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Octalink history??

Old 04-25-20, 05:46 PM
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Octalink history??

Tell me when they came about and why they seem to be a thing of the past.
Thanks!
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Old 04-25-20, 05:55 PM
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Octalink is proprietary to Shimano and I think it came out in late 1990s or early 2000s. I bought a road bike in 2003 that had Octalink. The interface between the BB spindle and crank was much better compared to the square taper it replaced. And it probably reduced the weight of the spindle. Octalink died when the 'next best thing' came out, external BB bearings, which allowed for a much stiffer BB and an even larger diameter BB spindle. Then that of course was dead when they came out with pressed in BBs.........

There's nothing wrong with Octalink, it just means you're probably mating it to a 8 or 9 speed drivetrain, which in itself is not bad, but now there's 11 and 12......
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Old 04-25-20, 06:00 PM
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The dust caps were an ingenious thing that extracted the cranks. If you're buying a crank, make sure those dust caps, and especially the threads are in good shape.
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Old 04-25-20, 09:03 PM
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One issue with the OS spindled BBs that also hade their bearings internal to the BB shell was the tiny balls it took to not grow the BB OD beyond the shell's ID. Bearing loads are relative to the rolling element's diameters. So 11 .250" balls have about 4 times the load capacity as 22 .125" balls do. Add that the smaller seals often didn't do their jobs well (just like tapered square ones) and you can see why some of these BB's didn't last as long as tapered square ones. Many of us shop wrenches saw these as a solution seeking a problem. There's a reason why tapered square has lasted the test of many decades and these OS spindled but inside the shell BBs haven't. Andy
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Old 04-26-20, 05:01 AM
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I agree with Andy on the reduced service life of the Octalink bottom brackets and their cousin, the ISIS bottom bracket standard. Both sought to improve the interface between the crank arm and the spindle, while increasing the spindle diameter and making it hollow. The crank arm/spindle interface was an improvement, but the tiny bearings required by the larger spindle were not very durable or tolerant of contaminants. As a result, they usually had a very short service life.
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Old 04-26-20, 06:40 AM
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Thanks! My continuing education continues!!
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Old 04-26-20, 06:45 AM
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I believe that 1997 with 9 speed Dura Ace is where it started and filtered down as is Shimano's MOA after that.
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Old 04-26-20, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Tandem Tom View Post
Tell me when they came about and why they seem to be a thing of the past.
Thanks!
FYI...there are two different version of Octalink floating around. v1 and v2. Make sure you do not mix them up. Andy already said the rest:

https://www.modernbike.com/bottom-br...talink-v1isyes
https://www.modernbike.com/shimano-o...ottom-brackets

Similarly...there's also 2 versions of Hollowtech cranks.....one that used Octalink BBs IIRC, and the other one everyone knows todays as their spindle-crank
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Old 04-26-20, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Rogerogeroge View Post
The dust caps were an ingenious thing that extracted the cranks. If you're buying a crank, make sure those dust caps, and especially the threads are in good shape.
Self-extracting crank bolts far proceeded Octalink cranks and were provided on several square taper cranks and sold as an aftermarket part. Also, only Ultegra and Dura Ace Octalink cranks had self-extracting bolts. 105 Octalink cranks had standard fixing bolts and required a crank puller.

​​​​​​
I agree with Andy on the reduced service life of the Octalink bottom brackets and their cousin, the ISIS bottom bracket standard.

While both Octalink and ISIS bottom brackets shared the necessity for smaller bearings, don't confuse the two designs. Shimano's Octalink bottom brackets were well made and generally had a good service life. I had them on two bikes and they lasted tens of thousands of miles and were still in good working order when replaced for other reasons. ISIS was designed to get around Shimano's Octalink patent and was made public domain. Therefore, ISIS bottom bracket were made by numerous manufactures in a wide variety of quality levels, mostly poor and subject to early failure. It's those ISIS bottom brackets that gave the whole concept its bad name.

That said, it was indeed external bottom brackets with their inherently larger bearings and somewhat reduced weight that made Octalink/ISIS obsolete.
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Old 04-26-20, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Similarly...there's also 2 versions of Hollowtech cranks.....one that used Octalink BBs IIRC, and the other one everyone knows todays as their spindle-crank
Actually 3 as there is also HT I which has hollow arms and square taper.
https://www.vitalmtb.com/product/gui...kset-M510,9589
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Old 04-26-20, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Self-extracting crank bolts far proceeded Octalink cranks and were provided on several square taper cranks and sold as an aftermarket part. Also, only Ultegra and Dura Ace Octalink cranks had self-extracting bolts. 105 Octalink cranks had standard fixing bolts and required a crank puller.

​​​​​​
While both Octalink and ISIS bottom brackets shared the necessity for smaller bearings, don't confuse the two designs. Shimano's Octalink bottom brackets were well made and generally had a good service life. I had them on two bikes and they lasted tens of thousands of miles and were still in good working order when replaced for other reasons. ISIS was designed to get around Shimano's Octalink patent and was made public domain. Therefore, ISIS bottom bracket were made by numerous manufactures in a wide variety of quality levels, mostly poor and subject to early failure. It's those ISIS bottom brackets that gave the whole concept its bad name.

That said, it was indeed external bottom brackets with their inherently larger bearings and somewhat reduced weight that made Octalink/ISIS obsolete.
Yes, Octal-ink (splined) held up MUCH better than ISIS. In my experience, they work as well as square tapers. Maybe ST does last longer, but honestly they both last long enough that it is a non-issue IMO. I have many years of use on one set of Octalinks on both Road bikes and MTBs.
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Old 04-26-20, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Yes, Octal-ink (splined) held up MUCH better than ISIS. In my experience, they work as well as square tapers. Maybe ST does last longer, but honestly they both last long enough that it is a non-issue IMO. I have many years of use on one set of Octalinks on both Road bikes and MTBs.
Depends on the unit. There were some that lasted amazingly well AKA decades.....

And on the other end of the spectrum, units like Campagnolo's AC-H, that would feel like gravel in no time on even a fair-weather-only bike.
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Old 04-26-20, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Depends on the unit. There were some that lasted amazingly well AKA decades.....

And on the other end of the spectrum, units like Campagnolo's AC-H, that would feel like gravel in no time on even a fair-weather-only bike.
Good point. Whereas all the Octalink splines were all Shimano, (and decent quality), square taper, being an open standard, could be from anybody with widely varying quality.
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Old 04-26-20, 04:54 PM
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shimano made this one and the next to keep the competition from making parts for their groups. If the Octalink was a good idea it would still exist. It died because they made an error like the 10 speed hubs with inboard drive side bearings.
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Old 04-26-20, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
shimano made this one and the next to keep the competition from making parts for their groups. If the Octalink was a good idea it would still exist. It died because they made an error like the 10 speed hubs with inboard drive side bearings.
By that logic, anything that is not the current standard was a bad idea.
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Old 04-26-20, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
By that logic, anything that is not the current standard was a bad idea.
Just a fact of life kind of logic. There goes rule number 2.
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Old 04-26-20, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
Just a fact of life kind of logic. There goes rule number 2.
I have no idea what you are talking about.

By your logic, incandescent bike lights and NiCad batteries were a bad idea because they have been replaced with LEDs.and Li ion.

3 piece Octalink was well regarded when it came out. Enough so that a bunch of other companies tried to copy it with ISIS. And it stuck around for a long time. I was only phased out by external BBs, not by a desire to go back to square taper or ISIS.
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Old 04-26-20, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I have no idea what you are talking about.

By your logic, incandescent bike lights and NiCad batteries were a bad idea because they have been replaced with LEDs.and Li ion.

3 piece Octalink was well regarded when it came out. Enough so that a bunch of other companies tried to copy it with ISIS. And it stuck around for a long time. I was only phased out by external BBs, not by a desire to go back to square taper or ISIS.
Bean counters run the bike industry; therefore new and improved at every opportunity
How does batteries and bulbs compare to bicycles. Look up ten good rules and rule number two..
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Old 04-26-20, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
Bean counters run the bike industry; therefore new and improved at every opportunity
How does batteries and bulbs compare to bicycles. Look up ten good rules and rule number two..
Thanks, but I am not running around the internet trying to decipher someone’s cryptic references.
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Old 04-26-20, 08:38 PM
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Shimano is well known for shifting the goal line when competition is catching up. they have employed a patent search "department" and will change small details to have new ones issued, or just borrowed expired ones as suited their needs. This is nothing new in business but Shimano is exceptionally good and well equipped doing this. As they won the OEM spec battle with first SunTour then SRAM for many years they, pretty much, wrote the book on frame specs for a very long time. I do give them credit for also having components that work rather well the majority of the time. Still their rep for being the 500lb gorilla is well earned.

Here's my two click search for rule 2. https://acd-ext.gsfc.nasa.gov/People...ten_rules.html I could have stopped at one click but wanted to check one more site. Don't know if this is what David is referencing but I think it is good advice just the same. Andy
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Old 04-26-20, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
Bean counters run the bike industry; therefore new and improved at every opportunity
How does batteries and bulbs compare to bicycles. Look up ten good rules and rule number two..
"Bean counters" run nearly every industry. That's how they assure they stay in business.

Batteries and bulbs are technical devices subject to improvements and changes just like bicycles.
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Old 04-27-20, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
FYI...there are two different version of Octalink floating around. v1 and v2. Make sure you do not mix them up. Andy already said the rest:
This dawned on me a few months ago. I have a nice road bike (new in 2001) with an Octalink v1 BB cartridge. It has a little over 7,000 miles on it and is as smooth as when it was new. But... I knew it wouldn't last forever, and then I'd have to fit a new crankset. I happen to really like the Ultegra crankset I have, and I do *not* like the appearance of the current generation (or what I hear about some of them falling apart).
Luckily, I was able to source an original replacement; there were 2 (TWO!) left at the time of purchase. At least I now have essentially a lifetime supply.

Ultegra 3 x 9
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Old 04-27-20, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Shimano is well known for shifting the goal line when competition is catching up. they have employed a patent search "department" and will change small details to have new ones issued, or just borrowed expired ones as suited their needs. This is nothing new in business but Shimano is exceptionally good and well equipped doing this. As they won the OEM spec battle with first SunTour then SRAM for many years they, pretty much, wrote the book on frame specs for a very long time. I do give them credit for also having components that work rather well the majority of the time. Still their rep for being the 500lb gorilla is well earned.

Here's my two click search for rule 2. https://acd-ext.gsfc.nasa.gov/People...ten_rules.html I could have stopped at one click but wanted to check one more site. Don't know if this is what David is referencing but I think it is good advice just the same. Andy
In the version I saw no. 10 is no. 1.
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Old 04-27-20, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post

Here's my two click search for rule 2. https://acd-ext.gsfc.nasa.gov/People...ten_rules.html I could have stopped at one click but wanted to check one more site. Don't know if this is what David is referencing but I think it is good advice just the same. Andy
“Admire nothing”?

Stupid advice, IMO.

Cynicism is a sign of laziness, not intelligence.
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Old 04-27-20, 09:32 AM
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Most people who use or used Octalink cranks/bb's were very pleased with them, because they were well made and durable. Shimano did a very good job with their Octalink products. This was also the first generation of Hollowtech cranks from Shimano, and they generally did a very good job with that element of the design as well.

ISIS cranks/bb's as already stated, generally did suffer from poor execution of the design, and durability was generally not good.

The buzz in the bike world when big companies like Shimano went to market with outboard bearing crank/bb systems was that Bullseye's patent for this type of design had expired. This was in the early 2000's. (I believe the patent was from the late '80's or early '90's, not sure).
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