BB spindle feels a little loose/has movement

[first time building-thought i would learn as i built]

Hey guys, i’ve done a couple of searches about BB’s and also sheldon brown’d but am just getting more confused, and intimidated by horrible BB’s.

I got a frame a couple of months ago from an old dude, and all i can say is that it’s about 15-20 years old. It was in great nick and the bottom bracket looked a bit newer.

I dismantled it, cleaned, re greased and reinstalled the BB with some cranks.

It seemed to go fine, however when i tightened the lock ring to an extent i started getting resistance. Pretty sure this is natural so i left it at a tightness where the spindle rotated smoothly.

Now, the spindle has about 2-3mm give/movement/rattle which shows up significantly on the cranks.

Will this go away if i just tighten the BB more? or is this normal on older BB’s?

It seems to be the most noticable when the cranks are horizontal to the ground.

Spindle feels a bit loose. Why?

Thank you in advance

Mj :slight_smile:

I’m not too sure why your spindle would be moving, but I assume the BB is looseball? If so, it might be an idea to invest in a sealed catridge BB. They stay a lot cleaner and are a less of a hassle.

Anywho, I hope you can solve your problem.

Yeah it is =]~

Would i be able to find out what thread my new BB would have to be on the current one i have?

P.S~ Should i grease the spindle area where i put the cranks on?

tighten the cups? tighten lock ring?

Would i be able to find out what thread my new BB would have to be on the current one i have?

If you take it down to your Local Bike Shop, they should be able to tell you what thread it is.

P.S~ Should i grease the spindle area where i put the cranks on?

Always a good idea.

+1… Axle is knocking = BB cups loose = tighten BB.

Left hand thread on drive side + right hand thread on NDS = English thread
Right hand threading on both sides = Italian or French.

If you have Italian or French, due to RH threading, they are prone to loosening unless sufficiently tightened. The technical term for the torque requirement on these BBs is FT.

Thanks all~ I’m going to try what san and jasey told me to, but if i fail i’ll go sus out my LBS.

Mj :slight_smile:

I disagree, you don’t need to and shouldn’t grease the spindle. I just use a bit of anti-seize to make sure it doesn’t get stuck on.

There is a small risk with greasing a square taper spindle that you over tighten the holding bolt and push the crank too far onto the spindle. this has the result of splitting your crank arm.

The risk is small, but for me not worth.

So, I’m with antman - I dry mine with a cloth to ensure any grease from backing the BB is removed.


I had this issue with my unsealed BB’s. I wrapped teflon trape around the non-drive side cup (on the threads) and this has helped it from unscrewing that little bit.

But yeah, do it the cups up tight and tighten the lock ring. The resistance you feel with your hand isn’t even going to be noticable when you’re pedalling.

Ah awesome~ Looks like i’ll still be able to keep this BB~


Just invest in a cartridge.
Loose ball BBs are rubbish, hence why they have been superceded.

As for tape on the threads, if you have your tension correct in your BB lockring, this is not required, and is just asking to get into your ball bearings.

You shouldn’t need grease on your spindle, as long as you own a crank puller, and i have not seen a quality crank ever split from over tightening on a square taper, but that doesn’t mean it isnt possible

the issue is not splitting the crank, its forcing the crank too far onto the spindle, making the hole too large, hence crank will loosen and is stuffed.

dont use grease.

I’d prefer to use this BB simply because i can imagine finding the right thread size on my bike being a headache.



Mj, stick with the BB you’ve got. No point replacing it if it still works. When it eventually does need replacing, I wouldn’t be so worried about finding the right thread type. I’ve got 3 frames around 15-20 years old and they all have standard english threading.

I think I know what you’ve done. Sounds exactly like something I did once.

Are the ball bearings completely loose or are they held in bearing cages?

The first time I put an old bottom bracket back together, I put both bearing cages in back-to-front. It still spun, but no matter how much I adjusted the cups, I couldn’t find that sweet spot where it spun smoothly but had zero jiggle.

Duh. This was obviously because instead of a nice cone-ball-cup sandwich, I’d made a cone-ball-cage-cup sandwich. This explained the slight grinding feeling. Nasty.

Luckily I called up my dad and he explained the nature of my idiocy, and he told me to switch them round. (Though not before i’d gone down to the sprints night and done a few k’s in bucketing rain with jiggly cranks…)

If this is what you’ve done the cage is probably a bit squished, but it’s quite soft steel so you can easily bend it back. Or go to the shop for new bits.

I found a pic of what I’m talking about, though I don’t how this person managed to mangle the cage so badly.

I’ll have another crack at what’s happened…

when you tightened the cup in, and then put the lockring on, did you have a tool on the cup at the same time as tightening the lockring? if you didnt, and tightened the lockring, i’d say the cup tightened too… and felt stiff, so you backed it off a bit, which made the lockring not so locking. Its a stab in the dark, but from what i read, its a chance.

So make sure you have your pin spanner still located on the cup while you have your lockring tool tighening the lockring. hold the cup in place and crank on the lockring with a load of manpower… you have to tighen it HARD… but youre not tightening the cup… you’re just holding the cup in place. You can even start with the cup slightly tight and as you’re tightening the lockring, turn the cup out a bit against the lockring.

Loose ball BBs and headsets are still kickarse, and i would love to see a well adjusted nuovo record bb go head to head on a spin test VS a ceramic new cartridge set up.

good point, would be easy to do.

also that’s assuming you have a pin spanner. if no pin spanner, the ends of some needle-nose pliers usually work pretty well. just kind of need three hands to hold it still…

I thought I was the only one that uses that ghetto set up!

oh man someone should start a ghetto bike repair thread… and if they do i’m going to have to take trip to my old man’s shed and get some photos of the carnage.