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  1. #1
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    GXP w/ X9 bottom bracket play problem

    So I've done searches on this and also read the reviews on here about the GXP bottom bracket and while the reviews seem to back up what I'm experiencing thought I'd still ask if anyone else has had or has this problem. For past 7 months I've been running X9 cranks w/ GXP BB on my Niner WFO. Last week I got major lateral play in it. Took it apart, greased it up, play still there. Took it to my lbs where it's still under warranty and they supposedly fixed it per SRAM's directions. Rode it again yesterday after getting it back and as far as I can tell there's still play in it, on the drive side. I have the same crankset w/ a CK BB on my Knolly and don't have the play. Told the lbs immediately that I still felt play and they were shocked. I'm a clyde and hard on equipment and from the reviews on here I think the BB is probably shot already. Anyone else have similar experiences? Dude at lbs made me feel like I was tripping but I ride this bike 4-5 hours a week and I'm pretty sure it don't feel right. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    As of right now I think I just might blow off the warranty and pay for a CK BB because I know it will last.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by masonmoa View Post
    So I've done searches on this and also read the reviews on here about the GXP bottom bracket and while the reviews seem to back up what I'm experiencing thought I'd still ask if anyone else has had or has this problem. For past 7 months I've been running X9 cranks w/ GXP BB on my Niner WFO. Last week I got major lateral play in it. Took it apart, greased it up, play still there. Took it to my lbs where it's still under warranty and they supposedly fixed it per SRAM's directions. Rode it again yesterday after getting it back and as far as I can tell there's still play in it, on the drive side. I have the same crankset w/ a CK BB on my Knolly and don't have the play. Told the lbs immediately that I still felt play and they were shocked. I'm a clyde and hard on equipment and from the reviews on here I think the BB is probably shot already. Anyone else have similar experiences? Dude at lbs made me feel like I was tripping but I ride this bike 4-5 hours a week and I'm pretty sure it don't feel right. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    As of right now I think I just might blow off the warranty and pay for a CK BB because I know it will last.
    You can not have play in the BB on just one side unless the bearing is shot, and even then it will not be lateral play. Something else is going on.
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  3. #3
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    Hey Shiggy. I should've probably explained myself better. I had some lateral movement on both sides and I rode the bike for like 25 miles like this. I tried to tighten everything back up myself and added grease, no dice. Took it to the lbs, they took it all apart, greased it up and put it back together and called it fixed. During my first post repair ride on it noticed play in the drive side. Just put another 13 miles on it today and there's now a bunch of play in it, as in when I grab the crank arm I can move it back and forth (pedaling would be front to back) to the frame. Leads me to believe the bearings in the bb are busted, but I've never worn out a bb so I'm not sure. Which is what led me to ask here.

  4. #4
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    Usually this is felt right away if the correct spacers are not installed. I have seen this too many times to count, unfortunately.

    In your case, however, I would wonder if you've stripped the splines on the DS crank arm or spindle. How did that look when you disassembled?

  5. #5
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    Does your WFO use a PF30 BB or something else? If it is PF30 what adapter is being used for your GXP crankset?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    Usually this is felt right away if the correct spacers are not installed. I have seen this too many times to count, unfortunately.

    In your case, however, I would wonder if you've stripped the splines on the DS crank arm or spindle. How did that look when you disassembled?
    ColinL, bear with me here because I'm still learning about working on bikes, but with the X9 crankset I don't think there's driveside splines? I could be wrong, but I think it's a one piece with the splines on the non-drive side. Please let me know if I'm completely wrong on that. But there is a plastic spacer on the DS which I've seen people complain about always coming loose.

    What I'm thinking is that I was on a biking trip when the crankset came loose and I tried to get it tight again with the tools I brought and I did for a second, but I rode the bike for like 25 miles and I'm a pretty big dude and I wouldn't be surprised if I did some damage to the bearings in the BB, or maybe the splines on the non-DS? I've done 3 rides on it this last week since the lbs "fixed" it and there's just some slippage or looseness in it still. It's hard to explain but I ride this bike a lot and know it really well and it's just not right.

    Kristatos, according to Niner's website, the WFO is either GXP or PF30 compatible. So I think it is a PF30 GXP BB w/ a Truvativ X9 crankset. It came as a set.

  7. #7
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    You are correct, that was a typo. X9 is a 2-piece crank and the DS crank arm is permanently attached to the spindle. The non-driveside is the only place it can be splined.

    For SRAM/Truvativ GXP cranks it is really easy to service the crankset and bottom bracket. The NDS crank arm comes off with a 8mm hex as you know. If you pull that off and see damage, I'd call SRAM and see what they can do for you. They are quite reasonable people in my experience.

    If you don't see any problem, proceed further:
    To torque the BB cups to spec, you'll need the Park Tool BBT-19 or equivalent so you can attach to your torque wrench. A lot of people just use the BBT-9 spanner and make it snug. Hell I've done it! But in your case, if your NDS spline looks ok then removing, greasing and reinstalling the BB cups and NDS crank arm with proper torque is exactly what I'd do next.

    EDIT: I see now that you might have a pressfit BB. It's easy to tell because there aren't any cups sitting outside the frame. (SRAM makes 3 kinds of pressfit.) I've read about pressfit BB service but I've never personally done it, so I would defer to the experience of others if that's what you have.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by masonmoa View Post
    What I'm thinking is that I was on a biking trip when the crankset came loose and I tried to get it tight again with the tools I brought and I did for a second, but I rode the bike for like 25 miles and I'm a pretty big dude and I wouldn't be surprised if I did some damage to the bearings in the BB, or maybe the splines on the non-DS?
    If the NDS came loose and you rode on it loose for 25 miles (say you tightened it up but not enough) then you probably deformed the spindle or crank and will need to replace. I don't know which one is softer and would deform first. I would think if the NDS was loose/deformed you'd feel it on either side, so even if that side is loose it could feel like the DS is loose since really the whole assembly needs to be tight to function properly I think but it's been a while since I had a GXP BB.

    The other possibility is the PF30 adapter could be loose in the BB shell but I would guess that's less likely, and typically that would lead to creaking and not the type of play you are experiencing but I'm not positive on that since all the GXP cranks I had in the past were not of the press fit type.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the thoughts/suggestions. After I got home from my trip, dude at the lbs where I bought/built the bike supposedly took everything apart, greased everything and put it back together per SRAM's suggestion. I have a feeling you guys might be right that I might have caused damage to the spindle or crank arm itself. It is under warranty as I've only had it since December. I'm going to take the bike back down to the lbs and see if they can feel the play and let them deal with it. The mechanic said he didn't feel anything when they gave it back to me the first time, but I did immediately, and when I told him that he seemed to think I was tripping. I think regardless of what the problem is I'm going to upgrade to a CK BB just because.

  10. #10
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    What you are describing suggests to me the following problem which I experienced as well. I have Sram-Truvativ GXP BB and Sram cranks. In my case the problem happened due to the lateral movement of the BB cup on drive side and sticking of the cup to the crank arm. If this is your case you can figure out by checking the drive side where you should see "naked" bearings of the BB. The plastic cup has integrated sleeve which goes into the BB and therefore when the cup moves away it also causes play. If you check CK BB the cup and internal sleeve are separated and in addition CK puts spacers between cup and the crank arm to hold the cup in place. This problem was independently confirmed to me by an experienced mechanic in my LBS and I think this is simply a bad design from Sram-Truvativ (I guess they should just add few spacers to solve the issue).

    So, if this is your case then either switch to CK BB (a bit more expensive) or make a spacer for your Sram BB. I did this by cutting about 2mm piece from the old Sram BB plastic inner tube/sleeve (the part with small thread). I had to play a bit with the width (sanding down) of this spacer up to the point cranks rotates smoothly (2-3 cranks installations). Now, cranks are tight, cup sits in and I see no play .....

    Hope this may help ....
    Last edited by goroEpic; 08-20-2012 at 05:00 AM.

  11. #11
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    I am also a clyde who had a lot of issues with my GXP bottom bracket. I went through 3 bb's in no time, and finally had to get clinical with that b!tch. I think you should investigate the bb shell of your bike, and have it faced and chased to ensure it is nice and square for the bottom bracket. Also, the drive side of the the X9 crank is not permanently attached tot the axle, but held on with multiple bolts. You might want to check to make sure they are tight.

    After facing the bottom bracket, I found that it was very "out-of-Square", and no doubt was the root cause of my issues. Needless to say, I turned to Chris King for a new bottom bracket, and do not have any issues as of yet.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by goroEpic View Post
    What you are describing suggests to me the following problem which I experienced as well. I have Sram-Truvativ GXP BB and Sram cranks. In my case the problem happened due to the lateral movement of the BB cup on drive side and sticking of the cup to the crank arm. If this is your case you can figure out by checking the drive side where you should see "naked" bearings of the BB. The plastic cup has integrated sleeve which goes into the BB and therefore when the cup moves away it also causes play. If you check CK BB the cup and internal sleeve are separated and in addition CK puts spacers between cup and the crank arm to hold the cup in place. This problem was independently confirmed to me by an experienced mechanic in my LBS and I think this is simply a bad design from Sram-Truvativ (I guess they should just add few spacers to solve the issue).

    So, if this is your case then either switch to CK BB (a bit more expensive) or make a spacer for your Sram BB. I did this by cutting about 2mm piece from the old Sram BB plastic inner tube/sleeve (the part with small thread). I had to play a bit with the width (sanding down) of this spacer up to the point cranks rotates smoothly (2-3 cranks installations). Now, cranks are tight, cup sits in and I see no play .....

    Hope this may help ....
    You pretty much hit the nail on the head. The plastic cup moved out of the way and then there was the play I had mentioned. Since my last posting, I've taken the bike to the shop twice now. SRAM warrantied the BB and also threw in a new drive side crank arm. I opted to pay for a new CK BB, because I figured no use riding the GXP BB when I'll probably just break it again in 7 months. But I'm still riding the old crankset as the new driveside crank arm hadn't come in with the CK BB. There's now no play, but there's still a lot of popping and noise coming from the cranks, which I assume is damage I did while riding it for what ended up being more like 60 miles with it busted (shop said they fixed it, took it on another trip, rode it a bunch again, still busted, more damage, etc...). Once my other bike is out of the shop going to take this one back in again and hopefully get it all worked out.

  13. #13
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    SRAM (Truvativ really) had several other external BBs which were all beefier than GXP. I bet they kept GXP because it was the lightest, and it's enough for most people who aren't heavy, powerful Clydes. I don't know if you can even get their Howitzer or Holzfeller BBs anymore...

    Anyway, I bet the King BB will solve your problem. Is your frame 68mm or 73?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by masonmoa View Post
    ...... There's now no play, but there's still a lot of popping and noise coming from the cranks, which I assume is damage I did while riding it for what ended up being more like 60 miles with it busted (shop said they fixed it, took it on another trip, rode it a bunch again, still busted, more damage, etc...). Once my other bike is out of the shop going to take this one back in again and hopefully get it all worked out.
    I doubt a bit that you damaged the cranks. Before I fixed the loose BB problem I drove much more miles that you are mentioning (I do 99% off road - XC MTB, preferring climbs ;-)). After putting new Sram BB and "my spacer" I found no problem. I have Sram 1250 cranks. So, I would carefully diagnose the exact source of the noise, and I would try to clean and properly grease all "infected" parts.

    Regarding, CK BB. I intend to switch to Sram XO cranks soon, so I am opting for CK BB too. However, CK is about 5 times more expensive than the basic Sram BB. The question is, if the CK BB is really worth of it. Personally, I don't see that much difference in the construction (except of extra spacers and sleeve I am mentioning above), therefore I guess the major difference which probably matters the most would be the quality of bearings. So, can anybody say a word comparing the driving performance of Sram and CK when both in new condition. I mean, if the driving performance is comparable I can replace 5 times Sram BB before hitting the price of CK. I know, that CK offers an interesting option of injecting new grease into their BB without taking it apart, but I doubt a bit that you can leave with this without cleaning the stuff too. Any experience, opinion on this?

  15. #15
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    Drive side plastic cup is a culprit

    Quote Originally Posted by masonmoa View Post
    So I've done searches on this and also read the reviews on here about the GXP bottom bracket and while the reviews seem to back up what I'm experiencing thought I'd still ask if anyone else has had or has this problem. For past 7 months I've been running X9 cranks w/ GXP BB on my Niner WFO. Last week I got major lateral play in it. Took it apart, greased it up, play still there. Took it to my lbs where it's still under warranty and they supposedly fixed it per SRAM's directions. Rode it again yesterday after getting it back and as far as I can tell there's still play in it, on the drive side. I have the same crankset w/ a CK BB on my Knolly and don't have the play. Told the lbs immediately that I still felt play and they were shocked. I'm a clyde and hard on equipment and from the reviews on here I think the BB is probably shot already. Anyone else have similar experiences? Dude at lbs made me feel like I was tripping but I ride this bike 4-5 hours a week and I'm pretty sure it don't feel right. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    As of right now I think I just might blow off the warranty and pay for a CK BB because I know it will last.

    I have the same problem with the X9 on my Kona Honzo. The problem is the plastic BB cup on the drive side. It slips outwards (to the right id you are facing the bike from behind) too much and you get play. I don't know how to fix it to the point I want to buy an outrageously expensive race face next or perhaps Turbine SS crank.

  16. #16
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    GXP w/ X9 bottom bracket play problem

    Quote Originally Posted by igorgoga View Post
    I have the same problem with the X9 on my Kona Honzo. The problem is the plastic BB cup on the drive side. It slips outwards (to the right id you are facing the bike from behind) too much and you get play. I don't know how to fix it to the point I want to buy an outrageously expensive race face next or perhaps Turbine SS crank.
    Did you even read the replies in this thread?

    The driveside bearing in a GXP BB does nothing in regards to lateral play. The spindle floats in the right side bearing. The spindle and left side arm capture the non-driveside bearing to locate the crankset.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Did you even read the replies in this thread?

    The driveside bearing in a GXP BB does nothing in regards to lateral play. The spindle floats in the right side bearing. The spindle and left side arm capture the non-driveside bearing to locate the crankset.
    Actually Shiggy he's right. The plastic sleeve that covers the bearing on the drive side bb works its way out. Without the sleeve in the proper location allows play in the cranks.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozibatla View Post
    Actually Shiggy he's right. The plastic sleeve that covers the bearing on the drive side bb works its way out. Without the sleeve in the proper location allows play in the cranks.
    I had the same problem with my Sram AKA Cranks on my Honzo- I read a fix for this on these forums, when you take the cranks off- take that bearing sleeve out and put an O ring on then put the sleeve on again. I used a cheap O-ring for garden hoses from Home Depot, been working for over a year now!! The O-ring keeps the sleeve from working its way out (no play at all).

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