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  1. #1
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    Should I keep my vintage shimano 600 BB, or should replace it with a modern BB?

    I have an 80's Nishiki with all 600 components (everything) and my BB is the only thing I haven't overhauled. I was wondering if I would be better off just cleaning out the BB, and replacing the bearings (assuming the races are fine) if that would be preferable to the $20 square taper sealed bottom bracket ? I know more expensive ones are available, but I cannot find any shimano ones that are.

    I like the idea of keeping all the original components, but since I have no BB tools, I don't want to screw around with it, and just want to do what is best for it and call it a day.

  2. #2
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    You need tools to put in a modern cartridge bb as well as an old style bb. I would definitely inspect it before worrying too much about it, though, as BBs are under very high load and might be bad.

  3. #3
    FBoD Member at Large khatfull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikethezipper View Post
    I have an 80's Nishiki with all 600 components (everything) and my BB is the only thing I haven't overhauled. I was wondering if I would be better off just cleaning out the BB, and replacing the bearings (assuming the races are fine) if that would be preferable to the $20 square taper sealed bottom bracket ? I know more expensive ones are available, but I cannot find any shimano ones that are.

    I like the idea of keeping all the original components, but since I have no BB tools, I don't want to screw around with it, and just want to do what is best for it and call it a day.
    If you plan on acquiring more bikes or simply maintaining your own yourself then a lockring tool and spanner are essentials. Once you have them cup and cone BB service isn't much of an issue. If you'd rather fire and forget, do the sealed cartridge.

    If you get a lockring tool get the Hozan: http://www.treefortbikes.com/product...l-Headset.html

  4. #4
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    I have access to a local bike co-op where I can, and will do the inspection. I would love to buy the tools since they are the only things I have left to finish my garage bike shop (but money is a little tight right now) The reason I am asking this is that I have to pay for stand time, and if I would be better off with a modern BB, I might as well buy one now.

    I've been looking on Ebay, and found around 8 different brands that make square taper BB, and was wondering what experience people have had with them (I have plenty of friends with good bikes with bad BB that will need to be replaced).
    Last edited by mikethezipper; 07-28-10 at 09:56 PM. Reason: woops

  5. #5
    Senior Member motrheadsroadie's Avatar
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    phil wood or chris king and call it a day.

  6. #6
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    OK, since you can use the bike coop, take apart the BB and inspect it. If it's in good shape, regrease it and button it back up. If it ain't broke, don't replace it.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  7. #7
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    The old Shimano bottom brackets tended to be very well made while I have less love for their cartridge units as they are not nearly as smooth and have much less bearing support.

    If the bb is serviceable and in nice shape it will give you 10's of thousands of smooth running km with regualar service which takes all of 15 - 20 minutes once you have the tools.

  8. #8
    Senior Member RoboIsGod's Avatar
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    Keep the 600 BB. Take it apart, inspect the races and balls for pitting/wear, clean it, then grease it and seal it back up. If your feeling fun you can buy new balls. If there is pitting or excessive wear, you should replace it than. If it was me though, I would try to find another 600 BB on Ebay :-)

  9. #9
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    I replaced my older Shimano BB on my commute bike with a hard-to-find UN72 about 4 years ago. I have since put over 15K miles, still going strong. I use it year round, including one winter in Minnesota salt and snow. In the meantime, I destroyed a Dura-Ace rear hub cone, even though I try to keep on top of routine maintenance. True, it doesn't feel as smooth, but doesn't require any attention either.

  10. #10
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    If it isn't worn, repack and replace.

    There exists no logical excuse - and I mean no logical excuse - for replacing an undamaged cup-and-spindle BB with a cartridge. Not unless you want to provide me with more lightly-used, inexpensive used parts than I have already, anyway.

    -Kurt
    Last edited by cudak888; 07-28-10 at 11:56 PM.

  11. #11
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    cup and ball BB's require more maintenance should they be subjected to many miles of wet use. Sealed cartridge BB's don't. If this is a daily commuter, you might swap over. BUT....you mentioned you're shy of BB tools. And know many with neglected BB's in need of overhauls. I think you will cover your BB tool costs easily if you offer to do their BB's for a small fee. They provide the parts, whether bearing balls, or a cartridge BB.

    If you can't wait to service your own bike, then buy a bag of balls, get co-op bench time, pull and inspect the BB cups. If good, just toss the cages and fit extra balls and be done with it.
    “You meet the nicest people on two wheels!"
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  12. #12
    afraid of whales Mr IGH's Avatar
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    I've had it with rusted out BBs stuck in the frame, bearings ruined from years of rust/crap dropping down the various tubes at the BB junction. If it's a bike I'm going to own, I buy a sealed cartridge Shimano UN-54 for ~$22. Life is short, I figure I deserve a quality BB for life on my bikes.

    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    ...and I mean no logical excuse - for replacing an undamaged cup-and-spindle BB with a cartridge. Not unless you want to provide me with more lightly-used, inexpensive used parts than I have already, anyway.
    Says the guy that lives in sunny FL. Our winters are pretty tough on bikes, the little holes in the stays provide a nice path for bearing wrecking crap...I've got some old DA BBs, PM me if you want to buy 'em.
    Last edited by Mr IGH; 07-29-10 at 07:27 AM.

  13. #13
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    And that, I suppose, is why you're Mr IGH.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  14. #14
    neits stien's Avatar
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    It's a good bonding experience to repack your own bottom bracket, plus you know who to blame when it goes south

  15. #15
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    And you can also find so many interesting things once you have it open!

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post10840036
    Attached Images Attached Images
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  16. #16
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
    Says the guy that lives in sunny FL. Our winters are pretty tough on bikes, the little holes in the stays provide a nice path for bearing wrecking crap...I've got some old DA BBs, PM me if you want to buy 'em.
    You missed the most important adjective of my statement:

    ...for replacing an undamaged cup-and-spindle BB with a cartridge.
    Last I heard, a UN-74 isn't invincible to the elements either. I haven't seen one yet that doesn't fit hellishly tight on the drive side either.

    -Kurt

  17. #17
    Champion of the Low End Primitive Don's Avatar
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    +5 if the BB is good, just repack it using tools at the co-op.
    87 Trek 560EX * 83 Schwinn Traveler * Sanwa SS Conversion * 80s Chicago Schwinn Traveler SS/FG Conversion * 2011 Fuji Sagres 2.0

  18. #18
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I can't understand why anyone would repack a bottom bracket and not replace the bearing balls. You might as well do it right as long as you have it apart and bearing balls are cheap.

  19. #19
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Grand Bois, I love you more than ever. You call them bearing balls, properly, rather than calling them ball bearings.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  20. #20
    FBoD Member at Large khatfull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Grand Bois, I love you more than ever. You call them bearing balls, properly, rather than calling them ball bearings.
    Would you then call them "bearing needles" as well?

  21. #21
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Grand Bois, I love you more than ever. You call them bearing balls, properly, rather than calling them ball bearings.
    That's because the old stuff got balls. Cartridge BB's are sissy.



    -Kurt

  22. #22
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    First money is tight, and then you want to replace a bottom bracket that probably just needs 50 cents worth of ball bearings and grease?

    I would never consider reusing 25 year old ball bearings.
    Last edited by wrk101; 07-29-10 at 08:23 AM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    I think the extra $2.20 or so would be worth it.

    Not being able to afford the ceramic or other high-end stuff, I still think a properly cleaned and packed ball-bearing bottom bracket is as smooth as you can get. Same with hubs. The cartridge stuff I can afford is so much easier, but no warm-fuzzy feeling you spin the cranks...

    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻

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  24. #24
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Hey. Gotta think about that. Cylinders, maybe?
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by khatfull View Post
    Would you then call them "bearing needles" as well?
    Rollers, actually. If the individual rollers are "needle bearings" then what's the whole thing called?

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