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  1. #1
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    Square taper bottom bracket love?

    Anyone still partial to square taper, or is everything external now? I was thinking that I've had really good mileage on my square taper stuff....and continue to use it on my daily ride.

    I was debating an upgrade, but don't know if it's worth it.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

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    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    I have several square tapered cranks and also octalink, isis and several external cranks. There are even 2 BB30's thrown in there. I think they all work fine. I really doubt you will find a big upgrade in cranks. You can lose some weight but for stiffness, look to the frame over cranks.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

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    Parts is parts. Any good quality bottom bracket set up, loose ball, sealed bearing, square taper, whatever is functionally indistinguishable from the most expensive, newest external bearing BB. And yes, I ride a square taper BB.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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    I went from Square Taper to Isis Guess I didn't really upgrade, but the price for the crank was so good, I couldn't help myself. Love Nashbar, and I can't complain, I got over 10,000 miles out of my triple before the middle ring started to show signs of wear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TurbineBlade View Post
    Anyone still partial to square taper, or is everything external now? I was thinking that I've had really good mileage on my square taper stuff....and continue to use it on my daily ride.

    I was debating an upgrade, but don't know if it's worth it.
    It might be a replacement, but I don't think it'll necessarily be an upgrade.

    I'm still riding square taper for the simple reason that not one of my original cup & spindle bottom brackets ever needed replacement. If and when they die, or if I build something new and don't have a choice I might try a more modern BB, but it'll be hard to beat life expectancies of 10+ years, and 10's of thousands of near zero maintenance, trouble free, all weather miles.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    I've got enough chainrings and if need be replacement arms along with a serviceable BB that I suspect I will be buried with my square tapers. Can't see a real reason to replace it. It works. It works good. It works real good.... Nope, no reason to replace them.
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  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    new stuff seems like a take it or leave it fixed set, can't add a 3rd chainring and just switch out the BB
    for one say 5mm longer on the right end
    because the Arm and BB tube are a fixed set, so you have to buy the whole crankset.


  8. #8
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurbineBlade View Post
    Anyone still partial to square taper, or is everything external now? I was thinking that I've had really good mileage on my square taper stuff....and continue to use it on my daily ride.

    I was debating an upgrade, but don't know if it's worth it.
    If they ain't broke, don't fix 'em.

    However, it is broke, go with external. It's not the stiffness or the weight...good points in their own right... that makes external bottom brackets attractive, it's the ease of installation. The Shimano system is just about as idiot proof as any mechanism can possibly be. The Shimano bottom bracket/cranks do for the drivetrain what threadless headsets did for forks, i.e. makes installation simple. Total installation time is around 15 minutes and 10 minutes of that is finding the tools
    Stuart Black
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    Square taper = K.I.S.S principle.

    How much easier does it get than tightening a bolt/nut?
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  10. #10
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Most of my bikes run square taper, including a brand new one I just finished building this week. There ain't much wrong with the system in my humble opinion.
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  11. #11
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    Fair enough! I've really not had any issues either honestly. The way some folks talk it's like they're completely obsolete and no one uses them anymore!
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

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    I am one of the obsolete ones. There is no need for the new and improved BB's other than marketing.
    The external bearings require that the BB be faced accurately or they fail. They are not serviceable, just throw away parts.

  13. #13
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    i agree with cyccomute. if it aint broke....... if your feet go round, and the bike goes forward, ya done good. keep your money and buy a cold one after your ride. that'll work.
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  14. #14
    cab horn
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    Yeah nothing wrong with square taper except you can get 10/11s compatible cranks with that interface. But other than that if you want to retro grouch go right ahead.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  15. #15
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidad View Post
    I am one of the obsolete ones. There is no need for the new and improved BB's other than marketing.
    The external bearings require that the BB be faced accurately or they fail. They are not serviceable, just throw away parts.
    Yeah, no square taper or octalink BB's needed to have the BB faced either. In fact those tools were entirely superfluous. I wasn't aware that all cartridge square taper BB's were serviceable. That's news.

    Get with the times people.
    Last edited by operator; 08-02-10 at 06:48 PM.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  16. #16
    RT
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    I own one of each: ST on my cyclo build, and external on my Cross Comp. I cannot tell the difference on a 30 mile ride. If maintenance/replacement is needed, I'll go with whatever is least expensive in comparable quality. ST removal/installation is also a piece of cake.

  17. #17
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTDub View Post
    I own one of each: ST on my cyclo build, and external on my Cross Comp. I cannot tell the difference on a 30 mile ride. If maintenance/replacement is needed, I'll go with whatever is least expensive in comparable quality. ST removal/installation is also a piece of cake.
    Right, it's much harder to remove self extracting one bolt cranks for example, 10 speed sram. Stop grasping for advantages that aren't there.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Da Vlnci cranks, Phil Wood BB. Yup, I'm sticking with what I have. bk

  19. #19
    17yrold in 64yrold body
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    After 'upgrading' to external bearing BB, I found that I could not get the low gears I needed for my setup (30t small ring was not low enough). Went 'back' to square taper and an XTR 900 crank so I could put a 24t small ring on it. Has worked well for me, and I can tell no difference in stiffness or any of the other 'advantages' of the external.

  20. #20
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    Another unrepentant square taper user here. I have square taper bbs on three bikes including a 10-speed Campy Chorus triple and have had excellent service life from all of them, both cup-and cone and cartridge.

    Note to operator: Campy made several 10-speed compatible square taper bbs and cranks in Record down through at least Centaur versions. I expect they would work just fine with Campy 11-speed too.

    I do have Octalink bbs on two bikes and they have been fine also but I see little to no performance difference between them and square taper.

    I haven't made the move to an external cup bb and crank on anything yet since the old ones refuse to die.

  21. #21
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booger1 View Post
    Square taper = K.I.S.S principle.

    How much easier does it get than tightening a bolt/nut?
    Square taper doesn't equal K.I.S.S. To work on the crank you need: something to remove the dust cap, a 14mm socket or allen wrench (could be 6, 7, or 8 mm), a crank puller, and a bottom bracket extractor to match the flavor of bottom bracket you have. If you are using the old cup and cone system, you'll need a lock ring spanner, a pin spanner and a fixed cup tool. That's up to 7 different tools.

    For an external bottom bracket crank, you'll need a bottom bracket tool and and allen wrench. Two tools. Much simpler. Like I said earlier, external bottom bracket does for cranks what threadless does from headsets.
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  22. #22
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurbineBlade View Post
    Anyone still partial to square taper, or is everything external now? I was thinking that I've had really good mileage on my square taper stuff....and continue to use it on my daily ride.
    I went from square-taper to Octalink... and now I'm back to square-taper. Sealed cartridge instead of cup & cone, though. My legs can't tell the difference.
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  23. #23
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Square taper doesn't equal K.I.S.S. To work on the crank you need: something to remove the dust cap, a 14mm socket or allen wrench (could be 6, 7, or 8 mm), a crank puller, and a bottom bracket extractor to match the flavor of bottom bracket you have. If you are using the old cup and cone system, you'll need a lock ring spanner, a pin spanner and a fixed cup tool. That's up to 7 different tools.

    For an external bottom bracket crank, you'll need a bottom bracket tool and and allen wrench. Two tools. Much simpler. Like I said earlier, external bottom bracket does for cranks what threadless does from headsets.
    Not to mention, with a square taper comes the risk of not torquing down the crank bolt, going for a ride, and rounding the formerly square taper. Or, you can be two beers in, decide to try half step gearing, and forget to remove the crank bolt washer, and tear the threads out of a crank, making removal a real chore.

    All of my bikes have square taper, but that's just what's cheaply available, it has some issues.

  24. #24
    RT
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    I've done about 10 square taper BB replacements and each time it got easier. In fact, 2-10 were all the same: About 10 minutes total, and $15 worth of tools (purchased on sale of course).

    And a trusty roll of teflon tape.

  25. #25
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Square taper with cup 'n cone is Industrial Revolution age technology. The ball bearing was invented for the bicycle and up-market Edwardian bikes were advertised with 'balls all round.'

    Square taper is said to be bettered for race use by larger diameter hollow spindles, which are said to be 'stiffer' and reduce flex. Standard cup 'n cone B/Bs are prone to water and mud ingress when combined with lack of maintenance.

    But, for me, the square taper on my two humble bikes has yet to wear out, or break. Spares are available world-wide.
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