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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    May 2005
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    Bottom Bracket Play?

    Overhauled the bottom bracket on my 1960's vintage French bike yesterday. Lots of problems caused by ameteurish work done previously, but that's another story. How tight should the axle be? The books I have are somewhat contradictory - "screw in adjustable cup all the way, then back off 1/8 turn", "slight play in the axle", "no play in the axle". Right now, it has very slight movement in the axle, back and forth and side to side. Too loose? Just right? The bottom brackets on the other bikes I have vary - some are rock solid, others also have slight movement. The bike is sitting on the stand now, so this is the time to make any adjustments!

  2. #2
    Mechanic/Tourist
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Syracuse, NY
    My Bikes
    2008 Novara Randonee - love it. Would have more bikes if I had time to ride them all. Previous bikes: 1968 Motobecane Mirage, 1972 Moto Grand Jubilee (my fav), Jackson Rake 16, 1983 C'dale ST500.
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    ON a BB that is in good shape (no pits, uneven wear on surfaces) the proper adjustment is no play. The source that told you to back off the adjustable cup is dead wrong. When you tighten a BB lockring it pushes in against the BB shell and pulls out on the cup. All threads have some play in them, so the result is to make the adjustment looser, not tighter. Refer to parktool.com or sheldonbrown.com for proper adjustment. If a source does not refer to "preload" on a bearing you may not be getting full info.
    Last edited by cny-bikeman; 01-14-13 at 06:46 AM.
    There's no such thing as a routine repair.

    Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

    If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

    Please take the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My Bikes
    '''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
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    If it's a cup-and-cone type bottom bracket it should be adjusted until there is no detectable play but it doesn't bind. It's a fine line and will probably take several trys to get it right. Cartridge bottom brackets are not adjustable and when the play gets noticable, it's replacement time.

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