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Life of a bottom bracket

frenchfighterfrenchfighter Posts: 30,642
edited November 2009 in Road beginners
My bottom bracket is apparently kaput according to a mechanic.

It is a Veloce BB, about a year old, max 4k miles and ridden in good weather the vast majority of the time.

Is it normal that it is already done in?

It started creaking about 5 months ago and I didn't realise it was the BB so never changed it. I have had no issues with it regarding being able to ride normally.

Is it really necessary to change it?

Is this something covered by warranty?

Thanks.
Contador is the Greatest

Posts

  • My BB has been creaking for the last 4 months or so. At first I thought the carbon had a split in it or something. I've left it and to be honest it hasn't really got much worse. It's only when you really put the hammer down it starts to creak. The bike had done around 2000 miles when it developed the creak and has now done around 4500 miles.
  • geoff_ssgeoff_ss Posts: 1,201
    I suppose it varies.

    My old mountain bike is over 20 years old and I'm not sure how many miles it's done. It was used off road a lot when I first built it but since 1990 it's only use has been as a Winter hack and for a tour of New Zealand. Still the original bottom bracket. My wife has done about 25,000 miles on her Marin, still on the same bottom bracket and it's still fine.

    Tandem rear bottom brackets OTOH have a hard life with a cross-over drive and 2 people's power and so may need replacing more frequently.

    I just replace them when they need it. ie when they have play that can't be taken up without losing smoothness.

    Geoff
    Old cyclists never die; they just fit smaller chainrings ... and pedal faster
  • It is a Veloce BB, about a year old, max 4k miles and ridden in good weather the vast majority of the time.

    Is it Ultra Torque or square taper?

    Do you jet wash the bike at all?
  • Don't jet wash it but at some point, a large amount of water did get down into the frame (only for a short while).

    It is Ultra Torque.

    I'm surprised as I have other bikes with more miles which have no BB issues. That is why I was thinking about warranty but have no idea if it is covered.
    Contador is the Greatest
  • Mmmm. I don't think you should mention using it for 5 months with it not sounding as it should if you are going for a warranty replacement.

    The shop that looked at it, was it who you bought it from?
  • I think BB life varies. On my MTB the XT Hollowtech BB lasted about 12 months. The Acros BB replacement that was meant to last 2 years lasted 12 months (and it only had commuting road use).

    My Ultegra BB on the Cayo has so far lasted 2 years and it has seen the rain plenty of times and is currently being ridden until the salt goes down on the roads.
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 12,948
    if its UT you just change the bearings... no?

    warranty on moving parts vs wear and tear is unlikely to wash... approx 6000km.. mmmm well you could have got more from the bearings..

    the actual axle of the BB is your crankset so if that is effected in any way ..ouch...

    just feel like the bearings are going?
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • I don't know much about these things but I think I was told that they were sealed...I will ask if they are able to simply replace the bearings and not the entire BB.

    The shop that looked at it was different to where I bought it.
    Contador is the Greatest
  • I've not long had my BB replaced on my road bike and at 3k miles the mechanic said I'd done well to get that much out of it. The symptoms leading up to mine finally going were very similar to yours. I'm not an expert in BB's in particular but the guy has looked after my bikes for years and he's never given me duff advice, and he said 2000-2500 miles isn't unusual if you're a hard rider.
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 12,948
    I don't know much about these things but I think I was told that they were sealed...I will ask if they are able to simply replace the bearings and not the entire BB.

    The shop that looked at it was different to where I bought it.

    20 odd quid for the bearings..the other possible culprit is the sprung washer

    the BB is just the external cups and the bearings... thats it... there is nothing to replace but the bearings?

    the external cups have no bearing surface to wear out....
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • WappygixerWappygixer Posts: 1,396
    The standard ultra torque bearings are quite small so don't take load to well.
    TRy and get hold of some ceramic bearings, they cost more but last ages.
    You will need a modified bearing puller to remove the bearings though.
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,175
    As long as the grease doesn't leave the bearings, and no water gets in them, they should last for yonks. I got 4000 miles out of the crappy adjustable unsealed BB that came with my £160 hybrid, and that went through crank-high floodwater in its first week.

    You say 'some water' got into the frame for 'a short while'. How much, how long? Some people's idea of 'a short while' is a week, for some it is a few seconds...
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  • I don't know much about these things but I think I was told that they were sealed...I will ask if they are able to simply replace the bearings and not the entire BB.

    The shop that looked at it was different to where I bought it.

    20 odd quid for the bearings..the other possible culprit is the sprung washer

    the BB is just the external cups and the bearings... thats it... there is nothing to replace but the bearings?

    the external cups have no bearing surface to wear out....

    If I had a Campag chainset that is the way I'd go. You would never change another bearing if they are maintained properly.

    Or you could switch to another brand of chainset? FSA Gossamer's are cheap enough, they were even good enough for Spartacus when Saxo Bank were using Cervelo.
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    On my Centaur UT chainset, the bearings have lasted a good two years and still spin well. In the meanwhile though the crappy chainrings corroded away (which are a pain to replace with the whacked out CT BCD), and all the anodising flaked off the inside and outside of the BB cups.
    I like bikes...

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  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,187
    If it's a sealed square taper Campag BB just get another and whack that in, job done. They're only about £30-35 hardly going to break the bank.

    I've only had one bottom bracket fail and that was a cheap Tange make in one of my hybrid bikes a Trek 7.5fx supllied new. It failed after about 10,000 miles or just over 12 months. There was a lot of movement in it by the end. Mind you the rest of the transmission was shagged as well as I happened to use GT85 back then. In contrast I've never had a Shimano UN54, UN73, DuraAce, Ultegra, or Campag Record cartridge BB fail despite having a small stock of spares just in case they do. I never jet wash them or squirt the hose at them though.

    I had a left handed Ritchey crank snap about 2 years ago which could have resulted in a nasty injury, but instead I only had a long one legged ride home all of 16 miles in the dark. Ritchey really do some censored stuff. Their chainset was pretty dire as well, heavy and ate chains.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • sheffsimonsheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    I've not long had my BB replaced on my road bike and at 3k miles the mechanic said I'd done well to get that much out of it. The symptoms leading up to mine finally going were very similar to yours. I'm not an expert in BB's in particular but the guy has looked after my bikes for years and he's never given me duff advice, and he said 2000-2500 miles isn't unusual if you're a hard rider.

    Im afraid on this ocassion he is talking utter b******s! At that rate you could be changing every few months at least.
  • ProssPross Posts: 34,882
    I've still got the original (unsealed) BB on my bike after 17 years and God knows how many miles. I'm beginning to think I don't ride hard enough when I see how quickly some people get through parts!
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    IME it's generic problem with all external bearing BBs - with some it's lucky if they last a winter - Truvatix/SRAM GXPs are the worst - the spray from your front wheel simply douses the bearings in water. I'm afraid you've got no chance of a warranty replacement as they are excluded due to 'wear and tear'. Also, unless you go for high quality ceramic bearings, there's little chance of them lasting much longer because many of the cheaper 'hybrid' ones use 304 stainless housings which still corrode
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • bicebice Posts: 772
    On my ancient leave-anywhere commuter (an old steel Claude Butler worth all of £10) I took out the unsealed BB. The spindle was slightly pitted, but I couldn't wait to replace so I fitted a race of 11 ball bearings - it had had only 9 - and it was a miraculous revival. Works better than it ever did.

    My wife's old Raleigh steel hybrid - retrieved for free from office car park - had virtually oval ball bearings and the grease felt like grit. The spindle was quite badly pitted, but I figured new bearings would smooth it round again (!) and it now works far better.

    Not perfect, I know, but with this level bike I am not that fussy.
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