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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 10-04-08, 04:11 PM   #1
durty
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Why a nice bottom bracket?

If I were to invest in a nice bottom bracket, would I be able to feel the difference? The one on my bike that I'm converting is ~20 years old, and someone told me that their $60 bottom bracket "makes" their bike, and without it it would be a junker. Let me know what your experience is.
-durty
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Old 10-04-08, 04:40 PM   #2
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Good to know so I don't get something I don't need, like I did as a Noob. But I would need the pricey BB , (as in the correct one) to go with Sugino 75 cranks, right?
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Old 10-04-08, 04:45 PM   #3
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A nicer bottom bracket might be lighter.

Last edited by physh; 10-15-08 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 10-04-08, 06:04 PM   #4
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i had a cheap bb on my bike and swapped it out for a sugino bb and it spun like buttttterrrr
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Old 10-04-08, 06:09 PM   #5
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a higer quality BB will spin smoother with less friction, which means more power transfered to the rear wheel. It should also last longer. The lightness thing isnt too big of a deal IMO.
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Old 10-04-08, 06:09 PM   #6
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^it will spin better on a bike stand when the cranks aren't attached to the drivetrain, yes, but i have a hard time believing that there can be a noticeable difference in smoothness when riding. in my opinion, the defining differences between BB's are sealed vs. unsealed, durability, and stiffness.
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Old 10-04-08, 06:18 PM   #7
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I just "rebuilt" (repacked is more how I think of it) the 1984 Stronglight BB on my fixed gear bike this morning & took it for a ride. Wow...big difference, nice spin! I've been told from the C&V folks this was high quality stuff when new & I guess all I can say is that the gamble I made on this fugly fubar'd '84 Peugeot wasn't too bad after all because cleaned, lubricated & installed correctly the original headset & BB turned out OK...very OK! I'd never had to do (or, maybe I should say 'bothered to do') BB service before & with the right tools it was extremely simple. My point is if you can get mileage out of what you have (or have lying around), why not do it & put some miles on the bike so you can have a better idea where you want to throw the next $60.

That said, if you open yours up and it's all pitted, corroded, or whatever, then you're in the market for something, whether its' $20 or $60.

EDIT: if you're paying someone to do it, buy new, sealed, high quality stuff so you won't have to pay someone again any time soon.
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Old 10-04-08, 06:25 PM   #8
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Bah!

$40 max for a solid quality BB.
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Old 10-04-08, 07:02 PM   #9
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Loose ball vs. Sealed bearing bottom bracket are something to consider. Sealed bottom brackets can be found for cheaper, and you can replace them when they fail. Loose ball is an investment but will last forever if overhauled every once in a while.
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Old 10-04-08, 07:28 PM   #10
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The most important issue is that it has the correct spindle length for your crankarms IMO. You could get a $90BB, but if it gives you a wonky chainline, then you aren't saving anything on friction. Shimano UN is a fine BB.
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Old 10-05-08, 12:47 PM   #11
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Use Miche, Campy or Phil Wood ISO BB for 75's.

But yeah, if you can run a JIS, Shimano's UN BB's are fine.
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Old 10-05-08, 12:55 PM   #12
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I've been using one of those $15 Truvativ bottom brackets for over a year and it has been great.
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Old 10-05-08, 01:08 PM   #13
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No, you won't be able to tell the difference. I have both Phil Wood and Shimano BBs, and I expect the difference to be in longevity, especially as I ride a lot in the rain. There isn't any performance difference considering I'm riding to work, and not on a velodrome in a competition.
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Old 10-05-08, 09:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thereedreeder View Post
^it will spin better on a bike stand when the cranks aren't attached to the drivetrain, yes, but i have a hard time believing that there can be a noticeable difference in smoothness when riding. in my opinion, the defining differences between BB's are sealed vs. unsealed, durability, and stiffness.
I think you can tell the diffrence between a ****ty BB and a better one. I know when I repack an old one thats full of ****ty grease and dirt I can tell its easier to pedal. However, I think you reach a point of diminishing gains really fast in regards to smoothness.

Last edited by clink83; 10-05-08 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 10-05-08, 10:02 PM   #15
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A 105/lx bb is $20 MSRP. Thread over.
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Old 10-05-08, 10:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darksiderising View Post
Loose ball vs. Sealed bearing bottom bracket are something to consider. Sealed bottom brackets can be found for cheaper, and you can replace them when they fail. Loose ball is an investment but will last forever if overhauled every once in a while.
At the expense of forcing you to

a) overhaul it
b) pay more in the long run due to time taken to do a)
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Old 10-05-08, 10:05 PM   #17
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it only takes about 10 minutes to overhaul a traditional cup and cone.
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Old 10-06-08, 09:43 AM   #18
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more like a half hour. removing cranks, pulling BB, cleaning BB, repacking BB, adjusting BB, reinstalling cranks...
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Old 10-06-08, 11:15 AM   #19
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Ten minutes is very accurate.
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Old 10-06-08, 02:07 PM   #20
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The more money one spends, generally, the more precision, smoothness and durability one receives in return.

In the case of a bottom bracket, the expense goes up very quickly and the returns on one's money get marginal.

I don't mind spending premium bucks on a Phil titanium bottom bracket with alloy cups, mostly because at this stage of my life I have the money to do the weight weenie thing, and the Phil's allow me to fine tune my chain line.

I could get the same lightness, smoothness and reasonable durability for about half the price, but I couldn't get the left and right fine tuning.

I've ridden with some very cheap bottom brackets, and only one has failed me; and only then after a very wet, cold and dirty winter.

Doing it on the cheap has its own fascinations, and I admire anyone who can keep their bike going for pennies.
An art form in itself.

=====

As for how long it takes to do anything of a maintenance nature, I have found it best to triple my original estimates.

Everything goes more quickly and perfectly, with no unexpected interruptions or complications, when one imagines it in his head.
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Old 10-06-08, 02:36 PM   #21
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Ken - Miche's 25 dollar BB is also adjustable in chainline. It's ISO so perfect for 75's, Dura Ace 7600, etc.
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Old 10-06-08, 04:00 PM   #22
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Save your money for a Chris King headset.
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Old 10-06-08, 04:43 PM   #23
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And when you're at it, buy a Chris King bracket
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Old 10-10-08, 01:13 AM   #24
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... recently swapped out a cruddy, worn stock BB for a $40 Sugino and promptly set a new landspeed record on the first test ride. Suh-Weet, baby jesus!

Oh, and the LBS guys were adamant that ceramic bearings are one of the biggest scams going in the BB industry ... anyone rolling on ceramics care to chime in?? -- n75
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Old 10-10-08, 09:58 AM   #25
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Quote:
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Ken - Miche's 25 dollar BB is also adjustable in chainline. It's ISO so perfect for 75's, Dura Ace 7600, etc.
I've always liked the look of Miche's gruppo and have at various times considered building a bike around Miche components.
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