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  1. #1
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    Upset ISIS BB's - 1 Year and Toast?? WTF?

    So, I used to be a fan of ISIS. With all the ballyhoo it seemed like a great improvement over the old square taper design. I bought a cheap-but-solid Race Face Prodigy crank and $75 Signature XS BB for my old Razorback. My retro friends said "man- tiny bearings- that thing's bound to choke." But I assured them it was the best XC BB Race Face made. Well, in 1 year and 1,000 miles it died. BB's turned to oblong lumps. Race Face wouldn't warranty it (so much for pride of ownership, and the little, initialed scrap of paper to show who built it at the factory). Bought a Hammerhead 100X and put a Race face Evolve XC crank (I'm a big fan of their cheaper cranks) and SRX BB on it. Figured the XS had to be a fluke. Well, 1 year and 874 miles later, the BB is toast. BB's turned to gravel. I'm 190 pounds, never ride in the rain or mud, 16 years experience and I only catch "XC air"- no drops. Is this what I can expect of ISIS? I know the world has moved on to X-types, but I'm not ready to drop $300 for a new getup. If I buy another BB, what should I get? Anything last longer than a year?

  2. #2
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    Wow, you get a whole year out of an ISIS bb? Last year I replaced the ISIS bbs once on my 'cross bike, once on my trailbike, and 3x on my DH bike. Get the cheap ones (RaceFace evolve FR are my choice) as they will all die quickly.

    This year my trail and DH bikes have RaceFace external BBs, and I have yet to replace either one ... looks like they hold up better than ISIS ...

  3. #3
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    Guess I was living in denial too long

    OK, so I made myself believe ISIS wasn't fatally flawed. Reading reviews made me see I was wrong. Since I have the Evolve crank, I need a 108 spindle, which means another SRX. But I think you made the right call- get a cheap one, they all break. At least, with the SRX at $40, it'll take 7-8 replacements to get to the cost of a Deus X or XT external getup.

  4. #4
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    Not very much that can be done. Thats the reason most manufacturers pretty much mutually abandoned ISIS and adopted outboard bearings. I forget if its FSA or Truvativ who make an ISIS BB with a small outboard bearing. I don't know how good it is though. If you are looking for cheap though there are outboard bearing cranks that are pretty cheap. You can get LX and I think Hone's for a little over $110.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hecubus
    Not very much that can be done. Thats the reason most manufacturers pretty much mutually abandoned ISIS and adopted outboard bearings. I forget if its FSA or Truvativ who make an ISIS BB with a small outboard bearing. I don't know how good it is though. If you are looking for cheap though there are outboard bearing cranks that are pretty cheap. You can get LX and I think Hone's for a little over $110.
    Or he could get the Evolve XC -X-type- for 130 at Pricepoint... He could have gotten the Evolve for what he paid for the ISIS crank and signature BB, probably...
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  6. #6
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    I'm still pedaling along happy on square taper BBs - and the girlfriends bike uses the old school 4 peice square taper instead of a sealed unit.
    My Bike: '96 Gary Fisher Aquila
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    I'm still pedaling along happy on square taper BBs - and the girlfriends bike uses the old school 4 peice square taper instead of a sealed unit.
    Square taper works. And they last a long time. There is absolutely no doubt about it. Not a lot of choices for crank replacement nowadays, though, high end options that is. And both ISIS and outboard bearing types are much stiffer than square taper. There is some gain on the swap.

    Much like threaded forks and headsets, they do work. Threadless have their advantages, though. Or cantilever brakes, they work, v's have their advantages. Discs have their advantages too.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenK
    Square taper works. And they last a long time. There is absolutely no doubt about it. Not a lot of choices for crank replacement nowadays, though, high end options that is. And both ISIS and outboard bearing types are much stiffer than square taper. There is some gain on the swap.

    Much like threaded forks and headsets, they do work. Threadless have their advantages, though. Or cantilever brakes, they work, v's have their advantages. Discs have their advantages too.
    For those willing to dig. There are still options.

    Middleburn makes cranks. I think there are a few others.
    Interloc makes BBs. Shimano UN7X still exist. Again, not many, but if you still want to hold out until all the bugs are worked out.

    I'm tempted by the Dues and some of the European exotica, but it's really hard to give up the Race Face Next and square taper BB combo that still works great.

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  9. #9
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    I'm lucky if I get nine months out of an isis bb. I have recently switched over to American Classic bb's though. They have replacable bearings that can be replaced for just a few bucks. I am using them on two of my bikes. My other bike has outboard bearings. I really like the outboard style, the only downside is the weight.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the feedback...

    I went to ISIS in the first place because I stretched out a square taper crankarm. I think I'll eventually move to the X-type system, but I don't like the fact that the Evolve X-Type is 100g heavier than the Evolve ISIS. For $270 or so you can get the Deus-X, but at that price I'd probably just go for XT. Finally- I've done five years on Shimano Octalink road BB's, and I've never worn one out. With a big pipe spindle and small ball bearings, how does Shimano make it work when Race Face, FSA and Truvativ can't?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sablotny
    So, I used to be a fan of ISIS. With all the ballyhoo it seemed like a great improvement over the old square taper design. I bought a cheap-but-solid Race Face Prodigy crank and $75 Signature XS BB for my old Razorback. My retro friends said "man- tiny bearings- that thing's bound to choke." But I assured them it was the best XC BB Race Face made. Well, in 1 year and 1,000 miles it died. BB's turned to oblong lumps. Race Face wouldn't warranty it (so much for pride of ownership, and the little, initialed scrap of paper to show who built it at the factory). Bought a Hammerhead 100X and put a Race face Evolve XC crank (I'm a big fan of their cheaper cranks) and SRX BB on it. Figured the XS had to be a fluke. Well, 1 year and 874 miles later, the BB is toast. BB's turned to gravel. I'm 190 pounds, never ride in the rain or mud, 16 years experience and I only catch "XC air"- no drops. Is this what I can expect of ISIS? I know the world has moved on to X-types, but I'm not ready to drop $300 for a new getup. If I buy another BB, what should I get? Anything last longer than a year?
    ISIS bottom brackets have to use smaller bearings in order to use the larger spindle, thus they don't handle loads as well. FSA is making a new ISIS compatible outboard bearing bottombracket. Check it out. Otherwise, it's time to drop the cash for a new x-type system. But there are other advantages over ISIS. x-type setups last longer, are stiffer, have better power transfer, etc.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by XSL_WiLL
    ISIS bottom brackets have to use smaller bearings in order to use the larger spindle, thus they don't handle loads as well.
    I keep reading this and, while I don't doubt the truth of it, having had problems with ISIS BBs myself, I'd be curious to know just how much smaller ISIS bearings are compared to the bearings used in other types of bottom brackets.

    So, how about it... does anyone have any numbers regarding the sizes and number of bearings used in ISIS vs the other BB systems? Better still, does anyone have some photos illustrating the differences?

  13. #13
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    I wanted to add... ISIS bottom brackets rarely last more than 6 months for me. I weigh 130 or so, but I huck, so... meh. Consider yourself lucky.

  14. #14
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    The only ISIS bb's I have had good luck with have been FSA. Truvativ and RF ISIS bb's have been terrible for me (~ 3 months or less).

    Also, the American Classic ISIS bb, as said before, has replacable bearings, is EXTREMELY light, and has the bearings as far apart as possible, which helps with the bearing life problem (according to the designer). Other manufacturers bearings are much farther inboard. Never used one though.
    Last edited by toad; 10-08-2005 at 08:51 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sablotny
    I went to ISIS in the first place because I stretched out a square taper crankarm. I think I'll eventually move to the X-type system, but I don't like the fact that the Evolve X-Type is 100g heavier than the Evolve ISIS. For $270 or so you can get the Deus-X, but at that price I'd probably just go for XT. Finally- I've done five years on Shimano Octalink road BB's, and I've never worn one out. With a big pipe spindle and small ball bearings, how does Shimano make it work when Race Face, FSA and Truvativ can't?
    Shimano's V1 octalinks use two needle bearing sets on both sides of the spindle in addition to the two ball bearing units. Honestly I don't know why it never occured to anyone to make a needle bearing ISIS BB. It wouldn't seal quite as well as a standard sealed bearing cartridge unit but I'm sure it would last a heck of a lot longer.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinB

    So, how about it... does anyone have any numbers regarding the sizes and number of bearings used in ISIS vs the other BB systems? Better still, does anyone have some photos illustrating the differences?
    I don't have an ISIS right now to take pics and show the difference but with external bearings they should not only be bigger but theres more of them too.

  17. #17
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    I did quite some research about that Topic lately and I know it's an older Thread, but if anybody's interested:

    Token/New Ultimate/KCNC has a ISIS BB with 3 Bearings, one on the left side and 2 on the chainringside, which helps to make it last longer. ( TK873SC, "3" for 3 bearings )
    The one with 2 bearings is for sub 75kg riders and the one with the 3 for the ones heavier than 75kg, at least that's what Token told me.
    http://www.tokenproducts.com/2005/05...s.php?pc1id=30
    Is exactly the same as this and this one:
    http://www.kenbikes.com/Web/NewWeb/mtbbb.htm
    http://julmtb.free.fr//composants_le...te_108_130.jpg
    ^
    New Ultimate (B-T-P)

    Other than that, Octalink is supposed to be better because of the needle bearings, unfortunately they're all pretty heavy with 200g+.
    Last edited by yellowbook; 11-15-2005 at 07:24 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowbook
    I did quite some research about that Topic lately and I know it's an older Thread, but if anybody's interested:

    Token/New Ultimate/KCNC has a ISIS BB with 3 Bearings, one on the left side and 2 on the chainringside, which helps to make it last longer. ( TK873SC, "3" for 3 bearings )
    The one with 2 bearings is for sub 75kg riders and the one with the 3 for the ones heavier than 75kg, at least that's what Token told me.
    http://www.tokenproducts.com/2005/05...s.php?pc1id=30
    Is exactly the same as this and this one:
    http://www.kenbikes.com/Web/NewWeb/mtbbb.htm
    http://julmtb.free.fr//composants_le...te_108_130.jpg
    ^
    New Ultimate (B-T-P)

    Other than that, Octalink is supposed to be better because of the needle bearings, unfortunately they're all pretty heavy with 200g+.
    RaceFace Evolve Freeride bbs also use 3 sets of bearings. That's the one that lasted the longest for me. I think I got around 8 months on it.

  19. #19
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    Wish this was available in the US!

    check this unit out from SKF bearings. I emailed them and they noted that currently there is no US distributor. All of you shop owners out there, please give these a shot.

    http://www.skf.com/portal/skf/home/p...191006&lang=en
    No dabs allowed!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenK
    Much like threaded forks and headsets, they do work.
    Actually, they tend to loosen over the long term. More safety concerns with threaded forks, much of the time they've dangerously loosened on repairs in the bike shop, threadless setups are much better in this respect, and while there can be a little loosening, it doesn't get anywhere near as bad.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  21. #21
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    If you really want to stick with ISIS and have it last more than a month, get the FSA Gigapipe Team DH BB, it has quad bearings and due to that, holds up a lot better than the other "XC" BBs, which basically don't hold up. I don't know if they still make these, but we're talking about ISIS, and that means short lifespan and the DH BBs have the most going for em.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZmtncycler
    check this unit out from SKF bearings. I emailed them and they noted that currently there is no US distributor. All of you shop owners out there, please give these a shot.

    http://www.skf.com/portal/skf/home/p...191006&lang=en
    Now that is one hell of a link! Thank you!
    I wonder how much they weigh!
    That's how to built a ISIS-BB! God, what took em so long!?

    ================================================== ====

    Well.......google is your friend.....

    Translated with google, but you get the idea!
    Weight sucks, but seems really very durable!
    http://translate.google.com/translat...language_tools
    Last edited by yellowbook; 11-18-2005 at 11:22 AM.

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