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  1. #1
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    Another French bottom bracket question

    I was looking at the French bottom bracket question again to replace the cottered crankset in my UO-8 and I was thinking the the idea of using the type 5 spindle in the existing cups sounded good until I realized that they would be JIS taper which is not likely to fit a vintage French crank. Hmmmm. Then the idea occured to me, what about the using the French spindle from an Italian BB? There must be a fair amount of those available. Of course that might be a bit too long but then a couple off 1mm spacers might fix that if there's enough thread on the cups. Anyone ever tried anything like that. Think it might work?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Iowegian's Avatar
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    Wouldn't a type 3 spindle fit? If you want to use the type 5 spindle I think you could use thin cups or like you suggest, some spacers. I don't know where to source the spacers, though, french cups are slightly bigger than ISO so the spacers might not clear the cups.

    I'm planning on using some thin cups on my PX-10 with a type 5 spindle. I have all the parts in hand but some are still attached to bikes right now. I could put it all together to see how it fits but would rather wait since I'm sure someone has already done it and knows if it will work.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowegian View Post
    Wouldn't a type 3 spindle fit? If you want to use the type 5 spindle I think you could use thin cups or like you suggest, some spacers. I don't know where to source the spacers, though, french cups are slightly bigger than ISO so the spacers might not clear the cups.

    I'm planning on using some thin cups on my PX-10 with a type 5 spindle. I have all the parts in hand but some are still attached to bikes right now. I could put it all together to see how it fits but would rather wait since I'm sure someone has already done it and knows if it will work.
    From what I've read, the original cups on a cottered crank BB are thin and would require a type 5. But either way, how are you going to get a French ISO crank to fit the JIS spindles (and please don't tell me you're putting a Shimano crank on your PX10! )

    I thought about the spacer sizing proble a minute ago. Maybe some sand paper? It's a very slight difference.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Iowegian's Avatar
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    Are type 3 spindles all JIS? There must be some ISO spindles around somewhere. But if the cups are thin wall then a type 5 would probably fit better. I'd bet you don't even need the spacers since less than 2 mm of thread will be exposed on the adjustable side and probably less than 1 mm. Heck, if you wanted to you could put adjustable cups on both sides!

    The PX-10 is going to get the Porteur treatment and is going to keep the original Stronglight cranks. Still haven't decided if one ring or two though.

  5. #5
    Super Course fan redneckwes's Avatar
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    A 3 will not work, been there, tried that. a #5 will work ok.

    I have one of my 80's Stronglight cranks on a UO-8 running Sugino thick wall cups and a misc #3 spindle from the junk box...so far so good.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowegian View Post
    Are type 3 spindles all JIS? There must be some ISO spindles around somewhere.
    Good question. I guess I just assumed. I thought type 3 and type 5 was a Japanese designation and I assumed that a Japanese BB/spindle would be paired with a Japanese crank and would be JIS but I'm not sure.

    I have a Stronglight 49D set aside for the UO-8 so I need to make sure the spindle fits ISO taper.
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    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    I went to the L(used)BS and they had a bunch of french cup sets all with varying degrees on pitting, but I selected the best set with the thickest walls and think it would work fine with a shimano BB. I sold the cups with a bike though, I just picked them up as incentive to entice buyers so they wouldn't have to source it themselves since the suginos are hard to find now that harris cyclery has no more. But if you want to use ISO cranks would not an italian BB like a campy record (i.e. thin cups spindle) work as the flanges are further apart? You could try it.. I am not at home or I would go see how similar the flange distance is of a campy BB to a stronglight cottered spindle.
    1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear

  8. #8
    Bottecchia fan
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    The more I learn the more I realize I don't know. So Sheldon Brown says the following:

    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.

    Now I'm making an assumption that his statement about French BB cups being thinner applies generally to most French BB's. If that's true, since I already have French BB cups on the bike, I would just need a French spindle. But if I can't get a French spindle, then an Italian spindle for Italian BB might do the trick assuming that Italian BB cups are not thin like French ones. But I don't know that to be true. If not then the Italian BB might be a couple millimeters too long at the bearing surfaces. But I would think the spacers would take care of that, assuming they could be found to fit.

    On the other hand, is there any such thing as a French spindle or are they just French brand 68mm spindle designed to go with French cups? My thought there being if French cups are thin when made in French thread I would bet they are equally thin in Italian or English thread. In that case there would only be 2 spindles 68mm and 70mm (well there are probably more but for the purposes of this discussion...) I would doubt there is for example a Stronglight French 68mm spindle and a Stronglight English 68mm spindle (but then we are talking about the French here so who knows?) So maybe an Stronglight spindle for English BB would bolt right in.

    Now I've really gone and confused myself.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    I don't think there are different spindles for french BBs, for example a campagnolo spindle marked 68 would bt the same as sold with french of english (I assume). In any case I think a campagnolo italian BB spindle would solve your problem based on sheldon's explanation of 5's being for italian BBs, and I don't think you would need spacers. All you can do is try. Make sure you get a thin cups spindle and not a thick cup (nuovo record was the thick cup spindle, but in the 80s when alloy cups can about, the cups became thicker also).
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  10. #10
    Old Skeptic stronglight's Avatar
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    There seem to always be beaucoup 118 mm Stronglight spindles on eBay, and usually selling for very little... [well, except when one needs one ]
    Cyclart has a couple used ones for $35 + shipping (used!) but that's just TOTALLY NUTS!

    HERE is the length needed for a 49D double chainring crankset. I don't know what this seller was imagining by mentioning the 49D "Track" application (that would be 113 mm) and it also looks like a standard 1970s spindle, too - not specifically 1960s.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by stronglight View Post
    There seem to always be beaucoup 118 mm Stronglight spindles on eBay, and usually selling for very little... [well, except when one needs one ]
    Cyclart has a couple used ones for $35 + shipping (used!) but that's just TOTALLY NUTS!

    HERE is the length needed for a 49D double chainring crankset. I don't know what this seller was imagining by mentioning the 49D "Track" application (that would be 113 mm) and it also looks like a standard 1970s spindle, too - not specifically 1960s.
    My bid is ready. Hammersnipe do your thing

    Now I just gotta get the old one apart. The drive side cotter popped right out but the non-drive side is seriously wedged in there (no pun intended ) and the fixed cup seems to be stuck as well. It does unscrew counter clockwise, right?
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    That 118mm stronglight spindle is the one used on mid seventies PX10's with a stronglight 93 crank. I've been told that it will also work on a pre-cpsc Campy triple.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Iowegian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kommisar89 View Post
    My bid is ready. Hammersnipe do your thing
    Let me know if you strike out on this. I'm planning to sell off some of the old French bits off my PX-10 and could probably give you the spindle at a much more reasonable price.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kommisar89 View Post
    Now I just gotta get the old one apart. The drive side cotter popped right out but the non-drive side is seriously wedged in there (no pun intended ) and the fixed cup seems to be stuck as well. It does unscrew counter clockwise, right?
    Those fixed French cups can be a PITA! Try using the 'big bolt' technique as shown in Sheldon's site and if that fails, get out a propane torch. I soaked mine in penetrating oil for days and really wrenched on it with a big bolt and nothing worked until the torch came out. It was only a few minutes work after that and the paint was unharmed.

    As for the cotter pin, put something underneath to support the crank arm and axle, preferably something harder than soft wood, either very hard wood or metal and then whack the pin with a hammer. But remember - don't force it, use a bigger hammer

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kommisar89 View Post
    Now I just gotta get the old one apart. The drive side cotter popped right out but the non-drive side is seriously wedged in there (no pun intended ) and the fixed cup seems to be stuck as well. It does unscrew counter clockwise, right?
    I removed a French fixed cup today--yes, counterclockwise to unscrew (which I learned after wrestling with it in clockwise fashion as English fixed cups would require).

    Neal

  15. #15
    Bottecchia fan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowegian View Post
    Let me know if you strike out on this. I'm planning to sell off some of the old French bits off my PX-10 and could probably give you the spindle at a much more reasonable price.
    Ok, struck out. Funny, but when you need something, everybody else does too

    So if you got one, PM me. No hurry, looks like it'll be a while before I have this thing apart.


    Those fixed French cups can be a PITA! Try using the 'big bolt' technique as shown in Sheldon's site and if that fails, get out a propane torch. I soaked mine in penetrating oil for days and really wrenched on it with a big bolt and nothing worked until the torch came out. It was only a few minutes work after that and the paint was unharmed.

    As for the cotter pin, put something underneath to support the crank arm and axle, preferably something harder than soft wood, either very hard wood or metal and then whack the pin with a hammer. But remember - don't force it, use a bigger hammer
    I think it's gonna take the torch. I tried the big hammer approach. No dice. I'll have to check out Sheldon's 'big bolt' technique for the fixed cup too.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kommisar89 View Post
    I tried the big hammer approach. No dice. I'll have to check out Sheldon's 'big bolt' technique for the fixed cup too.
    It works, wonderfully. I keep one in the tool chest at all times and have yet to find any fixed cup that won't come out - of course I'm using a 1/2" drive Craftsman breaker bar for the main force, and my 3/8" drive deep well socket on the inside bolt head.

    This is one of the few places that the Spin Doctor cheap bicycle work stand is absolutely superior. When you're putting that kind of force down, it nice to have the bottom bracket supported less than an inch away. I'd never consider a job like this on a good work stand that grabs the frame tube or seatpost.
    Syke

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  17. #17
    If I own it, I ride it CV-6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stronglight View Post
    There seem to always be beaucoup 118 mm Stronglight spindles on eBay, and usually selling for very little... [well, except when one needs one ]
    Cyclart has a couple used ones for $35 + shipping (used!) but that's just TOTALLY NUTS!

    HERE is the length needed for a 49D double chainring crankset. I don't know what this seller was imagining by mentioning the 49D "Track" application (that would be 113 mm) and it also looks like a standard 1970s spindle, too - not specifically 1960s.
    I would think Mike Fraysse would know. Guess I will find out as I have one of the 49D track cranks.
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  18. #18
    Old Skeptic stronglight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
    That 118mm stronglight spindle is the one used on mid seventies PX10's with a stronglight 93 crank. I've been told that it will also work on a pre-cpsc Campy triple.
    I suppose that is possible but I've never tried.
    The actual drive side offset on the Stronglight 118 might be cutting it a bit close, but feasible.

    Here are some handy comparative axle measurements for your enjoyment.

    Left > Center > Right

    27 > 54 > 35 = 116 ___ Campy #744/1 120 SS 68 (x3) ["Old" Pre-CPSC Record Triple]
    27 > 56 > 35 = 118 ___ Campy #744/1 120 SS 70 (x3) [Record Triple for ITALIAN BB]

    30.25 > 56 > 32.25 = 118.5 ___ Stronglight 118 ... for 49d, 93, etc. [they're actually 118.5 mm]
    30.25 > 56 > 34.25 = 120.5 ___ Stronglight 120 [these are uncommon, but were an alternate "Double"]
    30.25 > 56 > 38.75 = 123.0 ___ Stronglight 123 Triple
    30.25 > 56 > 29.25 = 125.5 ___ Stronglight 125 Triple

    27.5 > 56 > 31 = 114.5 ___ TA #344 ... standard Double
    27.5 > 56 > 34.5 = 118 ___ TA #373 ... short (uncommon) Triple
    27.5 > 56 > 38 = 121.5 ___ TA #374 ... Standard Triple


    Stronglight and TA are of course essentially interchangeable.

    Stronglight cranks work fine on TA spindles... unless the tapers on the crank arms are quite worn down - which would pull them uncomfortable close to the cups.

    And, TA Cranks tend to sit just a bit outboard on a Stronglight spindle... which is sometimes useful if the tapers in the TA cranks are a bit worn.

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