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Bottom bracket types/styles/quality ??

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Bottom bracket types/styles/quality ??

Old 08-31-12, 04:01 AM
  #1  
speedy25
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Bottom bracket types/styles/quality ??

While looking for a cartridge to replace a cone and cup bottom bracket I have found there is all kinds of brands styles and (I think) quality of bottom brackets. A dual letter designation seems to be an indicator on Shimano parts while price seems to be the only other potential indicator on other brands.

Has anyone put together a list of whats good and whats so-so in the wild land of BB's?

-SP
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Old 08-31-12, 06:01 AM
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Bottom bracket type; square taper, splined (Octalink and ISIS), external bearing, etc.,etc., is determined by the crank and frame you have or are buying. As a general rule, higher price versions of the same type are lighter and have better bearings. Give us some specifics as to what you want to do and perhaps we can give more specific recommendations.
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Old 09-01-12, 09:19 PM
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I have a couple of bikes that have square ends. Only my Diamondback needed a fresh BB and the one I replaced it with has been great and I havent worn it out over almost 20 years. The one I am replacing is in a Trek. 68x116 is the size I found in a search. This is what led to my confusion over whats good and bad. All the threads I have read only muddy conclusions instead of make them clearer. I have found the link on here that lists sizes.

Thanks for your reply.

-SP
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Old 09-02-12, 07:38 AM
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The "68" is 68 mm and is the width of a standard English threaded road bottom bracket shell. This is by far the most common type, particularly in older bikes. The "116" is the length of the spindle in mm and the length you need depends on the crank you are using.

Within that catagory (square taper, English threads) there are a variety of makes in sealed cartridge (currently alomst standard) and cup-and-cone models in a range of prices from $15 to >$100.
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Old 09-02-12, 08:15 AM
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So far I'm not getting the info I am after. I have seen Specialized, YST, and Shimano being MFG of these parts, and also heard about some Shimano BB having plastic ends. So how do I pick a good one? Shimano seems to have an alpha numeric sizing or type as well as the ## x ### sizing.

How do you pick one? This shouldnt be so hard to find out.

-SP
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Old 09-02-12, 08:42 AM
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At the risk of being branded a Luddite and a heretic, why not stick with the old tried and true cone-and-cup system? It's an elegantly simple and effective design, and as long as the spindle isn't pitted or scored and the cups are smooth inside, you'll be fine. I always pitch the bearing retainer cages and go with loose balls when rebuilding, because you typically can fit more bearings into the cups that way. Admittedly, this does require some dexterity and somewhat fiddly adjustment to get things perfect, but when you do, you'll be treated to an exquisitely smooth power stroke.

Plus, for a few cents' worth of grease and perhaps a couple of dollars' worth of ball bearings, you'll have a bottom bracket that can be maintained almost indefinitely.
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Old 09-02-12, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
So far I'm not getting the info I am after. I have seen Specialized, YST, and Shimano being MFG of these parts, and also heard about some Shimano BB having plastic ends. So how do I pick a good one? Shimano seems to have an alpha numeric sizing or type as well as the ## x ### sizing.

How do you pick one? This shouldnt be so hard to find out.
You pick an English threaded Shimano cartridge in the spindle length you need. Shimano makes a few quality levels from UN-24 (the lowest) to UN-55 (the best currently available). Get one of these. The plastic non-drive side cup is a non-issue unless you are way too ham handed with the installation tool. Done.
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Old 09-03-12, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
... The one I am replacing is in a Trek. 68x116 is the size I found in a search. This is what led to my confusion over whats good and bad.
-SP
We may be looking for the same answer. Everybody has replied with the type and style but I'm still unsure of the quality. What is the difference between a $20 and $100 bottom bracket from the same manufacturer. I'm replacing the drivetrain on my fixie and I'm a Clydesdale so I think I should get beefy components but I'm not sure what is best. On the cheap I can get Shimano UN55 BB for $20 or a Sugino 68 for $70 or a Sugino 75 Superlap for $175. I understand the Shimano may have cheaper components but is going to break that much sooner than the $175 Sugino? Does the price only make a difference if you race competitively?
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Old 09-04-12, 01:54 AM
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Trailtrekker- The old BB components are TRASHED. and trashed badly. I would have done your suggestion if all it took was a cleaning and regrease.

Hillrider- Now were starting to get somewhere. So UN-55 is better than UN-24. Does the numbering system always work from lowest to highest for quality? Is the plastic cup a non-issue because they dont fail or because they arent available anymore? Are there grades between 24 and 55? How about on other makes? Do they have a quality based on a model number?

Kikbot- Thanks for chiming in. Your on my wavelength. Lets find out the right criteria for picking this part.

Is a Sugino better than a Shimano? (Thats a brand I didnt find when looking for BB's.)

-SP
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Old 09-04-12, 09:08 AM
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Generally Shimano's numbering sustem is lower numbers = lower line, higher numbers=higher line so the UN-55 will be lighter, smoother and more expensive than the UN-24. Square taper bottom brackets are considered "obsolete" these days so the choice is limited. The plastic cups are still used on some models and are a non-issue because they don't fail unless the installer does something wrong. All of the sghimano UN-XX bottom brackets are servicable, durable and good value.

I'm not sure about the Suguino bottom brackets. Their cranks, etc. are good but I don't think it's worth the huge price difference. If you really want the best square taper bottom bracket available at any cost, get a Phil Wood.
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Old 09-04-12, 12:05 PM
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You can probably find a (superior, IMO) loose ball BB if you include NOS (new old stock) in your search.

Generally any old crap will do the job for anyone of whatever weight if properly installed. The only reason to spend more is lighter weight and more bling.
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