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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 03-17-04, 03:50 PM   #1
Aussomeman
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time to upgrade the old cup and cone bottom bracket?

i can't believe this friggin weather in new england - i just took my newly christened ss mtb (been workin on it all weekend) out for it's maiden voyage on monday (it was in the 50's!), and now it's snowin...

so the nasty weather over the past day or so has not been treating the bb on my fixie well...i've already torn it down twice since i built up the bike a couple months ago, after hearing a quite distinctive knocking sound, and it seems like i may need to do it again pretty soon.

so i'm wondering - should i upgrade to a sealed bb? what are other's thoughts? (my main reservation is that i'm pretty sure it's the original bb, and the bike is at least 30 years old, so i feel like it deserves to stay in there if it's lasted this long...) i was also browsing through sheldon brown's page the other day (as i do from time to time), and happen to catch his article on cup and cone bb's. he said that it's better to use loose balls than cages. is that true? i have cages in there right now, and they have certainly helped the tearing down/building back up process, but if they're doing more harm than good, i guess i could chuck 'em.

thanks and happy riding!
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Old 03-17-04, 03:54 PM   #2
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go with the sealed. sealed everything as far as i am concerned. well maybe not the headset. but hubs and bottom bracket is a big, big yes.
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Old 03-17-04, 04:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussomeman
that it's better to use loose balls than cages. is that true? i have cages in there right now, and they have certainly helped the tearing down/building back up process, but if they're doing more harm than good, i guess i could chuck 'em.
Assuming correct threading and you can get the fixed cup off, I'd go with a sealed cartridge. Only problem will be figuring out the correct length. My impression is that the older spindles may have had some offsets between left and right. And the tapers might be different.

Shouldn't be to hard to find one that suits the bill. I threw an old Shimano on the fixer when I had the original bb apart, took some measurements and divined the correct length. Turns out the same UN-73 bb works in my fixie, MTB and roadie. And since the singlespeeder is using spacers on the freehub, it will work there. Hows' that for lucky?
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Old 03-17-04, 04:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by hammye
go with the sealed. sealed everything as far as i am concerned. well maybe not the headset. but hubs and bottom bracket is a big, big yes.

ditto on everything. cartridge headsets are a pain in the ass...mine got thrashed from all the salt and moisture. when i took it apart to overhaul because it was a little rough, i found that the cartridges were filled with rust. i think headsets are the one area where cartridge bearings might be worse than regular loose-ball. my tange non-cartridge headset went through 3 winters in boston without a single overhaul and still runs fine.
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Old 03-17-04, 05:58 PM   #5
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a little off topic but I was cleaning my bike (pics soon) today. I pulled ou the qr skewer on my front wheel and was shocked to find that it was more rust than skewer. this after only 1 winter. I guess they must of forgot the grease at the factory.
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Old 03-18-04, 07:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dobber
Only problem will be figuring out the correct length. My impression is that the older spindles may have had some offsets between left and right. And the tapers might be different.
any advice for finding the right spindle length? how do i measure the length of the spindle that's in there now - just tip to tip? should i just start out with a bb with the same spindle length as the one i have? thanks!
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Old 03-18-04, 01:41 PM   #7
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it's something like tip to tip, and then the tapered parts. you need to do the tapers in case one is longer than the other. you measure the tapers from the tip to where it starts getting round. there should be a very drastic taper right there and you want to measure to where that starts. if that makes any sense...
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Old 03-18-04, 05:18 PM   #8
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BB's

The best way is to take the spindle out of the frame and look at it. Does it have equal overhangs of the tapered part on each side. If it does it is symmetrical. If not, it is Asymmetrical. Measure the overall length of the spindle and buy the same length sealed b/b of whatever type and make sure it has the same taper profiles. Shimano has a different taper profile than Campag. If you have Shimano cranks or other Japanese or Tiawan cranks then buy Shimano taper. If Campy then buy Campy taper. If you want to have more choices than you ever dreamed, then look at the Phil Wood website www.Philwood.com there you will find a truly staggering array of choices. Quite expensive though. Shimano makes the UN-72 which is available from Lictons at www.lickbike.com for pretty cheap and very fast service.
Good luck.


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