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  1. #1
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    Cartridge Bottom Bracket with Cotter Pin Cranks

    Hey guys,
    I have what may be a dumb question so please bare with me. I am pulling some parts off of an old Lady's Robin Hood 3speed that I saved from the trash pile and putting them on a Raleigh Sprite frame of similar fate. I would like to use a modern cartridge bottom bracket because because this is going to be my commuter bike and I am a fan of the reliability. I would still like to use the original cotter pin cranks on this project because I love the look.

    Is there a cartridge BB that will accept these cranks?

    Thanks for the help!
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  2. #2
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    Not that I know of.
    1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear

  3. #3
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WITbike View Post
    I would like to use a modern cartridge bottom bracket because because this is going to be my commuter bike and I am a fan of the reliability.
    Someone please show me a study or provide concrete facts that proves cartridge BB's superiority over cup-and-cone.

    -Kurt

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    Someone please show me a study or provide concrete facts that proves cartridge BB's superiority over cup-and-cone.

    -Kurt
    Who knows..I think it is just personal preference. I know that I have had trouble in the past with having to tighten my cup and cones more often than I would like. To each his own.
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  5. #5
    BEHOLD! THE MANTICORE! rotharpunc's Avatar
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    I have never heard of a cottered cartridge BB. For some applications I prefer sealed just because I don't have to think about servicing it, but I would still Take a Campagnolo cup and cone over a $10 shimano cartridge any day. Perhaps you could use the cartridge BB with a crankset like this:



    it is a swaaged(sp?) crankset with a steel chainring affixed to alloy arms. Its not exactly cottered, but it sort of has the same look, and will work with a cartridge BB.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    Someone please show me a study or provide concrete facts that proves cartridge BB's superiority over cup-and-cone.

    -Kurt
    Also that it will last longer than an oil lubricated BB
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  7. #7
    Gear Hub fan
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    I suspect that it depends on quality. Phil Wood cartridge bottom brackets have an excelllent reputation for reliability but so do Campy cup type bottom brackets if given even close to reasonable servicing and installed with a guard. I have seen a TA which failed due to being cyclocrossed, installed w/o a guard and given inadequate service. Dirt intrusion ate the spindle.

    Getting back to the OPs question the parts are different generations. Cottered cranks went out as cartridge bottom brackets were first coming in with little or no overlap that I am aware of.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    Someone please show me a study or provide concrete facts that proves cartridge BB's superiority over cup-and-cone.

    -Kurt
    Plug and play, no worries about it coming loose. Worth the thoughtlessness in many cases. When its done, its done.

  9. #9
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    as for cartridge bb for cotter pin cranks. not happening. cotter pin cranks were defunct before cartridge bbs were ever developed. not even Phil makes them, and Phil is the one company willing to make bottom brackets for threadings that no longer exist. If you suggested it, they'd probably tell you you were crazy.

    the reason? cottered cranks are extremely inefficient to work on, not to mention difficulty of getting the cotter pins out. The development of cotterless cranks was a huge evolution in bicycle technology. No one looked back. Not saying that they don't have a place. We're in c&v after all, and they're very beautiful. But if you're commuting and you want a cartridge bottom bracket you don't have to service too often (servicing cottered takes longer anyway), use a square taper.

    Now the question is whether you can fit an english threaded bb into that raleigh frame. Guessing no. So time to get out the taps, or buy a phil cartridge with raleigh cups.
    Last edited by krems81; 02-27-09 at 05:51 PM.

  10. #10
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krems81 View Post
    Plug and play, no worries about it coming loose. Worth the thoughtlessness in many cases. When its done, its done.
    Funny - though I've had to service far fewer bikes with cartridges then with cup-and-cone, I've found that the majority of the cartridge-equipped bikes are in for servicing because of a shot cartridge BB.

    Cup and cone + cartridge both wear down. Neither is vastly superior to another when it comes down to developing slop from wear, and you can't adjust that in a cartridge.

    That said, I've yet to have a cup-and-cone BB start loosening on me provided it was not loose in the first place...

    -Kurt

  11. #11
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    I've worked on cottered-cranks. Even have an old cotter-pin press. If I found that bike, I'd be thrilled to bring it back from the grave. Heck - the Park Tool Co. still has a series of holes on their spoke-ruler & ball-bearing measuring-gauge for sizing cotter-pins.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  12. #12
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    The advantage, especially when it comes to anything other than the top of the line ground race tupe cup and cone BBs, is that you only need to replace the cartridge. In the long run it is more cost effective as you never have to replace the spindle or cups unless due to abnormal damage from improper installation. That is worth something as others have mentioned... I am talking about good quality like philwood, TA, syncros etc... I have a maybe 3 or 4 suncros BB in a box all Titanium and i can just replace the bearings and have a like new BB, I picked most of them up for $10 or less. I have sold 3 or 4 too for as much as $70! I love Syncros products!
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krems81 View Post
    as for cartridge bb for cotter pin cranks. not happening. cotter pin cranks were defunct before cartridge bbs were ever developed. not even Phil makes them, and Phil is the one company willing to make bottom brackets for threadings that no longer exist. If you suggested it, they'd probably tell you you were crazy.

    the reason? cottered cranks are extremely inefficient to work on, not to mention difficulty of getting the cotter pins out. The development of cotterless cranks was a huge evolution in bicycle technology. No one looked back. Not saying that they don't have a place. We're in c&v after all, and they're very beautiful. But if you're commuting and you want a cartridge bottom bracket you don't have to service too often (servicing cottered takes longer anyway), use a square taper.

    Now the question is whether you can fit an english threaded bb into that raleigh frame. Guessing no. So time to get out the taps, or buy a phil cartridge with raleigh cups.
    I don't find it any more difficult to work on a cottered crank than a cotterless one, but I don't try to do the job with a hammer. Both jobs are simple and quick if you have the right tools.

    Peugeot with cottered cranks all buggered

    My problem now is finding cups I can use to install that cottered crank in a BSC threaded shell.

  14. #14
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    I don't have a cotter pin press, and i don't know how well they work. I don't know where to buy one, but if it was the right price, I'd purchase.

    That said cottered cranks aren't ideal for this fellow. He's a commuter and he wants worry free. If he uses them then he has to use the cups and axle, and when those wear down he can search ebay for another, but it would be a pain.

    As for bbs, cartridges usually last at least a year or two, which is all I really expect out of them. I used to be cup and cone all the way, but cartridge is just easier if you're working on a lot of bikes, and we've all felt adjustable cup bbs jiggling at the crank for whatever reason (adjusted too loose in the first place, wore down, or loosened up along the way). Im surprised you've never had one move on you. Anyway, if you see that with a cartridge, you know it can't jiggle as far, and all it means is time for a new cartridge. I appreciate the simplicity.

    Not saying I prefer them for my own bikes. They're definitely not as elegant. But I can tighten and overhaul mine myself if there's any issue. I prefer them for customer's bikes. And there's a reason why shops do too. Heck arguably the finest bb made today is cartridge, that's got to say something. It can't be ALL trend towards eliminating labor if Phil is using them too.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by krems81; 02-28-09 at 07:16 AM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    The big advantage of cartridge bottom brackets for most "mechanics" is that it takes no skill whatsoever to install them.

  16. #16
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
    The big advantage of cartridge bottom brackets for most "mechanics" is that it takes no skill whatsoever to install them.
    Correct - no skill, and relatively zero practice.

    -Kurt

  17. #17
    Disraeli Gears Charles Wahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WITbike View Post
    Is there a cartridge BB that will accept these cranks?
    In the immortal words of John McEnroe: "You cannot be serious." Maybe someone can find me a bluetooth headset interface for my AT&T rotary phone, too.

  18. #18
    Senior Member bigvegan's Avatar
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    Speaking strictly hypothetically here, would it be possible to use an Isis splined bottom bracket, and then use the cotter pins to lock the cranks in place against the splines?

    I know it would be about the single ugliest solution possible to a more or less non-existent problem, but would it work, or would it just be a disaster engineering wise?

  19. #19
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    If you can find a set, relatively rare cotterless steel cranks would would solve the problem -- they would look almost correct for the bike and would accommodate a modern cartridge BB.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
    The big advantage of cartridge bottom brackets for most "mechanics" is that it takes no skill whatsoever to install them.
    Thats most. There are knowledgeable mechanics who like them for other reasons. Mostly because they make their job easier. You can't deny Ipass, even though the toll booth attendant worked perfectly well. Fact is ipass saves fuel and prevents congestion.
    Last edited by krems81; 02-28-09 at 06:50 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigvegan View Post
    Speaking strictly hypothetically here, would it be possible to use an Isis splined bottom bracket, and then use the cotter pins to lock the cranks in place against the splines?

    I know it would be about the single ugliest solution possible to a more or less non-existent problem, but would it work, or would it just be a disaster engineering wise?
    Even if the crank fit perfectly onto the isis spindle, you'd have to grind flats in the isis splines for the cotter pins. This would be a delicate task, and the end result probably wouldn't be reliable. The crank probably wouldn't fit onto the isis spindle in the first place.

  22. #22
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    If you can find a set, relatively rare cotterless steel cranks would would solve the problem -- they would look almost correct for the bike and would accommodate a modern cartridge BB.
    Either solution opens up a quandary of either locating a spindle made for a 71mm BB shell, or seeking an older Shimano UN-72 BB and 26TPI Phil rings.

    -Kurt

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigvegan View Post
    Speaking strictly hypothetically here, would it be possible to use an Isis splined bottom bracket, and then use the cotter pins to lock the cranks in place against the splines?

    I know it would be about the single ugliest solution possible to a more or less non-existent problem, but would it work, or would it just be a disaster engineering wise?
    The ISIS spindle wouldn't be long enough...

  24. #24
    Senior Moment Peter_B's Avatar
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    A cottered bottom bracket is reliable if all is installed properly. The issue is sealing the bearings to keep out entry of grit, etc. You can put something on each side of the axle adjacent to each cup to keep out grit, etc. Some use o-rings of properly selected diameter. I use pipe cleaners sprayed with silicone spray. You would probably also cut neoprene washers too. Use your imagination and seal up that crack between the axle and cup.

  25. #25
    Randomhead
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    Cottered cranks were fine unless they weren't. There was nothing to strike fear into a bike boom mechanic's heart than the words "something's wrong with my crank" from a customer with a cottered crank.

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