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RAAAAAWR! BBB wants you to add Tyrannosaurus Rex to your workshop in the form of these excellent sprocket pliers named for their resemblance to the jaws of the mighty prehistoric predator. Fortunately, unlike the dinosaur, the T-RexGrip won't rip out chunks of your flesh, but just makes it easier to remove cassettes, and to fit them to wheel-off indoor trainers. If you find conventional chain whips a bit fiddly, this is a straightforward alternative that's worth paying a bit more for.
It's dead easy to use. Open it up with the thumb lever and let it close round a sprocket, fit your lockring tool and away you go. The only thing you have to remember is to orientate it the right way so it's working against the lockring tool; an arrow on the handle helps with this.
It's long enough that there's plenty of leverage even for lockrings that have been tightened enthusiastically and left to get deeply attached to their freehub bodies.
The T-RexGrip's advantage over a conventional chain whip is that it's easier to position the handle so it's in a convenient place to provide resistance when you turn the lockring. With a conventional chain whip I never seem to get it in the right place first time, and end up moving the lockring tool or chain whip so I can easily squeeze them together. No such hassle with the T-RexGrip.
It's also less likely to slip than a chain whip because it's grabbing the sprocket from two sides and held in place by your grip. In this regard it's not as secure as the daddy of the sprocket pliers category, the Pedro's Vise Whip II, which uses a locking mechanism – like a Mole grip – to lock on the sprocket, but the T-RexGrip doesn't have that excellent tool's 70 quid RRP either.
BBB says the T-RexGrip will hold onto sprockets with between 11 and 26 teeth, and cassettes with 7 to 12 sprockets. I used it on a selection of 9, 10 and 11-speed cassettes and it worked really well, firmly grabbing the sprocket in each case. The Kraton synthetic rubber grip feels good in the hand too; if you need to apply bodyweight force to shift a tight lockring your hand is well looked after.
The only sprocket-related job I think the T-RexGrip might struggle with would be removing the threaded middle sprocket on old SunTour freewheels. Those things got ridiculously tight from pedalling and mechanics tended to resort to DIY chain whips made from metre-long pieces of angle iron to shift them. Fortunately they're now very rare and anyone working as a mechanic who hasn't encountered one can consider themselves lucky. Kids today, don't know they're born and all that.
If you're running SRAM 12-speed with a 10-tooth smallest sprocket or Campagnolo Ekar with a 9-toother, you might think the T-RexGrip's limit of an 11-tooth smallest sprocket will be a problem. But you don't have to use it on the smallest sprocket of your cassette, it'll grab any up to 26 teeth, so you've plenty of options.
You can get a bog standard chain whip for around a tenner, and in some cases it'll even come bundled with a lockring tool. The cheapest I've been able to find the T-RexGrip for is £20 (follow the buying link above or below); the extra convenience is worth the difference, especially when you consider that rivals like the Park Tool CP-1.2 sprocket tool will cost you about £55 and the lowest price online I can find for a Pedro's Vise Whip II is £57.95. On the other hand, Wiggle has own-brand Lifeline sprocket pliers for a tenner, though they lack the T-RexGrip's handy thumb lever.
Your other alternative is a tool like Decathlon's £12.99 sprocket spanner with pins to engage in the smallest sprocket.
The BBB T-RexGrip is a lot better than a standard chain whip at a sensible price, which makes it ideal for a home workshop if you can't justify the cost of a Pedro's Vise Whip II. The T-RexGrip isn't quite a professional workshop tool, but it's not far off, and it does its job really well.
Excellent sprocket pliers for the home mechanic
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road.cc test report
Make and model: BBB T-RexGrip
Size tested: One size
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's a tool for holding sprockets while you unscrew or tighten the lockring that holds them in place.
Get a perfect grip on your cassette with these easy to use cassette pliers
Suitable for sprockets from 11-26 teeth
Fits with a spring to lock the sprocket fast and firm without slipping away
With kraton handle for a firm and comfortable grip
Makes your mechanic life easier
Tired of those normal Sprocket tools? The T-RexGrip is a new way of getting grip on your sprocket. Open with your hand, place the jaws on the sprocket and the T-RexGrip will do the rest. Easy to use on all different sizes of sprockets. Due to the big handle you've got great leverage and grip. The T-RexGrip is gonna be your new friend!
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The kraton grip provides a firm grip when you pick up you cassette.
Compatible with cassettes from 11-26 teeth. Compatible up to 12-speed.
Equipped with a spring system which provides a firm grip on the cassette.
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Solidly made from 4mm thick steel plate. The main pivot and spring anchors are stainless steel bolts with Nylok nuts so can be easily replaced. The chain sections are held in place with oversized rivets and the handle is coated in thick, slightly squishy synthetic rubber. In short, it's very well made.
It pretty much Just Works with a secure grip on the sprocket, a comfy handle, and decent leverage.
The handle's the only comfort aspect of the T-RexGrip and it's well executed, with dual density polymer that provides cushioning for your hand and a firm grip.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well; it grabs a sprocket securely so you can easily get plenty of oomph on your lockring. Can't really ask for more than that.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Its effectiveness and ease of use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's a lot cheaper than some tools that do the same job, like the Park Tool CP-1.2 and Pedro's Vise Whip II, but quite a bit more expensive than a basic chain whip. But the Park Tool and Pedro's tools are intended for professional workshop use; this is a very good tool at 'serious home workshop' level.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a great piece of kit. It's not a game-changer – that was the original Pedro's Vise Whip – but it's better than a standard chain whip without costing a silly amount of money.
About the tester
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.