This is more for the serious mechanic types out there, not really a tool for the home wrench, but don’t let me stop you though.
When the world turned to external Bottom Brackets and two and three piece cranks, the riders and the mechanics were very pleased. First up we had better performance, some claims of them being up to 40% stiffer. Which for the first time you ride them, sure feels like it. Less wear and tear on the bearings, which is true for sure. How many times have you changed your new external bearings, compared to the old style BB’s. Easier to change cranks, that’s for sure, a simple Allen key and a small plastic key and it’s out. Makes changing crank length, chainrings and cleaning a breeze. All of these improvements have made our life a happier place, whereas before changing cranks needed many tools, crank pullers, Allen keys, two hands and then it was luck you got some of them off sometimes.
Removing the bearings themselves, have become very easy, with one tool for many different brands of cranks, makes life easy. My only complaint is the damage that occurs from the ill fitting tools, from some of the big players in the tool companies. Most of the time when you slide the tool over the external spline you can feel the gaps between them both. Some tools are more than 1 or 2mm out, leaving unsightly marks on your nice Dura Ace, XTR, Truvative, FSA bottom brackets. Get one that’s a little tight and you might have to get that 2m length of pipe on to the tool to provide a little bit more leverage. And as for the tool Shimano provides itself, well nice of them to provide them free with most of their cranksets, but you can almost hear the BB screaming with fear as you wave the tool anywhere near them.
I have seen the light, or more importantly, have found the Cool Tool for the job. This beauty is from a very small company in Belgium, who’s name eludes me at the moment (but working on finding it). It’s made with such precision, it fits so perfectly over the spline that you hear air escaping from the seal between it and the BB. It’s spring loaded to provide even tension to both sides of the tool so that there is no way of it ever slipping and making any scratches at all on your nice new bling. The two handles can be turned in unison on each side of the BB to speed the job up. Whether you are removing or installing the BB in the bike, this tool is perfect for the job, never slips, never scratches and shifts even stubborn cups with ease.
I borrowed this tool from a local shop here in The Netherlands, seemed like everyone had seen it before. I used it for all 20 frames I was building, and was looking around for more jobs to use it on before I gave it back. It feels nice and heavy, like all good tools feel like, with manufacturing of all components to spectacular standards. Price, I think was pretty high, but worth it, about 650 euro (double that for NZ$) but will check up on it.
Sorry only one pic of it as most of the others were out of focus, as I only got the camera a week before.