View Full Version : Recommendations for heavy duty bottom bracket?

04-23-2013, 05:59 PM
I am looking for a recommendation on a replacement bottom bracket set (Hollowtech II or compatible) for my Big Dummy and the Mr. Whirly crankset. The bottom bracket shell is 68mm wide, English threaded.

I've read that the mr. whirly bottom bracket components are Hollowtech ii compatible and have purchased a couple sets over the years. I've also recently learned that hollow tech ii compatibility includes other branding standards such as FSA's MegaExo, and Race Face's X-Type at least for the threading of the cups/bearings portion of it. Not sure about Truvativ's Giga-X-Pipe aka SRAM's GXP, sounds like those might be slightly different.

In particular I'm looking for a bottom bracket with heavy-duty bearings. Something that can take mashing a heavy rider on a cargo bike (and maybe cargo) up a long hill on a regular basis. It sounds like I might be replacing the bottom bracket for the fourth or fifth time (creak creak) and wonder if I should be looking for this time?

Unrelated: looks like I may have also recently killed my Ritchey Logic headset and have a replacement on the way: FSA's The Pig. Hopefully that'll last as long or longer.

That leaves my wheel hubs/bearings as the only original moving/rotational parts on the bike that haven't yet been worn to pieces. Yet...


PS - I promise to clean, lube and re-tighten the crankset and cranks more regularly this time.

04-23-2013, 08:45 PM
When I read a post like this, one name comes to mind: Phil Wood.


However, the Web site sorely lacks documentation. Bet you can get an answer if you call them directly.

P.S. OK, two names: Chris King.


lancito brazofuerte
04-23-2013, 08:56 PM
Chris King if longevity is key. Fully serviceable with the proper tools. The only drawback is price. Then add on the special tools and it's a bit of an investment. But, CK headsets and BBs will never need to be replaced with proper servicing.

Hawk Racing is also another higher dollar alternative.

But when it comes down to ease, a $40 105 BB once a year doesn't seem too bad.

BTW, SRAM GXP is NOT compatible with Shimano hollowtech.

04-23-2013, 09:16 PM
Don't bother with Chris King. They can't handle the kind of stress that a cargo bike can dish out. Honestly, they're less durable than Shimano or SRAM's most basic bottom brackets.

If you've got Truvative or SRAM cranks, the inexpensive GPX bottom bracket (the $35 model) is virtually bomb-proof. I've got some that are three years old and have been beaten up bigtime on fixie mountain bikes. That is actually higher stress than what you'll put out on a cargo bike. SRAM BB's only work with Truvative or SRAM cranks.

For Shimano cranks, I'd suggest either Phil Wood or Shimano XT. Both are very good, though not as good as the inexpensive SRAM GPX BB.

Nice things about these bottom brackets is that they're cheap.

One last option... I've got a few bottom brackets that uses a SRAM GPx cups with Enduro bearings pressed in. One has steel bearings, the other ceramic. I bought them on eBay. Both have lasted amazingly well. I've got almost 10,000 miles on the ceramic BB on my fixie and it is flawless.

Hope that helps a little.


04-23-2013, 10:42 PM
I also have the Enduro bearing press tool if anyone ever wants to borrow it. The bearings are cheap (and better than stock), though I have had some issues with the gxp replacement bearings I bought not having the right seals/spacers. No issues with shimano.

I do like the Chris King BB on my commuter. I have the grease fitting and have purged the grease several times. It has probably 6k all-weather miles on it without issue yet. I think most gxp bearings last me somewhere around 6-8k miles (on the commuter), though, so it's not exactly setting any records yet. I do not like that the bearings aren't replaceable. Of course, I also agree that the CK BB is almost certainly not worth it. For $140 you can buy 5 shimano or gxp bottom brackets. Having broken my previous frame, it is questionable whether my commuter/CX bike will last me the 30-40k miles I need to validate the purchase (I would imagine my next one will have PF30 or something else).

04-24-2013, 06:53 AM
My riding buddy has blown up 3 King BB's in a year. I thought it was just him doing something weird. I blew one up last week and noticed the other is failing.

The one on my mountain bike that has only been ridden 10 times is working PERFECTLY! ;)

I won't buy another one for sure.

04-24-2013, 08:49 AM
I won't buy another one for sure.
It's too bad they aren't that great, because I sure do love the purple colorway (http://www.aspirevelotech.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=CK-PURPLE-ALL).

Maybe I should just get an anodizing Kit

Chris King Purple
Shimano Ultegra




Anodizing Kit





04-24-2013, 02:13 PM
It sounds like I might be replacing the bottom bracket for the fourth or fifth time (creak creak) and wonder if I should be looking for this time?

Also check BB facing. The bearings may not be aligned, which will cause premature failure.

04-24-2013, 05:02 PM
Thanks y'all for the tons of info. Going to take a little time to process it.

Two-ish initial questions:

1. Should I be looking into external bottom brackets with roller-bearings? I see that there are a few relative newcomers to the market that tout the use of rollers instead of balls.
1. Are the phil wood "shimano-compatible" (aka hollowtech ii/x-type) external bottom brackets roller-bearing based or ball-bearing based? I see that the internal phil wood bottom brackets often use rollers instead of bearings, but I don't think the external ones appear to. Should I care?


04-24-2013, 05:30 PM
Mechanical engineering is way beyond my purview (anyone care to step in?), but I have heard that:

a. Ball bearings generally have lower friction; roller bearings generally have higher load capacity.
b. Roller bearings are sensitive to misalignment; ball bearings are self-aligning, to a certain extent.
c. High-quality ball bearings are cheaper to manufacture than equivalent roller bearings.

My mostly-unsubstantiated guess is that for this application (BBs) bearing type matters less than bearing/cup materials and quality of construction.

<edit> Also check that the crank spindle is straight. Any wobble will quickly destroy a bearing.