Forum home Mountain biking forum MTB workshop & tech

Best bottom bracket?

Yet again my Hollowtech BB is knackered. Is there an alternative to a Shimano which will see Easter?
My MTB blog...
Boardman FS Pro 2016. Whyte PRST 4 2004, Whyte JW 4 2004 :D


  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,438
    edited November 2020
    I used Shimano Hollowtech II BBs for years and years. I was quite happy to buy the cheapest one I could find (sometimes two at a time if it was a particularly good price, because I knew that I would use them both). I nearly always got two years out of one, give or take a few months. Yes I could have bought a ceramic balled, high grade stainless steel version, but they were five times the price and I would have sold the bike before I got my money back.

    The big thing about Shimano Hollowtech BBs is that they are dead easy to remove and fit. I usually added waterproof grease wherever I thought it would do some good (I doubt it did TBH). Before the winter I would remove the BB, clean it all up and re-install. I had the time, but I now doubt it made a difference.

    Check that the spacers you are adding add up to the correct amount. If they don't then you will either be overstressing the bearings, or not adding the correct preload.

    Something worth considering is buying your Shimano components from Chain Reaction Cycles. They had then (and may still have now) a two-year warranty for all Shimano components bought from CRC. I never bothered to claim on a BB if it failed a few months inside the two years; for £10-15 it wasn't worth the hassle. But with zero hassle, I got a replacement XT 10-speed cassette when the rivets securing the spider to the rings failed.

    On a six month old Whyte T130, the RaceFace BSA BB failed and I was not happy at all. That was much worse by at least a factor of three than the cheap Shimano ones I had been using. The guy at the LBS just told me that RaceFace BSA BBs were made of cheese and why not replace it with something that was deserving of the bike. I asked about a Shimano Hollowtech? "Looks similar, but won't fit" he said and talked me into buying a Hope BB. It cost me £100. I thought "why not, I've found my forever bike!" :) I had that bike for another two and half years before I sold it, very reluctantly I add (knee problems). But the BB was still flawless.
  • Thanks for that, Steve.
    My MTB blog...
    Boardman FS Pro 2016. Whyte PRST 4 2004, Whyte JW 4 2004 :D
  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,852
    I have a Wheels Manufacturing bb on my Trance and it has been faultless. They are expensive but worth it. Bearing can be replaced without removing the bb which is a major plus.
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Toughtroad SLR 1 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,677
    edited November 2020
    It might be worth looking at the bike it's being installed on if Shimano BBs die quickly, they're generally fairly reliable. If the BB shell isn't faced properly (the opposing faces should be flat and parallel), the cups may not be sitting correctly, making the bearings sit slightly crooked, which can wear them out quickly. Any decent bike shop will be able to face the shell.

    Ideally this would be something the manufacturers would do... Unfortunately, most frames I've ever bought haven't been properly faced.
  • reaperactualreaperactual Posts: 1,183
    edited November 2020
    Surprised to hear less than two years out of a Hollowtech II. Worth getting bb shell faced to rule out as a possible issue. My latest bike has Raceface cranks and X Type bb, still doing ok a year on except the RF X Type is double the price of HT2?

    I've heard of compatibility problems with Hollowtech bb and RF crank's spindle length not matching up well.

    Will probably go all Shimano with next upgrade. Not used any others but am considering splashing out a bit more on a Hope or Wheels Mfg. bb for the extra quality and durability, good to hear recommendations.😎👍
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 24,592
    I bought my winter bike in 2011 and it still has it's original BB and crankset. I'm not saying this to boast, but to point out that 2 years indicates a problem somewhere.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • reaperactualreaperactual Posts: 1,183
    edited November 2020
    The only bb that lasted that long for me was a square taper that sat in a garage for 7 years.

    Maybe your cranks are like Trigger's broom, still original with three new heads and 5 new handles? 🤪
  • Just replaced the offending BB. Looking at my blog I found that I last noticed it being worn out on 11th March this year. One of the seals was stuck to the FSA crank so it looks like I've had a leak on one side with water ingress causing the rapid wearing out. Also I do quite a lot of jumps on our local trails, which can't help. They're cheap enough and easy to change so it's no major drama.
    My MTB blog...
    Boardman FS Pro 2016. Whyte PRST 4 2004, Whyte JW 4 2004 :D
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 6,971
    Mine's been ok for 2 years so far but I don't go out in the mud and wet so much these days, and the bike isn't getting pressure washed all the time.
    I have had some that have only lasted 6-9 months, but they were abused so it wasn't surprising and they were cheap to replace so I wasn't that bothered.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,601
    Plenty of good ideas here but have you considered owner / operator error? The possibility that you have done something wrong is very real.
  • david37david37 Posts: 1,313
    one more vote for wheelsmfring here. And as said above once its installed you can bang out the bearings and press more in really easily.
  • I installed a Hope PF41 bottom bracket in my carbon hardtail 5 years ago. It has been opened by the LBS once to service last year and was told "that's as clean as the day we fitted it, 5 years ago". It was about £80 but worth it IMO. I would replace BBs every 6 months when racing and this thing hasn't squeaked once. Have just installed a similar model in my enduro bike. Here's hoping it lasts as long
Sign In or Register to comment.