What BB for SS CX?

Hello there learned ones,

I’m about to pull the trigger (intended) on some new parts for my specialized tricross singlecross and can’t decide which bottom bracket to buy. I’m trying to keep the build light, but it also needs to be tough. So far I’ve got Stans rims that I’ll
Lace to WI hubs and I’m also gonna get WI cranks. What I’m currently tossing up between is a Phil wood bb or WI Ti bb. Which of these is toughest and is there another option I should be considering? Wanna place my order for the WI stuff tomorrow so I’d appreciate any feedback possible.


Trig… the parts you are building with are vastly starting to eclipse the frameset!

I would go with something that is a little cheaper to replace, just cos cross BBs always shit themselves. But that’s just me.

Why square taper cranks? Wouldn’t getting something like shimano cx70’s to an external hope or CK bottom bracket be more durable/sensible.
This is just an idea/what I might be doing on my bike.

You speak the truth. I’d upgrade the frame but I can find a ss cx bike that I like more than the singlecross, so it’ll stay until something radder comes along. Also, I think the upgrade on this is gonna be a bit more more than twice what I paid for the bike.

would you consider building a WI ENO rear hub and use a frame with vertical dropouts? It would open up the potential for even more really nice frames, and would then allow you to convert to geared if you ever changed your mind… more and more newer frames are going to BB30/PF30 BB’s too… which give you greater crank choices…

that also opens up the option of a single speed enabling ‘beer components - eccentric BB30’ BB aswell!

oh the choices…

And it’s simple to swap the eccentric ends/axle to a straight axle, and to change OLD spacings. And they’re very shiny.

And because the ENO has a ~47mm chainline you can use a road crank/BB with the ring on the outside. I’ve done this for years - it’s a great setup.

Blakey will chime in but my understanding is titanium bottom brackets are notoriously unreliable and break. Bad place to save weight. From memory don’t skf make hardcore sealed bb?

This is a more helpful post. I’m currently leaning towards getting a Phil Wood BB as I’ve heard they are tuff as. As for getting a geared frame and running it ss, I don’t wanna do that. I also dint want to run geared components in my ss. I like the WI cranks because from what I’ve heard they are super tough and they weigh a lot less than other ss cranks out there. I’ve also found a place that’ll get me a front WI hub, freewheel and crank/chainring delivered for $440, so I figure that’s pretty good bang for my buck. I’m interested to hear more from peeps about the benefits of getting a kick ass bb vs getting a cheap one and replacing it often.

Fair enough. I don’t think it makes a huge difference. FWIW, I’ve used numerous BBs over the years and all id say is that sealed bearings are a must. Beyond that I haven’t really seen any notable differences, and I’ve ridden them submerged and through all sorts of shit. I like the Shimano UN5x and UN7x BBs because theyre not expensive and they last very well, IME.

I can vouch for Phil Wood BB. I’ve run one for years on TWBD rides, couple seasons of CX and various hijinks that have had the BB submerged in muddy water. Still spinning smoothly and I’ll be racing it again this year at DDCX. I’ve never regretted buying it.

Further to the SKF BB, it sounds pretty durable, you can buy it from Harris Cycles:

Bicycle Bottom Bracket Parts from Harris Cyclery

SKF sets a new standard for bearing life and overall durability!
They feature larger bearings than any other sealed cartridge bottom bracket.

Precision-made in Germany
BAS Model (Spindle taper is JIS)
Patented seals to keep out water and dirt.
All parts, including the bearings, are made from corrosion-free stainless steel and aluminum.
Roller bearing on drive side for higher load rating
Extra-large ball bearing on non-drive side rolls directly on spindle and in shell
10-year warranty includes bearings.
Fits 68mm or 73mm BB shell width. Only lengths 113mm and up for 73mm shell.

For mounting the bottom bracket, we recommend using an ISIS-type tool like the Park BBT-18

Available spindle lengths: 107mm, 110mm, 113mm, 116mm, 121mm, 126mm

Square taper BBs will outlast Ext BB cups IME. Can’t speak for PF/BB30 just yet. The SKF BBs are excellent, Commuter Cycles stock them in Melbourne.

Pure Ti BB spindles are flexy. Noone does this anymore. That said, I wouldn’t want to run a cup&cone BB for CX unless you like rebuilding every month.

Using an eccentric wheel or a PF/BB30 frame with Beer Components / QBP eccentric BB opens up so many awesome frame options. Not using a geared frame for SSCX is wrongheaded, is it the sight of the cable guides that puts you off? (Get a frame with replaceable dropouts, 1 set track end, 1 set vert?)

I’d wager that Ultegra compact hollowtech cranks (880g with two rings & BB) are lighter & stiffer than WI ENO cranks, (arms 540g, BB 226/162g, rings ~200g), but I know how important the ‘completeness’ of your parts aesthetic is.

I’ve looked for an excuse to buy a phil or SKF but have yet to kill the second hand UN91 I’ve been riding in all weathers for the past 5 years.
UN91 is no longer available new but the UN55 comes with alloy cups both sides (none of this plastic shit)

I would have thought that it would be smart to run a ST over an EX BB for a singlespeed - more chainline maniulation and better sealing as Blakey says. The best cheaper BB that I have used are made by Tange. They’re JIS so will work with the ENOs. Could be good for Muddy CX no?

The ENOs can’t be all bad if Garth Weinberg can win the SSWC with them on his Niner Air 9. Needless to say they’re pretty popular in SS circles.

much nicer than a Shimano for the same dough

Haven’t seen these around. So $30.00 price point?

Best mechanic I’ve known (sometimes but rarely posts here) rates the plastic cups… so long as you know how to tighten without cracking.

I am currently using white ind steel, un72 and un54 bbs and all of them are perfect. The UN72 is old, old, old, has been hammered and is great. The white ind outspins the others.

I was under the understanding that external BB cups last longer than internal/sq taper ones - larger bearings and further apart? (with all other things being equal)

I expect to be proved wrong.

yup. Fantastic piece of cheap kit. I have one on my track bike (much better than the UN54 and sealed Sugino BBs it replaced) and recently built a friend’s SS with these mated to ENO cranks.

Those ENOs are suprisingly light - probs due to their spiderless design

One word. Sealing. :frowning:

My Shimano Ex BB sounds like a pepper grinder at the end of each winter.