Buffalo, NY, USA

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Getting Your Bearings

December 10, 2018

 

After an amazing last weekend where I got a slew of GWGO points, the riding outside subsided quite a bit. The problem was that I apparently had destroyed every good bottom bracket and bearing on my road and cyclocross bikes! No bikes meant no rides until the time came when I could get some new bearings into them. I had the bearings for a few days, but my enclosed porch work space is no good after daylight fades, so it wasn't until Saturday that I got my hands dirty.

 

I have done my own bottom bracket maintenance for a while now, and I have to say I have been blessed with good bearings and luck! When my Trek Madone's bearings gave up the ghost on Monday, I immediately thought about getting some Kogel bearings for it. I have heard such great things about these, and I was eager to try some out. They run about $109 for the ceramic BB90 bearings that the Trek takes.

 

The procedure is really a piece of cake. You remove the crankset, and you insert a tool into the bottom bracket that splays out on one end. When you hammer it back towards the splayed out end, it unseats the cartridge bearing. You pop out both sides and then you press the new ones in with a bearing press that keeps them perfectly aligned. You use a little grease and re-insert the crankset. Your bike feels like new. See the Park Tool website for their BB90 service sheet, it's great and shows the tools as well!

 

I actually did a lot of other work this Saturday. I removed and ultrasonically cleaned my chain. I washed the bike as I took it apart because it was still a mess from Monday's rainy ride. I swapped cranksets with the All City that I am bringing to the shop this week for new cables and initial set up of the 11-speed cyclocross bike take offs. The All City had a Shimano 105 53/39 and the Trek had an Ultegra 52/39 PowerTap C1 set up and also had P1 pedals. I wanted the C1 on the All City so that it had power, as I plan to use it with Shimano SPDs. The P1s will stay on the Trek and eliminate the awkward question, "How many power meters do you have on that bike?"

 

In swapping cranks, I got a good cleaning done on both bikes, and I made sure to re-lube them well. The Trek spins wonderfully with the new Kogel bearings. I had take some time to readjust the Sram eTap front derailleur. With the 53 tooth ring, it was enough to make the shifting up front bad. I got the FD back to factory recommended positioning, but it just wasn't shifting well when I took it off the stand. I would think I had it perfect, and then I would take off and put it on the trainer and it wouldn't shift. I was befuddled.

 

I finally broke down and watched a GCN video on eTap setup to find that the limit screws where a bit off. Once I adjusted the low limit to get the bracket about 5 mm from the chain it shifted better than ever before. Everything else was spot on, but this was the difference maker. I have really never had to adjust the FD on any of my bikes, I usually only have to do rear derailleur tweaks. Now, I have a better working knowledge of the eTap FD. 

 

I got the Trek on the trainer for a little Zwift today, and it was magical. The bottom bracket was feeling about as good as it has ever felt. Smooth. Quiet. Right. 

 

Today (Sunday), I prepared to replace the CAADX bottom bracket, but when I started ripping it apart, I noticed there was lots of mud still in the RD. When I washed this out and lubed the chain, I realized that the bottom bracket was just fine. It spins freely and quit nice. I guess I will just throw the new BB30 bearings in the drawer and wait for a problem. 

 

Hopefully, I can get in some more winter riding soon. Lots of hockey and an away trip this week, so maybe not right away. Soon. I hope. 

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