Bottom bracket is a crucial component for any bicycle. Only when it works properly, generating propulsion through cranks and pedal, the bicycle moves forward in a smooth fashion. But this component though, by itself is very simple, is available in number of variants. It becomes very difficult for the buyer to choose the right one. The bottom bracket on a bike essentially plays the role of connecting the frame and the cranks, which are not manufactured by the same company. The interface to the frame is varied, and on the other hand it is crucial to check with the crank compatibility. If you want to build a custom bike or replace a damaged bearing, you need to have an understanding of what goes with what.
Use search filter to find the right bottom bracket
Go to any cycling expert to find what search filters to use to narrow down on the right bottom bracket. You can start with the shell width, or axle type or the assembly type. You will fill the right bottom brackets irrespective of the order of the search filters. There are many unique filter options that will give you the desired results. Carry a foldable measuring stick or tape to take its measurements. Better if you have a vernier calipers. To take all the measurements, make sure the frame is not installed with a bottom bracket. You can skip this step if you have the documentation provided by your manufacturer.
The Shell Width
It is easy to measure the bottom bracket shell width, even when it is installed on the frame. Take any measuring instrument and measure its length from right to left without the spacers or bearing cups. Bottom brackets can be fitted to different shell widths with the help of spacers. The bike fitters, usually take this factor into account. Once the selection of shell width is done, the number of filters is reduced and hence becomes manageable.
With the assembly type filter, you can narrow down to a specific bottom bracket after you have decided on the shell width. Unfortunately, there is no uniformity in terminology as manufacturers always release installation dimension with their own names into the market. The terms are always abbreviated. While in some cases the numbers refer to diameter of the bottom bracket, in other cases they refer to axle type or bottom bracket shell width. What you should look for is compatibility of bottom bracket and the shell of the frame. The terminology differs in two respects – assembly type (ie., screwed in with threading or pressed in without threading) and latestforyouth diameter.
Bearing type and quality
With changing price options, the compatible bottom brackets and frames differ hugely in quality and the type of bearings. These days cartridge bearings are widely used which are nothing but encapsulated bearings. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions to achieve optimal performance for your bike. As they are made with a variety of materials like stainless steel and ceramic, choosing the one suitable for your habits and usage pattern is suggested. If you wash your bike often or use the bike in rain aand if you are looking for smooth rides, nd on flooded roads then stainless steel is the best option. On the other hgo for ceramic bearings.