Friday, February 13, 2015


Long before Enduro™ was a thing, there was a company named Enduro selling bearings.  Good bearings.  One of my favorite jobs to perform on a bike is replace old, worn out bearings in hubs and bottom brackets.  The difference is immediate.  There's nothing quite like transforming a dried out, crusty bearing that barely spins and crunches in your fingers into a smooth spinning part.  

Up until recently, if your Shimano Hollowtech II bottom bracket wore out, your choices for a new bottom bracket were either another Shimano or a Chris King with a hefty price jump.  Basically, you had a choice between replacing your worn out bottom bracket with the same thing for about $30 or $40 or dropping about $150 for a King or other pricey, but good, bottom bracket.  

My preferred method to deal with worn out Shimano bottom bracket bearings was to remove the offending bearings and press in new Enduro bearings.  Enduro make a nice kit for performing this task - two new bearings and a nice dust/dirt shield.  The bearings Enduro used to replace the Shimano bearings are slightly larger since they don't use the plastic sleeve that fits into Shimano's bearings.  Bigger bearing means they should carry a bigger load.

For about twenty bucks in parts and another thirty to forty in labor to remove cranks, bb, press out old bearings, press in new bearings, reinstall cranks, check can have a sweet smooth rolling crankset and not have to have to dispose the entire bottom bracket unit.  Reuse the cups and center sleeve and keep on pedaling and have a better bottom bracket.

I was reminded of how much I like this fix when a bike came in for new chainrings and chain last week.  After removing the chain, I marveled at how smoothly and easily the cranks spun.   Give them a spin and they spun round and round and round and ...  They spun around a lot.  I then remembered that I had replaced the bottom bracket bearings with Enduro bearings quite a while ago and they were still fresh as day one.

I also recently discovered/realized that Wheels Mfg. had produced their own bottom brackets with prices that sit comfortably between Shimano's and Chris King's.  For $55 you can get a new bottom bracket that is assembled with Enduro's radial ABEC-3 bearings and for $75, you can get their bottom bracket assembled with Enduro's angular contact bearings.  Twenty bucks is a good upgrade to get a bottom bracket with angular contact bearings since they are better at resisting a side-load - and it's very common for Shimano bottom brackets to be overloaded from the side when the left arm crank arm fixing bolt is overtightened.  That act is probably the main reason why Shimano Hollowtech II bearings fail prematurely.  The Wheels Mfg. bottom brackets are a new addition to the shop, because they work great and offer a nice option on a new build or repair job.

"DO NOT DISASSEMBLE" - yeah, right.


A fresh Enduro bearing ready to be installed

Enduro bearings still like new after miles of off-road riding.

Or if you're starting from new, this $75 Wheels Mfg. bottom bracket with Enduro angular contact bearings is a great choice - and it's made in the USA.  Shot doesn't show the included secondary shield.

(What's playing:  The Byrds Hungry Planet)


Anonymous said...

I notice Wheels Mfg make a GXP/SRAM BB as well, good to know. Correct me if I'm wrong, but an angular contact bearing in the drive side only (as stated on the Wheels Mfg webpage for the GXP BB) would be pointless, correct (GXP crank installation pinches ND bearing)?


blackmountaincycles said...

Yes and mostly yes. The non-drive side bearing's inner race is pinched against the axle shoulder and the cranks. If there is any mis-alignment / bb shell spacing issue, the drive side AC bearing would likely be a good option to extend bearing life compared to a radial bearing. SRAM's non-drive side bearing floats to accommodate any mis-alignment issue.