An improvement on Sheldon’s fixed cup removal tool

Improved bottom bracket fixed cup removal tool

I had a really hard time trying to remove the bottom bracket fixed cup from my friend’s Elvish French bike.  I replicated Sheldon Brown’s fixed cup removal tool, although my local hardware store did not carry any 5/8″ bolts, so I had to resort to a 1/2″ threaded bolt.  I believe that I have made two improvements to the tool, which I’ll detail below.

Coupling nut and the bolt

Firstly, instead of a regular nut I decided to use a coupling nut, which is about 1-3/4″ long.  The rationale was that it would be harder to strip the thread off the bolt or the nut because a lot more thread will be in use.  This worked.  I later noticed another advantage to using the coupling nut it can be used inside the bottom bracket shell and grabbed with a regular short socket, with no extender (because the coupling nut is fairly long).

Problem with the lock washers

I encountered a problem with the lockwashers.  They got compressed to the point of getting deformed and opening up completely.  The purpose of the stack of the lock washers was to serve as spacers, so I looked for something else to do that.  I found that a 3/4″ nut slipped over the 1/2″ threaded bolt easily and fit inside the fixed cup.  I noticed that there was a lot less slippage with the big nut as a spacer, compared to the lockwashers.  Also, it’s easier to keep the bolt centered because the lock washers did not lie flat against the inner surface of the fixed cup, but the big nut did.

So, here is the improved tool in its entirety: a 2″ long 1/2″ threaded bolt, a 3/4″ threaded nut, a flat washer, and a coupling nut.  This tool worked to remove the really stubborn fixed cup from my friend’s bike.  The picture in the beginning of this article shows the tool grabbing the fixed cup.



  1. Hi, after trying the multiple-washers method, there was simply to much slippage. I had almost given up trying to dislodge the cup. It led me to believe to swear the cup was welded in place! But I gave it one last try using your “improved” method and voila, it worked! I WAS able to use a 5/8″ bolt and 5/8″ nut combination but swapped out the coupling nut with, again a 5/8″ nut instead. As you noted, this method grabs the cup I would say, with almost no slippage at all. Thank you thank you and thank you!!

  2. Believe it or not, I just screwed another 5/8″ threaded nut all the way up into the 5/8″ bolt, exact same sized nut as on the outside. This way, this “spacer” nut is tight against the head of the bolt, no chance for unnecessary slippage. Everything fits inside the cup snuggly. The large outside washer actually over covers the cup which helps to achieve maximum grip. Once everything is tightened, I make sure to use an 18″ adjustable wrench for maximum torque! I think because by upgrading the setup from 1/2″ to 5/8″, this help make it an even easier job! Thanks!

  3. It’s a shame that Sheldon is not around to acknowledge/comment on this improvement.
    The pro tools seem to adopt a belt and braces approach incorporating a jaw engaging with the flats, etc on the cup. Used in this way, the jaw cannot slip off the cup (which a spanner/wrench used on its own would be liable to do.

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