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  1. #1
    "this is not suck" j0e_bik3's Avatar
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    vintage bikes and BB troubles

    I love to resurrect old bikes: french, italian, english yada yada
    here in sunny california, getting a 35+ year old bike in relatively rust free condition is not at all abnormal, but since the weather is so nice, most of them are ridden to death, and usually almost never if ever maintained.

    so the question is: is there ANY way to convert the italian, or swiss, or french threaded BB's to standard ISO threading? either by modifying the BB itself, or the frame?

    or is a $150 phil wood BB the only choice for a crispy european BB?

    hopefully someone out there is a frame builder or machinist with some bike knowledge and can shed some light on this.

    I have access to a machine shop, and could probably have most anything done on a CNC mill or lathe or whatever.
    GT road bike conversion: fixed
    Electric beach cruiser grocery bike:
    best burrito vehicle EVAR!

  2. #2
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    You can replace the hanger tube. Custom surgery, and about as expensive as surgery.

    If you're dead set on it, ask over in the Framebuilder's forum.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  3. #3
    Senior Member Iowegian's Avatar
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    I've heard you can use the Phil retaining cups with some old Shimano cartridge BB's (eg UN-72). There are probably other cartridge BB's that would work as well, but as you probably know, the Phil cups aren't cheap.

    The biggest problem I see with switching BB types is the different shell diameters. French and Swiss are 35mm, Italian 36mm, ISO 1.37 inches, Raleigh ?? Brazing new material and tapping new threads could be done but changing a 35mm shell to something else would be tougher.

    There are also 'universal' BB's that don't have threads but wedge themselves into the shell. I haven't heard many good things about these except that if all else fails, they can be used to salvage an otherwise useless frame.

  4. #4
    "this is not suck" j0e_bik3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowegian View Post
    I've heard you can use the Phil retaining cups with some old Shimano cartridge BB's (eg UN-72). There are probably other cartridge BB's that would work as well, but as you probably know, the Phil cups aren't cheap.

    The biggest problem I see with switching BB types is the different shell diameters. French and Swiss are 35mm, Italian 36mm, ISO 1.37 inches, Raleigh ?? Brazing new material and tapping new threads could be done but changing a 35mm shell to something else would be tougher.

    There are also 'universal' BB's that don't have threads but wedge themselves into the shell. I haven't heard many good things about these except that if all else fails, they can be used to salvage an otherwise useless frame.

    ok so phil cups and a UN-model number shimano BB are supposedly compatable? (thats good because thats only about $70 or so) I have some phil cups (of COURSE for a french frame that I no longer have ) I'll try them on some double cup BB's

    and a universal that you jam or glue in.

    any links or theads to the universal BB?
    GT road bike conversion: fixed
    Electric beach cruiser grocery bike:
    best burrito vehicle EVAR!

  5. #5
    Senior Member melville's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j0e_bik3 View Post
    I love to resurrect old bikes: french, italian, english yada yada
    here in sunny california, getting a 35+ year old bike in relatively rust free condition is not at all abnormal, but since the weather is so nice, most of them are ridden to death, and usually almost never if ever maintained.

    so the question is: is there ANY way to convert the italian, or swiss, or french threaded BB's to standard ISO threading? either by modifying the BB itself, or the frame?

    or is a $150 phil wood BB the only choice for a crispy european BB?

    hopefully someone out there is a frame builder or machinist with some bike knowledge and can shed some light on this.

    I have access to a machine shop, and could probably have most anything done on a CNC mill or lathe or whatever.
    Perhaps go pressed-in sealed? This might work on all but Italian--use #6003 bearings (35mm OD, 17mm ID) and a Phil or Klein spindle (spindle ONLY) on a BB shell with the threads reamed out. Press it all together just like an old Klein! If you get the interference fit right, you should be able to do it with bearings and spindle only, no snap rings or internal sleeves.

  6. #6
    "this is not suck" j0e_bik3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by melville View Post
    Perhaps go pressed-in sealed? This might work on all but Italian--use #6003 bearings (35mm OD, 17mm ID) and a Phil or Klein spindle (spindle ONLY) on a BB shell with the threads reamed out. Press it all together just like an old Klein! If you get the interference fit right, you should be able to do it with bearings and spindle only, no snap rings or internal sleeves.
    thats really good too, thank you

    great idea, and since I run into more pugs and bacons than anything else thats probably going to be the way.
    GT road bike conversion: fixed
    Electric beach cruiser grocery bike:
    best burrito vehicle EVAR!

  7. #7
    slow as I ever was Ex Pres's Avatar
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    Because of the sizes (34.8, 35, 36), the only thing you can do is convert any of the smaller ones to the Italian 36mm. And Italian BBs are still made so there are no issues finding them. I have a french frame converted to Italian threading and use a 2mm spacer for the width difference. Gives you a little bit of chainline adjustment to play with as you can put the spacer on either side.
    72 special CNC ______ 72 Frejus (ala Legnano) _73 Holdsworth Record
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    For Sale: _________ 78 Raleigh Professional __ 82 Peugeot PXN10
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  8. #8
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  9. #9
    "this is not suck" j0e_bik3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arborohs View Post
    why, hell yes it is!

    may your children grow up to be billionairs!

    THANK YOU!
    GT road bike conversion: fixed
    Electric beach cruiser grocery bike:
    best burrito vehicle EVAR!

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