Meet the Hypercracker

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hypercrackerIf you are a cycle tourer or keen cyclist you might know what I’m talking about. It is so many years ago I have forgotten how I got hold of a Hypercracker tool. It’s just been laying there at the bottom of the tool box, unused.

If you are looking for a way to remove your Shimano cassette that doesn’t involve heavy tools like a chainwhip or a big spanner, the Hypercracker is the lightweight option. Great for cycle touring when a drive side spoke has snapped and you don’t want to drag the “heavies” with you.

Take out your rear wheel, place the Hypercracker on the lock ring of the cassette and pop the back wheel into the drop out. This part is the fiddly bit, since you have to make sure that the Hypercracker stays put and get into the right place on your frame, between the chain and seat stays. Then you make sure that the wheel is fixed back in place and your then turn the pedals around and the chain and Hypercracker should just pull the lock ring loose.

Do make sure that you are spinning the right way and have fitted the Hypercraker correctly before you put in any force.

We both needed new chains and cassettes on our Surly Long Haul Truckers and I thought that this would be a great time to try out this tool that I have had laying around for years and years.

next big thing nbt2As always I use my bike as a “guinea pig” and I managed to spin the wheel around and started to tighten the lock ring even more. Luckily, I spotted this before I applied too much elbow grease. After some re-adjusting and turning everything the right way, the lock ring unlocked easily.

Though depending on your frame design the Hypercracker might not fit, as I can see on other frames we have. On the Surly LHT I had to put a tyre lever in as a brace to hold it place and also to protect the paint work, as the Hypercracker just about touched the frame and as soon I put any weight on it, it popped out of place.

One problem I found was than when I tried to take the cassette off Peli’s tourer with a HOPE rear hub the Hypercracker didn’t fit. The axle cap/collar, lack of a technical word here, outer diameter is bigger than the Hypercracker inner diameter, so it wouldn’t fit inside the lock ring.

The biggest problem is that the makers of the Hypercracker tool have retired and the company have stopped making them. This explains why so many cycle tourers I have meet get all nostalgic when I mention that I have one. Though there are a few other options out there.

NBT2 (Next Best Thing 2): A cassette lock remover made by m-gineering in Holland. The NTB2 is a newer and lighter version of the NBT, but does the same job as the Hypercracker. You can find it online at SPA Cycles.

Mini Cassette Lock: Made by J. A. Stein in the USA. I found it at Harris Cycles (Home of Sheldon Brown) but at a rather expensive price.

unior - Pocket spoke and freewheel remover wrenchPocket lockring remover and spoke key : Made by Unior and is looking a bit weak, though I have read elsewhere that it works just fine. I have managed to find it online at CycleLife.

Then there is the DIY version of the lock ring remover. Since I don’t have access to the extra tools that is required to make these, I will be getting one of the above.

Mark and Ju’s Hypercracker : A home made one where you pretty much butcher a cassette removal tool to the bare minimum.

Pardo.net have a brilliant page about the Hypercracker and other mini/diy cassette removal tools. Well worth a read, there is even a a CAD drawing if you fancy trying to make one yourself.

I honestly do think that Park Tools or the like should make a mini cassette lock right remover tool, since there are so many people out there that are touring the world and would like something light to take with them.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I bought the Stein Mini Cassette Lock through the Harris Cyclery a while back, whilst buying various other odds and sods. The big problem with getting stuff from the states is normally the P&P, and it generally pays to put a largish order in, otherwise the postage can cost more than the order!

    The tool itself seems to work fine, although I’ve only used it with Shimano hubs and cassettes on the Kaffenback, but the basic principle certainly seems to hold true.

    I carry it in my general cycling tool kit, but I also have a Kevlar spoke in there as well, and one of the major reasons for carrying it out on the road is to replace a spoke on the drive side, so arguably it’s a little redundant.

  2. Was sold a Pamir hypercracker almost 20 years ago. Used it once on a tour. It worked exactly as advertised. Had I known they were going to go out of production I would’ve purchased a dozen. The only knock is because of the ‘soft’ material many uses would ’round’ it out I’m sure. Going to tour this summer. Purchasing a Stein. Superior design and materials no question. Worth the money, no doubt. There are cheaper ones, but 1 piece of machined steel is hard to beat. When one snaps a spoke in the middle of nowhere price isn’t of ANY consideration. Get the Stein and forget all the others.

  3. Bought a Pamir hypercracker 25 years ago in Sydney city. Still have it. It is very good, but this page assures me all is OK if it ever is lost.

    Anyone know how it will go on a 2016 Trek Crossrip. 9 spd cassette.

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