Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Review: Wheels Manufacturing BB30 Outboard Bottom Bracket

Review: Wheels Manufacturing BB30 Outboard Bottom Bracket

“BB30 is a race to the bottom.”
— Anonymous Park Tools Mechanic

(2017) It’s hard to have any sort of street cred among cycling groups when the moment comes to quicken the pace and a dreadful sound is emitted from my bike. I have mentioned my experience at the Trexlertown Derby several years ago when, on a humid day and with the group picking up speed, the creaking sound of a bottom bracket could not only be heard but also felt. I made the one-hour trip to try my luck only to pull myself out due to embarrassment.

 

Several times I had the bottom bracket serviced. When mentioning I had a BB30, the look of “Sucker” reflected back from the mechanic. Compound was smeared into the bottom bracket, the tool snapped them back in place, and I was told to stay off the bike for 24 hours to let it cure. To have a bike that cannot be ridden for an entire day is ludicrous in and of itself. Rainy days and humid days were the Achilles heel for this shoddy design. I entered into a rotation of creaking, fixing, waiting, riding for a bit, and then the return crunching sound. I yearned for the old days when threaded bottom brackets were standard and could be easily serviced in the unlikely event of creaking.

  The bottom bracket prior to install looks almost too nice to put into the recesses of a bike.

The bottom bracket prior to install looks almost too nice to put into the recesses of a bike.

Perhaps my desires have been answered. It was suggested recently that I ditch the bearings and spacers and try a Wheels Manufacturing outboard bottom bracket. The idea that the cups threaded together grabbed my attention. The ease of installing – meaning easy maintenance – intrigued me. The lack of the need for a bottom bracket tool was certainly a plus. And finally the bold color of red, to match the Chris King hubs, was the final selling point.

 

This next sentence is a pleasure to write: I rode home after the installation without a single creak amidst humid conditions. I did not have to stay off the bike for 24 hours, let alone one hour. The ride home was peaceful. Yet the best part was watching the spacers and bearings get jammed in the trash at the bike shop. So long awful creaking bottom spacers and bearings!

  The bottom bracket installed after fewer than three minutes. The outboard part of the bottom bracket is visible when riding. The spacers have been replaced by the outboard part of the bottom bracket. 

The bottom bracket installed after fewer than three minutes. The outboard part of the bottom bracket is visible when riding. The spacers have been replaced by the outboard part of the bottom bracket. 

Should you find yourself with a BB30 bottom bracket, consider the Wheels Manufacturing Outboard Bottom Bracket. They price them out starting at $74 and run all the way up to $175 for ceramic bearings. Wheels Manufacturing comes in just under the price of a Chris King bottom bracket before purchasing the matching Chris King spacer adapter pack. Both, though, are made in the United States. Having held the Wheels Manufacturing bottom bracket for a bit, it is certainly a thing of beauty. It’s a shame almost all of it is hidden. The engineering of this part is beautiful. Luckily I have the outboard portion to look down at.

 

Perhaps Chris Froome has a Wheels Manufacturing Outboard Bottom Bracket, and we’ve had it wrong all along. He’s not staring at his stem; he’s admiring his Wheels Manufacturing outboard. I don’t blame him if that’s the case. 

 

Cyclists who own a Cannondale bike are finding out Wheels Manufacturing and Cannondale frames are not compatible. Unfortunately if you have a creaking bottom bracket BB30 in a Cannondale frame, you will not be able to use this device. 

Events: Rapha Rising 2017

Events: Rapha Rising 2017

Events: Tour of the Catskills (and Why You Should Do It)

Events: Tour of the Catskills (and Why You Should Do It)