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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 08-26-11, 08:05 PM   #1
spinnaker
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How many miles on the bottom bracket?

I posted a while back on a strange clicking which I thought was coming from the bottom bracket. I took it to one LBS and they could not get the clicking to occur.

Plus they told me the only noise they could here was coming from the headset and that the bearings were shot. They said they would have to replace those before doing anything. The bearings have been on order for a week now.

If I turn the handlebars sharply with the tire off the ground I could hear a clicking but it was a different click coming from the steering then the one I was hearing.

The other thing that is disturbing is that they told me my chain was stretched and needed to be replaced. I measured it myself with my handy dandy chain checker and it did not looked stretched to me.

So I went out for an evening ride tonight and the clicking persisted. I was fairly certain that it was not in in the headset.

So I decided to stop in to a local REI. First he checked the chain and I was right, it was not stretched. Turns out the clicking (at least the one I can hear) coming from the steering was the cable barrel adjuster slapping the steering tube.

REI wants to replace the bottom bracket based on my assumption that the real clicking is coming from the bottom bracket.

I need to pack the bike up for tour next Friday so I can't mess around any longer. How many miles should I get out of a bottom bracket? I have about 12K. I would think I should get more miles than that. But if it is about due anyway, it would not hurt to have it replaced, if it is really the source of the sound or not.
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Old 08-26-11, 08:49 PM   #2
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On all my bikes, spanning 45 years and well over 100k miles, I've never replaced a bottom bracket, spindle or cups. The longest I've gone so far on a single bike is something over 50k, and the hubs and BB were still original when I finally retired it in favor of something more modern.

It's hart to tell you how much BB life you can expect because there are so many styles and qualities. In your shoes, about to start a tour, I'd err on the side of reliability, and replace the BB unless identify the noise and are sure it's OK.

BTW- have a great trip.
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Old 08-26-11, 08:51 PM   #3
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You can't generalize. I've seen cheap cup-and-cone bottom brackets pit and need to be replaced in 6000 miles. I have a Shimano Octalink bb with over 28.000 miles and still running perfectly. Grab the crank arms and try to rock them and see if there is any sideways movement. If they move at all, the bb is suspect. Also the noise could just be creaking of the cups in the frame's bb shell threads and removal, greasing the threads and reinstallation may be the fix.
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Old 08-26-11, 08:57 PM   #4
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Also the noise could just be creaking of the cups in the frame's bb shell threads and removal, greasing the threads and reinstallation may be the fix.
That is what I was thinking too. He said he might not have the BB and will need to order it anyway. He wants me to stop back in tomorrow to check the brand. Does he need to disassemble the BB or just pull the cranks to check it?
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Old 08-26-11, 09:02 PM   #5
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BTW I grabbed a crank and the whole crankset rocks back and forth.

According to the catalog, it is a TruVatiVTuro crankset. Not sure were that falls in the line of quality.
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Old 08-26-11, 09:29 PM   #6
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Check to make sure the BB is tight in the frame first, then go from there. I have found several bikes lately where the cartridges were simply not tightened enough, and backed out, causing a click any time the pedals were under force. Most times it cannot be recreated on the work stand. From personal experience over the last few years, BB clicks are usually the fault of how tight the bearing is held in the frame, not the actual bearings being worn out.,,,,BD

Just realized I said the same thing Hillrider said. Oh well, still good advice either way

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Old 08-27-11, 04:07 AM   #7
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BTW I grabbed a crank and the whole crankset rocks back and forth.
And two bike shops failed to notice this?
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Old 08-27-11, 04:46 AM   #8
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Check to make sure the BB is tight in the frame first, then go from there. I have found several bikes lately where the cartridges were simply not tightened enough, and backed out, causing a click any time the pedals were under force. Most times it cannot be recreated on the work stand. From personal experience over the last few years, BB clicks are usually the fault of how tight the bearing is held in the frame, not the actual bearings being worn out.,,,,BD

Just realized I said the same thing Hillrider said. Oh well, still good advice either way
This is exactly the issue. It cannot be recreated on the bench. It does rock a bit, barely noticeable but it is there.
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Old 08-27-11, 04:50 AM   #9
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And two bike shops failed to notice this?
To be fair, the the second place, he was on his way out the door. I rolled in just kind of on a whim. I really did not have much time to take a close look.
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Old 08-27-11, 04:51 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the help everyone. This information sure helped me to diagnose this annoying problem.
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Old 08-27-11, 05:45 AM   #11
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spinnaker, I'm guessing that you don't have the tools to remove the crankset and BB (any friends that do?). Take the bike to the LBS ASAP, tell them about the noise and that you can rock the BB (or maybe the crankarms?). Something may simply be too loose, but if you do need a new BB this will allow the time for them to order one and install it.

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Old 08-27-11, 12:20 PM   #12
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Well I had the BB replaced today and it still makes the freakin clicking. It only cost $50 install so that is not that big of deal and it is worth it for the peace of mind.


Plus it was rocking a bit (the old one). I could see the big chain ring move when I pushed and pulled on the left crank. Maybe only a millimeter or so but it was moving. Now it is rock solid. So maybe the old BB still had some miles on it but getting ready to go.

Now I still have the clicking. I sure hope it is not the pedals. I changed them out a while back but almost certain it was clicking before that. I ma going to try and swap things back to see for sure.

Or maybe it is the headset bearings like the original LBS said.

If no I have no idea what it is.
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Old 08-27-11, 12:37 PM   #13
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Well, three more things to check then. (1)Dirt or rust in between the bearing and frame, if it is a cartridge bearing headset. Usually the bottom bearing. (2)Seat rails, where the saddle clamps to the post. And (3)pedal bearings. It could also be something as simple as where the ends of the cables enter the frame, if it has internally routed cables. That one has got me several times on repairs! work a little grease or oil into the ferrule sockets, and the problem will sometimes disappear immediately.,,,,BD

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Old 08-27-11, 12:50 PM   #14
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I can tell you for sure that I have had headsets make that noise, and you would bet it was coming from the BB.... I would check that for proper adjustment.
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Old 08-27-11, 02:40 PM   #15
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Well, three more things to check then. (1)Dirt or rust in between the bearing and frame, if it is a cartridge bearing headset. Usually the bottom bearing. (2)Seat rails, where the saddle clamps to the post. And (3)pedal bearings. It could also be something as simple as where the ends of the cables enter the frame, if it has internally routed cables. That one has got me several times on repairs! work a little grease or oil into the ferrule sockets, and the problem will sometimes disappear immediately.,,,,BD

It is not the saddle nor the post. Swapped that out with my other bike. Not dirt in the BB, I watched the mech replace the cartridge. He seems to be some kind of clean freak.

As I said I need to swap the pedals again but I am pretty sure the clicking was occurring before that. But if it is the pedals then I will slap myself across the head because something I could have fixed.
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Old 08-27-11, 02:42 PM   #16
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I can tell you for sure that I have had headsets make that noise, and you would bet it was coming from the BB.... I would check that for proper adjustment.
That is what the first LBS is saying. Bad bearings. Headset OK they claim. They ordered bearings a week ago. I am not sure why it is taking so long.
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Old 08-27-11, 03:12 PM   #17
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If I'm not mistaken, the Touro comes in both square taper and Powerspline versions. If it's a Powerspline BB, the answer to your original question is, not many. They are notoriously short lived.
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Old 08-27-11, 03:13 PM   #18
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I had a P-1 clicking a month or two ago. There was some sand in the seat tube from a local trail. I cleaned it out, regreased it, and the problem went away. Which goes to show it can come from anywhere. Funny thing is, I have never had a steel bike click the way carbon and aluminum ones do. Well, there was one... A chrome 81 Voyageur. It was the seat rail which had loosened in the post.,,,,BD
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Old 08-27-11, 04:00 PM   #19
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my bike was creaking last week, driving me nuts, i had just bought a new bottom bracket cuz it had cermaic bearings and was on closeout for $30. i was planning to wait til next year to install it but then i heard the creaking. i put the new bb in, still creaking. take it to my bike shope, he steps on the crank from the side to try to reproduce the creak. he does, he immediately goes to the rear wheel, flips open the quick release, makes an adjustment and flips it closed so it's facing a different way from how I had it and the creak was gone!!!

I felt like a dumbass, i had just gotten a titanium lightweight skewer set also on clearance and apparently i tightened it too much or something but the moral of the story is sometimes its not a major issue at all, just a stupid little issue!
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Old 08-27-11, 04:20 PM   #20
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If I'm not mistaken, the Touro comes in both square taper and Powerspline versions. If it's a Powerspline BB, the answer to your original question is, not many. They are notoriously short lived.
Yeah this one is splined.
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Old 08-27-11, 04:21 PM   #21
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I had a P-1 clicking a month or two ago. There was some sand in the seat tube from a local trail. I cleaned it out, regreased it, and the problem went away. Which goes to show it can come from anywhere. Funny thing is, I have never had a steel bike click the way carbon and aluminum ones do. Well, there was one... A chrome 81 Voyageur. It was the seat rail which had loosened in the post.,,,,BD

Already ruled out saddle and tube. Swapped them both out same sound. But you are right, it can come from anywhere!
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