Saturday, September 16, 2023
HomeCyclingGnashing Of Tooth – Bike Snob NYC

Gnashing Of Tooth – Bike Snob NYC

Regardless of how nicely one thing works, the bicycle trade appears decided to reinvent it. Contemplate the short launch, an totally dependable element which lets you connect and launch a wheel in seconds that has now all however vanished from the efficiency bicycle, solely to get replaced by the thru-axle…which for all sensible functions works the identical method because the previous nut system that impressed Tullio to invent the short launch within the first place. Whew!

Nonetheless, one customary that has up to now resisted this “innovation”–or not less than continued to thrive within the face of it–is the common-or-garden English threaded backside bracket shell. Positive, there are all method of press-fit programs on the market as we speak, however individuals hate them, and so even a $13,000 S-Wanks comes with a conventional threaded backside bracket:


However whereas right-minded individuals know that the threaded English backside bracket shell was, is, and at all times can be one of the best ways to connect a crank to a bicycle body, there are nonetheless numerous bearing programs to select from, every with its personal benefits and disadvantages. The “basic” one makes use of sq. taper spindle, which will be both be a part of a sealed cartridge system, or else it may run on the older free-ballin’ setup:

Both method, it’s good as a result of it’s dependable, it’s ubiquitous, and in the event you’re a tinkerer or kludger you possibly can combine and match tapers and lengths and all the remainder of it to mess together with your chainline or “Q-factor,” the latter of which is vital to some individuals, however which I’ve determined I don’t even discover. The primary downside is that bearing set up is usually a bit time consuming–free-ballers require numerous instruments and must be adjusted rigorously, and cartridge ones have recessed splines that may be slightly annoying. On prime of that you just usually want a crank puller on prime of no matter different bearing-related instruments are vital to your specific bearing set-up, and in case your crank is under-tightened or over-tightened or put in and eliminated regularly you possibly can mess up the crank arm gap, and probably damage the crank.

I like sq. taper cranks–they work, backside brackets are low-cost, and extra importantly, they give the impression of being good on metal bicycles. Nonetheless, from a purely sensible standpoint, I don’t assume you possibly can beat the Shimano Hollowtech II system:

Sure, by the point Shimano launched it, the cranks themselves had change into ugly, and solely obtained uglier. (See above.) Nonetheless, they’re extremely simple to put in and modify, they by no means make noise (until you don’t tighten the bearing cups or one thing, although pulling the crank and snugging them is a few 5 minute job), and so far as I can inform the bearings final basically ceaselessly. In order for you basic seems and/or the flexibility to fine-tune your chainline, by all means, go along with sq. taper. However if you need boneheaded simplicity that even a ham-fisted fool like me can’t appear to mess up, go along with the Hollowtech IIs.

After all, there are additionally different outboard bearing crank programs on the market, and whereas I’ve come throughout some that suck, I’ve additionally encountered some that work fairly nicely. Typically, those that fall beneath the latter class work like Shimano, and use the identical spindle dimension and non-drive pinch bolt setup. (The DUB crank that got here on my Jones works otherwise from Shimano, however it has additionally been completely positive, and I’ve by no means needed to take away or reinstall it…although due to that I don’t know if it’s as simple to work on because the Shimano system.)

Then there’s Campagnolo, and their “Extremely-Torque” system:

I keep in mind when Shimano launched Hollowtech II; apparently they did so after a patent owned by this firm expired, and having coveted these cranks in my youth I used to be predisposed to embrace the idea on my street bike:

[Photo from here.]

Moreover, I noticed straight away how easy it was, and as somebody with poor mechanical abilities and an especially low tolerance for creaking and/or ticking backside brackets I discovered the design very promising.

In the meantime, Campagnolo was nonetheless utilizing a sq. taper, and there was completely nothing mistaken with it. I do know this as a result of I used to be utilizing it on the time, and as a lot as I appreciated the look of the Hollowtech II I used to be completely content material with my pretty hidden-arm 10-speed File crank. However, Shimano had compelled Campy’s hand. Furthermore, sq. taper backside brackets are nearly fully invisible when put in, so no one may inform Campy’s was crabon!

[Photo from eBay. Why the Sharpie? Is it to show scale? Does anybody shopping for a bottom bracket not know how big they are? “I hope that’ll fit in the truck of my car!”]

When Campagnolo answered with Extremely-Torque I used to be horrified. Being Campy, they didn’t do an exterior bearing crank the straightforward method; as an alternative, it appeared like they made it as sophisticated as potential. That bizarre joint within the center particularly actually freaked me out, however there was additionally a retaining clip and a wave washier, each of which additionally troubled me, because it appeared just like the system is perhaps susceptible to growing noise and play. My considerations appeared to be borne out, too, since after they’d been out awhile I’d usually see individuals complaining about simply that, and even that Mavic elements man sells a shim equipment for this supposedly frequent downside. So I resolved to keep away from it, as a result of like all uptight particular person I are inclined to reject issues out of hand.

Alas, destiny had different plans, and in 2019 my Litespeed got here to me with an Extremely-Torque crank. Between the weirdo spindle and the crabon I used to be prepared to vary it on the slightest provocation, however after all it turned out to be completely positive, so I rapidly made my peace with it. Someday early on it did begin squeaking throughout a moist trip, so I took it aside and put some grease in there; truly engaged on it cured me of my fears for good, and it was completely quiet for the subsequent 4 years. Then this previous Sunday I obtained caught in a heavy rain, and yesterday I heard a faint chirping sound. So I ended and eliminated the chain from the chainring:

Sadly I didn’t have a Swiss Military Knife:

However I persevered:

Spinning the crank, I confirmed the sound was coming from the underside bracket:

Appears like a whimpering pet.

As I say, regardless of being a slob, my tolerance for noisy backside brackets is sort of low. So upon my return I instantly set about remedying the state of affairs, and I’m documenting it right here for anybody on the market who wish to know what’s occurring inside these items, although there isn’t any scarcity of educational movies on the market made by individuals who truly know what they’re doing, in addition to by Campagnolo themselves, who might or might not know what they’re doing. Regardless, in the event you’re questioning how these items come aside and return collectively, I’m gonna inform you the right way to do it. First, be sure to have an Extremely-Torque crank. In case your crank is gorgeous, it’s not Extremely-Torque:

If it’s ugly and it says “Extremely-Torque” on it then it’s undoubtedly Extremely-Torque:

If it’s ugly and it doesn’t, it might nonetheless be Extremely-Torque…although it may very well be Energy-Torque, through which case God enable you to.

Anyway, when you’ve decided it’s an Extremely-Torque, first you take away that retaining clip by pulling it out of the bearing cup with needle nostril pliers:

Right here it’s:

If there’s one factor Campy’s good at, it’s making stuff that requires numerous tiny spare elements.

I do know individuals love Campagnolo as a result of it’s rebuildable and there are spare elements, however it’s vital to take into account that Shimano doesn’t want rebuilding or spare elements. (Although all that is now moot, as they each want batteries. In 5 years they’ll every be judged completely by their apps.)

Subsequent, you undo the bolt that holds the spindle collectively:

All the time use a torque wrench, and keep in mind when eradicating a bolt that you just need to torque all of it the best way all the way down to zero or else it received’t come out:

It it’s at a torque of -1 N-m you’ve turned it too far.

After you get the bolt out it’s a easy matter of pulling the 2 halves aside:

In addition to the retaining clip and the deeply recessed bolt it’s not likely all that rather more sophisticated than Shimano. Nonetheless, the true distinction is that Shimano’s bearings are a part of the cup, whereas Extremely-Torque bearings reside on the crank, and if you should substitute them they need to be eliminated with a particular bearing puller from Vicenza or one thing:

Luckily, these are nonetheless smoother than a marble countertop coated in olive oil, so I doubt I’ll have to fret about that anytime quickly. They’re additionally noticeably smoother than Shimano’s, although I doubt that issues in apply. Total, Shimano’s setup is quite a bit easier, although I suppose it’s considerably handy that on the Extremely-Torque you by no means have to trouble with eradicating the cups. And sure, within the spirit of being rebuildable, Campagnolo permits you to swap the bearing and preserve the cups, whereas Shimano treats all of it as a single disposable unit. This would seem to work out in Campagnolo’s favor, till you contemplate that the bearings alone price far more than a whole Dura Ace backside bracket, and that’s not even together with the particular device. (Although in my case it doesn’t matter, as these bearings stay good as new.)

Right here’s the wave washer on the non-drive facet:

It’s Campy spare half #841851871/1171/4181.

Additionally, on both facet, between the bearing and the crank itself, you possibly can see slightly rubbery seal:

I’m guessing that is most likely what should be blamed for the whimpering pet noise, since there’s nonetheless loads of grease all over the place else:

Sure, there’s slightly grit in there, however that solely occurred after I eliminated the crank.

Anyway, as soon as every thing was aside I wiped it down, re-greased it, and put some of these things on the rubber seals:

Looking back I most likely may have simply dripped some in there with out eradicating the crank in any respect, however typically it’s good to get in there and see how issues are doing.

Then I put every thing again collectively utilizing the suitable quantity of torque:

That zoomed-in photograph isn’t to your profit; I’ve formally reached the purpose at which I would like to make use of my telephone as a magnifying glass not less than a number of instances a day, and it was the one method I used to be in a position to learn the numbers on the bolt.

I’m guessing the Extremely-Torque design is much less tolerant of body imperfections than the Shimano system, however it appears completely pleased on this bike, and general it’s fairly simple to reside with. Additionally, it’s smoother than Shimano in a method that doesn’t matter, whereas being barely extra sophisticated in a method that does–which is finally what Campagnolo is all about.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments