Hi everybody, I ride a mountain bike and one of friends suggested that I should get a ceramic bottom bracket because it is super smooth so my question is what is everyones experience with them? especially on a mountain bike, how does it feel compared to a non ceramic bb? is it that much smoother? Also, is it reliable? and how fragile is it? because I'm pretty rough on stuff.
I've never used a ceramic BB, but the ones i see for sale are around $450. The old Shimano cup-and-cone BB in my singlespeed, which used to be my commuter, and before that got the crap pounded out of it as a faux-cyclocrosser, and before THAT was my main bike for four years (it was originally a Trek 620 touring bike) has been repacked once, possibly twice, in 16 years and at least 30,000 miles (wild guess--I don't keep track of milage, but I've ridden it a lot). The last time I opened it up was three years ago, and it looked like new--I just readjusted it and left the old grease in there. It was the standard, came-with-every-bike-in-the-'90s BB, cost 12 or 15 bucks. I weigh 240 and don't baby the pedals, but when i turn the cranks by hand, I can't feel any vibration or harshness.
Which is a long, roundabout way of saying "Money down a rathole." Ceramic is probably better, stronger and smoother, but it costs 10 times as much as a pretty good conventional BB that will go 10,000 miles.
Thank you for the reply and you are right about the conventional BB but the price for the ceramic BBs has gone down a lot I have found this on price point and even a hope or chirs king is around $150. I'm mostly interested in the reliability part of it, I don't wanna get stuck someplace million miles away from the nearest civilization with a messed up BB.
Do the ceramic BB's require special parts other than the bearings?
I don't know nuts about bike BB's but I would suspect that any bicycling retailer would charge more than a place that just sells bearings to industrial users. If regular BB"s just take regular cartridge bearings, then you can most likely find ceramics in the same size that will drop right in.
Many BB's I'm finding info on use a bearing that is 25mm ID x 37mm OD and 7mm wide (a "6805" size bearing). There's a few bearings 7mm wide, and more that are 6mm wide that should work but may need a spacer. You could make a spacer with some scissors and an aluminum soda can.
It's also worth looking at the business/industrial listings on eBay; I've found name-brand bearings there at generic prices in the past. At the moment, they seem to only have generics for the same price of around $100 each.
(note that some listed as "ceramic" bearings are really hybrids..... "full ceramic" have ceramic races and balls, hybrids use stainless-steel races and ceramic balls)