Custom frame bottom bracket question (PF30 vs standard)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What does the builder recommend?

  2. #2
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    Custom frame bottom bracket question (PF30 vs standard)

    I'm considering ordering a custom titanium 650b frame that I plan to keep for a long time. Should I go with a 73mm standard bottom bracket or a PF30 bottom bracket? To a reasonable degree, I am willing to sacrifice weight and/or stiffness for durability and long term compatibility. I am 220 lbs with gear. I can be a pedal masher at times.

    Which one should I go with and why?

    Thanks in advance.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMcG View Post
    What does the builder recommend?
    I'll ask, but I'm hoping to get a few different opinions here as well.

  4. #4
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    Compatability is a tricky thing to predict. Bottom bracket standards seem to be constantly changing. But the standard bottom bracket seems to stay around even as all these various oversize bearing styles come and go. If it were me I would go with the standard bottom bracket, simply because no one oversize style has taken hold, so there is no predicting the future. Also there are cups available (Hive and Zipp I think) to run these oversize cranksets on a standard BB shell.
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  5. #5
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    I suppose either option will still be useable in 25 years?

  6. #6
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    Go with the newest standard as that is most likely to be supported for the long haul. And with the PF30 stuff, you can insert cups to go to any other standard that may pop up.

    Good luck.

    mk

  7. #7
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    Ask your builder

    He/she will probably have a strong opinion about this question. Oversized shells (whether PF30, BB30, BB86/90, etc) have some advantages for big folks on ti frames, since there's a bigger area to attach a big fat downtube. But dealing with building a frame for them can be a huge PITA (post-join boring of bearing seats sucks... especially if you screw up even a tiny bit and it ruins the whole frame.)

    I would not worry about 25 years down the road. You will be tired of the bike in 5-10 years and end up with something else even if you're the type who holds onto bikes for a long time. The average high-end bike is re-sold in something like 18 months!

    -Walt

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I would not worry about 25 years down the road. You will be tired of the bike in 5-10 years and end up with something else even if you're the type who holds onto bikes for a long time. The average high-end bike is re-sold in something like 18 months!

    -Walt
    Hey Walt, thanks for your input. I understand your logic completely. While "getting tired of it" is a possible scenario for me, I doubt it. If I like the geometry, I don't know what I'd get tired of in a custom geometry hard-tail titanium frame. Especially if I already think titanium is the bees knees. That eliminates fit and material, so the only other factors I can see being a problem down the road are where things connect to the frame, like head tube, bottom bracket, etc. (Or, if 650b dies off, I might not be able to find wheels!)

    I currently have a titanium cyclocross bike with middle of the road components (think X9) and Stans Crest wheels. I'm in the market for a custom Ti bike because I think it's the best long term value, not because I can afford to go through custom titanium bikes every 5 or even 10 years. I have no desire for the latest and greatest components despite being in the market for a high end frame. I'm emphasizing durability and geometry over other performance factors, and spending $1,000 more for titanium seems like a deal when you look ahead 20 years.

    I guess my next question for folks would be... Is it too soon to consider a high end custom 650b frame at this time? How much risk is there of 650b losing all support from manufacturers?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pwd81 View Post
    I guess my next question for folks would be... Is it too soon to consider a high end custom 650b frame at this time? How much risk is there of 650b losing all support from manufacturers?
    I think in this economy it is really hard to predict. Due to the low volume of parts a 650b is going to be more expensive than a 26er or 29er, so that can hurt sales right now. Its also hard for companies to take the risk of putting money into the size not knowing if they will get a return. There are plenty of good signs i.e. new rims from Stans, Velocity and Pacenti, more bike models from KHS and Jamis, and of course the rumor floating around that a big manufacturer is going to jump onboard. But there are some bad signs too, Haro dropped 650b, tires (other than Pacenti) are hard to get, and still few fork choices. I actually am buying spare tires and rims so that I can get by for a while if the size starts to dissappear.
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  10. #10
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    Let me clarify...

    Take a look at what an awesome mountain bike looked like 10, 15, 20 years ago (let alone 25) and think about whether you'd still want that bike as your primary ride today - the answer, of course, is that unless you're an insane retro grouch, you wouldn't. Do you still see people riding their Stumpy, or Fisher, or Breeze from 25 years ago? Sure, but those people only drag it out to show it off - for an everyday ride, they're on a Carbon Mojo HD, or a Niner, or whatever.

    Even if you did want the exact same bike, a lot can change about your body and riding habits in a few decades. Stuff you think nothing of hucking yourself off might not seem like such a good idea when your kids are getting ready to go to college (I could of course have that backwards!) - or you could get a back injury and need a totally different geometry. Or you could move to a location where your existing frame geometry isn't perfect, etc, etc.

    IMO 5 years is about as long as you should *expect* to keep riding any bike. Accidents/crashes, changes in lifestyle or riding habits, new incompatible equipment, or any number of other factors are likely to make you want a new bike eventually. If there's anything I've learned from being in the bike industry, it's that there is no such thing (for anyone reading this website, anyway) as a "last bike I'll ever buy". We are all addicts!

    -Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by pwd81 View Post
    Hey Walt, thanks for your input. I understand your logic completely. While "getting tired of it" is a possible scenario for me, I doubt it. If I like the geometry, I don't know what I'd get tired of in a custom geometry hard-tail titanium frame. Especially if I already think titanium is the bees knees. That eliminates fit and material, so the only other factors I can see being a problem down the road are where things connect to the frame, like head tube, bottom bracket, etc. (Or, if 650b dies off, I might not be able to find wheels!)

    I currently have a titanium cyclocross bike with middle of the road components (think X9) and Stans Crest wheels. I'm in the market for a custom Ti bike because I think it's the best long term value, not because I can afford to go through custom titanium bikes every 5 or even 10 years. I have no desire for the latest and greatest components despite being in the market for a high end frame. I'm emphasizing durability and geometry over other performance factors, and spending $1,000 more for titanium seems like a deal when you look ahead 20 years.

    I guess my next question for folks would be... Is it too soon to consider a high end custom 650b frame at this time? How much risk is there of 650b losing all support from manufacturers?

  11. #11
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    i still like my 90s klein attitude and my early 90s homegrown FS. and i got lots of new nice stuff to compare with.

    i am having a ti 29er build right now and i have had the pf30 discussion with the builder. i decided to stay with regular bottom brackets because
    - pf30 may not stay even if it appears to be still growing right now
    - pf30 distance between bearings is shorter than with a conventional set up. even if the axle is bigger, this has a negative impact on the stiffness.
    - pf30 is using plastic cups between bearing and frame. it may work, but IMO no plastic is still the better solution. i have BB30 set up on one of my bikes and it is a PIA.
    - conventional bottom brackets will be around for a long, long time

    650b: i have a 650b custom frame with 425 chainstays. i can ride the frame as well with 29er wheels and 2.0 tires. take 430 or 435 chainstays and slightly lower bottom bracket height and you will have generous clearance for 650b and a fall back position for 29er wheels. BTW, I doubt 650b will disappear, but it for sure will take time. europe will first have to get used to 29ers ...

    hope this helps

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Take a look at what an awesome mountain bike looked like 10, 15, 20 years ago (let alone 25) and think about whether you'd still want that bike as your primary ride today - the answer, of course, is that unless you're an insane retro grouch, you wouldn't. Do you still see people riding their Stumpy, or Fisher, or Breeze from 25 years ago? Sure, but those people only drag it out to show it off - for an everyday ride, they're on a Carbon Mojo HD, or a Niner, or whatever.

    Even if you did want the exact same bike, a lot can change about your body and riding habits in a few decades. Stuff you think nothing of hucking yourself off might not seem like such a good idea when your kids are getting ready to go to college (I could of course have that backwards!) - or you could get a back injury and need a totally different geometry. Or you could move to a location where your existing frame geometry isn't perfect, etc, etc.

    IMO 5 years is about as long as you should *expect* to keep riding any bike. Accidents/crashes, changes in lifestyle or riding habits, new incompatible equipment, or any number of other factors are likely to make you want a new bike eventually. If there's anything I've learned from being in the bike industry, it's that there is no such thing (for anyone reading this website, anyway) as a "last bike I'll ever buy". We are all addicts!

    -Walt
    Didn't mean to say it would be the last bike I would buy. It would hopefully be the last hard-tail mountain bike that I buy for a long time. I have a titanium cyclocross bike, an 8" travel downhill bike, and a 6" travel all mountain bike. Of those three, I expect to have the cyclocross bike well beyond 5 years from now. Full suspension aluminum bikes not so much. I don't think it's unreasonable to keep a custom titanium frame that long, unless bike builders are lying about titanium's properties. The diamond frame shape seems pretty proven, looking back 5, 10, 20 years and beyond. So again, my only worry is where the components attach to the frame, like the bottom bracket.

    Injury will have to remain a wild card. The only thing I fear is planned obsolescence by bike manufacturers.

    All that said, I understand the point you are making and the perspective you are coming from as frame builder who has seen the buying habits of many over time. I would not shock myself if I didn't keep it for 20 years. But I'd like to have that option.

    And yes, I am trying my hardest to become a retro grouch. It seems like a much better alternative to keeping pace with the Specialized marketing department.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailbildr View Post
    Go with the newest standard as that is most likely to be supported for the long haul. And with the PF30 stuff, you can insert cups to go to any other standard that may pop up.

    Good luck.

    mk
    Not !! PF 30 is a pita with no upside,you can only run sram unless you use an adapter...treaded is old school with all the upside of new school

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hellocook View Post
    i still like my 90s klein attitude and my early 90s homegrown FS. and i got lots of new nice stuff to compare with.

    i am having a ti 29er build right now and i have had the pf30 discussion with the builder. i decided to stay with regular bottom brackets because
    - pf30 may not stay even if it appears to be still growing right now
    - pf30 distance between bearings is shorter than with a conventional set up. even if the axle is bigger, this has a negative impact on the stiffness.
    - pf30 is using plastic cups between bearing and frame. it may work, but IMO no plastic is still the better solution. i have BB30 set up on one of my bikes and it is a PIA.
    - conventional bottom brackets will be around for a long, long time

    650b: i have a 650b custom frame with 425 chainstays. i can ride the frame as well with 29er wheels and 2.0 tires. take 430 or 435 chainstays and slightly lower bottom bracket height and you will have generous clearance for 650b and a fall back position for 29er wheels. BTW, I doubt 650b will disappear, but it for sure will take time. europe will first have to get used to 29ers ...

    hope this helps
    Listen to this guy,he's right !! plus he's a great e bay customer !!

  15. #15
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    Standard BB
    It's been a standard for 115 years for a reason.
    I love PF so I can have a 2" o.d. bb shell on my aluminum bike since I use 2"dt and ht already. I have enough misgivings about a threadless non metal-metal interface that we are going to make super oversized internally relived threaded shells that you can thread proper, standard bearing cups into for Shimano/Campy stuff and/or any bottombracket made since the Black Hand stuck a bullet in Franz Ferdinand.

    PF30 isn't horrible, but it's not something that I'b very happy to use on my personal made-out-of-metal that I paid for bike. A pair of $200 BB30 cranks aren't quite as smooth as a pair of standard bb cranks. There may be white papers out there that prove me wrong, but it's certainly a consensus among bike shop employees in the NorthEast. Normal cranks adapted down to use BB30 bearings are going to notice that same drag.
    PF shells are great for campy since Campy provide metal(not plastic) cups for the reducers which have their great, properly sealed bearings stuck into them. No creek, no crunch.

    No Campy for mtb though. The bearings you use for bb30(6806) aren't very well sealed. No matter how hard you try you will always be using a 6806 with one type of adapter or another. In an offroad environment that is going to be more maintenance, escpecially in wet or muddy conditions. For a bike that you want to have for a long time going with a proper English bb shell with a myriad of high-quality bearings is going to be the way to go.

    I make custom customers really beg hard for PF shells, even 200 pound sprinters . I don't want them blaming the creaks they hear on me! All of my new production road bikes have them though. That market has gone mad for that stuff and the hype is to deep to fight.

    edit re: 650b in the future...
    Tire molds are opening up as we speak, more stock models, etc.
    But- It doesn't really matter. A great 650b bike is still going to be a great 26" bike. Take a bike that "was designed" for 650b wheels and stick 26" wheels and the only thing that you'll notice is that you have a lower bottom bracket height, but still a height that is within reason of real-world use. I like my bikes with both sizes from day to day sometimes.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuspectDevice View Post
    Standard BB
    It's been a standard for 115 years for a reason.
    I love PF so I can have a 2" o.d. bb shell on my aluminum bike since I use 2"dt and ht already. I have enough misgivings about a threadless non metal-metal interface that we are going to make super oversized internally relived threaded shells that you can thread proper, standard bearing cups into for Shimano/Campy stuff and/or any bottombracket made since the Black Hand stuck a bullet in Franz Ferdinand.

    .
    L O V E the Franz Ferdinand reference...great band!

  17. #17
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    One advantage is that with BB30 or PFBB30 you can run adapters to run whatever crank you want.......even adapters for singlespeeding.

    It's all personal preference really. There is no real bad option here.

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