The Lifeline Campagnolo bottom bracket and freewheel removal tool is designed for mere mortals like you and me who typically replace our cassettes every few months and bottom brackets less frequently. We need something that's rugged, and pleasant to use without causing a complete meltdown should an acquaintance misconstrue the term 'borrow'.
This one's designed for the recessed spline patterns typical of Centaur and Chorus, those with externally splined Campagnolo bottom brackets like Daytona, Mirage and Veloce will need to seek assistance elsewhere.
The machining of the splines is good, but not highly precise, which explains why ours wasn't the most perfect fit with an old but otherwise well cared-for Centaur cartridge. Not wanting to tempt fate, I locked the bike in my workstand, blasted some penetrant spray inside the seat tube and then applied leverage while holding the head firmly in place.
Weathered examples will need more liberal marinating since the old extension pole leverage trick only amplified said imprecision. Curiously, these minor intolerances weren't nearly so apparent when sweeping a freshly greased unit home, helped in no small part by integrated design and slender handle calming fears of slip damage.
History repeated itself with cassettes. Having removed the quick release skewer, rest the wheel on its side and inject a bit more penetrant or WD40 around the lock ring before introducing the tool. Most have relented with sustained even pressure, although a lockring remover with a pin that fits inside the axle inspires greater confidence when tackling more stubborn lockrings.
Reversing the procedure requires less concentration but whereas better fitting examples enable the lock ring to be wound home without pausing for breath, this has required fractionally greater caution.
Another welcome addition to the casual fettlers' tool board—nice to use, not too nice to lend.
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Make and model: Lifeline Performance Campagnolo Cassette and BB Remover
Size tested: Black
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?
'A workshop quality wrench for removing/installing Campagnolo cassettes and bottom brackets. With a precision head and a comfortable moulded handle, the LifeLine Professional Cassette Remover is essential for regular wheel and drivetrain maintenance.'
Nicely executed tool, though very much for home rather than commercial use.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Compatible with Campagnolo Cassettes and cartidge bottom bracket systems
Comfortable, Grippy moulded handle
Durable corrosion resistant black finish
What I'd expect given the price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Machining is accurate rather than precise, which required a little more caution when shifting more stubborn/weathered components. Nonetheless, it's a good choice for budget conscious home mechanics.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Reasonable fit, comfortable to use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing in particular given its designed for home, rather than commercial service.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, for occasional home fettling.
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)