Taking Apart a Bike's Rear Cluster

Introduction: Taking Apart a Bike's Rear Cluster

Here I shall be showing you how to take apart the rear cluster (that bunch of gears!) from your bike.

If you're wondering what you'd do with this

I'd recommend www.instructables.com/id/Bike-Tire-and-Gear-Belt/# this Instructable, it's really cool.

There's also
www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-Clock-out-of-a-Bicycle-Brake-Disc/ for the DIY lover!

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Step 1: Materials

Equipment necessery will be:

A rear cluster from a bicycle. I got mine from the back of a bicycle store in a big bin full of metal.

A Dremel or other spinning cutting tool with a nice skinny blade.

Degreaser / barbecue cleaner. Grease on your hands for the rest of your day may just cause female relatives to faint.

Safety specs. To protect your peepers from flying cutting discs.

Gloves. Not necessery but useful for keeping your hands free from what the degreaser does not get. I didn't use them, and paid dearly for it.

A screwdriver for a bit of leverage where necessary and changing the cutting disc on your Dremel.

A hacksaw. Makes finishing off the last bit of cutting so much easier.

A vice to hold it when cutting. Not necessary but definitely useful.

Step 2: Degreasing

Lay your rear cluster out on a piece of cardboard / surface that you don't mind getting ruined and give it a good soaking with your degreaser / barbecue cleaner. Follow the directions on the back but if there are none, then wait 5-10 minutes and wash it off with water from an outside tap, as washing it off in the sink is not recommended.

Step 3: Starting Off

Set up your Dremel with a fine cutting disc, 2mm is about the thickest that can be used on your average cluster. Put your cluster in a vice to hold it tight and horizontal, or alternatively just put it on a surface that you don't mind getting a bit dirty. I stayed on the piece of cardboard used in the previous step so then I could move everything out of the way when we have lunch.

With the side with the smallest cog / gear up, identify the rivets holding it all together. On mine there was three, but depending upon which one you get there may be more. If you have a choice between a couple of rear clusters, go for the one with the least amount of these rivets.

Now look down the large hole in the middle of all the gears / cogs and you will see that these pins go all the way down through. You will also notice that separating each of the gears / cogs is a rubbery  plastic circle. This is what we shall be cutting through, and then the pins.

Step 4: Cutting Through

Start up your Dremel on a fairly high speed, but not the fastest or the cutting pieces break too readily. Lower it into the large hole down the middle of the gears and start cutting through a layer of rubber (sideways) until you get to the metal pin, and then cut through that. This may take a while depending upon how dexterous you are.

You should be able to understand, but if not, refer to the exquisite and highly detailed photographs.

After cutting through, pull the pin out and repeat, sometimes the pin is a bit hard to get out but a hammer can help, but it's not often necessery.

Just remember, leave one last pin uncut!

Step 5: Last Pin

Now you should have freed all but one of the pins. You can Dremel this one out, but I have an easier solution. Pivot the gears around so that you can see the plastic bits seperating each one, then break all of these off completely. Move all the gears down one end and depending upon the thickness of your pins, you can either cut it with some bolt cutters, or a hacksaw. I chose the hacksaw method.

Step 6: Finishing Up

You are now done! You should have 6 separate cogs in hand now, possibly a bit greasy but nothing a bit water won't get rid of! You can use these for a number of things, from drive trains to belts!

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    8 Discussions


    8 months ago

    i know this is an old post but wanted to comment in case someone used this, if the pins are not the type that can unscrew with a hex or star screwdriver but, you can use your dremel (or a grinder) to take off the heads of each of the 3 pins and then just pull them out. you can always top them with a nail punch to get them out a bit so you can grab on to them with a vice grip or pliers. i’ve dissembled thousands of these (literally)) because i make clocks from recycled bicycle parts (my etsy shop is the same as my username, www.DreamGreatDreams.etsy.com) so i know of what i speak! great pictures in this post!


    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    If i were to do what you just did here, could i make my own 4 speed cassette from those gears that originally made up a 6 speed?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I'm hoping to find 4 cassettes in a bike shop dumpster so I can make a 3-strand rope-making machine.

    Thanks for this.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    That would be awesome, I've used one before and it's so incredibly easy to convert a few strands to some serious strength rope.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Nice instructable, didn't miss a bit, I looked for this exact instructable, and found the perfect one, so i was using your instructable for my bike im making, i did not know how to take it appart and keep one specific gear that i wanted, so pretty nice, im making a DJ(dirtjump) Bike out of a normal geared one, ill also make my chain smaller, but now i need an instructable to know how to take the gears wich are near the peddals... hehe..


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Oh wow that sounds brilliant, hope it goes alright for you, keep me posted!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Why would one want to take a cassette all the way apart?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Check the last step.

    And; I dare you to get imaginative.