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  1. #1
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    Isis or Sqr-taper BB ?

    As you may have read in one of the previous posts, i'm re-building the 5 Spot. I decided to go with a Middleburn crankset (yes, the bike will have some bling.. )(http://www.middleburn.co.uk/cranks.php)
    Thing is, they only come with Isis or square taper interface. I realize both types of BB's are not a big success (or am I wrong ?). Anyway, which should I choose ? I think the square BB's are cheaper and last longer. What are the disadvantages ?
    Thanks
    PM

  2. #2
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    I had nothing but problems with ISIS. My vote if limited to the two would be square.

    If octalink was an option then that would be my choice.

    external is now my favorite though - as long as it is not the crappy raceface version of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by PizzaMan
    As you may have read in one of the previous posts, i'm re-building the 5 Spot. I decided to go with a Middleburn crankset (yes, the bike will have some bling.. )(http://www.middleburn.co.uk/cranks.php)
    Thing is, they only come with Isis or square taper interface. I realize both types of BB's are not a big success (or am I wrong ?). Anyway, which should I choose ? I think the square BB's are cheaper and last longer. What are the disadvantages ?
    Thanks
    PM

  3. #3
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    I'm not sure what the draw is with the middleburn stuff, it's not a hollow crank so it's not going to have the strength to weight ratio of something like a shimano or the other similer cranks out there (FSA). Even the I-beam on the race face cranks has more surface area and should be a better structure (but the race face external bearing interface is not nearly as good). Then consider the bearing problem, ISIS doesn't leave enough room for proper bearings, so they crap out. Bling is nice when it works (like my hope mono M4s), but when there are far better products that cost the same amount it doesn't make much sense IMO.

    Bearings in square taper BBs were pretty good, as they were pretty large, but the spindles couldn't take the stresses of modern riding, and they tended to bend or snap, not to mention the interface was easily destroyed by riding with a loose crank, and the "press-fit" was a PITA.
    "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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  4. #4
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    I've had nothing but good luck with Race Face's Signature FR line of ISIS bb's [I'm trying one of their newer Evolve FR BB's] - Both 4 bearing, w/ little grease ports in the bearing race for occasional lubin'.....

    Guess I'm just one of the lucky ones.........I like the ISIS.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokermtb
    I've had nothing but good luck with Race Face's Signature FR line of ISIS bb's [I'm trying one of their newer Evolve FR BB's] - Both 4 bearing, w/ little grease ports in the bearing race for occasional lubin'.....

    Guess I'm just one of the lucky ones.........I like the ISIS.
    I've had good luck with the Crank Bros Cobalt BBs. No grease ports, but the seals seem to do a decent job of keeping crap out of the bearings.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  6. #6
    JmZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by PizzaMan
    As you may have read in one of the previous posts, i'm re-building the 5 Spot. I decided to go with a Middleburn crankset (yes, the bike will have some bling.. )(http://www.middleburn.co.uk/cranks.php)
    Thing is, they only come with Isis or square taper interface. I realize both types of BB's are not a big success (or am I wrong ?). Anyway, which should I choose ? I think the square BB's are cheaper and last longer. What are the disadvantages ?
    Thanks
    PM
    Between the two - I'd go sqare taper, and I did. (Just picked up another RF Square taper crank.) The intergrated stuff might be a bit stiffer/stronger if you go bigger on the spot, but that would be the only reason I'd decide to switch away from sq tapers. I'm a luddite, and I know it.

    I've ridden ISIS and Square taper and never had problems with either, but pure XC and I don't tend to abuse equipment. Both interfaces are starting to become harder to find.

    Only BB's that I know of for square taper are Phil Wood, Interloc, Shimanos (and they are supposedly) starting to shift downscale and away from the XT level of stuff, or used stuff. Might have some Syncros still available from First Flight.

    Cranks are even harder to find - Middleburn and maybe Cook are the only two square tapers I know of that are decent. Unless you want Alivio level.

    If you do go square - buy a 2nd BB - just in case.

    I don't like the intergrated stuff - it's harder to get the right chainline. Wedded to a propietary BB, and if one part goes bad - time for a new crank! Instead of a $30 BB replacement, it's time for another $150 crankset. Fun. Also a lot harder to make a light setup - gotta pony up front for the whole kit, instead of doing a piece here and there - and no deals to be found. (The Deore hollowtech cranks in square taper were quite a surprise. The arms were pretty light, and a good BB and a good set of rings gave a pretty cheap and a decently light setup.)

    JmZ
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JmZ
    I don't like the intergrated stuff - it's harder to get the right chainline. Wedded to a propietary BB, and if one part goes bad - time for a new crank! Instead of a $30 BB replacement, it's time for another $150 crankset. Fun. Also a lot harder to make a light setup - gotta pony up front for the whole kit, instead of doing a piece here and there - and no deals to be found. (The Deore hollowtech cranks in square taper were quite a surprise. The arms were pretty light, and a good BB and a good set of rings gave a pretty cheap and a decently light setup.)
    I was under the impression that the Shimano, Race Face, and FSA BB's were interchangeable. Replacement outboard BB's are ~$40 if one should fail (and the stock Race Face's certainly do, but I've read wonders about upgrading to Phil Woods or Enduro bearings).

    I'm sold on outboard bearings now ... I just wish the Race Face Atlas and Deus XC I bought years ago were as easily to install as the Shimanos.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JmZ

    I don't like the intergrated stuff - it's harder to get the right chainline. Wedded to a propietary BB, and if one part goes bad - time for a new crank! Instead of a $30 BB replacement, it's time for another $150 crankset. Fun. Also a lot harder to make a light setup - gotta pony up front for the whole kit, instead of doing a piece here and there - and no deals to be found. (The Deore hollowtech cranks in square taper were quite a surprise. The arms were pretty light, and a good BB and a good set of rings gave a pretty cheap and a decently light setup.)

    JmZ
    Nope, if the bearings go bad you buy new cups with bearings, or even just the bearings themselves from enduro, but shimano, RF, FSA and others all sell their BB cups seperately so if one part fails you don't have to buy another $150 crank. You're putting a $30BB on your bike? If you're getting an XT for that price than that might be good, but otherwise I wouldn't put any other $30 square taper BB on there. LXs are tanks.
    "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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  9. #9
    JmZ
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    Still not sold on them, for the above reasons. And looks like I was about $10 off for the interloc's.

    http://store.interlocracing.com/qbqubobr.html

    Can find the XT's on Ebay for about $30. And yeah, putting a $30 disposable part on my bike doesn't bother me.

    The BB is the bearings, and the spindle. Still tied to an intergrated system. Doesn't matter to me if the cups are replacable, that's only 1/2 of the BB.

    Just because it's newer doesn't mean it's better. Might be stiffer, but not as adjustable, not as easy to setup, and not as light. I'm a retro-grouch. I know that. I just want what works - don't want to have to buy a crank and then have to upgrade to Enduro bearings or Hope cups with my 'new' cranks.

    JmZ
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  10. #10
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    ISIS with a SKF BB. Who other to get a BB from than a company who knows bearings.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  11. #11
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    I have been running Middleburn Square taper cranks with Phil Wood Stainless Steel Bottom Brackets on all my bikes...no problems. I like the removable spider and the ability to run different sized chain rings, including a 20 tooth granny.

    Dean

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JmZ
    Still not sold on them, for the above reasons. And looks like I was about $10 off for the interloc's.

    http://store.interlocracing.com/qbqubobr.html

    Can find the XT's on Ebay for about $30. And yeah, putting a $30 disposable part on my bike doesn't bother me.

    The BB is the bearings, and the spindle. Still tied to an intergrated system. Doesn't matter to me if the cups are replacable, that's only 1/2 of the BB.

    Just because it's newer doesn't mean it's better. Might be stiffer, but not as adjustable, not as easy to setup, and not as light. I'm a retro-grouch. I know that. I just want what works - don't want to have to buy a crank and then have to upgrade to Enduro bearings or Hope cups with my 'new' cranks.

    JmZ
    Do you run drum brakes on your bike and car?
    "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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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokermtb
    I've had nothing but good luck with Race Face's Signature FR line of ISIS bb's [I'm trying one of their newer Evolve FR BB's] - Both 4 bearing, w/ little grease ports in the bearing race for occasional lubin'.....

    Guess I'm just one of the lucky ones.........I like the ISIS.
    Do you need to pull the cranks or BB to use the grease ports?
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  14. #14
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    ill back up jayem on this 1. square taper b/bkts were heavy, flexed like mad and broke when pushed to todays limits. square taper cranks were usually no lighter over all, flexed badly in comparison to hollowtech 1's and 2's, even isis, with both former setups bein no more adjustable than the current crop of 2 piece cranks w/ outboard bearings. less so really.

    the octalink xtr 952's were as good as it got in a 3 piece configuration but even those had drawbacks. the semi silly ring/spyder design was light but had a totally propriatary build, 46/34/24 and soft rings. this can be fixed with a bolt on spyder in 4 and 5 hole compact drive w/ yer choice of rings. once done, they are sweet and ill be runnin it yet again on a bike bein built very very soon.

    im not a big fan of some of the new 2 piece cranks cuz theyre so difficult to set up, bearing quality completely blows and they can create chainline issue as ya say. the shimanos fix all of these probs but again, the rings are soft so yer forced to replace early. if yer smart, youll avoid shimano rings the 2nd time around. the stiffness provided by a single huge di spindle and massive bearings placed so close to the crank arms is beyond argument. the weight is way down and the strength is way up. serviceability is increased and tooling is simpler too. this is a win/win. of course the cost of the latest xtr is insane but xt is still a helluva value.

    nuthin wrong with bein retro but blamin current proven technology for it is misguided. yer other major mistake with ignorin it is these older style systems will be very hard to find replacement parts for in the near future.

    heres some weights for ya. all based on a 73x113 config:
    xtr 970 hollowtech 2 w/ b/bkt and rings = 780g
    xtr 960 hollowtech 2 w/ b/bkt and rings = 797g
    xt 760 hollowtech 2 w/ b/bkt and rings = 860g
    turbine lp w/ xt un72 b/bkt and xt rings = 870g (drop 75g for a tnt ti b/bkt = 795g)
    xtr 952 w/ octalink b/bkt, 4 bolt spyder and xt 760 rings = 903g (w/ stock rings = 908g)
    sylo team w/ isis b/bkt and rings = 915g
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  15. #15
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    I've been running the ISIS FSA Team Issue Carbon cranks that came with my Flux 3 1/2 years ago and the arms and chainrings weigh in at 590g IIRC. The FSA Ti ISIS BB comes in at about 190 with bolts, so you can get the full crank and BB to come in at under 800g. I was running it with the AC ISIS BB for a while, but like so many other things things that AC makes, it is underbuilt and goes through bearings way too quickly. It is about 40g lighter than the Ti FSA BB though. All in all, I do prefer the 2 piece setup. It will be interesting if/when you start seeing more MTBs with the new BB30 setup. That would seem to address the major problems that people have with the external bearing setups.

    Note: I did weigh all of these parts with a gram scale. These are not manufacturer numbers.

  16. #16
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    FWIW - I'm a big fan of Truvativ cranks and never had any issues with the external bearings, but I can swear my Shimano UN54 square taper spins more freely with the RF Turbine LP than my 07 Stylo 1:1.

    I will probably pop for the Phil Wood when the UN54 craps out b/c I could not find a good UN72/73 new. Either way - I'm quite happy with the square taper on my Sultan.
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