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Updating older bottom brackets

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Here’s how…We’re looking at Shimano bottom brackets here, the most common type. In addition, have a couple of rags to hand for wiping things with, otherwise your trousers are never going to be the same again. You’ll need a crank extractor to suit your cranks, a bottom bracket tool to suit your bottom bracket, a big spanner to drive them with and whatever Allen key or socket you need to undo and tighten the crank bolts. We’ve covered taking the drive-side crank off before, so we won’t repeat ourselves.

The only time it makes its presence felt is when it starts to tire of the endless rotations and decides to experiment with creaks, grinds, rattles and movement in hitherto unexplored directions. Once upon a time, all bottom brackets were adjustable cup-and-cone affairs that could be stripped, cleaned, regreased, refitted and readjusted. These days most BBs are fit-and-forget affairs, until they die at which point you chuck ’em and put another one in.

To undo them, you’ll need a suitable BB tool to engage in the splines inside the cup. Push the BB tool into the splines and turn it anti-clockwise.If you don’t want to read our in-depth guide on bottom brackets, you can go directly to the relevant product pages via the links below: MTB/Road bottom brackets at Chain Reaction Cycles BMX bottom brackets at Chain Reaction Cycles Bottom bracket spares Learn more about: • MTB and road bottom brackets are functionally the same as they ever were, consisting of two sets of bearings which allow the pedals and crankset to rotate freely.However in terms of design they have evolved considerably in recent years, with a trend towards weight-shedding minimalism which means that many ‘bottom brackets’ are now little more than two bearings.You can get extra oomph by aligning whatever handle you’re using slightly lower than the bike’s chainstay and squeezing the handle and the chainstay together with one hand.Use the other hand to stop the BB tool falling out of the end of the bottom bracket.When replacing or upgrading your BB there are a number of things to take into account, with models varying according to bike type (BMX BBs are different from those used on road and MTB bikes), BB shell size (they can be different lengths so you need a BB to fit) and sometimes, frame design (many modern road and MTB bikes use ‘press-fit’ designs where the shell is moulded to enable the bearings fit directly in).