Tag Archives: badass bottom brackets

What makes a good bottom bracket a great bottom bracket? Part 2

In part 1 of this blog post, we looked at different bottom bracket types and at adapters. Part two will go a bit more in depth about the best location for bearings and installation techniques.

Bearing stance and bottom bracket stiffness

Imagine the bottom bracket area of your bike to be very similar to the transmission in a car. You can have the strongest engine and the widest tires with the most grip. As long as the parts connecting them are not as stiff as they should be, all that power is not going to result in maximum acceleration.

Bottom bracket stiffness is super important. Besides avoiding plastic and unnecessary parts, you want to look at a bottom bracket with a wide bearing stance. The closer the bearings are to the crank arms, the wider the base for your spindle to rest on. This translates in a stiff set up and speaking from our experience, a lot less wear on the bearings.

bottom bracket adapters
A clear demonstration of a narrow bottom bracket shell mated with a long crank spindle. All the adapter space is wasted real estate. Moving the bearings as far out as possible will increase stiffness and bearing life.

Installation and removal

This is something to consider for any press fit type bottom bracket. Threaded bottom brackets are installed with the appropriate tool and removed with the same.

Installing and removing threaded cups is done with the same tool.

Switch to anything pressed and information is all over the place: instructions range from using Loctite to epoxy to grease or nothing at all. In our opinion, you should think about removing a bottom bracket before installing it: anything glued into the frame is going to leave a residue, which needs to be removed before installing something new. In the case of epoxy, this could mean you spend the next twenty minutes toying with a box cutter or Dremel tool. Kogel Bearings prefers grease for installation. It helps the bottom bracket slide into place, helps to silence potential creaking points and can be cleaned with a rag after removal.

install kogel bearings with grease.
any loctite or epoxy used in a bottom bracket is going to dry out and needs to be removed before the next installation. This can be a time consuming task.

While you are thinking about removing a bottom bracket, have a look on the inside of the cups. Press fit bottom brackets are often removed with a hammer and some sort of punch. Now look on the inside of your cup, is there something your tool can grip on and take a beating if the cups are tight in the frame?

Conclusion

In short, there are many things to consider for a quality bottom bracket:

  • Type: threaded, press fit or threaded press fit, whichever fits best with your frame
  • Materials and small parts: look for a high quality build with as few parts as possible
  • Bearing stance and  stiffness: look for bearings placed as far apart as possible
  • Ease of installation and removal: how easy is it to get the bottom bracket in the frame and how easy is it to remove and prep the frame  for the next bottom bracket

Notice how we did not speak about weight? If you follow all these steps (alu cups, wide stance, quality build), you  will no doubt end up with a bottom bracket that  is a handful of grams heavier than a plastic, narrow  stance  bottom bracket with adapters. In our eyes, there are only a few grams to be saved on a bottom bracket and if choosing those extra grams is going to help you transfer more of your watts to the road, they are well spent.

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If you have any questions about Kogel Bearings, ball bearings in general or our Ball Bearing Adventures, please ask them either in the comments section below, one of our social media channels or by email via info@kogel.cc. We will answer them in a highly professional, but not always scientific way. We do not shy away from many subjects. Please ask, we are here to answer.

Presents for the cyclist that has everything

With the holiday season fast approaching, lots of family members of avid cyclists will have an easy job deciding what to buy for their spandex clad friend: something for the bike. BOOM! That was easy. Reality sets in when said family member walks into a bike shop. Picking only one or two of the shiny bits and knowing you get the right thing is about as easy as getting an engineering job at NASA.

For all family members and friends of cyclists, Kogel’s Ball Bearing adventures have made a list of six things that any cyclist will be happy to find under the Christmas tree. We tried to represent all price levels.

Power bars, gels, nutrition: Price level $2 and up.

This sounds like a totally boring thing to buy, but believe us: almost every cyclist uses these and the purchases get expensive over time. It’s a sure shot, every cyclist will love a bag of Skratch or some Hammer.

 

Skratch Labs hydration mix is a popular choice for cyclists

Clothing hangers made of bicycle rims: Price level $25.

Some wheel companies make products from their rejected parts in production. Reynolds cycling makes clothing hangers out of their faulty rims. We have not seen these in many cyclist’s closets yet.

Lightweight also makes hangers out of faulty rims, but since their wheels typically run $6000 per set, expect these hangers to cost top dollar.

Lightweight carbon garment hanger, ca 100 Euros

 

Chris King coffee tamper: Price level $85 – $125.

Most cyclists love their coffee, so don’t be surprised if your shaved legged friend owns a manual espresso machine. This tamper from Chris King is again made out of production parts that were not good enough to sell for their intended purpose. They still make great eye candy for any cyclist’s kitchen.

These espresso tampers are made of rejected headset parts.

Wooden Bike Shelf: Price level $150.

Cyclists love to show off their rides and some bikes look good enough to be displayed as art. There are several companies offering bike shelves made out of wood, our favorite is Urban City Bike shelves, although their Facebook page recently announced a hiatus in the production. Bri+Co also gives some good shelf recommendations.

Urban City Bike Shelves makes beautiful bike racks in their Queens, NY workshop.

Casual Clothing by Pavé, Upright Cyclist and Panache: Price level $22 – $250.

There are quite a few companies that make casual clothing for cyclists. These can be jeans with a little extra room in the thighs for cycling legs, plaid shirts with technical fabrics or little cycling features to look smart off the bike. Here are some of our favorites:

Upright Cyclist is a Colorado company and is on a mission to design functional apparel that performs like bike clothing, but looks like every day clothes.

Upright Cyclist Fishtail Parka $229 and riding denim $119

 

Panache Cycle Wear is mostly known for its racing kits but they have a great casual collection.

Pavé is another favorite. The brand is not officially launched yet, but has been generating a lot of media attention with their pre-Kickstarter campaign. US Pro cyclists Alex Howes and Kiel Reijnen have been endorsing the brand.

 

Gravel bike: Price level somewhere between $800 and being in need of a new mortgage

This is only if your significant other has been a VERY good boy or girl this year. There is literally nothing on the planet that makes a cyclist happier than a brand new bike.
Gravel riding and racing is a segment that has been growing explosively in the last year. It is basically taking road bikes and riding them on a combination of asphalt and gravel roads. For this new segment a new bike is an absolute necessity (cyclists refer to this as the ‘n+1 rule’). Just go to a bike shop, say ‘I am looking for a gravel bike for my husband/daughter/friend/aunt’, swipe the Visa and prepare to never have to get up out  of your chair to get anything from the kitchen come Christmas time.

 

The GT grade is a fantastic go-anywhere-bike, prices range from $800 to $3600

 

 

If you are really a family member of a cyclist and read this article all the way down to here (we expect 95% of readers to be cyclists, asking themselves how to bring this article to the attention of their significant other), we have another piece of advice. Take a trip to your friend/partner/parent’s local bike shop and talk to the employees. There is a good chance they know your receiving friend by name and know what he/she owns and likes. If anything, they have kept a record of previous purchases and can advise you what to buy.

From us at Kogel Bearings, we wish you happy shopping and an amazing holiday season.

 

**If you have any questions about Kogel Bearings, ball bearings in general or our Ball Bearing Adventures, please ask them either in the comments section below, one of our social media channels or by email via info@kogel.cc. We will answer them in a highly professional, but not always scientific way. We do not shy away from many subjects. Please ask, we are here to answer.