I pulled my chain off my cannondale road bike for cleaning today, and i noticed there was quite a bit of resistance on my Truvativ Crank And GXP BB, if i spun the cranks they'd only spin about 2 or 3 revolutions before stopping.
Since the bike didn't have wheels or chain i just popped into my LBS and the mechanic there said this was completely normal. Many of today's External BB's are packed and sealed pretty well, with pretty thick grease so that they last a long time. This seems to make perfect sense.
He also explained that once you get a chain on there and actually start biking, that you probably won't really notice the difference between it and, a really oiled up BB, only difference is the one with thick grease will last longer.
I haven't taken the chain off my other cannnodale which has the hollowgram BB to compare, but i'm kind of tempted to do a side by side comparison. I can remember last year cleaning the chain on my Trek 5000, and i would spin the cranks with no chain on the bike and they would spin for a good minute or two and slowly come to a hault.
Is this really normal these days to have really thickly greased BB bearings? Would one of those new ceramic bearing BB's be better? Is it conceivable to use a thinner grease/oil and just plan on servicing your BB bearings once a month instead of once or twice a year?