Introduction: DIY Lockring Pliers

Picture of DIY Lockring Pliers

You can buy different types of tools to remove the lockring from a fixed gear track bike. Some are the spanner type and some are pliers. I like the pliers best but I don't want to shell out $30-$50 for a set so I decided to make a set.

Step 1: Gather Your Weapons!

Picture of Gather Your Weapons!

First thing is to buy some pliers. I bought a cheapo set from Menards for $5 and they worked great. Just make sure you buy a big enough set that they'll open wider than the locking and still have the jaws parallel to one another.

You'll also need something to file the metal, I liked to use a hand file but you could also use a dremel tool with a stone wheel. The cresent wrench in the picture is to take the pliers apart, you probably don't have to take them apart but I thought it made it easier.

Step 2: Dremel or File the Teeth

Picture of Dremel or File the Teeth

Get to work cutting down the teeth, leaving the front bit of the pliers to fit into the notches of the lockring. Take your time and try to get them to fit as tight as possible and get the teeth to fit into the notch as far as possible so that they won't slip off.

Step 3: DONE!!

Picture of DONE!!

When you get done they should look something like this. When you go to use them just fit them in the notches, give them a good tight squeeze and crank the lockring off. Remember that the lockring will be reverse threaded, don't rip the threads off of your hub.


kelseymh (author)2010-02-18

Technically, you've modified channel locks not "pliers."  Other than that, well done!

hammerpb (author)kelseymh2010-02-19

"Technically" they are slip joint pliers (also known as water pump pliers). Channel Lock is a brand name.

Nicely done russd32.

kelseymh (author)hammerpb2010-02-19

Touche!  Well played, sir, well played :-)

caitlinsdad (author)kelseymh2010-02-19

Theoretically, the same concept could be applied to a set of Vise-grip brand locking pliers.  >random heckling from the crowd<

Ian01 (author)caitlinsdad2017-07-01

Reminds me of the "Vise-Whip", which is an alternative to a chain whip that operates like locking pliers.

caitlinsdad (author)Ian012017-07-02

Necessity is the mother of invention, hence Specialized tools.

I was just thinking the same thing, with the benifit of being able to lock them on!

great bit of thinking here though,hats off.

Rafiqk83 made it! (author)2015-08-18

I had a problem where the bike would slip only under heavy pedaling. The bike completely slipped from under me causing me to get scraped up pretty bad and breaking my phone. The bike shipped in a box and the original owner put the dang-on cog wrong. It had a gap on one side and it was flush on the other. I live in Kuwait, and had to made this lockring wrench out of an adjustable wrench (or whatever the name is) and viola. It worked! I got the cog off, it looked like it wasn't stripped, then put it on where it was flush all the way around. I used my diy lockring wrench to tighten, and I will test tomorrow. Wish me luck.

The lockring wrench only took a few minutes of vigorous filing. As you can see in the pic, I didn't even get it down very far and it worked like a charm.

Thanks a million.

Making-Stuff (author)2013-04-18

Excellent! You saved the day, thanks a bunch

rigtenzin (author)2012-12-06

I'm going by the hardware store on the way home to buy a set of channel locks so I can build this. It's a brilliant project. Thanks

applesaucemodifier (author)2012-02-19

Made a set for myself today out of El Cheapo Pliers from Harbor Freight. Great Idea and thanks for saving me some money!
Yours looks better but it all works the same I guess. :P

sprinks (author)2010-08-11

I just made one the other day with my bench grinder and a spare set I had laying around. Thanks for the instructable, this will make a great tool to keep in the bike tool box and a nice replacement for my missing pedro trixie multitool.

tisit1 (author)2010-02-28

in the land down under we call them Multi Grips so there you go self explanitory Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi

maxlycos (author)2010-02-28

Very good idea. Thanks for sharing.

profpat (author)2010-02-27

 very clever, yes, this is a cheap alternative...

russd32 (author)2010-02-25

Thanks for all the kind words folks!

trgz (author)russd322010-02-26

I have two pairs of those type of pliers and a couple old bikes without sealed BB's so I may well be doing this myself. Could be good for old -style headsets too. Nice one.

Jur (author)2010-02-23

Nicely done, clear and easy instructions for a very good result.
Can you still use them as slip joint pliers/water pump pliers/channel locks/polygrip, or are the teeth filed away too much?

russd32 (author)Jur2010-02-25

I wouldn't use them for anything else. They teeth are super dull so they won't grip much. Also I wouldn't want to damage the squared off edge I filed to fit in the lockring teeth.

shiftrk (author)2010-02-25

Great job this will come in handy

asibonzai (author)2010-02-25

Very cute idea for old lockring pliers.

desertdog (author)2010-02-25

Very interesting mod for pliers (note that I did not enter into the game of naming them specifically).  I bought a "cotter pin pliers" from Sears many years ago.  They are pretty much the same as what you did.  Possibly  the most useful tool I have ever bought.  Don't think they sell them anymore. 

deathpod (author)2010-02-19

Channel lock  calls them tongue and groove pliers

jack002 (author)deathpod2010-02-21

OMG, shuddup already. you both are right and wrong.

ascii (author)2010-02-20

Thanks - that's a nice, simple hack that I wouldn't have thought of.  Modifying tools is one of the more rewarding things one can do.

hammerpb (author)2010-02-19

That is actually incorrect. There are slip joint pliers that have 2 positions, but they are not the only type. they are by far the most common, however. Every cheap, and most expensive, tool set you buy, almost without exception will have the 2 position  straight jawed pliers . I even have a set of those that has 3 positions (not grooved, but 3 overlapping semi-circles like the 2 position ones). some of the first multi position Channel Locks were designed like this as well, until the tongue and groove type was proven to be superior in almost every way. to this day, you can buy a cheap imported set of water pump pliers that use the overlapping circle design.

rimar2000 (author)2010-02-19


DIY Dave (author)2010-02-19

When I first read the title, I thought it said "DIY locking pliers". I thought you were making a pair of vise grips from channel locks.

kissiltur (author)2010-02-19

that is brilliant!, and so simple!

lemonie (author)2010-02-19

That's simple, and so nicely done.


trayo (author)2010-02-18

Awesome. I will definitely keep this in mind for the future.

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