Bottom bracket tools are an essential piece of equipment for anyone willing to change the bottom bracket due to damage, renewal or simply to change the crank arms on the bike. Since there are now a number of different bottom bracket styles, there is not one specific tool for the job. This article looks at how to use a bottom bracket tool.
Bottom bracket styles
Square taper is currently the most popular design so far. It consists of a spindle with square tapered ends that fit into square tapered holes in each crank. Tightening the two together creates a relatively efficient and simple interface. In order to get to the bottom bracket, a crank puller must be used in order to remove the crank arms. Once these are out of the way, a square taper bottom bracket tool and a wrench is needed to turn it clockwise on the drive side to remove or loosen it. These crank removers are fairly cost-effective and easy to come by.
This system, designed by Shimano, was the first successful alternative to the older square taper.
The Octalink system uses a larger and stiffer spindle with eight splines. The splines provide a greater contact area between crank and spindle for a stiffer interface. In order to remove this type of bottom bracket, a specific Shimano bottom bracket tool needs to be used to fit eight splines. These tools are harder to come by and different tools are needed for the first and second version of the bracket bottom. Isis bottom brackets ISIS, the International Splined Interface Standard, was created by the King Cycle group, Truvativ and Race Face in response to Shimano's Octalink bottom bracket. Since Shimano's offering is covered by patents, the ISIS created the standard and put it into the public domain so that other companies could make the components such as FSA bottom brackets. As the standards are separate, bottom bracket removers made for Shimano are not compatible with ISIS bottom brackets as Shimano have eight splines and ISIS have ten. This is why, it is important to purchase the correct bottom bracket remover.
Campagnolo bottom brackets
Campagnolo bottom brackets differ between models. So, one model will require a different tool from another making it hard to know which tools to use. The best thing to do in this situation is make sure that you have the model name and take it from there. Once the model has been established the right tool for the job can be purchased for the bottom bracket removal. All bottom brackets are loosened by turning clockwise on the drive side of the bike.