Mar 24 2015

Tooling Up: Carrying the Lifu Mini Crank Extractor and the J. A. Stein Cassette Remover

Because sometimes only a specialist’s tool will do the job.

I carry a lot of tools on my longer bike rides, and two of them are uncommon enough to deserve a shout-out. Check ’em out below. On the left is the Lifu mini crank extractor, which, as you can see, is hardly bigger than the cork from a bottle of Port though it’s admittedly quite a bit heavier. Total cost? Five bucks. In conjunction with an 8 mm Allen key or 14 mm open-end wrench, it makes use of the securing bolt to remove either crank from a standard tapered spindle.

Petra's Tools

On the right is the J. A. Stein cassette remover, which works by preventing the cassette’s lockring from turning. A splined inner plate fits into the lockring, while an outer plate is secured by using the wheel’s skewer. Turning the cranks in low gear then breaks the lockring free, which in turn allows you to remove the cassette. The Stein tool can also be used to tighten the lockring when reinstalling a cassette. It’s made in two versions: One fits Shimano cassettes; the other, Campagnolo. Mine is the Shimano model. Instructions are online if you are interested in seeing how it works.

I’ve yet to need either of these specialized tools on the road, but if the time comes when I need to pull a crank to tend to a bottom bracket problem, or remove a cassette to replace spokes, I’ll be mighty glad to have the right tools for the job. One cautionary note is in order. It’s worth practicing using these tools in your home shop, before you need to do so for real. And it’s also a good idea to carry the instructions in your bike tool kit. You don’t have to consult them, but if you needed to and didn’t have the instructions you’d regret it.

Further Reading


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