I am attempting to remove and replace the bottom bracket from a cheapish 1970s American department store road bike. I've gotten the lockring off, and now the non-drive side looks like this:

[Whoops, I definitely took photos of the drive side by mistake. You can look at them if you want: head-on view of drive side, angled view of drive side.]

The situation on the non-drive side is similar, but the only photo I have right now is slightly less clear:

blurry photo of non-drive side

That photo's from a few days ago and I have since gotten the lockring off the usual way. What's the tool or technique that will let me get the bottom bracket cup itself out? My shop doesn't have a bottom bracket tool with notches like this, nor have I seen one online. I tried a pin spanner to no avail. It's difficult to see in the photos, but the sides of the notches in the BB are somewhat sloped, so the pins don't get any "grab" and just slide right out when I start to turn them.

That's what I've tried so far. What am I missing, or what else can I try?

  • It's hard to judge the exact size, but is this the tool that would fit it? (Link is to a Park HCW-5 Bottom bracket lockring wrench)
    – DavidW
    May 23, 2019 at 16:17
  • @DavidW Yeah, I used that (or similar) to get the lockring off. The part I'm now struggling with is unscrewing the actual BB cup itself, which in the photo is the inner circle with the two dark squares on opposite sides of the spindle.
    – hairboat
    May 23, 2019 at 16:34
  • 1
    Oh, gotcha. Sorry, missed that. If you've got the lockring off, and you've got at least 3mm of exposed side of the cup, you could just try clamping a vise grip to it... (At least if you don't care about ever re-using it.)
    – DavidW
    May 23, 2019 at 16:39
  • @DavidW It'll probably come down to something like that - luckily, I'm trying to replace it, so I'm not fussed about destroying it as long as I get all the bits out :)
    – hairboat
    May 23, 2019 at 17:45
  • Remember, normally the drive side is left-hand-threadded (ie backwards) and the non-drive side (pictured) is normal right hand thread. In other words, your tool handle goes from BACK to TOP to FRONT to BOTTOM regardless of which side you're working on. Unless its a weird standard and discard this whole comment.
    – Criggie
    May 24, 2019 at 8:00

3 Answers 3


When I fixed up my old bike it had a typical BB with fixed and adjustable cups. I planned on replacing with a cartridge BB so I didn't want to get the special tools just for a removal operation. Though I did get the special toothed socket needed to install the new BB (a cheap version online since I'll only use it a few times). Using a slot screwdriver, or better, pin punch or cold chisel, and mallet/hammer, you should be able to get the cup turning. Make sure you're driving it in the correct direction. To remove non-drive side, drive it counter clockwise. To remove drive side, turn clockwise. A small amount of penetrating fluid can help too.

Edit: Forgive my crude sketching abilities, hopefully this helps. As in the side view, hit the notch perpendicular, and as in the top view, keep the pin/punch as parallel as you can to the face of the cup. (in this sketch this is for removal of the non-drive side). Depending no how stuck it is, it might help if someone holds the bike upright with the brakes on.

enter image description here

  • What did you do with the punch and hammer? Just drive the punch into the face at an angle, so it dented the surface enough to provide some torque and get it turning?
    – hairboat
    May 23, 2019 at 14:42
  • The diagram is super helpful, thanks :)
    – hairboat
    May 23, 2019 at 16:34
  • 2
    I have found a pair of needle nosed pliers a pretty effective alternative to the "real" tool. Open the jaws, insert into the grooves and turn by inserting a screwdriver across the handles.
    – mikes
    May 23, 2019 at 21:31
  • The needle nose trick works well. Been successful on a number of Ashtabula cranks (one piece cranks typically found on children's bikes and department store cruisers). About 50% of the time the above described hammer and punch method is necessary to persuade the threads to break loose. Then switch back to the pliers to continue removal.
    – Jeff
    May 26, 2019 at 10:10
  • 1
    I used a punch and a hammer and the cups started turning easily. Once they got started I was able to remove them by hand. Thanks!
    – hairboat
    May 28, 2019 at 15:04

Park HCW-11

Hozan C-207

Here are some examples of tools made for that kind of cup, which doesn't really have a universally understood name or type that I've ever heard of. The Hozan one pictured has a guide/holder bit that wouldn't be used with a cottered spindle like the one you have.

  • Ah, that Hozan one might fit the bill! The slots in the bottom bracket are kind of slanted so I'm not sure it would have great purchase, but if I can get my hands on one of these for cheap I will give it a shot.
    – hairboat
    May 24, 2019 at 11:50
  • I have tried the top Park tool you pictured, btw, but the perpendicular pins on the right-hand end of it (as pictured) are not wide enough apart to fit in the holes of this particular BB.
    – hairboat
    May 24, 2019 at 13:16

I would go out and buy a tool. Using a mallet and a hammer to remove bottom brackets could potentially damage the threads. French bikes have slightly different threading than do other bikes and vice versa. There were no threading standards back then, so if you damage the threads, it might even be that there aren't even tapping tools out there to reassemble the thread.

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