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On Test: Enduro bottom bracket bearing puller and press by Sonny's Bike Tools, Feburary 5, 2007
Fully functional bike jewelry… for your tool box!
Enduro has been long known in the bicycle world for its fork seals and cartridge bearings, and now branches out into tools. Its bottom bracket bearing puller and press empowers home and professional mechanics to service what is otherwise a virtually untouchable component, and Cyclingnews Tech Editor (and long-time mechanic) James Huang dons his other hat to see if the gold-anodized creation has brawn to match its beauty.
Bicycle mechanics and their tools are an interesting bunch. While Merriam-Webster defines 'tool' as simply "a handheld device that aids in accomplishing a task", I would argue that they would garner a little more personal significance in the hands of their masters. Good bicycle tools (note the emphasis on 'good') can turn easy jobs into absolute no-brainers, medium jobs into easy ones, and bring impossible ones into the realm of mortal men. In some cases, they can even be just as high-tech and elegant (the tools, that is) as the parts they are designed to work on, and the amount of time and frustration (and skin!) they can save simply has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
Good tools are sometimes hard to come by, and when they do come along, they're often prized possessions ranking somewhere between your morning cup of coffee and your firstborn. Thinking of asking your local shop guy to loan you their favorite Snap-On ratchet? Good luck with that, and if you are crafty enough to succeed in such an endeavor, you'd best be damned sure to bring the thing back. Hell hath no fury like a scorned wrench (remember that the next time you need your bike tuned on short notice right before your local Cat. 3 championship), and those guys can read license plates way faster than you can hit the accelerator.
Bad tools, on the other hand…. well, don't even get me started. Those evil widgets can create twice as much headache as they're meant to save, are near-endless sources of ire, and, when they cross the ultimate line and actually draw blood, can elicit R-rated outbursts from the back room that make parents gather up their virgin-eared children and run.
Enduro's outboard bottom bracket puller and press would undoubtedly fall into the former category, if only for its slick gold-anodized finish. Made by a machinist local to Enduro's California headquarters, the CNC'd aluminum tool is designed to both remove and install cartridge bearings from both road and off-road outboard bearing bottom brackets from each of the major manufacturers.
The tool itself actually consists of a number of individual parts, including a cup holder, collet and collet expander, a bearing guide, and support plate, along with a large M10 stainless steel bolt to drive things in and out. Thankfully, the tool's somewhat high price is at least reflected in the quality of workmanship as all of the bits are precisely sized and nicely finished. All of the edges are cleanly beveled, and the 'Enduro' logo is even deeply machined directly into the cup holder.
The bearing guide is also dual-sided for use with either the standard 6805 cartridge bearings that are typically used (with the exception of Truvativ's custom bearings in its GXP system) or Enduro's own custom-sized replacements.
Why bother with all of this, you ask? Much as I like the newer crop of external-bearing bottom brackets, the bearings themselves oftentimes do not last as long as we'd like them to, much like that bag of gummy bears that never seems quite big enough. The system is less tolerant of BB shell dimension variances (leading to premature wear), the larger diameter bearings have more real estate to protect (making them harder to seal), plus they're more exposed to the elements. In harsher climates, riders can sometimes go through multiple sets of bearings in a season, and replacing the bearings themselves is certainly cheaper in the long run than buying complete units.
'DO NOT DISASSEMBLE'
Personally, I don't take it too well when someone tells me I can't work on something, and thankfully, this tool allows one to completely ignore the warning that has printed on hordes of bottom bracket cups. Usage of Enduro's tool is pleasantly straightforward: to remove the bearing from the cup, the collet and collet expander are inserted into the bearing, the assembly is then dropped into the cup holder, and then you just have to drive the bearing out using the bolt and an 8mm Allen wrench.
Reassembly is equally mindless: the replacement bearing is placed on the appropriate side of the bearing guide and that assembly is placed into the cup holder. On top of that go the cup itself and the support plate, and the bearing is likewise pressed into place with the M10 bolt. Thanks to the precisely made guides, bearings go in straight and come out smoothly, and repeated use appears to have inflicted little to no wear on any of the associated bits, including the aluminum threads in the cup holder.
One for the toolbox, or just another shiny bit of aluminum?
To be fair, Enduro's tool is not the first of its type to hit the market, a claim that belongs to another company that is also known for its bearings but who shall remain nameless here (although we will say that it rhymes with 'Bill could'). As compared to its competition, Enduro's version is arguably easier to use as it is completely handheld and does not require a vise, and it's a bit more versatile as it can handle two different bearing sizes.
However, unlike that other tool, the Enduro version does not have a specific provision for removing the pesky plastic inner sleeve/seal that comes stock on most external-bearing bottom brackets, and the aluminum threads in the cup holder might not stand up to heavy shop use over the long haul. As previously mentioned, Enduro does offer its own custom replacement bearing that foregoes that sleeve so that should perhaps come as no surprise, but it's a glaring omission nonetheless, particularly given the propensity of those plastic bits to shatter when you least want them to. For most situations, though, as well as for home mechanics, Enduro's puller/press is a quality bit of useful kit that should serve frequent killers of bottom bracket bearings well.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com