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  1. #1
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Crankset and bottom bracket for touring

    I'm currently in the process of choosing components for a brand new touring frame: a custom Rodriguez UTB. I'm really stuck with the limited choices of crankset and bottom bracket to choose from. The bike will mostly be used for faster randonneur rides with friends over the weekend and the occasional multi-day on/off road tour (30-35 lbs loaded). Given that, here are the two options I'm seriously considering:

    1. Shimano's Deore M590 9 spd crankset with 26/36/48t. Seems to be a great value ($88) for what seems to be the only touring crankset available from Shimano in North America. I like the fact that the small and middle chainrings are made of steel with the largest chainring being aluminum. It gets great reviews in general in Europe where it seems to be very popular. It comes with an external bottom bracket, but that seems to be perhaps the weakest link as far as durability. Would you simply upgrade the BB from the get-go or keep as-is? If upgrade, what BB would you upgrade to? I've looked at what seems to be the top two:
    A. Enduro's mid-range BB with ceramic bearings ($125, although they do have a chromium steel BB/bearing option for only $75!)
    B. Chris King stainless steel BB ($135)

    Pros/Cons going with this external BB set-up?

    2. My second choice is pricier for what seems "outdated" but proven technology using a Sugino XD500 crankset with 24/36/48t at $160. It doesn't come with the square taper bottom bracket. From reading several threads it seems like tourists often go for Phil Wood's BB for an additional $120. Do you like this combo better? Pros/Cons?

    My #1 concern is durability since I live in Mexico. I know nothing lasts forever, but if I could get $15,000+ miles out of a crankset/BB set up (excluding worn out chainrings and regreasing bearings), I would be very happy. If you think there's a combo that will work better, feel free to suggest. Thank you!
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 02-03-12 at 02:08 AM.

  2. #2
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    I actually use two different cranks on my touring bike. For commuting and weekend rides, I have a standard road triple (52/39/30). For touring with light to moderate loads (< ~30lbs) I use a Shimano Deore M532 trekking crank (48/36/26). I've been very happy with the M532! I would assume that the M590 works as well or better, so it's the one I would buy.

    As far as bottom brackets go, I own multiple bikes with external-cup bottom brackets and have never found them to be a problem. If you're planning to leave the BB submerged in water for an extended period of time, consider investing in one from Chris King or Phil Wood. For most people, however, I would consider them a waste of money. I do very little to maintain any of my bottom brackets. They're all the cheapest models available and I've yet to have a problem with one...

  3. #3
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I've just installed two Shimano's Deore M590 9 spd cranksets. These came with a 26/36/48t chainring set. I installed a 22t to improve the climbing range.

    I would keep the included BB, they are very good quality. The Hollowteck II bottom bracket adds stiffness and performs well.

    One bike has Shimano bar end shifters with a Tiagra for-triple front derailleur and a 105 "GS" long arm road rear derailleur. This bike shifts well, I'm 100% please with the performance.



    The second bike has Shimano Tiagra STI integrated shifters with a Tiagra for-triple front derailleur and a Deore "SGS" long arm MTB rear derailleur. This bike shifts well, but the indexing on the front derailleur was a challenge to set-up.



    You could also consider a 3x10 road bike drivetrain, using a Shimano's 105 5603 ten spd crankset with 26/39/50t and a 12-30 cassette. These work great see: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ighlight=12-30

    Last edited by Barrettscv; 02-03-12 at 08:03 AM.
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    I'd go for your second option: Sugino cranks with square taper BB, but I'd just get a cheap Shimano BB-UN55. That combo should easily get you over 15000 miles. For as far as I've heard external BB's often fail after about 4000 miles, which is considered normal by some bike mechanics I spoke to.

  5. #5
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lasse View Post
    I'd go for your second option: Sugino cranks with square taper BB, but I'd just get a cheap Shimano BB-UN55. That combo should easily get you over 15000 miles. For as far as I've heard external BB's often fail after about 4000 miles, which is considered normal by some bike mechanics I spoke to.
    Hear-say. Mechanics have an incentive to replace BB, if it is needed or not.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lasse View Post
    I'd go for your second option: Sugino cranks with square taper BB, but I'd just get a cheap Shimano BB-UN55. That combo should easily get you over 15000 miles.
    Good thinking! Had not considered the Sugino crankset paired with BB-UN55 which I believe many consider very reliable.

    For as far as I've heard external BB's often fail after about 4000 miles, which is considered normal by some bike mechanics I spoke to.
    Keep reading the same thing on several discussion forums... 5,000 miles max. on average which is quite disappointing! That's what prompted me to consider replacing Shimano's original external BB with something made by Enduro or Chris King. Obviously, I would only incur the steep extra expense if it's REALLY worth it as far as durability.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 02-03-12 at 08:28 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member irishbill76's Avatar
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    If you have the finances for it, I'd suggest a Royce bottom bracket. They're built by a bunch of guys who worked for Rolls Royce, are long lasting and serviceable unlike most cartridge systems these days. Based on the old square taper design also. May be difficult to find though unless you can order online.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Have you considered a compact crankset, or do you need the lower gearing of a triple? I love my 50x34 cranksets (Shimano and Campy) for commuting on a hilly route, with loads comparable to randonneuring. I have a Dura Ace triple (53x39x30) on another bike and it doesn't seem that different than the compacts.

    That said, I am buying a used Sugino XD600 triple to put on my bike used for loaded touring as the DA triple isn't geared low enough for carrying a lot of gear on hilly terrain. The big problem with Sugino cranks, for me, is the limited availability in sizing. I couldn't find a new Sugino crank with 172.5 arms anywhere, but fortunately found a used one.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
    Have you considered a compact crankset, or do you need the lower gearing of a triple? I love my 50x34 cranksets (Shimano and Campy) for commuting on a hilly route, with loads comparable to randonneuring. I have a Dura Ace triple (53x39x30) on another bike and it doesn't seem that different than the compacts.

    That said, I am buying a used Sugino XD600 triple to put on my bike used for loaded touring as the DA triple isn't geared low enough for carrying a lot of gear on hilly terrain. The big problem with Sugino cranks, for me, is the limited availability in sizing. I couldn't find a new Sugino crank with 172.5 arms anywhere, but fortunately found a used one.
    1. Consider compact crankset? Looked into many of them, but as you say, great for faster rando rides but no gearing combination low enough for loaded touring. So, I discarded that idea very quickly.

    2. Looked into Sugino XD600 crankset as they are more widely available and less expensive, but the XD500 seems to be more versatile (rando/loaded touring) for the $20 extra. I can get it in 175mm cranks perfect for my inseam length, too.

    My main concern with Sugino/Square taper BB is that although they may last longer, they seem to be becoming obsolete fairly quickly and being replaced by Shimano's Hollow Tech II technology. Correct me if I am wrong. If you look at repl. chainrings for Sugino, only a handful of shops carry them. Shimano seems to be standard everywhere you go. So, I am carefully weighing all my options also taking into account availability of parts long-term.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 02-03-12 at 10:07 AM.

  10. #10
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I actually use two different cranks on my touring bike. For commuting and weekend rides, I have a standard road triple (52/39/30). For touring with light to moderate loads (< ~30lbs) I use a Shimano Deore M532 trekking crank (48/36/26).
    Just curious. Do you have to move the derailler when you switch cranks, or have you found a way to keep it happy with all the rings?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lasse View Post
    For as far as I've heard external BB's often fail after about 4000 miles, which is considered normal by some bike mechanics I spoke to.
    My road bike has 8,000-10,000 miles on an external-cup BB and it shows no signs of quitting. The (ultra cheap) external-cup BB on my touring bike is right at the 4,000mi mark and also shows no signs of wear. My full-suspension mountain bike has an external-cup bottom bracket, but I've only got about 1000mi on it. You guessed it: no signs of any wear.

    Today's external-cup bottom brackets and bearings are so well sealed that they're not going to disintegrate after 4000 miles, assuming they're installed properly to begin with! Whoever told you otherwise is either living in the past or wants to sell you something you don't need...

  12. #12
    Wild Horse Country revelo's Avatar
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    @rodar y rodar: you sent me a private message but bikeforums.net won't let me reply because I don't have enough posts (I need 50, I only have 16). Anyway, yes I am the Frank Revelo with a website by that name. Happy biking!

    Sorry for interrupting this thread.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I vote for the square taper Crank& BB the UNxx BB.. it works ,
    when it doesn't toss it and get a same replacement.
    though Phil does have advantages , stainless spindle is one big diff.
    and the press fit axle is able to be shifted to put chainline precisely right.

    I ran 24, 40, 50 combinations, when freewheels were 13 0r 14t on top.
    Found the 95GI high sufficient..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-03-12 at 11:19 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Just curious. Do you have to move the derailler when you switch cranks, or have you found a way to keep it happy with all the rings?
    I do have to move the FD up and down a bit to accommodate the different cranks. If I were going to swap frequently, I'd switch to a 50/39/30 triple crank rather than the 52/39/30 that I now use. Not much difference in size between a 50t and a 48t ring, so you could probably set the FD height once and forget about it.

    The bigger problem is that the trekking and road cranks have different chainlines, so the FD limit screws need to be tweaked when you swap cranks. The Ultegra triple FD that I use is a snap to setup and tune, so this isn't much of a problem. Still, I tend to do the swap the night before an important ride rather than waiting until the last minute...

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Touring.. replace the 30t with smaller if possible, a 24?
    a triple with only 1 or 2 new ratios,
    below middle/big cog combo makes little sense.

  16. #16
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    I have the Sugino/Phil combination you describe. The best thing I can say for it is that I never, never have to think about it. Works perfectly.

  17. #17
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    I have 35,000 miles on my current UN 53....works fine.

    You can put a ****load of miles on $160.00 worth of UN BB's.

    You can put in a plain bearing BB and it'll outlast your kids if you service it.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 02-04-12 at 01:15 PM. Reason: please don't defeat the censor
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Today's external-cup bottom brackets and bearings are so well sealed that they're not going to disintegrate after 4000 miles, assuming they're installed properly to begin with! Whoever told you otherwise is either living in the past or wants to sell you something you don't need...
    I'm really pleased to see that kind of mileage!

    Based on your suggestions, this is the way things are shaping up:

    1. Shimano M590 crankset with included BB

    Pros:
    * Price/value can't be beaten for less than US $90 (crankset + BB)
    * Durable steel middle and small chainrings
    * No need to upgrade the included bottom bracket immediately. It may last ~10,000 miles. (a $20 repl. if BB ever breaks down)
    * Repl. parts (bottom bracket, spindles) with Shimano stuff are readily available everywhere in the world.
    * 26/36/48T not too shabby for both touring/rando.

    Cons: ???

    2. Sugino XD500 with Shimano UN55 BBPros:
    * Super reliable and durable! - Can exceed 20,000 miles before replacement
    * Best possible gearing for both touring & randonneuring: 24/36/48t

    Cons:
    * Double the initial cost: $185 (crankset + BB)
    * Original Sugino chainrings only available at a limited number of shops (Not a good thing if traveling outside of the U.S.) - Are they compatible with other brands?
    * Square taper BB, although extremely reliable, is quickly becoming obsolete (more expensive and hard to find) - May need to reinvest in a new set-up a few years down the road if unable to find decent parts.

    BTW, will the latter set-up (#2) require a "road-style" front derailleur (e.g., 105, Sora, Ultegra)? I was planning to stick to a mountain front derailleur to match the XT rear derailleur, although I guess it won't be a big deal to run a "road" front derailleur. I've decided to use reliable Dura Ace 9-speed barcon shifters with friction up front.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 02-03-12 at 01:26 PM.

  19. #19
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    Question about the Deore M590... I looked at some specs, and it says:

    Included SM-BB51 wide-stance bottom bracket cupset with outboard bearings offers increased rigidity (fits both 68/73mm with included spacers). Designed for a 50.0mm chainline and 135mm hub/frame spacing.

    If you wanted to run this on a 130mm hub road frame, would you have to change out the BB?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
    * Original Sugino chainrings only available at a limited number of shops (Not a good thing if traveling outside of the U.S.) - Are they compatible with other brands?
    * Square taper BB, although extremely reliable, is quickly becoming obsolete (more expensive and hard to find) - May need to reinvest in a new set-up a few years down the road if unable to find decent parts.

    BTW, will the latter set-up (#2) require a "road-style" front derailleur (e.g., 105, Sora, Ultegra)? I was planning to stick to a mountain front derailleur to match the XT rear derailleur, although I guess it won't be a big deal to run a road F.D. up front. I've decided to use reliable Dura Ace 9-speed barcon shifters with friction up front.
    You can put any fitting chain rings on the Sugino, sizes are standardized. Most of the price difference is probably because of more expensive chainrings on the Sugino XD600 by default. The Sugino XD crankset on its own isn't that expensive (about €60 = $79).
    I have my doubts about square taper becoming obsolete, Shimano just introduced the new BB55 this year and several other brands are also making square taper BBs that are compatible. Time will tell...
    You can use any front derailleur on the Sugino, if the derailleur can manage the chain ring size combination installed.
    As a low budget alternative: Shimano Alivio cranks with square taper BB, costs about €40 = $53. Obviously the included chain rings aren't TA quality.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lakkdainen View Post
    Question about the Deore M590... I looked at some specs, and it says:

    Included SM-BB51 wide-stance bottom bracket cupset with outboard bearings offers increased rigidity (fits both 68/73mm with included spacers). Designed for a 50.0mm chainline and 135mm hub/frame spacing.

    If you wanted to run this on a 130mm hub road frame, would you have to change out the BB?
    Not sure about this, but I believe a 68mm/73mm BB also works on road bikes. You will need to play around with the length of the spindle (I understand Shimano makes them in different lengths) so everything runs smoothly.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 02-03-12 at 01:16 PM.

  22. #22
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lakkdainen View Post
    Question about the Deore M590... I looked at some specs, and it says:

    Included SM-BB51 wide-stance bottom bracket cupset with outboard bearings offers increased rigidity (fits both 68/73mm with included spacers). Designed for a 50.0mm chainline and 135mm hub/frame spacing.

    If you wanted to run this on a 130mm hub road frame, would you have to change out the BB?
    No.

    You can put a Deore crank on a road bike. The chain-line on the big ring will be off-set and I just avoid using the two biggest cogs on the rear cassette while on the big chainring. However, it is safe to use all gear combinations. It's just that the chain-line is not ideal.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 02-03-12 at 03:58 PM.
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  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    the gee whiz stuff shows up on the top of the range, external BB etc.
    square taper is still used on the Bikes sold at modest price points.

    triple has the middle chainring lined up to the middle cog of the rear cluster .

    doubles, it is the space between the 2 chainrings that is the chainline center.

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    I have recent experience with both the Sugino crank/ square taper bb and a Shimano Ultegra with external bb on the same bike. The Sugino never shifted as well as Shimano with STI. Since you are using bar ends that probably won't be an issue. The external bb is MUCH easier to deal with. It is a 10 minute job to remove the cranks and replace the bb if you should need to. More importantly, there is much less chance of boogering something up than with square taper. I don't think you will have problems finding replacement parts for either choice.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    No.

    You can put a Deore crank on a road bike. The chain-line on the big ring will be off-set and I just avoid using the two biggest cogs on the rear cassette while on the big chainring. However, it is safe to use all gear combinations. It's just that the chain-line is not ideal.
    Agree. When I installed the Deore M532 crank on my touring bike, I removed one of the 2.5mm spacers from the drive side of the crank. That brings the chainline in from 50mm to 47.5mm. My Ultegra FD, which is designed to work with a 45mm chainline, was then able to shift across the entire crank without problem. YMMV, of course.

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