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1st Gen Phil BB reliability?

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1st Gen Phil BB reliability?

Old 02-23-21, 09:13 PM
  #1  
rando_couche
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1st Gen Phil BB reliability?

Seems like I heard somewhere that the first generation Phil bottom brackets (with the red bearing seals) were prone to axle failure. Can anyone confirm or refute this?

Thanks
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Old 02-23-21, 10:26 PM
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I broke a Phil axle once. Not sure how old. I was about 14 or 15 though, this was like 2002. The axle had been in my Ron Cooper since my dad had installed it, which would have been in the '80s. It had red seals though. I can ask him exact dates tomorrow, because he's asleep by now. The cylindrical "cartridge" sleeve that separated the bearings did not have the narrowed "waist" in the middle like the newer ones. Seemed like the axle was machined with kind of a rough surface and sharp transitions in diameter and on the taper flats. Not the way I would have done things. Lots of stress risers.

We sent it back to Phil and they replaced the axle itself for free with something that looked, to me, identical. I've ridden it quite a lot (probably 8-12 months of touring) since then with no issues.
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Last edited by scarlson; 02-24-21 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 02-23-21, 10:42 PM
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Mine is about 40 years old and is as good or better than it was when new.
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Old 02-24-21, 02:58 AM
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I have one bike that has a Phil BB . I have only had the bike four months and I have not had it apart so not sure if it is first generation. It is a 1975 Colnago and I can see the BB through the club cut out and it has Phil in red script. It seems fine and I have done some climbing on the bike with no problems.
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Old 02-24-21, 06:17 AM
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If it’s lasted this long (assuming it’s been in use), I’d imagine it will keep on truckin’.
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Old 02-24-21, 10:28 AM
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I pulled two 70s-era Phil hubs from a JT tandem I picked up a few years ago and they spun like buttah.
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Old 02-24-21, 06:10 PM
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OK so my dad bought this Phil BB for his Ron Cooper around '76. He broke its axle on a century tour in '85 or '86, he doesn't know which. Warrantied it. I broke it again in '02 or so and warrantied it again. Still in use as of now.

I think we have never gotten the bearings changed outside of a warranty claim for the axle being broken. And I've never seen another broken bottom bracket axle, ever, in spite of working on a veritable fleet of bikes for all my friends who commute by bike daily. The Phil axle appears to be rather roughly machined, with lots of ridges that could be stress risers. On the other hand, we did use it quite a lot. Hope this helps.
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Last edited by scarlson; 02-24-21 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 02-24-21, 07:21 PM
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I have used Phil BBs since the 1970s and never broke a single spindle. On the other hand, I never broke one of ANY brand! I had a couple crank arms break, but that's not the same.
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Old 02-25-21, 10:46 AM
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I believe it was the second generation that had a under-designed pinned axle. I believe the way you can tell is the outside of the body is one piece all the way across. I had one that broke easily. They quickly replaced it with one that looks like the original design.
I think I have never used the replacement.

I couldn't find a picture of it on google, they probably all broke.

Last edited by unterhausen; 02-25-21 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 02-25-21, 10:56 AM
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I had one I moved thru several bikes starting with the Titan. Never had a prob with any installation. It went into a Medici in the mid-80's. Still have the wrenches and a ring set but don't remember if they're eng or ita
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