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Newbie BB Servicing Question...should be a quicky.

CookPassBartridge's picture

By CookPassBartridge - Posted on 04 October 2010

Hello all. Just a quick one, I'm trying to service my BB... but after watching a few youtube videos about it, I don't think it may be sealed for life and unserviceable.

What do I mean by that? Good question. So, I've taken the BB out of the bike and it looks like one of these:

I was hoping I could take the bearing out, soak it to give it a good old clean, re grease and reinstall. However, once it's off the bike it looks like there is a 'cup' inside another cup, and doesn't look like I can dismantle it.

Looking at the spec sheet (Gary Fisher Paragon 2009), it says my BB is a "Shimano External Cups", does that mean I can't service it?

All advice accepted and please assume I know nothing.


spudatm's picture

You have an external bottom bracket. I think you can put new bearings in but its a bit of a pain. Considering you can pick up new bbs for 70 bucks is it worth servicing?

CookPassBartridge's picture

Thanks Spudatm,

for 70 bucks... it's not a deal breaker. But hate the concept of throwing something serviceable away. Not really a money thing, just trying to my homage to the god of bearings...

Discodan's picture

I picked up a BB for my Sub 10 for $12 so mad not to. Looks like there's a couple there that may fit yours depending on the crankset you've got

CookPassBartridge's picture

Thanks Torpedo7. Odd that you have the same username as the website. Does that get you a discount? Happy to change mine to suit.

Cheers though. She's making a nasty grinding noise under load. Time for a change.

Discodan's picture

Nope, I'm just plain old DiscoDan. No association with Torpedo7 apart from spending too much money with them

Buck's picture

You can get a Hope branded BB. They are serviceable and come in bling colours Smiling

CookPassBartridge's picture

Thanks Discodan... it was I who was confused... had a few beers last night and my reply was performed through the fug of hangover. Hence me mis-reading the subject (Torpedo 7) as your username.

I know, rubbish from me.

CookPassBartridge's picture

I saw those bling BB's... At least it would give me an excuse for going slowly round Manly Dam... I'm not exercising... I'm cruising and showing off my bling bike...

leopafe's picture

Follow the instructions at
Just be careful where removing the plastic cup that sits on the bearing as they break easily.


CookPassBartridge's picture

Thanks for the link Leopafe, interesting... it looked like my 'cups' were not dismantleable (I know that's not a real word).

Interestingly, as per the web link, my BB's say 'Do not disassemble', which is clearly being ignored to great effect in the pictures!

daveh's picture

They are cheap to replace but I recently took mine apart and gave it a service and, with the right tools, it was dead easy. I thought I would give this a go before purchasing a new one or sending it to the LBS as a self-service was still the cheapest option and I like tinkering with the bike. After giving it a good clean (I did not pop the bearings out of the cup, just gave them a clean) and applying a coat of grease to the relevant parts it feels like I have an extra gear or two.

I used Zinn and the Art... and the following video for guidance:

BTW, yes, mine also had the "do not disassemble warning".

CookPassBartridge's picture

Thanks Daveh, after reading your comprehensive guide, I'm feeling bullish about giving it a go.

One question... what do you use to clean your bearings in situ? Presentably some sort of spray degreaser? Would my Citrus degreaser (I use for cleaning cassette and chain) work? And if so, how long do you leave it to dry out (as I'd imagine a residue from the degreaser is the last thing you want in your bearings once they're all greased up and ready to go)?


daveh's picture

As I understand it, the bearings are sealed and lubricated and you don't want to risk getting degreaser in and washing the lubrication out. I found that simply wiping the outside with a clean rag with maybe the tiniest bit of degreaser on it was more than enough.

It's only the grooves in the sealed bearing unit that get sand in them and wiping while spinning it completely cleaned it out and it was running without feeling like there was sand or grit in there at all. The rest of the bracket I wiped out, again, clean cloth with a bit of degreaser. If the bearings still feel as if they have sand and grit in the them the best bet would probably be just to replace the sealed bearings altogether as they are cheap as.

Citrus degreaser is fine, unlike your chain and cassette, there really isn't that much grease to wipe off so it's not too much of an issue. Mainly just getting that sand and grit out of there and then a bit of grease to seal it up as much as possible without making a mess.

CookPassBartridge's picture

Thanks Daveh, so when you say:

"the bearings are sealed and lubricated and you don't want to risk getting degreaser in and washing the lubrication out." so I guess my blasting it with bleach and Cif was a bad plan?

Okay, not really... I'll give it a bash and let you know. Might even give it a go tonight as it's been literally hours since I last tinkered with my bike!

daveh's picture

I hear you, I have a few new parts arriving and am itching the get them in! I don't have a bearing tool so just left it in the cup and cleaned it up and it was fine.

Buying and replacing parts is pretty cheap and the labour from the LBS is also not too expensive but if you like tinkering, the tools I have so far have cost me far between $50 and $100. Already had a torque wrench so with these new tools I have all the main things covered. A copy of Zinn and my laptop and I am set.

CookPassBartridge's picture

Hey Daveh, I'm sorry to hear about your itching... I'd get that looked at if I were you. (Terrible joke, sorry).

I received the following from Wiggle (just to clarify, it wasn't a lovely surprise gift from Wiggle, I did order them ):

Chain Whip and funny tool for removing a rear cassette
BB External Cup spanner thing with a funny tool on the end of it for removing that little black star thing from inside the pedal cranks (as you can see, I know all the terminology)
Outer cable clippers for replacing gear shift cables
new, nobbly tires.

I near sprinted home from work when they arrived to play with the tools. I love that whole dismantling and remantling...

Next thing to tackle is the bearing in the rear wheel hub. The cassette free wheeling is sooo stiff it's unreal. Know any good sites for that?

"Hope" do a good you tube video, but I think my bearings differ, plus they use special tools for this.

daveh's picture

Last week's task was the bb and this week's task has been the rear hub. Bicycle tutor was my friend for getting stuck into the rear hub, the following two vids were particularly useful as was the following basic article for something to read through first,

I have not quite got this singing as yet, after some advice from the guys at City Bike Depot, it sounds like my rear cassette and middle chain ring need replacing. Bought some parts there and have others on order - hoping to have these delivered before the weekend or its back on the roadie for me.

The itching? Well, AussieButtCream is everyone's friend for that!

hawkeye's picture

to leave that last sentence alone!

Brian's picture

Aussie Butt Cream is awesome.

......'s picture

you can pop the bearings out of the external bb cup, take it down to a local bearing shop and buy replacements. There is a serial number on the plastic grease seal on the bearing. Get a rubber mallet and slowly bang the new one into place. I've done this a couple of times with headsets and BB's. Pretty easy and heaps cheaper than buying a new bb

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