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hard to find replacement parts

Old 02-09-11, 10:26 AM
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hard to find replacement parts

So I had my LBS check up on my bike (something I like to do once a year). They replaced chain, chainrings and other things. They also said that they had to rebuild my bottom bracket. I have no idea what that means. But they did say that if the bb would ever fail, I would have a hard time finding a replacement part of this.

I am riding a -unidentifiable, but certainly cheap- rigid mtb from 1999 or 2000. I started commuting about 18 months ago and put some 6000 miles on it since then. Didn't ride it much before then.

I just can't believe that you wouldn't find replacement parts for a 10-15 year old bike.

What do you all think?
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Old 02-09-11, 10:49 AM
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More and more things in our society are being designed as disposable. We, as a society spend a huge portion of our incomes on things which we do not expect to outlast us. Houses used to be designed to last a lifetime, but no longer. Cars seem to be used for 10-15 years and are then scrapped and replaced. Why should a bicycle be any different. If you buy a quality bicycle, you will have a better chance of being able to find parts for it as long as you stay away from some of the more modern technologies.

As far as bottom brackets go, most bikes use a standard configuration, with a couple of different standard threads. The most notable exceptions are some of the cheaper department store bikes which used proprietary parts, and older french bikes (motobecane, peugeot etc) which used a different threading which is now hard to find.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:56 AM
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They replaced the bearings and re-greased it.

I was under the impression that you could fit a modern cartridge BB in most shells with standard threading. Anyway, if you maintain the BB regularly, it'll probably last a long, long time.

If it does break, find an LBS that has a salvage yard. There are a couple around hear that have all sorts of old BB spindles and such.

The problem may be a lack of knowledge on the part of your mechanic, or something unique about your bike. I have had a couple of bikes that are over 20 years old for which I could get new BBs for. They wouldn't be exact matches of the existing ones but they would work as well or better.

Last edited by tjspiel; 02-09-11 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 02-09-11, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
So I had my LBS check up on my bike (something I like to do once a year). They replaced chain, chainrings and other things. They also said that they had to rebuild my bottom bracket. I have no idea what that means. But they did say that if the bb would ever fail, I would have a hard time finding a replacement part of this.

I am riding a -unidentifiable, but certainly cheap- rigid mtb from 1999 or 2000. I started commuting about 18 months ago and put some 6000 miles on it since then. Didn't ride it much before then.

I just can't believe that you wouldn't find replacement parts for a 10-15 year old bike.

What do you all think?
By "rebuild the bottom bracket," they're telling you that they replaced the bearings and grease that the crank's spindle rides in. I don't think they're being honest about the availability of parts though. Maybe they're trying to plant a seed of doubt in your mind about your bike in an effort to sell you a new one.
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Old 02-09-11, 11:12 AM
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Unless your bike is a freak of nature, it has one of 2 standard bottom brackets. You might have to replace the cranks if you go with a newer one, but I'm almost positive you could still fix it. It would still be cheaper than buying a new good bike. Can you post up a picture of it?

They might not be trying to sell you on a new bike, but I don't know them.
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Old 02-09-11, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
The problem may be a lack of knowledge on the part of your mechanic, or something unique about your bike.
Originally Posted by Chris_in_Miami View Post
I don't think they're being honest about the availability of parts
thanks guys. i was afraid of something like this.. This wasn't my usual LBS, they had a deal on some work I needed to get done, so I figured I give them a short.
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Old 02-09-11, 11:22 AM
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You can replace functionally similar units, though the external appearances are not the same

whole crankset and BB as a set, of 3 pieces,
Square taper style BB assemblies are about $20~30

now cartridge BB is a replace it when its worn , situation,
but that only takes 15 minutes to do.

many square taper cranks can be found.. still..

consider what gear ratios you actually use ,

count teeth.

Aftermarket chainrings of stainless steel are sold by QBP, under the Surly Brand, they are long wearing

if you don't use all 3 chainrings on the front, you can simplify ..
to install just 1, or 2.

then the length of BB you select varies a few mm..
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Old 02-09-11, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
thanks guys. i was afraid of something like this.. This wasn't my usual LBS, they had a deal on some work I needed to get done, so I figured I give them a short.
I don't know if it's anything nefarious. I tried to get a new jockey wheel to replace one with a broken tooth off an old simplex derailleur. The mechanic at the LBS looked it up on their computer and couldn't find anything. A few minutes on the Internet revealed that the Jockey wheel from a Suntour derailleur would work fine. So I went to the salvage yard at the same LBS and bought an old Suntour derailleur for about $8.00.

A mechanic that's been around a while longer might have known that.

Another story: I had a brifter that was missing the part that the brake cable connects to. It's called a cable hook or something like that. Went to one LBS and they said that shimano doesn't sell that part individually for that particular shifter so they couldn't order it.

Went to a different LBS with more experienced mechanics. Showed the guy the part I needed. He poked around in a few parts drawers and pulled one out for me. Charged me $4.00.

Last edited by tjspiel; 02-09-11 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 02-09-11, 01:03 PM
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I dunno I went to four different shops trying to find a replacement spindle for my FSA bmx crankset, I eventually gave up and sold them. The only spindle i could find was a titanium one for 150bucks it came with a steel one. Every shop told me they didn't exist, can't even find steel ones on the interwebs. Some stuff is hard to find. By the way it sounds the OP is talking about square taper cup and cone BB which most shops don't carry because it's outdated, and to most shops the word outdated may as well mean non-existent.
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Old 02-09-11, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
I am riding a -unidentifiable, but certainly cheap- rigid mtb from 1999 or 2000.
What do you all think?
It might be a propriatary (sp) bottom brakcket that is just not available. Replacing a propriatary bottom bracket with a standard bb that requires a new crank would certainly be more expensive than a new unidentifiabl, but certainly cheap bike.
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Old 02-09-11, 01:28 PM
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Finding replacement parts varies. You described your bike as "unidentifiable and cheap" which may be the problem.

When I worked at a group home I would bring the kids bikes to a LBS if I couldn't do the work myself. The LBS would sometimes do the work for free or charge less than what they normally would. However, there were many times they couldn't do anything because the parts were non existent or cost more than what the bike would cost.
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Old 02-09-11, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Fizzaly View Post
I dunno I went to four different shops trying to find a replacement spindle for my FSA bmx crankset, I eventually gave up and sold them. The only spindle i could find was a titanium one for 150bucks it came with a steel one. Every shop told me they didn't exist, can't even find steel ones on the interwebs. Some stuff is hard to find. By the way it sounds the OP is talking about square taper cup and cone BB which most shops don't carry because it's outdated, and to most shops the word outdated may as well mean non-existent.
Yes, but it's very likely you can replace the old cup and cone BB with a new cartridge one that the shop can get their hands on.
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Old 02-09-11, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by exile View Post
Finding replacement parts varies. You described your bike as "unidentifiable and cheap" which may be the problem.

When I worked at a group home I would bring the kids bikes to a LBS if I couldn't do the work myself. The LBS would sometimes do the work for free or charge less than what they normally would. However, there were many times they couldn't do anything because the parts were non existent or cost more than what the bike would cost.
Yes, to narrow it down a little bit, the bike is most likely a Mongoose/Huffy or some other similar far-east mass-produced brand. Amazingly enough, it held up pretty well over the last 10+ years and I'm very satisfied. This has been really the first serious work that was done on the bike, except of some tune-ups, brake cable replacements, new chain etc.
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Old 02-09-11, 02:30 PM
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One piece crank?
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Old 02-09-11, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
One piece crank?
tjspiel, I am clueless. I'll make some pictures when I get home.
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Old 02-09-11, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
tjspiel, I am clueless. I'll make some pictures when I get home.
Like this:

The difference from a more standard 3 piece crank is the way that the arms that the pedals are connected to bend at a 90 degree angle before passing through the frame.

A three piece crank has a "spindle" that passes through the frame and arms that are bolted on to the spindle. They are called "3 piece" cranks since there's a spindle and 2 arms. A "One Piece" (like the one above) combines the pedal arms and spindle into one piece.

Last edited by tjspiel; 02-09-11 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 02-09-11, 03:40 PM
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Ok, after this explanation and consulting Sheldon Brown's glossary, I'd say I have a cartridge bottom bracket. I saw that they replaced my cranks - the thingies that connect bb and pedals.
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Old 02-09-11, 08:17 PM
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Cartridge bottom brackets are replaced when worn out. Not overhauled.

crankarms - attach to the bottom bracket to make up a 3 piece crankset

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Old 02-09-11, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
What do you all think?
If you've got a cartridge BB, then there's no issue with finding replacements. I have a 1991, a 1998 and a 1987 frame that all use a cartridge BB and I spend $25/ea for their replacements.
Even if it's some odd thing, if you're really attached to the bike you could get a Velo Orange threadless BB ($60.00) and fix it.
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Old 02-09-11, 09:09 PM
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this is it. let me know what kind of bb this is. thanks much
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Old 02-09-11, 09:17 PM
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Oh boy, that looks like an American bottom bracket (that would usually use a one piece crank like tjspiel posted) with a European adapter and three piece cranks. Odd setup for a cheap department store bike...
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Old 02-09-11, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris_in_Miami View Post
Oh boy, that looks like an American bottom bracket (that would usually use a one piece crank like tjspiel posted) with a European adapter and three piece cranks. Odd setup for a cheap department store bike...
Maybe it's one of these.

Yikes. Is that the original BB? I think Chris is right. It looks like 3 piece crank adaptor in a shell designed for a one piece. There are adapters like these:

available at Amazon and other places for about $15 that would let you use a standard cartridge BB.

Anyway I'm certain it's possible to get a new bottom bracket installed on that bike, but it's definitely not a typical setup.

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Old 02-09-11, 10:28 PM
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\some more pics. Yes, that's the original bottom bracket. (not a cartridge bb, as I thought?)
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Old 02-09-11, 10:35 PM
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That's an American/Ashtabula BB with an Ashtabula square taper spindle - same as the YST unit linked above. Obviously, they are available.

You don't have to worry about a thing. Even if the raceways wear out, you don't have to change the spindle due to the design; just the raceways, which are virtually identical to any other Ashtabula BB.

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Old 02-10-11, 05:47 AM
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Your are into a point of diminished returns. A bike with that Bottom bracket is pretty low on the tottem pole. The parts on that bike a low end. If you love the bike its one thing but on the used market that bike is $50 at best.

Winter is the time to buy used bikes when the market is down.
As an example. here is a Specialized Hard rock that has more modern parts for $120. You could probably offer $90.
http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/2206201018.html
Another Hardrock thats a little bigger for $100
http://chicago.craigslist.org/sox/bik/2205313027.html
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