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Old 07-02-11, 12:12 AM   #1
Teon
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Servicing a bottom bracket

My parts are all going to be here soon to service my front and rear wheels, and I ordered enough spare ball bearings to service the bottom bracket, as well.

(My lbs is a bit of a drive away, so it's more convenient, and cheaper, to just order parts)

My question is:

Would I be wise to service the existing cup and cone bottom bracket on this 87 Schwinn Traveler, or should I replace it with a cartridge style?

Fwiw, the bb shell looks to be 68mm wide. (Checked with my calipers)

I know it's cheaper to just service the bearings and such, but is it worthwhile in the long run to replace with a cassette and a new crank? or would I be getting into a lot of extra expense that I don't need right now. (I plan to eventually upgrade the gearing, derailers, shifters, and crank and such, but that is a ways down the road, as I am happy with the bike as is right now...with some much needed wheel and bb maintenance)

Relative noob here, so that's why so many questions.

Thanks for any help!
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Old 07-02-11, 12:32 AM   #2
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Service - only replace if necessary. If your existing bb is in good shape, you'll gain nothing by replacing it.

Take it apart, inspect the cups and spindle for wear/galling, go to the LBS and get replacement balls and reassemble.
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Old 07-02-11, 12:39 AM   #3
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Already got replacement balls coming in......and I figured I would disassemble, clean, and regrease.....good experience in the first place, and cheaper to just service it myself. I'm not feeling or hearing any odd noises or vibrations from it, so I think it just needs a good cleaning and bearing replacement and regrease.

Just was curious as to other's opinions on replacing it with a cartridge unit, or waiting until I want to upgrade the crankset, gearing, etc.....

Last edited by Teon; 07-02-11 at 02:05 AM.
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Old 07-02-11, 02:16 AM   #4
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So, on the chance that I might need to replace any of the cups......uh, is there somewhere that I can find replacement cups for this old a bike, or am I sol?
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Old 07-02-11, 03:11 AM   #5
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New cups are available at most decent bike shops and online. http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/bottombrackets.html
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Old 07-02-11, 06:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
Service - only replace if necessary. If your existing bb is in good shape, you'll gain nothing by replacing it.

Take it apart, inspect the cups and spindle for wear/galling, go to the LBS and get replacement balls and reassemble.
I'm finally replacing one on my'86 Trek after 26 years and over 100,000 miles. Things just don't stay nice anymore!

Marc
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Old 07-02-11, 09:37 AM   #7
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I am not a fan of 99% of cartridge BB's. Good quality cup and cone BB's (which are not even available to most bike shops anymore), can be cleaned and rebuilt for tens of thousands of miles. Cartrdige BB's are single use and may last 1500 miles, may last 15,000 miles. I have seen a wide varience in service life accross the spectrum, with identical model BB's going bad very soon, or lasting for what seems for ever. The problem is that NOTHING is truely "sealed". Since cartridges are not serviceable, there is no (reasonable) way to get in there, clean them out, and re-intall if they get fouled with grit or water. They start to get gritty, and you just keep riding them until they fail (prematurely).

It is your bike; it's your choice.
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Old 07-02-11, 10:33 AM   #8
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your current bottom bracket was made to last forever (with maintenance). a new one is made to last a season.
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Old 07-02-11, 11:41 AM   #9
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Even though cups and spindles are no longer $1 each, you should not need to replace them (cost around $20) again for 10+ years, even with a lot of dirt and wet riding. With sealed, you'd pay from $12 to $40 each time you replace it, and no low-cost refurbishing is possible. The economics are with overhauling (clean, inspect, regrease), even now.
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Old 07-02-11, 11:58 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the good info and advice! Looks like I'll be holding on to my bb for as long as I can.

hmmmm....something about that didn't sound quite right.....
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Old 07-02-11, 12:56 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by illwafer View Post
your current bottom bracket was made to last forever (with maintenance). a new one is made to last a season.
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