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  1. #1
    Senior Member maldekai's Avatar
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    French Bottom Bracket, Tired of Cotters...What am I to do?

    Here's the set up...

    I have an old A0-8, and the cotters and three pin crankset (as cool as they look) are getting very old and clunky and I want to replace the spindle with one that would accommodate cotterless cranks.

    I want to do this only because of availability of parts. I LOVE cotters and three pin chainrings, but I find myself appalled by how much these components can cost for this sort of bike. I trust that I can score some cheapo parts for it, but I want clean, beautiful chrome, not some pitty, rusted out stuff that I see on ebay. That kind of stuff is $100+ especially if I want French components.

    I would gladly accept suggestions on either how to replace the spindle (more specifically what kind of spindle I would need-sizes, diameter ect) or, if there is a place somewhere on this good green earth where I can acquire reasonable cottered, three pin cranksets. (i have all of the tools to service them too-press and extra cotters )

    Really, at this point I will take any and all advice as long as it will contribute to a more beautiful, functional bike.

  2. #2
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    As expected, Harris Cyclery has info.
    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/frenc...ks.html#bottom

  3. #3
    Senior Member maldekai's Avatar
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    I appreciate it, but I have seen this many times before. The aim of my post was to get at non-specialty parts, the special phil woods bb being over a hundred dollars with all components included. Also, Harris cyclery only has the mounting bits, all for Professionnel 3 arm cranks, which I do not have.

  4. #4
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    I've used a regular Shimano/Sugino/SR type cotterless square taper spindle with the same old french threaded cups. Might work for you if your cups aren't worn out, and the bearing race is similar enough...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kramnnim View Post
    I've used a regular Shimano/Sugino/SR type cotterless square taper spindle with the same old french threaded cups. Might work for you if your cups aren't worn out, and the bearing race is similar enough...
    I have done exactly the same thing to update the Stronglight cottered crank on an old Raleigh to a newer square taper crank. I couldn't find Raleigh proprietary threaded cups to match the new bb so I used the OEM ones.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    You need a Japanese spindle made for an Italian bike to use your old French cups. This is the appropriate section from the Harris Cyclery site:

    "French-thread bottom bracket cups use 35 mm x 1mm threads. They are getting hard to find. If you have a French bicycle with sound bottom bracket cups, you may want to re-use them, even if you wind up changing the axle. Since French bottom brackets are normally the usual 68 mm width, British/I.S.O. bottom bracket axles will sometimes work.

    French bottom bracket cups usually have thinner walls than Japanese ones, so the bearing ridges on the spindles are farther apart. If you use a standard Japanese spindle, the adjustable cup won't be able to screw in far enough to snug up the bearings, or if it does, it will sink into the bottom bracket shell so that you won't be able to install the lockring.


    The good news is that a Japanese spindle made for an Italian size (70 mm) bottom bracket will usually fit! In the Sugino marking system, these are the spindles that are marked with a "5" code. Spindles for 68 mm bbs have codes beginning with 3. This trick often makes it possible to upgrade an older bike from cotterd to cotterless cranks at a reasonable cost."

    If you need new cups, watch eBay. Sometimes you can get them fairly cheap. I've paid as little as $16.95 for a new set of Suginos, but that was before the supply dried up.

  7. #7
    loser
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    I'm not sure what you're looking for. Do you want a square taper chrome (steel) crank? I'm not sure they exist. I might well be wrong about that.

    Your best bet to find an axle that works might be to find an old old bike shop and look through their bucket of spindles. Compare the old ones to the used ones and fingers crossed you might find something that will work.

  8. #8
    cab horn
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    The solution is to chuck the frame into a lake and buy something modern
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  9. #9
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    I managed to get myself a Campy French thread BB on Ebay about a year ago, but I had to be pretty patient. They do seem to appear from time to time. If persistence on Ebay doesn't pay off, you could always try this:
    http://house-of-yes.com/phil-wood-y-bottom-bracket/
    I haven't tried it, but it's a compelling concept for a good bit less than a Phil Wood cartridge. I've picked up Shimano cartridge units for next to nothing now that the square taper ones are on the way out. Your main cost would be in the Phil mounting rings and tool(s).

  10. #10
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    http://cgi.ebay.com/vintage-campagno...QQcmdZViewItem

    You're on your own for the spindle.

  11. #11
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    http://cgi.ebay.com/French-Thread-St...QQcmdZViewItem

    Or perhaps you like this Stronglight better.

  12. #12
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thechamp View Post
    I'm not sure what you're looking for. Do you want a square taper chrome (steel) crank? I'm not sure they exist. I might well be wrong about that.
    Oh, they exist all right. And they might actually be a better choice than aluminum if the maker is going to scrimp on parts. The "aluminum" three-piece cotterless cranks used on most department store bikes seem to bear a greater metallurgical similarity to cheese than anything else. Steel might be cheap and heavy, but it'll last.

    Seriously though, steel cotterless cranks are fairly rare, probably because making them out of steel defeats much of the purpose in using them instead of an also-heavy-but-bombproof OPC, or at an earlier time, of using the readily available and cheap steel cottered cranks.

  13. #13
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    Buy this, or one like it. It doesn't use the BB threads. Instead, the bearing is pinched in the BB shell by the lockrings. You can see in the picture.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/VINTAGE--MAVIC-B...02120819a23862
    You're supposed to bevel the BB with a special mill. I have one. If you buy this BB, and live in the states, send me your frame and I'll do it for you.

  14. #14
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilG View Post
    Buy this, or one like it. It doesn't use the BB threads. Instead, the bearing is pinched in the BB shell by the lockrings. You can see in the picture.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/VINTAGE--MAVIC-B...02120819a23862
    You're supposed to bevel the BB with a special mill. I have one. If you buy this BB, and live in the states, send me your frame and I'll do it for you.
    With all due respect to neilG's generous offer, it doesn't seem like this is a very cost-effective solution. Starting price of $40, shipping from France, shipping the frame both ways - all to get a so-so BB in "good" condition. Moreover, as a previous poster mentioned, these BBs have mixed reviews at best. I don't have my calculator out, but I'd imagine you'd be pretty close to Phil range at that point.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbonamici View Post
    With all due respect to neilG's generous offer, it doesn't seem like this is a very cost-effective solution. Starting price of $40, shipping from France, shipping the frame both ways - all to get a so-so BB in "good" condition. Moreover, as a previous poster mentioned, these BBs have mixed reviews at best. I don't have my calculator out, but I'd imagine you'd be pretty close to Phil range at that point.
    Oh, yeah, didn't see that it came from France. There's gotta be others floating around. I wouldn't be too picky about the quality considering the bike it's going on, seriously. Otherwise, buy the Phil and be done with it. You can always take the Phil BB to your next bike with a new set of rings. There IS going to be a next bike, isn't there?

  16. #16
    Darkie mvillan's Avatar
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    my friend had the threads redone on his old peugeot. He now runs a modern external bearing bottom bracket and crank
    Quote Originally Posted by kilometers View Post
    Sorry I never called to ride. Last night ended with one of our friends (fixed conversion with orange stem) urinating in his own kitchen. Needless to say I did not get up until after noon.

  17. #17
    brain damaged bovine muccapazza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvillan View Post
    my friend had the threads redone on his old peugeot. He now runs a modern external bearing bottom bracket and crank
    He had them redone to Italian threads, right?

  18. #18
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I replaced the cottered axle and cranks on my '62 Peugeot with a #5 tapered axle and a modern SR crank... the cups on my bike were in fine shape.

    It dropped a full pound off the bike.

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