Saturday, July 9, 2011

Plusses and Minuses

Old-tech versus new-tech...old-school bottom brackets and hubs versus sealed bearings.  Which is better?  Why?

I have conflicting thoughts about loose bearings and sealed bearings in bike parts.  I appreciate the low-maintenance aspect of cartridge bottom brackets, but they don't spin as smoothly, or as easily, as a well-adjusted loose-ball bottom bracket.  I can't help but think that the added resistance I feel when I turn the spindle in a sealed bottom bracket must translate into more effort to pedal the bike.  And, the same thing would apply to sealed-bearing hubs, I suppose.

That might seem like a small amount of effort, but I think it might add up to a significant amount over the course of a Tour de France stage, or a 24-hour mountain bike race.  Would it be an advantage to a rider in a race field full of riders using cartridge bearings, to use loose balls?

Apparently, Shimano must think so.  Out of all the wheels, in all of the price ranges, that Shimano has ever produced, none have used precision sealed bearings. 

Yet, they introduced cartridge bottom brackets to the world, in the mid 90s.

Apparently, the engineers at Shimano have conflicting thoughts about loose bearings and sealed bearings in bike parts, too.

x

1 comment:

  1. The efficiency loss versus maintenance gain favors the Shimano approach, though less with external bb bearings.

    ReplyDelete

As always, sorry about the word verification. It's a necessary evil, unfortunately.