I understand what the numbers mean, plus I’ve installed cassettes before).

      2: reading comprehension: author describes successfully doing this operation you say is impossible. Also describes in detail how it’s done. And many of us have used the very similar hypercracker for years now.

  2. This is amazing little tool. Cassette can loosen up at the worse times during rides. I had one come loose on a 7 day bikepacking the Colorado trail (I forgot to put the spacer behind the cassette…oops). Somehow It shifted fine and had no issues. However it would have been nice to have this tool. Great find!

  3. J.A. Stein made a tool like this a long while ago called the Hypercracker. And before them, there was another version that I just learned about on Harris Cyclery’s old website. Everything comes back around again.

    • If you wedge the plastic card it comes with between the hanger or whatever part of the frame or fork you’re using as a back stop you’re not going to damage anything no matter the torque. Not even so much as a scratch. I’ve been using and selling these ever since they were on the US market almost a decade ago and nobody is daft enough to screw it up. Well, on second thought….

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