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I'm interested in recommending my boss get the workshop in which I work a bottom bracket tap and facing set.

As it's quite an investment it's important to me to know what you're getting for your money. Does anyone have any experience in this area? I'm a bit of a bike snob so have always leaned towards Park Tool on these matters; apparently Cyclus also make a very good unit. Appreciate any experience or feedback you fine people have.

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Is there something more you are looking for from these answers? –  zenbike Aug 1 '11 at 7:59
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2 Answers

Bottom Bracket Taps and Facing tools are an expensive and highly specialized tool. As a workshop, owning them and knowing when and how to use them properly, is one of the key signs of a professional shop.

Many new frames are moving to design without threads, but these tools will continue to be valuable for years to come.

These are the brands I'm familiar with, and recommend:

  • The Park Tool set is quality, and durable. For a set of taps and facing blades that will be durable, and also are likely to maintain compatibility with future similar tool sets from Park, it's hard to go wrong there.

Park Tool BTS-1

  • The Campagnolo set has been the quality standard for shop use for 30 years at least. I know of one shop that's had theirs in continuous use for at least that long. You do pay for it, and the Campy tap set is a separate tool.

Campy BB facing set Campy Tap set

  • The Cylus Tap sets are excellent as well, although durability is yet to be proven. They are a more complicated machine, which allows a speedier, and very well done, job to be performed. It also allows for more things to break on their system. This is an impression I have only. I have not seen one fail. It does require a separate tool for english and italian BB's, and the parts are not interchangeable.

Cylus BB Tap and facing tool, English

  • The VAR tool set is the original, the one that Park Tool based their original design on. It's simple, durable, and classic. The design allows purchase of an Italian thread set to be used with the English handles, and vice versa.

Var Tool BB Facing and Tapping Set

  • Hozan Tools makes an excellent tap set, but not facer currently.

Hozan Tools set

All of these tools are excellent quality and have reasonable likelihood of replacement taps and facing cutters being available through the years. Campagnolo, and Park Tool are fairly certain to stand the test of time, and I'd recommend on of those two.

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It depends on what type of shop you are. In my workshop experience getting the bottom-bracket re-threading tools was not an every day occurrence. When it did come out it would typically be for one of the early cr-mo mtb frames where the bottom bracket was just a tube, i.e. not investment cast, although it would come out for those too, e.g. age old Raleigh bikes.

I do know of a high-end shop where they seem to use the tool on pretty much every high-end frameset build. (As if the likes of Look etc. don't bother to thread the b/b...) Clearly they are getting a better return on the tool than I was.

The tool I used appeared to be of the Hozan flavour, it pre-dated my employment and had one of the handles bent.

Availability is going to be a problem in Australia, I would just get what one of your favourite distributors can do for you at a favourable price. If it turns out to be unfit for purpose then you can return it. I would be very surprised if there were any on the market that were sub-standard, i.e. less than bulletproof.

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