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The Park Tool SHX-1 Slide Hammer Extractor is a fabulously expensive way to remove bearings from your frame or wheels. Yes, it's beautifully machined and presented, and it works well, but you cannot avoid the fact that near-identical functionality can be had for around £400 less.
If you own a modern bike, it almost certainly has cartridge bearings in the frame, wheels or bottom bracket. Cartridge bearings are called thus as the actual ball bearings are housed inside a steel 'cartridge', which forms the bearing race that they roll against.
The flat surface of the outside of the bearing is finely machined, to match the dimensions of the frame bearing seat it fits into. As it's an 'interference fit', the housing is made ever so slightly smaller, to allow friction to hold the bearing in place. The tolerances are so fine that even a fraction of a millimetre out will mean a bearing that's too tight to fit or too loose to stay put. As most frames and hubs are alloy – or in the case of a carbon frame, use alloy bearing inserts – the softer material needs treating with care, to ensure multiple bearings can be replaced over the life of the frame.
This care manifests itself in the requirement to carefully drive the bearing in or out of the frame, bottom bracket or hub perfectly perpendicular to the bearing axis.
The bodge method of knocking out bearings with a punch or screwdriver will inevitably mar one side of the bearing seat as the bearing twists, then the other side as that is impacted, and back and forth and so on – the process of 'walking' a bearing out. If done ham-fistedly enough, the frame or hub can be irreparably damaged in one go. Once a bearing seat is scarred, bearings will be much more prone to working loose or creaking under load.
The answer is to carefully press the bearing out using a perfectly matched 'drift', which pushes against the entire circumference of the bearing at once, ensuring it slides out squarely.
The challenge here is that where the bearing has been pressed into a hole or hub and butted up against a smaller-diameter stop, you can't get a drift in behind it to work it out. Or sometimes because of welds, hydroforming, bosses or dropouts, there's no flat surface on the outside of the bearing that the other side of the bearing press can work against. In this case, you need a blind bearing puller.
A 'blind bearing' is one that cannot be accessed from both sides to facilitate pushing out, so your only real option is to grip the inside of the bearing to get it out. A slide hammer is a tool that is designed to clamp the internal face of the bearing, with a heavy weight that then slides along a shaft and impacts the other end. Force is then transmitted through the bearing as a shock that overcomes the friction between the bearing and frame seat, and your bearing pops out nice and square. Of course, care needs to be taken to ensure the tool is kept perfectly aligned along the bearing axis.
Blind bearing puller kits are available for around £30, covering a range of diameters. My own kit had from eBay for £30 years back does bearings from 8-30mm internal diameter. Kinetic Bearings does an identical set for £55, and it sells the most-common collets as spare parts too.
Generally, the smallest internal diameter bearing you'll strike on a bike is 8mm – the standard 6000 bearing size. The largest bearing you're likely to want to remove with a slide hammer is a 6806-size 30mm, found in PF30 bottom brackets, for 30mm crank spindles.
All of that said and understood, we progress to the Park Tool SHX-1 Slide Hammer Extractor...
Let's address the woolly mammoth in the room – price. At £424.99 this is one of the most expensive hand tools Park Tool makes, or that you're likely to have in a bike shop. I'm looking around my own collection and am pretty much at a loss. But more on value later.
Presented in a hardshell case with foam cutouts, the SHX-1 consists of a two-part handle with sliding 1kg weight, and a collection of five expanding collets ranging from 6 to 32mm in size. The handle is in two parts, as you won't always need the full 215mm of travel to get a bearing moving. Using just the one section gives you 50mm of slide travel, and makes keeping the tool in line with the bearing axis easy.
The expanding collets screw into a coupler that threads onto the end of the hammer shaft. Shaft, coupler and collets have large flat surfaces to allow tightening with a spanner.
The whole act of assembling the full-length tool out of the black foam-packed case could be played out as a James-Bond-on-a-rooftop sniper-rifle scene, if you were bike-shop-assassin-cosplay-inclined.
To use the tool you first insert the collet into the bearing and tighten. The collet has lips that grip the inside of the races as it's tightened. Ideally, your frame needs to be supported against a hard surface, for example a block of wood in a vice or against a doorway or fence, to ensure the force is effectively transmitted without damaging the frame or paintwork.
Once everything's all snug, you then thread the handle onto the collet, then slide the hammer back against the handle's strike plate, being careful not to trap your fingers or palm. The edge of the hammer has raised edges to guide you here.
All things being good, the bearing will start to extract. You want to keep an eye on progress and gauge it, so you don't apply a huge amount of heft right at the end and risk sending the tool flying across the room, or driving the bearing out crooked at the last strike.
A word of caution: some hubs use spacer sleeves between bearing inner races that are a perfect match for the through-axle. So there's actually no space for the collet lips to begin to grip the back side of the inner race. If you use a lipped-collet tool like the SHX-1 in these circumstances you will almost certainly damage the spacer sleeve. In these cases there are options: get a lip-free tool, or very, very carefully get the bearing started a few mm on its way out with judicious use of a punch on the inner race edge, driven from the backside of the bearing through the hub.
For expanding collet tools that don't use lips, Scotland's Bearing Pro Tools makes a range of lip-free expanding collet tools for these cases, but they do require access to the opposite side to then knock the bearing out. This shouldn't be an issue for most cycling applications.
Back to the SHX-1... The collets are laser-etched with the part number and dimension so it's easy to check them. One annoyance is that they are packed deep and tight in the case and there are no finger-friendly cutouts, so you need a screwdriver or similar to lever them out – not a premium experience in a £425 tool.
Working with the SHX-1 on a number of frame and wheel bearings of varying sizes and degrees of stubborness, it's pretty much what's promised on the tin: used correctly, bearings come out without fuss, and the fit/finish of the tool's components is typical Park Tool – that is to say, nicely done.
It's hard to appreciate finesse in a tool with a very basic, physical purpose. Unlike Park Tool's exquisitely engineered £466 DT-5.2 Disc Brake Mount Facing Tool, which relies on hyper-accurate alignment and control to ensure results, the SHX-1 challenges my sense of perceived value. Compared against the plethora of £30-£60 alternatives and my own success over the years with one, I'm struggling to see how there's £400-odd additional value here – even for a pro shop. The collet either grips or it doesn't. The slide either slides or it doesn't. Yes, the Park Tool slide is a bit heavier and slides a bit further than my cheapie set, and the collets have laser etching as opposed to fitting into a plastic case with raised numbering, but is the end result the same? Fundamentally, yes. And I can't see how the SHX-1 affords more control or finesse over the alternatives.
If you need to do a bearing between 6 and 8mm, or 30-32mm, the Park Tool set has you covered where most other sets almost certainly won't. And if you see yourself using it so much that ordering spare parts is a necessity, again PT's admirable policy of supplying every part aftermarket is a winner – but then resellers like Bearing Pro Tools are now offering that too.
If these are major points of value, then maybe £425 is acceptable for you. I'm guessing for all but the most fastidious or wealthy home mechanic, the generic offerings for a tenth of the cost will suffice for most needs. What would improve value and utlity would be a lipless collet that covered bearings with 12-15mm inside diameters.
Well-presented but eye-wateringly-expensive way to remove bearings from frame or wheels
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Park Tool SHX-1 Slide Hammer Extractor
Size tested: Compatible with cartridge bearings with inner diameters from 6 to 32mm
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?
It's for people wanting to service their frame or wheel cartridge bearings.
Park Tool says:
The SHX-1 Slide Hammer Extractor is a professional solution specifically designed for removing press fit cartridge bearings from bicycle components. Utilizing expanding collets, an extendable shaft and a substantial (960g) slide hammer, the SHX-1 securely yet forcefully drives out cartridge bearings with targeted impact. The SHX-1 is compatible with cartridge bearings with inner diameters from 6 to 32 millimeters, covering most press fit applications found on bicycles including hubs, suspension linkages, and bottom brackets.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Park Tool lists:
Set of 5 expanding collets covers most bicycle bearing IDs from 6mm to 32mm
Slide hammer shaft is extendable from 6.5" (165mm) to 13" (233mm) for additional force when needed
Organized in a convenient storage case
Nice engineering, but the case could be presented better, with finger cutouts.
Does the job. It's hard to find either fault or finesse.
Everything is darned hefty.
The rubberised grip and handle is comfortable and safe to use.
At around £400 more than practically identical alternatives, this is the SHX-1's downfall.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Can only fault it for being a lipped collet design, meaning for some hubs or frames it might present challenges.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The heft – it's hefty. And you feel like a secret agent assembling it.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price. And the fact the collets are lipped.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Fabulously expensive for what it does.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Not really.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's very good, but... Price, Price, Price. And that the collets are lipped, so some hubs will prove a challenge. Park Tool could have included a single lipless collet in a 12-15mm range, which would have suited most hubs.
About the tester
I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe My best bike is: Nah bro that's it
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L