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  1. #1
    Bike Snob
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    Splined vs square taper vs x type

    I want to hear your reasoning behind what kind of bottom bracket you use for the SS.
    I am running a shimano XT right now because that's what I had in the garage. Ultimately I don't think that it will hold up so I would like to plan ahead. I am specifically looking at the Middleburn uno for the replacement so any thoughts would be helpful.

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  2. #2
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    I just replaced a crankset on my trail SS this winter with a square taper/ Eno setup.
    I've yet to ride it, as the trails are still snow covered here.
    I've used all three types of BB in the past. All have their respective strengths and weaknesses. All work pretty well. What you need to ask yourself is, "what do I want from this setup?"
    I went with square mostly b/c I really wanted the Eno crank. It's not the lightest crank, or the blingest, though I think the square taper ENO/ IRD BB setup will provide excellent stiffness, simplicity, weight and aesthetics at a pretty reasonable price. I've always had good luck with square taper BB's. They last forever, are generally well sealed and have "balls" that are not so easily crushed by the rigors of SS. They are not the lightest or stiffest option, though they're not bad in either of those departments AND I think the BB will last longer than ISIS or X type.
    ISIS is cool, too. I've never run it SS, but have on my full suspension. It is a cartridge, so it is well sealed and generally avoids the muck that x type deals with. The balls are small though; anemic even. I had to replace an FSA Platinum Pro (pretty pricey, compared to square) BB after two years on my geared bike. I would think that the increased forces of SS would exacerbate the deterioration of the bearings. If you don't mind replacing the BB occasionally, it proves very stiff.
    X type is great. If you spend the money on a nice crank, then spring for an King BB when the OEM one is fried, I think it could be the ultimate setup. I have found that less expensive external BB's do tend to get crunchy pretty quickly. Yeah, the best chainline you'll get is 50mm, compared to 47.5mm with an ENO, though q factor is not the most important thing I look for when choosing a crank/BB setup. I guess the reason I didn't go with x-type when I made the replacement was price. I sunk all of $225 into a new ENO and good quality square taper BB, which I think will be very reliable. That same $225 on an external or ISIS setup would likely be followed up by a BB replacement within a season or two.
    This said, I run a 970 XTR crank/BB on my Blur. When the BB goes, I'll spring for a King. This is a bike where I really want the lightest and stiffest, damn-the-price. I'm not so zealous with my SS; I prefer bomber reliability there.
    Last edited by BurkeVT; 03-20-2009 at 11:22 AM.
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  3. #3
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  4. #4
    Neg reppers r my biatches
    Reputation: FoShizzle's Avatar
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    the only advantage of old skewl square taper are that they make people look more "street" within the ss culture when bragging about their gear ratios at the trailhead while wearing cutoff jeans

    dont get me wrong, i have run ENO and Middleburn w/ Phil Wood BB and those combos are the bomb, especially for a girl of my weight of only 175 lbs...but i struggle to justify, evne in my retarded mind, that it makes more sense from a practical perspective than newer external BB setups that i currently run. Having said that, aint nothing wrong with middleburn or ENO as they both rock

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle
    the only advantage of old skewl square taper are that they make people look more "street" within the ss culture when bragging about their gear ratios at the trailhead while wearing cutoff jeans

    dont get me wrong, i have run ENO and Middleburn w/ Phil Wood BB and those combos are the bomb, especially for a girl of my weight of only 175 lbs...but i struggle to justify, evne in my retarded mind, that it makes more sense from a practical perspective than newer external BB setups that i currently run. Having said that, aint nothing wrong with middleburn or ENO as they both rock
    I was hoping that you would chime in. For the last couple of years I have been living my life from a "what would Fo do?" perspective and I have to say that I have never been happier.
    I probably won't pull the trigger on the Middleburn until the XT's go bad. So if I am wrong, which has happened before, and they last forever then I will be extolling the virtues of the external BB for SS to everyone that will listen.

  6. #6
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    Square Taper: It works. It can have some problems with rounding out the taper and may not feel as stiff. High quality cranks and bottom bracket make for a really good combination, however, and is unlikely to have much of a problem. Unless you're tiny, go with the stainless Phil Wood spindle and not Ti. Any length spindle you want.

    ISIS: Big spindle, little bearings, shorter life, not as popular. I think it will eventually die out in favor of the modern outboard bearings. Not a whole lot of choices in spindle length.

    Outboard: Stiff, strong, big bearings. Truvativ bottom brackets suck, but the Shimano compatible is good. The only real problem is difficulty in setting chainline. If you use a cassette hub you'll be just fine. You may have to use spacers behind the cups to shift the chainline, thus giving you an asymmetrical crank position. Probably not even noticable.

    That said, I run an M970 XTR crankset. It's awesome.

  7. #7
    Neg reppers r my biatches
    Reputation: FoShizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by can't get right
    I was hoping that you would chime in. For the last couple of years I have been living my life from a "what would Fo do?" perspective and I have to say that I have never been happier.
    I probably won't pull the trigger on the Middleburn until the XT's go bad. So if I am wrong, which has happened before, and they last forever then I will be extolling the virtues of the external BB for SS to everyone that will listen.
    haha...well it sounds like you have had much better luck living the Fo values than I have!

    in truth, its really really tough to beat middleburn or ENOs as they frankly just look more *****in on a SS though "functionally" aint no way in hell anybody is gonna convince me they are better than some of the newer shizzle. My 960 XTRs are by far the most robust feeling cranks and while i dont need the extra stiffness that they supposedly provide, it doesnt hurt

  8. #8
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    Better to have a rilly nice square taper (Phil Wood BB, Eno crankset, ie) set up than a poor external bottom bracket. If my Shimano UN73 ever dies (been waiting 7 years now), that's what I'll go with, because I know that'll be the last time I'll ever have to futz with it. That said, everyone sez how much the FSA ones suck mightily. I don't have any experience with them in the SS milieu, but the ones on my Spesh roadbike were still nuts on after several thousand miles, when I sold the roadie. I'm a big, heavy Clyde, but I tended to spin more than mash on that bike, so that might've been a factor.

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