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  1. #1
    meow, meow.
    Reputation: J. Random Psycho's Avatar
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    SKF bottom bracket failure?

    Hi there,

    I've been running an SKF BFR-600 ISIS bottom bracket, 128 mm axle, since mid summer 2009, on my street trials bike. I expected it to last quite a while.

    2 days ago, after yet another 2.5 hours riding at -24 Celsius, I noticed that suddenly lots of contaminated (or just graphite?) grease came out from the left side, where the axial seal is located. This was by far not the first ride at such temperatures - in fact, this whole winter has been like this.

    The BB still spins freely, but I suspect it's shot and bearing seizure will ensue this spring in all the mud. Speaking of mud, I didn't expose this unit to lots of it. All those (unavoidable) ice melting mixtures they litter the streets with could have played a role, anyway.

    Anyone with experience of similar behavior?
    Is it really a failure?
    Between low temperatures and ice melting powders, what could have caused it?
    26" faithful.

  2. #2
    Just a flesh wound
    Reputation: Prophet Julio's Avatar
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    Wow

    I have the same BB (actually the BXC-600) and never a problem. But I have not used it in such temperatures..

    It has a good warranty, so you can probably get it replaced for free. I suspect that ice expansion pushed the grease out, but no water should be in there. I ride mine in deep water and mud all the time.

  3. #3
    meow, meow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prophet Julio
    I have the same BB (actually the BXC-600) and never a problem. But I have not used it in such temperatures..

    It has a good warranty, so you can probably get it replaced for free. I suspect that ice expansion pushed the grease out, but no water should be in there. I ride mine in deep water and mud all the time.
    Under circumstances expected by designers, I agree that no water should have penetrated the axial seal. I googled it up a little and found that people jet wash their SKF BBs with no ill effects thereupon. And I never jet wash my bikes.

    I think I'll take a break from ISIS, hopefully never to come back. Next try: an 83 mm external BB crankset with Race Face 68/73 mm shell spacing kit. This is to achieve good chainline with the granny against a Hope Pro 2 Trials hub running 6 smallest cogs from a 8 or 9 speed cassette.
    Last edited by J. Random Psycho; 02-25-2010 at 12:16 PM.
    26" faithful.

  4. #4
    Just a flesh wound
    Reputation: Prophet Julio's Avatar
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    I didn't want say it

    But I pressure wash mine as well. SKF is probably the best bearing manufacturer in the world. I am in the construction equipment business and they are extremely well regarded.

    I would send it back for replacement. They have a replacement warranty that is within your time limit.

    I have done many races with mine. It has been on my Prophet for almost 3 years and it is flawless. Sounds like a seal failure to me. The graphite look sounds like water contamination.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Random Psycho
    Hi there,

    I've been running an SKF BFR-600 ISIS bottom bracket, 128 mm axle, since mid summer 2009, on my street trials bike. I expected it to last quite a while.

    2 days ago, after yet another 2.5 hours riding at -24 Celsius, I noticed that suddenly lots of contaminated (or just graphite?) grease came out from the left side, where the axial seal is located. This was by far not the first ride at such temperatures - in fact, this whole winter has been like this.

    The BB still spins freely, but I suspect it's shot and bearing seizure will ensue this spring in all the mud. Speaking of mud, I didn't expose this unit to lots of it. All those (unavoidable) ice melting mixtures they litter the streets with could have played a role, anyway.

    Anyone with experience of similar behavior?
    Is it really a failure?
    Between low temperatures and ice melting powders, what could have caused it?

    Freeze thaw cycles, with road salt etc, has a way of getting through seals...

  6. #6
    meow, meow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    Freeze thaw cycles, with road salt etc, has a way of getting through seals...
    Looks like it.

    What's strange is that the super-protected SKF seals failed earlier than lots of simpler ones, like those used in FSA Platimun Pro (ISIS), various Shimano square taper, Octalink and Hollowtech 2 BBs, etc.

    Serves me right, I bought this unit based on my own speculative reasoning that Swedish hardware must have been designed with sub freezing temperatures in mind.
    26" faithful.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Random Psycho
    Looks like it.

    What's strange is that the super-protected SKF seals failed earlier than lots of simpler ones, like those used in FSA Platimun Pro (ISIS), various Shimano square taper, Octalink and Hollowtech 2 BBs, etc.

    Serves me right, I bought this unit based on my own speculative reasoning that Swedish hardware must have been designed with sub freezing temperatures in mind.

    What finally worked for me is Enduro seal hybrid ceramic bearings and cups for an XT HT II crank....

    The enduroseal has on outer seal then the bearing the bearing has a non contact double lip seal....(so do Boca ceramic hybrids)....

    Works for me I ride all winter down to -35 C with Chinooks etc.

    Plus it is eady to get at the seals and re-grease etc.

  8. #8
    meow, meow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    What finally worked for me is Enduro seal hybrid ceramic bearings and cups for an XT HT II crank....

    The enduroseal has on outer seal then the bearing the bearing has a non contact double lip seal....(so do Boca ceramic hybrids)....

    Works for me I ride all winter down to -35 C with Chinooks etc.

    Plus it is eady to get at the seals and re-grease etc.
    Exactly. That's another big reason to decisively abandon the ways of ISIS.
    26" faithful.

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