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The Lifeline Performance cartridge bottom bracket remover extracts and refits Shimano pattern splined bottom brackets that remain on common less expensive bikes, and there are plenty of older ones still around.
Good tools repays the investment countless times over. They won't maul expensive components or lead to lengthy explanations in casualty. However, unless you're afflicted by a chronic jet-washing compulsion and/or rack up over three hundred miles a week, you're not going to replace a fit-and-forget bottom bracket several times a year, even with a big fleet. Dependable rather than pro grade tools seem the savvy choice, therefore.
Eleven quid buys a simple but generally well executed socket on a stick, fashioned from heat treated steel. The business end locates into a rectangular head, locked in situ with a beefy circlip. Arguably welding the pair would create a stronger union, but this arrangement keeps costs down and is easily repaired should sloppiness eventually set in.
The Lifeline bottom bracket remover is compatible with Shimano UN and ISIS components. I was charmed by some less obvious but extremely thoughtful touches. A generous 15cm long, 3mm thick rubberised sleeve sits nicely in the palm, offering decent grip and moderate refinement.
Actually removing a bottom bracket proved easiest when liberal helpings of penetrant release spray were introduced and scrap frame tubing slid over the handle for additional leverage.
No such drama during installation, assuming of course you've remembered to baste threaded sections with some grease or plumber's PTFE tape. I found the Lifeline Performance tool fit best on Shimano's bottom brackets, closely followed by FSA and Stronglight units.
The Lifeline Performance cartridge bottom bracket remover should satisfy the needs of most home mechanics and those keen to recoup their money could even turn a profit by charging club mates a few quid for fitting or replacing theirs.
Decent budget tool for occasional removing/fitting UN or ISIS pattern cartridge bottom brackets.
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Make and model: Lifeline Performance Cartridge Bottom Bracket 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 precision wrench for removing/installing cartridge bottom bracket systems. With a grippy handle and a high quality head, the LifeLine Professional Cartridge BB Wrench is essential for new bike builds and maintenance'.
Not really pro workshop quality but very functional and great value for money
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Compatible with Shimano, FSA and Race Face cartridge bottom bracket systems
Comfortable, Grippy moulded handle
Durable corrosion resistant black finish
Pleasing given the asking price.
Does exactly what it says on the tin, although fit is less precise than pro quality tools, especially on pattern units.
Should give home enthusiasts several years faithful service.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A competent budget tool that sweeps Shimano pattern cartridge units and in out with reasonable aplomb. However, fit is good as distinct from great and weathered bottom brackets still benefit from a quick blast of Plus Gas or similar penetrant
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good value, no-nonsense tool.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A more precise fit would be nice but ultimately you get what you pay for.
Did you enjoy using the product? Generally speaking, yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, for occasional service.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Fine for home use.
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)