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Vintage bike bottom bracket conversion

Old 01-20-16, 01:10 PM
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Vintage bike bottom bracket conversion

I am getting ready to attempt some repairs on a very old bicycle.....should I replace the bottom bracket with cups and bearings( like it is now) or convert it to a single enclosed cartridge to be more modern?
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Old 01-20-16, 01:15 PM
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You, being unable to give any specifics, I suggest, go to a bike shop and ask showing them, your Bike In question.
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Old 01-20-16, 01:26 PM
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You will find very few NEW loose-ball bottom brackets for sale. Cartridge bottom brackets are relatively cheap and quite reliable.

Or, you may just be able to replace the bearings (loose BBs) in the existing bottom bracket, and clean out the old grease and replace it. Loose ball bottom brackets are pretty easy to service, but they do need service relatively often.

To open your old bottom bracket, you'll need: crank puller of the correct type, and the correct bottom bracket wrenches and/or pin spanners.

A well-maintained loose-ball bottom bracket can last longer than a cartridge unit, but needs that regular maintenance. Whereas, a cartridge bottom bracket usually lasts years without any maintenance.
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Old 01-20-16, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by acolli10
I am getting ready to attempt some repairs on a very old bicycle.....should I replace the bottom bracket with cups and bearings( like it is now) or convert it to a single enclosed cartridge to be more modern?
Does the current bottom bracket actually need replacing, or could you save yourself some cost and bother simply by cleaning it out and re-packing with fresh balls and grease?
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Old 01-20-16, 04:20 PM
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I recently overhauled a loose-bearing BB from the mid-1960s. I know for a fact it hadn't been opened since the bike was new. The old grease looked like tar, but after everything was cleaned, the parts (including the bearings) were perfect. The condition of your BB will depend on miles ridden and exposure to the elements.

Read Sheldon Brown's info on this procedure, and put a large box lid or similar item under the BB to catch the ball bearings when they fall out. You can use ordinary automotive wheel bearing grease to repack.
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Old 01-20-16, 07:52 PM
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Definitely needs replacing.
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Old 01-20-16, 08:19 PM
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Probably depends on what "very old" means and what the make and nationality of the bike is. If it's an old (pre mid-70's) Raleigh or French bike, cartridge bottom brackets may be hard to find with the proper threading and if it has a cottered crank, a cartridge isn't available no matter what. More details are really needed.
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Old 01-20-16, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by acolli10
Definitely needs replacing.
Taking you at your word that it "definitely needs replacing," I'd look at whatever crank you intend to use and select the appropriate bottom bracket based on that.
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