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View Poll Results: Do I want a Hollowtech, Octalink or Square taper Triple Crankset

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  • Hollowtech, It's troble free

    12 41.38%
  • Octalink works great, no worries

    3 10.34%
  • Square taper is ideal for a triple crank

    14 48.28%
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  1. #1
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Triple trouble; do I want a Hollowtech, Octalink or Square taper?

    I'm selecting a modern 9 or 10 speed crank for a 1987 Trek 400. I want a triple for commuting and light touring. I like the operation of the Shimano 105 Hollowtech II road triple on my other bike. However the modern appearance and chainline are less than ideal.

    A NOS 105/Ultegra Octalink 9 speed triple will look better on my vintage bike and will have a better chainline than the modern Hollowtech II triple. Is the Octalink BB & Crank as trouble free as the modern Hollowtech II?

    How about good-old square taper? Sugino makes a good looking touring triple that has the ratios I want. Is Square taper reliable?
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 01-20-10 at 01:00 PM.

  2. #2
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    While claims for better reliability might have been brought up with the new BB designs, real world tests have shown that they are all about as reliable as the next. The biggest difference in that for external BBs, you can often replace just the cartridge bearings and reuse the shells. Square taper BBs can also be had with replaceable bearings (though most are not). Square taper allows adjustment of chainline through different length spindles which is impossible with the other designs. External bearing cranks are the easiest to R&R though.

    It really doesn't matter much in the end IMO. I'd base your BB decision on which crank you choose, not the other way around.

  3. #3
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    I've currently have square taper cartridge bottom brackets and Octalinks on several triple cranks. From my experience I have concluded:

    1. Shimano cartridge square taper bottom brackets are VERY satisfactory. I've gotten over 25,000 miles on a couple of Ultegra (UN-7X) and 105 (UN-5X) bottom brackets with absolutely no problems. A couple were still in good shape when retired for other reasons. I have a Campy Chorus triple square taper cartridge bb on one bike with 12,000 miles and it seems perfect.

    2. Octalinks are also perfectly satisfactory. I currently have Octalink triple bb's on two bikes, one an Ultegra BB6500 (no longer in production) and one a 105 BB5500. The 6500 has over 25,000 miles and is still in excellent condition. The 5500 is relatively new with about 5,000 miles but no problems at all.

    They are both good designs and I don't think you will make a mistake with either.

    You will hear a lot of bad things about ISIS bottom brackets, which are a patent-beater design similar to Octalink. Since ISIS is a public domain design it was produced in many qualities. Some of these bottom brackets were very unreliable and gave the entire concept a bad name. Since it is similar to Octalink, there have been those who condemn the Octalink design also. That's not correct.

  4. #4
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    octalink is just as bad as isis bbs especially in mtbs. crappy small bearings.

  5. #5
    Medicinal Cyclist Daytrip's Avatar
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    The Hollowtech is incredibly easy to install/remove/maintain compared to the square taper, IMO. Not to mention light
    Let your freak flag fly.

  6. #6
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    will have a better chainline
    What does this mean?
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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  7. #7
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reptilezs View Post
    crappy small bearings.
    Crappy small bearings that will go 25,000 miles and more?

    Granted that there is a theoretical advantage to larger external bearings, but that in no way makes Octalink bearings "crappy". There is also a theoretical disadvantage or two...
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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  8. #8
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by reptilezs View Post
    octalink is just as bad as isis bbs especially in mtbs. crappy small bearings.
    I thought ISIS was crappy because they had poor seal, bearing and race quality.
    I know for sure mega-exo BB suffer from poor dust seals.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  9. #9
    DOS
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    I love my Suntour Superbe Pro cranks with square taper BB. Alas, I don't think they came in triple. But here's some that would look great on an 87 Trek

    http://cgi.ebay.com/SUNTOUR-SUPERBE-...item45f094bfd8

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...=263602_263622
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  10. #10
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Sugino has the ratios you want. I have a couple of them. They are good, Sheldon liked them.
    Sounds like a plan to me.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  11. #11
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    I've always had good, long performance out of shimano basic square-tapered bb's (just like the guy above said). Not complaints whatsoever.

    Currently I am running a hollowtech II Shimano SLX triple crankset/bb. Easy to install, seems decent - no long term reliability testing yet though.

  12. #12
    AEO
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    the only issue I would have with square taper triple is that in order to replace or thoroughly clean the inner ring, the crank has to come off. In essence shortening the crank life every time you do that, since there's a limited amount of times you can install a square taper.
    but seeing as how abundant and cheap square taper cranks are, a very minor, nit picky detail.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  13. #13
    WNG
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    Windy City means commuting in snow/slush during the winter. Touring means many miles away from home or a fully stocked bike shop when possible breakdowns occur.
    I'd opt for a tried/true design, a sq. taper BB. There are lot's of options and any bike shop should have them in stock in case of emergencies. External BB can cause some clearance issues with certain triple combos.
    A good quality sealed cartridge sq. taper BB such as a Shimano UNC-54 or better will last a long time and have good resistance to water/dirt. Perfect for a commuter bike.
    This not a weekend racer. Latest and greatest technology and their price tags aren't necessary.
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  14. #14
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    I have used the shimano UN-54 square taper bb for a really long time and it still spins great but i did end up with an ovalized left-crank arm after it came slightly loose.

    Though I voted for hollowtech because i like the crank interface better(almost idiot proof) and the increased rigidity.... If you need a lower Q-factor though square taper is great.

  15. #15
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    If you want a vintage look, how about a Campy Record 10-speed triple:


  16. #16
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    For it's light-weight and trouble-free (usually - there are bound to be exceptions) operation - I'll go along with Hollowtech II for a triple. While I love loose-balls in my 1982 Campy Record BB on my PUCH - for my Hybrid I went Hollowtech II triple - A Shimano Ultegra 6603. It's sweet.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  17. #17
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by achoo View Post
    If you want a vintage look, how about a Campy Record 10-speed triple:

    I wouldn't call that a vintage look. certainly 'look what I found in the basement' classic, but if it's going to look classic or vintage, no pins, no ramps and certainly nothing that says 10 speed on it.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by late View Post
    Sugino has the ratios you want. I have a couple of them. They are good, Sheldon liked them.
    Sounds like a plan to me.
    +1 sugino is 110/74 bcd, you can go down to 34 teeth for your middle gear. with 130/74, 38 is the smallest middle gear possible.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    I have used the shimano UN-54 square taper bb for a really long time and it still spins great but i did end up with an ovalized left-crank arm after it came slightly loose.
    That's not the fault of the bottom bracket. The crank arms weren't torqued adequately and ANY square taper crank/bottom bracket will fail that way if not assembled properly.

  20. #20
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    I have an Octalink 105 triple on my 94 Bridgestone RB2. I think the Octalink spindle is 118 +? which seems to give a not so great chainline. It's what I had.... If starting from scratch I would get the Sugino with lower gearing and a shorter bb spindle.
    Last edited by shelbyfv; 01-21-10 at 09:23 AM. Reason: spell

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
    I have an Octalink 105 triple on my 94 Bridgestone RB2. I think the Octalink spindle is 118 +? which seems to give a not so great chainline. It's what I had.... If starting from scratch I would get the Sugino with lower gearing and a shorter bb spindle.
    All Octalink triple spindles are 118.5 mm. Why do you think your chainline is "not so great"? Is the shifting bad or the chain noisy?

    If you want lower gearing on your 105, the least expensive way to get it is to replace the 30T granny with a 26T chainring.

  22. #22
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I've eliminated the Octalink type interface from consideration. The limited supply of V1 BBs being a concern. I like the old-school look of these cranks, but a purchase would be a bad investment IMO.

    The Sugino XD600 triple with 46/36 & 26t chainrings provides a broad range for touring. It also looks much better on a 1987 steel-framed Trek than a modern Hollowtech II crankset.

  23. #23
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    Quit being cheap and get a Phil Wood square taper. The ability to set your chainline exactly is worth it alone. The quality is unsurpassed. bk
    Last edited by bkaapcke; 01-25-10 at 06:20 PM.

  24. #24
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I decided on the modern Shimano Hollowtech II triple for my vintage. I'm not thrilled about the appearence on an older bike, but the iterface is trouble free and a 105 crank can be a bargain on eBay.

    Michael

  25. #25
    smitten by саша pwdeegan's Avatar
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    +1 on the Phil Wood. i just replaced my UN54, and honestly, i can feel the (better) difference. installation was a cinch, too. oh, and if i shine a bright light down my seat tube, i can just make out the shiny "Phil" logo.

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