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Best BB for tandem: your experience?

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Best BB for tandem: your experience?

Old 06-21-22, 11:14 AM
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sapporoguy
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Best BB for tandem: your experience?

What external bottom bracket have you had best results with on your tandem, front and rear?
I'm planning on refreshing our BBs before a cross-country fully loaded tour on our Co-Mo Speedster this fall.
Our cranks are FSA Gossamer 24mm shafts with
FSA BB-7000/TD MegaExo tandem bottom brackets with perhaps 8,000 miles on them since I replaced them last.
In your experience, is there a BB option that's more robust, better able to withstand the rigors of a tandem--or have other advantages? Is it worth paying extra for White Industries BB, say, or Phil Wood, or something else?
(I suspect there may be threads on this, but the search function here isn't great, so happy to have threads recommended.)
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Old 06-21-22, 02:46 PM
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Honestly I would just buy local and take whatever they push across the parts counter. Especially if they will be the ones installing them. If you are keeping the OEM cranks, why not replace the BB's with the OEM BB'S? The hubs are where upgrades makes a difference IMO. Even there, we've never gotten especially fancy. YMMV.
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Old 06-21-22, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Honestly I would just buy local and take whatever they push across the parts counter. Especially if they will be the ones installing them. If you are keeping the OEM cranks, why not replace the BB's with the OEM BB'S? The hubs are where upgrades makes a difference IMO. Even there, we've never gotten especially fancy. YMMV.
Thanks. I'll be installing them. I've replaced with OEM BBs once before, and happy to do it again if there's really no difference. Hence wondering what people's actual experience is.
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Old 06-21-22, 03:18 PM
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I have been happy with the FSA BB-7000/TD MegaExo tandem bottom brackets, they’re as good as any other. The cartridge bearing BBs are not life time items on a tandem. I think of them as I would chains and tires, I replace them when they wear out. 8000 miles is pretty good, likely less cost per mile than your chain or tires. Look for the larger outside cups as opposed to the compact bearings such as you would find in Dura ace. Leisesturm’s advice is spot on.
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Old 06-21-22, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Alcanbrad View Post
The cartridge bearing BBs are not life time items on a tandem. I think of them as I would chains and tires.
That's a good way to look at it.
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Old 06-22-22, 07:33 AM
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Stay away from Race Face. I like the shimano deore. Cheap, easy to replace. When the bottom bracket is " cut flat" with the rights tools and u apply a lot of grease to protect aganist water
thay hold very long. On a tandem 8000 miles is good.
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Old 06-23-22, 05:40 PM
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If you really want quality, than you cannot do much better than Chris King. Their angular contact bearings will last a lifetime if properly cared for. They are not like traditional radial contact sealed bearings you find in most "sealed bearing" hubs or BBs. They are basically a high tolerance cup and cone bearing in a cartridge bearing package. Made in Portland to very high standards. Bearing preload is adjustable, so you can always eliminate play if it ever emerges. Radial cartridge bearings cannot be adjusted. Once they develop play or wear, they should be replaced. And it it's a Shimano BB, there is no bearing replacement. You replace the entire BB (which isn't much, admittedly). If you are willing to have your STOKER (edit) BB shell properly faced flat (and threads cleaned up) and your eccentric is well machined, then King BBs should outlast you or your frame.

When I overhauled my recent Co-Motion purchase, I was all set to go all out on new King headset & BBs. Mixing & matching red & orange would have looked FANTASTIC! But then after overhauling the FSA headset, I found it worked like new. And the Mega Exo BBs were in fine shape, so I decided to forgo the King bearing upgrades. A year and a France 2-week trip complete, it's still going just fine.

But if I were planning a serious loaded tour, I'd have opted to spend the $$$ for tried & trusted King bearings.

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Old 06-24-22, 07:58 AM
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+1 for Chris King, if it's in the budget. I have a few of them (on a tandem and cross bike) and they have been really good.
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Old 06-24-22, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
If you really want quality, than you cannot do much better than Chris King.
<snip>
If you are willing to have your STOKER (edit) BB shell properly faced flat (and threads cleaned up) and your eccentric is well machined, then King BBs should outlast you or your frame.
Thanks. I've been leaning toward CK, so this helps. I had my LBS face the stoker BB and chase the threads recently.
Originally Posted by TooMany View Post
+1 for Chris King, if it's in the budget.
I'm a cheapskate in principle but will pay up for long-lasting quality, especially for touring. I'll amortize the extra cost over the longer life and the time/money/hassle saved over the long haul.
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