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BB cups/spindle interchangeability...

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BB cups/spindle interchangeability...

Old 12-28-22, 11:01 AM
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ehcoplex
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BB cups/spindle interchangeability...

OK, I anticipate the answer being along the lines of maybe... or you have to try it an see...... but, what are the odds of a Stronglight (Competition, I think...) spindle working with Sugino cups? Is/was there any standardization on the distance between the bearing races on 68mm bottom bracket spindles? (I don't think it matters to the question at hand, but for the record I'm dealing with a French threaded BB)
Finding lots of info on BBs, but nothing specific to mixing and matching spindles & cups....
Thx!
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Old 12-28-22, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
OK, I anticipate the answer being along the lines of maybe... or you have to try it an see...... but, what are the odds of a Stronglight (Competition, I think...) spindle working with Sugino cups? Is/was there any standardization on the distance between the bearing races on 68mm bottom bracket spindles? (I don't think it matters to the question at hand, but for the record I'm dealing with a French threaded BB)
Finding lots of info on BBs, but nothing specific to mixing and matching spindles & cups....
Thx!
I've never tried that personally, and probably never will (I tend to stay away from any type of French bike hardware due to compatibility headaches). But these two prior threads indicate it may be problematic.

Stronglight spindle, non Stronglight cups.

Stronglite/Tange BB compatibility

If the info there about some Stronglight BBs using thinner cups than the norm (and thus using spindles having longer race-to-race spacing) are correct, I think that means you could have a problem.

I've read somewhere that 5-series spindles (e.g., those made for Italian BBs) work acceptably well in those thinner Stronglight cups, and that lends credence to what's noted in the above threads. But I can't confirm that either, or find that reference now.

Wish I could be more help.
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Old 12-28-22, 11:48 AM
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I've got a Motobecane Grand Touring with a Swiss-threaded BB and a Stronglight triple. The cups were very badly pitted and I was able to find a NOS set of Tange cups on eBay. When installing, the adjustable cup would bottom out on the spindle shoulders without enough threading to screw the lock-ring all the way down to the frame. I had to use a spacer to make it work, which it does fine.


.
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Old 12-28-22, 11:53 AM
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well, the manufacturers certainly had no intent of making their parts compatible with anyone else's.
... although I'd give the Japanese more credit for at least considering it, or having some informal standards.

I suspect it's strictly a matter of trying parts and seeing how good or badly they combine. If you've got the parts in your hands, that's not too bad of a task.
If you are considering buying some parts online, then there's a pretty high chance of spending money for no good results.

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(honestly, it's hard enough just to get the right Campagnolo cups and axles)
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Old 12-28-22, 12:17 PM
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Ah, thanks all for the various info & links...
I compared the Stronglight spindle to a Campy I've got for another build and the spindle dimensions (race-race) are definitely different, I'm guessing because the Stronglight cups are of the 'thin' variety.


I don't have the Sugino cups- they've been offered by another forum member. Now I'm kind of thinking I may be better off just getting a French-threaded BB from Velo Orange- though then I have to figure out how much shorter a spindle length to get as the Stronglight 93 is (I believe...) ISO and the VO BBs are JIS..... Of course, that's another $50 in on a much-neglected $10 bike I couldn't resist 'rescuing'...!
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Old 12-28-22, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Vintage_Cyclist View Post
I've got a Motobecane Grand Touring with a Swiss-threaded BB and a Stronglight triple. The cups were very badly pitted and I was able to find a NOS set of Tange cups on eBay. When installing, the adjustable cup would bottom out on the spindle shoulders without enough threading to screw the lock-ring all the way down to the frame. I had to use a spacer to make it work, which it does fine.


.
Do you feel there are enough threads of the cup itself engaged in the BB shell?
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Old 12-28-22, 02:12 PM
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I had to look up what I did on my Motobecane Grand Record, on which I have a TA triple. Here is what I documented on the build thread:

- 5N 124mm spindle, matched to Stronglight fixed cup and Sugino adjustable cup, all French threading”

I know I have both Sugino cups, but I don’t remember exactly why the two Sugino cups did not work together with the spindle, or why the two Stronglight cups were also unsuccessful together, but I have all of the spares.
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Old 12-28-22, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
Do you feel there are enough threads of the cup itself engaged in the BB shell?
Yes
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Old 12-28-22, 02:15 PM
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Maybe, I thought I heard that there are French Sugino cranks & bb and Sugino French replacement parts. That's racking the brain for boom information. Others will know more about the time.

I'll have to look at what I have, I have a couple French Sugino bb.


Last edited by Mr. 66; 12-28-22 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 12-28-22, 02:40 PM
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The Sutherland's Handbook has a thorough discussion about interchangeability of BB components.
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Old 12-28-22, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
Stronglight 93 is (I believe...) ISO and the VO BBs are JIS.....
I don't think this is true. For one thing, Stronglight 93 cranks were made before JIS or ISO standards existed. The Stronglight taper was not made to any standard but their own, which is understandable since they invented the square-taper crank, so there was no one else to "copy" or standardize with when they first came out. The only mystery is why didn't every other company just use the Stronglight standard.

Secondly, I have heard (someone check me on this) that JIS was specifically intended to match at least tolerably well with Stronglight. That is, a 93 is closer to JIS than to ISO.

I don't bother memorizing this stuff, despite having interchanged BB spindle and crank brands numerous times over the last 50 years. I still use the "try it and see" protocol. Easy for me, since I have a big stash of BB parts of many different brands. If I had to buy something, like on ebay or from VO, and wait for it to arrive just to try it, I might be more inclined to try to predict what I'd find. Good on ya for trying, and good luck!

I am picky about chainline but not in the normal way I usually want my chainline to be "wrong", narrower than the manu intended. I often get the fit I want by intentionally using parts that aren't meant to go together. And individual parts sometimes act differently than what the catalog or the internet say they will do, so even with the best info, you still have to try it and see sometimes.

Mark B.
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Old 12-28-22, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
I don't think this is true. For one thing, Stronglight 93 cranks were made before JIS or ISO standards existed. The Stronglight taper was not made to any standard but their own, which is understandable since they invented the square-taper crank, so there was no one else to "copy" or standardize with when they first came out. The only mystery is why didn't every other company just use the Stronglight standard.

Secondly, I have heard (someone check me on this) that JIS was specifically intended to match at least tolerably well with Stronglight. That is, a 93 is closer to JIS than to ISO.
Hmm, maybe.... but the 93's arms go further onto the Stronglight spindle than they do on the VO JIS BB I have on hand (not the right length, unfortunately..)

Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
.....I still use the "try it and see" protocol. Easy for me, since I have a big stash of BB parts of many different brands. If I had to buy something, like on ebay or from VO, and wait for it to arrive just to try it, I might be more inclined to try to predict what I'd find. Good on ya for trying, and good luck!

Mark B.
Ah, well- I made the terrible mistake of getting away from cycling when I moved to NYC after being really into it in my teens and 20s and only got back into it in recent years, so alas I have no decades-accumulated stock of bits and pieces to play around with! I am making every effort to rectify the situation!
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Old 12-28-22, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
alas I have no decades-accumulated stock of bits and pieces to play around with! I am making every effort to rectify the situation!
Fun! Happy hunting. Do you have a bike kitchen or co-op or a place that sells used stuff? The one near me is a lot cheaper than ebay prices. Grimy old stuff is practically free.

My one hard-learned bit of advice (probably obvious...) is don't use cardboard boxes for long term storage. The cardboard and the tape holding it closed deteriorate and rip open, they soak up water if they ever get wet, rodents chew them up for nesting material if you are stupid enough to store them in an outbuilding (yes I was that stupid). I have a '70s Teledyne titanium spindle where the pressed-on steel races are rusted from improper storage, and I can't blame a DAPO (dumb-ass previous owner) because I am the dumb-ass.

Within my drawers of BB spindles I have Stronglight, TA, Campy and Misc. separated via ziploc bags, but that's proving to not be good for long-term either. I need more but smaller bins that make searching for the right spindle more reliable. Mavic, Specialized, Sugino, GreaseGuard, Gipemme, OMAS, all in the same drawer? Ugh, chaos. At least I finally got the cottered spindles into their own bin. Ditto for the weirdo spindles like Gnutti and Williams (splined) and TA Criterium (sometimes called "cottered", the pie-shaped spindle cross section), no sense having those in the same bin as square-taper.

But I'm not going to get any sympathy for having too many BB spindles, am I?

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Old 12-28-22, 08:21 PM
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Alas, nearest thing like a co-op is a good 1h15 away...

Thing is bulgie , you go for the cardboard because it's only supposed to be short term storage! And then, well, y'know, it's a decade later.... And of course, just because a lesson is learned doesn't mean it gets applied!
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Old 12-28-22, 11:29 PM
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So funnily enough I have recently fought with this sort of compatibility. It was mentioned above but I will reiterate it - Sutherland's Handbook is just so good for this stuff. Their intra-bearing measurements are super useful, plus they have a pretty comprehensive list of how thick/thin different brand's bb cups are.

For your specific question - Stronglight spindles have some of the longest bearing-to-bearing measurements. I think ~56mm? Sugino spindles tend have some of the shortest - like ~52mm? - but you should double check me honestly. Stronglight cups are thin, suginos are some of the thickest.

What crankset are you looking to use / why the mix & match?
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Old 12-29-22, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by GullyFoylesbike View Post

What crankset are you looking to use / why the mix & match?
Stronglight 93 crankset. The bike is a very neglected, odd French thing (Valgan- here's a thread on them..here's another on mine that I need to update..).
For whatever reason, the Stronglight cups were very badly pitted, but the spindle is in great shape. I believe the bike spent some time at least partially submerged in contaminated water (there have been a couple very bad floods in the area in the last 15 years and the guy I bought the bike from mentioned having lost a house in one of them). Anyway, the mix-n-match is part of trying to get the thing finished up without spending much more $$ on it! So now I'm trying to decide do I spend the $20 on Sugino cups and see if they'll work.... or just shell out the $50 for a VO BB (which I may have to do anyway if/when the Suginos don't work)......

Last edited by ehcoplex; 12-29-22 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 12-29-22, 08:00 AM
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Ok, have that spindle and both kinds of cups, will measure and get back.
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Old 12-29-22, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
I compared the Stronglight spindle to a Campy I've got for another build and the spindle dimensions (race-race) are definitely different, I'm guessing because the Stronglight cups are of the 'thin' variety.
Campagnolo and most others varied the width between the bearing shoulders to accommodate 68mm or 70mm shells. Campagnolo also used rifled cups on the Nuovo Record road bottom brackets, which required different spacing for the thicker, rifled cups.

TA and Stronglight used the same axle regardless of shell width, and varied the cup thickness to make up the difference.

All this makes for a complex task when mixing and matching bottom bracket parts from different manufacturers.
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Old 12-29-22, 08:45 AM
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So instead of starting work this morning I went and double checked the numbers in my copy of Sutherland's.

For the stronglight spindle they list the bearing-bearing measurement as all 56mm. For sugino spindles you're looking at 51.5mm in the middle. So the sugino cups are together ~4.5mm thicker than the stronglight ones. You're looking at 1) the adjustable cup sitting 4.5mm further out and 2) you'll lose ~2.25mm of space for your crank arm on that side as well to the thicker cup.

My Gitane Grantour has a frozen Stronglight fixed cup, an italian length spindle, and a Sugino adjustable cup on it, and that works just fine. But that combo has the adjustable cup pulled ~3mm further in than what you're looking at doing. All in all I don't actually have a sure answer but maybe just eyeballing how much of your threading 4mm would be on a cup can point you in one direction or the other.

Last edited by GullyFoylesbike; 12-29-22 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 12-29-22, 12:02 PM
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Subscribing, I'm doing a considerable amount of crankset and BB mixing and matching as I fell off the "no French bikes" wagon pretty hard the past couple years and find my self in a similar situation. Stronglight, TA Specialties, Ofmega............. .......wil it never end?!

Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
.............. you go for the cardboard because it's only supposed to be short term storage! And then, well, y'know, it's a decade later.... .
One of my ongoing shop "improvements" is to eliminate large cardboard boxes and replace them with plastic storage tubs. I've been lucky to not have lost any good parts to rust but I've lost small parts to the boxes falling apart. I save dessicant bags and place them in the tool box drawers and tubs and used chemical hand and foot warmers make good dessicant bags as well.
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Old 12-29-22, 02:38 PM
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For the heck of it, here's the bike in question in it's current state. Mocked-up with a VO BB with too-long a spindle, not the right chainrings, etc, etc....

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Old 12-29-22, 05:04 PM
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FWIW: here are two links to compilations of square taper bottom bracket spindle dimensions. The first is referenced on the late Sheldon Brown's website, but can be somewhat hard to find on the site; it's from the Indian Standards Organization. It includes those listed on his site plus others.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/bbsize.html (it's linked here under "Japanese Bottom Bracket Spindles, Traditional Cup And Cone Type")

A direct link to the same document follows, but I've had sporadic problems accessing it directly.

https://law.resource.org/pub/in/bis/....1131.2006.pdf

The second document is from Yellow Jersey in Wisconsin. Here's the link:

https://www.yellowjersey.org/photosf...st/spindle.pdf

Hope some here find one/both of these useful.
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Old 12-29-22, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
The Sutherland's Handbook has a thorough discussion about interchangeability of BB components.
...I was going to suggest that, too, but the 4th edition seems to be the most generous, in terms of information on this topic of interchangeability of cup and cone BB's and spindles. There's pages and pages of info, but it becomes more limited in practical use every year, because the parts get harder to find. Knowing that something will work doesn't help much if you can't find those parts, or a spindle in the length you need.

I think Sheldon Browne still has some stuff. Not sure how many people can access the Sutherland's 4th edition any more. It was available as a downloadable pdf for a while, but then it disappeared.
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Old 12-29-22, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
For the heck of it, here's the bike in question in it's current state. Mocked-up with a VO BB with too-long a spindle, not the right chainrings, etc, etc....
...for many years now, the simplest solution has been to buy a sealed unit bottom bracket, in the proper threading to fit your shell, with the correct spindle length.
This saves so much head scratching and problematic results with mixing and matching, that this is what I would do. All the bearing races matching the cups stuff gets eliminated as a consideration.

You do need to figure out the taper for your cranks, and try to match it as either ISO or JIS, but even that can usually be worked around with proper measuring and calculation. (And sometimes trial and error. )
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Old 12-30-22, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
I think Sheldon Browne still has some stuff. Not sure how many people can access the Sutherland's 4th edition any more. It was available as a downloadable pdf for a while, but then it disappeared.
I did find a download of Sutherland's 6th edition here. No idea what information may have been edited out between the 4th and the 6th though. About to wade in..
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