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What's your favorite bottom bracket.

Old 07-17-12, 02:37 PM
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What's your favorite bottom bracket.

I am fixing up my 2006 caad 8 which has a truvative gxp 9 speed on it. I am looking at NOS stuff like ultegra 6500 but that has octalink.

Would octalink be a step backwards in terms of performance? what about isis or square taper for that matter.
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Old 07-17-12, 03:26 PM
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The type of BB you need is determined by the type of crank you have, you can't fit a Octalink BB splines into an ISIS crank or square taper.

ISIS and Octalink are now both obsolete designs, with very limited choices out there for replacements for cranks or BB's.

If you want to be current, external BB's are the way to go, but you are then restricted by the frame design, and have to match this to the BB & crank. To fit a 2006 frame, a standard Shimano HT2 BB and HT2 crank would fit, and be stiffer than any octalink / ISIS could ever be
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Old 07-17-12, 05:24 PM
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You will need to match the BB to the crank. There was no real need to go to the various systems the industry has foisted on us. Stiffer is not a scientific or engineering term and means nothing.
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Old 07-17-12, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad
Stiffer is not a scientific or engineering term and means nothing.
Take a frame and try an Octalink BB & crank, then a HT2 BB & crank, you will feel a difference in stiffness (that being a scientific term, not a verb for it)
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Old 07-17-12, 06:16 PM
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Unfortunately you can't set the clock back, but my favorite BB is the SunTour XC Pro grease-guard sq. taper BB in my commuter. It's a loose ball system with through-the-spindle greasing.

All the maintenance it's needed for the last 20 years of rough service is an occasional pump of some grease through the spindle bolts on each side. The cranks stay on, the adjustment never needs to be touched, even the spindle bolts stay on. They're drilled through so I remove the dust caps, remove two rubber discs, and pump grease through the bolts on both sides. Put that back and I'm good for another 1/2 year.

Of course there are lighter systems, but in 45 years of cycling, I've never had a BB go as far with so little maintenance effort. I like this system so much that I put a back-up aside in case it ever dies, but don't know if I'll live long enough to need it.
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Old 07-17-12, 06:32 PM
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Certainly not the cup-and-cone on my '88 Bianchi. It looked good when I repacked it 1500 miles ago, and now it's starting to judder under load.
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Old 07-17-12, 08:57 PM
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+1 Octalink and ISIS are now obsolete, I'm really not sure why they left square taper for these very similar designs.

Square taper is alive and well, being the standard for so many decades there are still plenty of parts available. But if you're putting a new crank on your new-ish road bike I'd definitely go with an external bearing crank. I'm a grouch for a lot of old parts but the external bearing cranks are just a better design than previous ones, much like the Shimano cassette freehub system. Personally I'd go with whatever Shimano road crank fits your budget. I even saw a Sora ext BB crank in a shop the other day. So it goes across the whole line now.

Originally Posted by FBinNY
I like this system so much that I put a back-up aside in case it ever dies, but don't know if I'll live long enough to need it.
This sounds a bit like my obsession to stockpile 8-speed bar-end shifters...
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Old 07-17-12, 09:03 PM
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As a general question, the pre-ultra torque campagnolo record/chorus 10spd bb. They spin perfectly smooth and last forever.
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Old 07-17-12, 10:27 PM
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I guess I should have been more clear in that I'm looking for a new crank as well. Gxp feels stiff and all but it seems to carry more friction and be more prone to contamination given the larger bearing and dust cap diameter. I guess that's the price you pay for racing components. Mine only lasted 5k miles before it turned into a coffee grinder. I am a racer so I do like that stiff power transfer feel.

Maybe I should be asking what is you favorite 9 speed road crank? Because that's really what I'm after
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Old 07-17-12, 10:34 PM
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Then I stick to my answer. Campy used th same bottom bracket and crank arms (different big ring) with 9 speed.
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Old 07-18-12, 09:45 AM
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Did external BBs not come along until 10spd?

They seem like the go, certainly. Making use of the gap between the BB shell and the crank arm to provide bigger, more outboard bearings around a bigger spindle seems like pure win.
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Old 07-18-12, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo
Did external BBs not come along until 10spd?

They seem like the go, certainly. Making use of the gap between the BB shell and the crank arm to provide bigger, more outboard bearings around a bigger spindle seems like pure win.
I think it's more a matter of coincidence in timing, Campy brought out 10s in 2001, while still using internal BBs. But others including Truvative were producing external BBs on 9s syatems at about the same time.

So one has nothing to do with the other, except that they happened at roughly the same time.
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Old 07-18-12, 09:59 AM
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Unfortunately you can't set the clock back, but my favorite BB is the SunTour XC Pro grease-guard sq. taper BB in my commuter. It's a loose ball system with through-the-spindle greasing.
have one NIB, square taper,JIS, 125 long, symmetrical, cups Brit thread..
can sell.


liked the Sachs SKF BB from decades past, cartridge bearing assembly\
was behind a set of shaft packing seals
for crud to get thru.. in the frame mounting cups.
But that resulted in some unfashionably long axles,
normal mortals were fine but muscle peeps who demanded
stiffness may not have been so happy..

Now I fake it, putting an O ring out side the Campag 111 BB
before putting the crank arms of my 'race triple' on..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-18-12 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 07-18-12, 10:55 AM
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Favorite BB/compact crank combo is a Shimano sealed UN55 square taper mated to a new Sugino compact crank (VO sells 'em). Swap out the 110 bcd 48t big ring for a 50 from FSA and get ready to ride a whole lotta 9/10 speed miles with zero worry or maintenance.
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Old 07-18-12, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
So one has nothing to do with the other, except that they happened at roughly the same time.
I wouldn't have imagined in a million years that one was necessarily related to the other.
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Old 07-18-12, 11:21 AM
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Ultra-torque is my favorite. Something about that Hirth joint, it seems so right.
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Old 07-18-12, 11:27 AM
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It does look pretty sweet... much nicer than a clamp around splines. Innit creaky though? Or am I thinking of something else?
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Old 07-18-12, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo
It does look pretty sweet... much nicer than a clamp around splines. Innit creaky though? Or am I thinking of something else?
Everyone that I've ever heard report issues with ultra torque did not face their bb properly. I suspect this is also the reason why we see external bearings give out sooner as well. I had to drive 4 hours to find a shop with a bb facing tool, it was absolutely silly. Of course bearings will fail if they don't line up...

If you search for ultra torque issues you will also find that nearly all of them (on every forum) were propagated by the same guy. 5min of research shows he feeds off attacking campy. In my opinion he has very little credibility.

I love my ultra torque crank (stiff) but it still has way more drag than my 10 year old chorus square taper bb.

Last edited by thirdgenbird; 07-18-12 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 07-18-12, 11:53 AM
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Pretty sure the stiffness would be morth more than a bit less drag... your legs won't feel the drag, but they'll feel the stiffness.

Also, your old square-taper crankset probably has quite a bit more momentum, don't forget...
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Old 07-18-12, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by thirdgenbird
I love my ultra torque crank (stiff) but it still has way more drag than my 10 year old chorus square taper bb.
The ext BB cranks I've used have been stiff as well (Shimano and Bontrager.) Makes me wish they made a loose ball external BB rather than the cartridge units.
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Old 07-18-12, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo
Pretty sure the stiffness would be morth more than a bit less drag... your legs won't feel the drag, but they'll feel the stiffness.

Also, your old square-taper crankset probably has quite a bit more momentum, don't forget...
I am not saying the ultra torque is worse, it just has different qualities. I think most of the drag is seal related. The bearings need a better seal due to their external placement. It isn't an issue, just an observation.
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Old 07-18-12, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by thirdgenbird
Everyone that I've ever heard report issues with ultra torque did not face their bb properly. I suspect this is also the reason why we see external bearings give out sooner as well. I had to drive 4 hours to find a shop with a bb facing tool, it was absolutely silly. Of course bearings will fail if they don't line up...

If you search for ultra torque issues you will also find that nearly all of them (on every forum) were propagated by the same guy. 5min of research shows he feeds off attacking campy. In my opinion he has very little credibility.

I love my ultra torque crank (stiff) but it still has way more drag than my 10 year old chorus square taper bb.
Facing tool? jesus, does that mean you got to square up the frames BB tube?
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Old 07-18-12, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick Bain
Facing tool? jesus, does that mean you got to square up the frames BB tube?
Yeah but that's pretty much standard procedure for most quality builds, external BB or square taper spindle. Most of what was cut away on good frames was the thick coat of paint leaving a clean smooth BB shell face. CF frames are not likely to need this kind of prep.

A lot of the complaints on UT were just noise like thirdgen mentioned. UT does have a downside that you can't adjust the bearing preload and the BB width tolerance is tighter than other types. The wavy washer (spring) takes up the slack from any play in the spindle. Some people use spacers and you could double up on the washer if needed.

As far as creaking goes I have an Alu Centaur UT on an Alu frame. No creaks or pops from the cranks or BB.
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Old 07-18-12, 03:21 PM
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One that works without getting clogged up with rusty muck, knocking all the time and feeling like its going to snap.

Methinks will go for a cartridge type one when I can afford it, actually fairly soon.
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Old 07-18-12, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick Bain
Facing tool? jesus, does that mean you got to square up the frames BB tube?
Yes.

You should square up the frame for any bb install but cartridge bottom brackets can deal with misalignment fairly well because both sides are connected. ANY outboard bb (not just campy) NEEDS to have a square bb shell to ensure proper alignment. It is a step most don't do and likely the cause for most issues regarding outboard bearings.

Like stated, the biggest difference with ultratorque (and a few others) is the tight tolerances for bb shell specs. That said, even my cheap scattante alloy frame was in spec after facing. Better frames may be fine out of the box, but I would want to take precise measurements prior to install.
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