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  1. #1
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    Need bits for wierd bottom bracket on an old 70's roadie bike

    First post from me, so hi everyone.

    Ok, the bike in question is older than me... It's a Claud Butler Majestic from the early 70's and it's got a gold frame and forks. Now... When riding it the other day, the pedal felt like it was bent, but it turned out to be a snapped bottom bracket shaft! It snapped where the square taper on the non-drive side. I mananged to coast the rest of the journey.

    Now, I managed to get the bottom bracket apart and I've never seen anything like it before - Loose ball bearings with cups, and there was even some paper in the frame to keep the BB cups in place! I took the whole lot out, and went to put a spare shimano square taper BB that I had. Even tho the threads seemed to be in the same direction, the threads would not engage on the drivers side no matter how I tried. Maybe the threads are slightly different density or size? Could I get a BB that would fit and be square taper?

    I need to get this bike going again, as it's a great runabout. So maybe I could get some bits for the old and brocken BB? Now, the shaft has definately had it, and it will need replaceing. Also, one of the ball bearing cups has cracked and I will need a new one of them... I'm guessing this sorta BB mustv'e been common in the 70's but I wasn't even born then so I am totally clueless here!

  2. #2
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeHunt79
    First post from me, so hi everyone.

    Ok, the bike in question is older than me... It's a Claud Butler Majestic from the early 70's and it's got a gold frame and forks. Now... When riding it the other day, the pedal felt like it was bent, but it turned out to be a snapped bottom bracket shaft! It snapped where the square taper on the non-drive side. I mananged to coast the rest of the journey.

    Now, I managed to get the bottom bracket apart and I've never seen anything like it before - Loose ball bearings with cups, and there was even some paper in the frame to keep the BB cups in place! I took the whole lot out, and went to put a spare shimano square taper BB that I had. Even tho the threads seemed to be in the same direction, the threads would not engage on the drivers side no matter how I tried. Maybe the threads are slightly different density or size? Could I get a BB that would fit and be square taper?

    I need to get this bike going again, as it's a great runabout. So maybe I could get some bits for the old and brocken BB? Now, the shaft has definately had it, and it will need replaceing. Also, one of the ball bearing cups has cracked and I will need a new one of them... I'm guessing this sorta BB mustv'e been common in the 70's but I wasn't even born then so I am totally clueless here!

    Replacement BB's are cheap and it's common practice today to replace the old cup and cone types with a modern cartridge type. You just need to determine what threading you have (English, Italian, French, or whatever) and the spindle/axle length. A good reference to help you make these determinations is here:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/bbsize.html#threading

    If you are not positive about what threading you have then you should take the bike to the LBS and let them figure it out. Claud Butler are English(UK) bikes, so your BB is most likely of the "English or British ISO" type. If you cross thread the BB tube on the frame you will be in for a more expensive repair and could possibly damage your frame. A new cartridge, with installation, should cost about $50 at a shop
    (I'm assuming $20 for the BB and $30 labor).

    When you thread in a BB the cups (or cartridge) should thread in easily by hand. If you take two or three turns and it starts to bind then it's cross threaded. Back it out and try again. When you get to where it will thread in four or five turns, then you are good to go. Do not put a wrench on your BB until you can finger tighten it a substantial part of the way (5-10 turns).

    P.S. Mike, has anyone seen you????
    Last edited by cascade168; 04-06-06 at 06:43 AM. Reason: humor
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
    - Oscar Wilde

  3. #3
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    Haha, I have been spotted here and there... Here's a pic of it from 1977, incase you're wondering on what it looks like... It still has the original tyres on it!

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/nkilgar...7/Majestic.jpg

    As far as the bottom bracket is concerned, I think the threads in the frame have seen better days. I say this as it took lots of elbow grease to get the BB cups out. I managed to do the non-drive side with a plumbers wrench, but the drive side needed a 35mm spanner. I had to stand on the spanner because it was so tight.. but it also needed lots of effort to turn the spanner once it had been loosened, so the threads must be tight.

    The BB definately British thread, as I had to turn the drive side cup clockwise to undo it. Now on the exellent sheldon brown site you linked, there seems to be two sizes of thredind for the threading for the British standard...

    1.370" X 24 tpi
    1.375" X 24 tpi

    Very confusing... Only the British could come up with one standard with 2 different thread sizes. Perhaps that's why my shimano BB that I tried didn't fit? Perhaps the shimano had a 1.375" thread while my frame has 1.370" threading... So where on earth could I get a correctly sized BB? If not, maybe a new spindle and balls and ball cups would be ok, as the existing cups fit ok, if a little tight.

  4. #4
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    Take it to the shop and they will chase out the threads and everything will screw in like a brand new-un. That or they will tell you that the threads are in fact dead, but I really doubt that.

    In high school I knew a kid whose given, legal name was Michael Hunt, no joke. We would be at awards ceremonies for stuff, and they'd be drilling through the top 25, with each person getting a polite clap for coming in 18th or whatever, and then all of a sudden, "In 17th place, Mike Hunt," followed by like half a beat of recognition and then thunderous applause from the assebled high school masses. It never failed...

  5. #5
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeHunt79
    Haha, I have been spotted here and there... Here's a pic of it from 1977, incase you're wondering on what it looks like... It still has the original tyres on it!

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/nkilgar...7/Majestic.jpg

    As far as the bottom bracket is concerned, I think the threads in the frame have seen better days. I say this as it took lots of elbow grease to get the BB cups out. I managed to do the non-drive side with a plumbers wrench, but the drive side needed a 35mm spanner. I had to stand on the spanner because it was so tight.. but it also needed lots of effort to turn the spanner once it had been loosened, so the threads must be tight.

    The BB definately British thread, as I had to turn the drive side cup clockwise to undo it. Now on the exellent sheldon brown site you linked, there seems to be two sizes of thredind for the threading for the British standard...

    1.370" X 24 tpi
    1.375" X 24 tpi

    Very confusing... Only the British could come up with one standard with 2 different thread sizes. Perhaps that's why my shimano BB that I tried didn't fit? Perhaps the shimano had a 1.375" thread while my frame has 1.370" threading... So where on earth could I get a correctly sized BB? If not, maybe a new spindle and balls and ball cups would be ok, as the existing cups fit ok, if a little tight.

    Ah, 35mm I know it well. It used to be (or, so I am told) that you could easily get a Park HCW-2 BB fixed cup wrench which has an openning with 35mm flats. They seem to be impossible to find today. So, the very manly and very expensive tool for 35mm flat fixed cups is this guy from VAR:

    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...&item_id=VR-30

    It's $155 and then you have to buy a 35.1mm jaw for it (another $65 !!!):

    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...tem_id=VR-30/1

    Fortunately, you can't even find fixed cups with 35mm flats anymore. At some point, it seems that everyone went to a 36mm standard and those fit right into the same BB tubes as the ones with 35mm flats. You can get brand new cup and cone sets that use a 36mm fixed cup from either of these two places:

    http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?id=2169 (scroll down to "Axles" and then "Cups)
    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg..._id=YS-BB611NW

    You'll notice that both of those are listed as "1.37 x 24tpi" and not "1.375".

    Since you said your axle is knackered, you could measure it and match up with one on the Harris page.
    Replacement axles use bolts to hold in the crank arms and alot of the old ones had threaded studs on the
    ends of the axle shafts. Make sure you get either the correct nuts or bolts for your new axle.

    And, last but not least, here's an inexpensive tool for 36mm fixed cups:

    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...tem_id=PA-HCW4

    A lot of manufacturers, including Campy, make something similar, if you don't like that one.

    P.S. If I were a betting man, I'd say those tires are 27" and have dry rot. If the rubber is still good it would be amazing.

    P.S.S. Park Tool has a nice article on servicing that type of BB:

    http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=93
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
    - Oscar Wilde

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascade168
    Since you said your axle is knackered, you could measure it and match up with one on the Harris page.
    Replacement axles use bolts to hold in the crank arms and alot of the old ones had threaded studs on the
    ends of the axle shafts. Make sure you get either the correct nuts or bolts for your new axle.
    Yup, the old and now brocken axle does have threaded bits on both ends, which I found strange... Anyway, I now might have solved this dilemma. After chatting to the previous owner, he said he put loctite in frame to the BB cups wouldn't fall out, so I'm guessing this is why I couldn't get the shimano BB in. So I took everything out the frame, and gave the threads a good clean with a wire-brush-drill-bit attachment thing. The good news is the sealed shimano BB now fits! The bad news is the spindle on the shimano BB is too short. I measured it and it was around 110mm. The old spindle was around 122mm. So I'm now waiting for a new shimano BB to arrive with a spindle length if 122mm.

    Thanks for all the info cascade168, I didn't think there would still be tools and spares still avaliable, but it looks like there still are. I'm already on the lookout for some new tyres, as at the moment the current ones loose pressure daily.

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