I have this X-Tools crank extractor:

X-Tools crank extractor tool for removing standard Square Taper and ISIS type cranks.

Crank extractor

Here's the end that pushes against the crank:

Crank extractor

Here's my crank: (it's threaded on the inside, but there's also threading on the narrower bit further in behind the square opening, which my crank extractor pushes against but does not engage with those inner threads...)


I screw in the crank extractor like so:

enter image description here

Then I put an allen key into the crank extractor and try to turn it clockwise, but it's just not budging:

Trying to turn allen key clockwise

The inner bit of the extractor seems to be pushing correctly against the crank. But do I have the right tools for the job? Am I going about this correctly? Do I perhaps just need more torque than I'm getting off the allen key?


Well, I left what I thought were "dust protectors" off after working on this. During a cycle, my pedal fell off the bike. Here's are a couple of photos for more info:

What I thought were just dust protectors, which keep the pedal screwed in: Caps removed from pedals

View of the spindle after pedal fell off: Spindle view

The pedal that came off: The pedal that came off

Now I have to get the pedal on the drive-side off, and will follow up.

  • In addition to the other answers, grease/lube helps prolong the life of your extractor tool. Smear any thread with grease to help ease the tightening process. Sometimes penetrating oil in the crank can help get things moving too... if the crank has been on for a long time it make take a while to free. Leave full pressure ON for a moment, relax yourself, then try tightening again. It will tighten a bit more.
    – Criggie
    Oct 2, 2016 at 4:13
  • I see in your last picture that the back wheel spokes are out of focus, like they're moving. Are you holding the pedal still while tightening the extractor ?
    – Criggie
    Oct 2, 2016 at 4:14
  • Thats a pretty small hex key.
    – Batman
    Oct 4, 2016 at 13:10
  • 1
    For future readers, its relatively unusual to have a crank puller that fits both square-taper as well as ISIS/Octalink. I personally own two separate crank pullers for this reason.
    – Criggie
    Dec 24, 2017 at 1:19

3 Answers 3


You're doing it right but not getting enough leverage. That extractor has wrench flats to let you use an adjustable or open end wrench instead of an Allen if you want.

The other thing is that when you install the extractor, it's a good practice to tighten it in snugly with a wrench, making sure the tip is threaded out sufficiently first to avoid contacting the spindle yet. This way you're doing all you can to avoid destroying the crank threads.

  • Yup, right you were. I gained confidence, and started hitting the hex wrench with a bigger wrench. That started moving it, and with a few more hits, the crank started coming loose.
    – eoinoc
    Oct 4, 2016 at 19:26

I don't know about this this particular crank extractor, but the one I have came with two different end caps, one for ISIS/Octalink and one for square taper. Check that the end cap you are using fits inside the square hole in the crank, otherwise you will just strip the threads.

After you are sure you have the right tool, use more torque. If you have a piece of metal pipe at hand, use it for extra leverage, or get a longer wrench. Turning clockwise is correct.

  • 2
    Yeah, you want to make sure you have the extractor screwed ALL the way into the threads in the crank arm (be sure that the extractor bolt is unscrewed all the way, when starting), and that the end of the extractor is bearing ONLY on the shaft end (not on the sort of flange on the inside of the arm, and not somehow pressing on the threads of the shaft). Then you apply torque. That cap thing on the end of the extractor (which appears to be removable) may be hitting the flange of the crank arm. Oct 1, 2016 at 12:01
  • 1
    Looks like the cap can be removed and installed the other way for ISIS/Octalink.
    – ojs
    Oct 1, 2016 at 20:39
  • I was able to remove the cap on the crank extractor, but the threads were too big for the spindle threads. This worked in the end without removing the cap - I just needed more torque.
    – eoinoc
    Oct 4, 2016 at 19:25
  • Why the downvote?
    – ojs
    Oct 5, 2016 at 16:32

For really stubborn cranks (in my case probably 25 years old, everything steel, not really maintained) you may need to unjam them first even after putting some penetrating oil in there and letting it soak.

  • Get the crank extractor fully screwed in and take up the strain on the extractor screw
  • Working from the far side of the bike, get a piece of wood (2x2 is ideal, around a foot long) and press it against the crank arm as close to the bottom bracket as possible
  • Tap the other end of the wood with a hammer or big wrench. You're not getting to get it off this way, just crack the rust bond.

This is easier with 3 hands but it is possible with 2.

Obviously don't follow my advice if any of your bike is carbon (in fact that's a good general rule). Even expensive alloy cranks that you want to keep probably make this a bad idea.

  • Thanks. This was a stubborn crank (relative to the torque I was giving it), but your tips should help with more stubborn ones.
    – eoinoc
    Oct 4, 2016 at 19:27

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