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Swap square taper spindles, JIS for ISO, vice versa?

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Swap square taper spindles, JIS for ISO, vice versa?

Old 11-01-15, 05:24 PM
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Swap square taper spindles, JIS for ISO, vice versa?

Ok, I know this topic has been discussed over and over in several respects, but after spending a good deal of time searching these forums and the interwebs, I can't find an opinion as to whether one can simply swap a JIS spindle for an ISO one using the same BB cups. I assume so, but there is no discussion of possible hangups, as far as I can tell. Has anyone done this?

Even Sheldon doesn't seem to have written about this specific change. (He wrote about cottered-to-cotterless and JIS crank on ISO spindle, vice versa, but I haven't found anything about swapping square taper spindles...)

I have seen some threads on this forum saying that it makes sense to try a crank regardless of matching the standards, but I want to avoid trial and error if I can -- I have an ISO spindle/BB, but I think I would have more gearing options if I use a JIS crank, and if I can avoid any compatibility issues by swapping a cheap spindle ahead of time, I'd like to do that.

If there is a thread on this site that I missed, please let me know and I'll take my lumps for being redundant.

Thank you!
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Old 11-01-15, 05:49 PM
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IMO, trial and error is probably what made Sheldon Brown what he was. whatever one may think of him. that and a healthy dash of good sense.

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Old 11-01-15, 06:30 PM
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I recall Sheldon Brown saying the difference is in the degree of taper of the spindle ends. They correspond to differently tapered cranks. A mismatch could cause a crank to bottom out before it's secured tightly with the crank bolt. That might produce a creak, as well as premature wear of the alloy crank. However, those spindles are fairly inexpensive, so you don't lose much by experimenting. If you bolt your crank to the spindle and can't detect any looseness after some brief riding, maybe you're okay.

Since most replacement spindles seem to be JIS, I'm guessing you have an ISO crank?

Last edited by habilis; 11-01-15 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 11-01-15, 06:46 PM
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Since most replacement spindles seem to be JIS, I'm guessing you have an ISO crank?
Well, I don't have a crank for this project yet, but I do have an ISO spindle. I'd like to use something like a vintage Sakae with 110/74 BCD to keep the cost of experimenting with chainrings low, but these are all JIS cranks.

This is more of a general question than soliciting specific advice on this project, though. If nobody has done this, I'm more than happy to play around with this when I'm at the right point with this project (I'll go ahead and get a used spindle and crank to try it when I'm at that point) and then post back up here. But, I'm just curious if anyone has done this before and can say whether it was straightforward, tricky, etc...

Thanks...
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Old 11-01-15, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf
I can't find an opinion as to whether one can simply swap a JIS spindle for an ISO one using the same BB cups. I assume so, but there is no discussion of possible hangups, as far as I can tell. !
So many cups and BBs over the years, I don't think you can get a "yes"/"no" answer about all axle-cup compatibility.
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Old 11-01-15, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by habilis
I recall Sheldon Brown saying the difference is in the degree of taper of the spindle ends. They correspond to differently tapered cranks. A mismatch could cause a crank to bottom out before it's secured tightly with the crank bolt. That might produce a creak, as well as premature wear of the alloy crank. However, those spindles are fairly inexpensive, so you don't lose much by experimenting. If you bolt your crank to the spindle and can't detect any looseness after some brief riding, maybe you're okay.

Since most replacement spindles seem to be JIS, I'm guessing you have an ISO crank?

I wouldn't have used the term "degree of taper" as it might suggest the difference is with the angle of the tapers. The difference is in the dimension across the tapers. IIRC ISO tapers are slightly narrower then JIS. So a ISO spindle will fit deeper into a JIS arm then a ISO arm. But we are talking about small differences and manufacturer shifting tolerances can be greater then intended ones. Andy
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Old 11-01-15, 08:30 PM
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i can say for certain, because i've been riding a similar combination for years with absolutely no problems. a early 80's Sakae Ringyo (SR) 'galaxy' 144BCD crank works well on a modern White Industries threaded, cartridge bearing, square tapered, BB. i don't know the taper of either of them. although i assume the WI BB spindle is an ISO taper.

pic of the crank in 110 BCD



same BB also works well with an old Dura-Ace 130BCD crank.

Attached Images

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Old 11-01-15, 08:36 PM
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Mixing-and-matching cup-and-cone spindles and cups often works well, particularly if they all use the same 1/4" bearing balls. A friend has an early '70's Raleigh with their proprietary bottom bracket threading that came with a Stronglight cottered crank. We removed that crank and bb spindle and substituted an SR square taper spindle and matching crank but kept the OEM Raleigh cups. It worked just fine for thousands of miles and is still in use on an indoor trainer.

It's well worth the try.
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Old 11-01-15, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by habilis
I recall Sheldon Brown saying the difference is in the degree of taper of the spindle ends.
Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart
I wouldn't have used the term "degree of taper" as it might suggest the difference is with the angle of the tapers. The difference is in the dimension across the tapers.
Yes, both JIS and ISO are 2 taper. The difference is the cross-section at the end of the taper:


Source: Sutherland's 4th Edition
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Old 11-01-15, 11:01 PM
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@Andrew R Stewart and @JohnDThompson: Yup, I had it wrong - the degree of taper is the same, the dimension across the tapers is different. Here is Sheldon Brown's article: Square Taper Bottom Bracket Interchangeability
At the end of the article, he says he avoided mixing JIS and ISO on customers' bikes, but successfully got away with it on many of his own bikes.

Last edited by habilis; 11-01-15 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 11-01-15, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider
Mixing-and-matching cup-and-cone spindles and cups often works well, particularly if they all use the same 1/4" bearing balls. A friend has an early '70's Raleigh with their proprietary bottom bracket threading that came with a Stronglight cottered crank. We removed that crank and bb spindle and substituted an SR square taper spindle and matching crank but kept the OEM Raleigh cups. It worked just fine for thousands of miles and is still in use on an indoor trainer.

It's well worth the try.
I think the OP's issue is not with the bearing-cup/spindle interface but rather the crank/spindle interface.

BTW, I recently swapped the original cottered spindle in an old Raleigh with a more recent JIS square-tapered spindle salvaged from another bike. The swap allowed me to use an alloy JIS crank instead of the original rusty cottered steel crank. Seems to be working fine, using the same-sized 1/4" bearings and the Raleigh cups. The profiles of the two spindles appeared to be very close, if not identical.

I'm planning a similar swap on my wife's old Dunelt (made by Raleigh). It's good to hear that someone else also performed this operation successfully.

Last edited by habilis; 11-01-15 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 11-01-15, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf
Ok, I know this topic has been discussed over and over in several respects, but after spending a good deal of time searching these forums and the interwebs, I can't find an opinion as to whether one can simply swap a JIS spindle for an ISO one using the same BB cups. I assume so, but there is no discussion of possible hangups, as far as I can tell. Has anyone done this?

Even Sheldon doesn't seem to have written about this specific change. (He wrote about cottered-to-cotterless and JIS crank on ISO spindle, vice versa, but I haven't found anything about swapping square taper spindles...)

I have seen some threads on this forum saying that it makes sense to try a crank regardless of matching the standards, but I want to avoid trial and error if I can -- I have an ISO spindle/BB, but I think I would have more gearing options if I use a JIS crank, and if I can avoid any compatibility issues by swapping a cheap spindle ahead of time, I'd like to do that.

If there is a thread on this site that I missed, please let me know and I'll take my lumps for being redundant.

Thank you!
Just change the ISO spindle/BB to a JIS sealed BB cartridge with the spindle length suggested by the JIS crank manufacturer. Why go thru the trouble of mixing and matching?
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Old 11-02-15, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by habilis
I think the OP's issue is not with the bearing-cup/spindle interface but rather the crank/spindle interface.
OP wants to keep the same cups, and swap to a different spindle, so that the spindle and crank will match.

"...whether one can simply swap a JIS spindle for an ISO one using the same BB cups...."

Basic square taper BBs aren't that expensive, so buying a complete unit would be simpler.
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Old 11-02-15, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01
OP wants to keep the same cups, and swap to a different spindle, so that the spindle and crank will match.

"...whether one can simply swap a JIS spindle for an ISO one using the same BB cups...."

Basic square taper BBs aren't that expensive, so buying a complete unit would be simpler.
I see your point. Guess i was hung up on the ISO vs. JIS, which is really a difference in the configuration of the spindle/crank interface. Both spindles types have two integrated bearing races. According to Sheldon Brown, the shape and spacing of those races may differ from one manufacturer to another within either ISO or JIS.

I got lucky and found a JIS spindle that worked with Raleigh cups, but there's no guarantee that either JIS or ISO will work. The spindles I see online have all shown 52 mm between the integrated races, but Sheldon says this spacing, or maybe the curvature of the race, can vary slightly. In that case, the 1/4" ball bearings may ride on the shoulder of the race instead of fitting in the curvature, resulting in premature wear. He recommends running the spindle in the BB for a while, then checking for a wear-line on the shoulder, indicating a bad fit. In that case, he recommends using smaller (6mm) ball bearings.

I assembled my BB with the new spindle and plenty of grease, adjusted the cups, and checked for smooth turning with no side-to-side play. Then, I disassembled and saw that the races were cleaned of excess grease - a good sign. I guess I should disassemble and look for wear on the shoulders, but everything has worked okay with no apparent premature wear or play.

The old Raleigh cups have proprietary threading. As far as I know, I can't use any threaded-cup sealed bearing without re-threading and shortening the 71mm shell. The only sealed bearing that would work is the Velo Orange Grand Cru threadless BB. The OP may not have this limitation if his BB shell will take a threaded sealed unit that also matches the width of his shell.

Last edited by habilis; 11-02-15 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 11-02-15, 07:40 AM
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Phil Wood has axles all the same but the ends and makes both ISO and JIS,

but you probably have to mail it to California to get it changed. 2 ISO types 1 JIS.

OP is there there drive to PW SJ shop. might do it while you wait.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-02-15 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 11-02-15, 07:55 AM
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The Sheldon Brown taper discussion is here. Both ISO and JIS are 2 taper per side, or 4 taper when compared to each other. As others have noted, there is a difference in specified terminal width, and there are manufacturing variations as well. I would think that if you put the crank of interest on the spindle of interest, and checked to ensure you weren't bottoming out the crank on the taper, you'd be ok. But there is a point on the axle tapers where they flare out. If either L or R tightened crank arm gets too near or touches this flare you'd be wise to get the proper spindle to match your crank arms. If the square section protrudes so far that the tightening bolt tightens against the spindle and not the crank arm, replace the spindle to use those crank arms. Last (and this is subjective), if the crank arms don't seat very far, so that there is not enough taper that is engaged, replace the spindle to use those cranks.

In short, try it and see how it fits. The only think is that if you test fit the crank arm loosely and by hand, and it is almost bottoming out, you may wish to place a check mark in the "fail" column without tightening the crank bolts. If you run the crank arms too far up the taper and they hit a flared out section, tightening the bolt could in effect cold-form your crank tapers using the hardened steel spindle, ruining the taper on the arms.

On edit:
I only read the first few notes and then scanned to see if others had posted Sheldon's page. Then my editorial comments followed. I now see that the issue is not crank arm/spindle match, but spindle bearing race and cup bearing race match. The loose bearings in the older style setup, with bearing races machined, ground, and lapped onto the spindle are what's called angular contact bearings. First question, then, is whether the bearing size and number used with the bearing cups you like match that of the spindle you like. If so, the next point is that typically, the cup and cone are made to yield a specified contact angle. This is the angle between the plane through all the bearings, and an imaginary line running from a ball's contact points with the inner and outer bearing races. Most bottom brackets should have about the same angle, but there may be slight differences between two different bearing setups. If so, the bearing will not run as friction-free as you'd like. But the difference may be so slight you won't notice.

Soooo. If the bearing size and numbers match between your source of bearing cups and your source of spindle, you may wish to try it.

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Old 11-02-15, 02:36 PM
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Thanks so much for weighing in, everyone. Yes, the example I was looking for was one of swapping the spindle while using the same cups, so the comments from habilis, HillRider, and WizardOfBoz captured what I was after. I truly appreciate everyone's willingness to help, and I will let you know which way I go with this project -- I'm looking forward to tinkering and adding to what this group already knows.

Thank you!
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Old 11-02-15, 02:45 PM
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Just that the the market place has left the loose ball BB behind Years ago..

so parts will be sparsely available ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-02-15 at 02:49 PM.
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