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What Are Bottom Bracket Bearings?

The bearings are the part that enables rotation. The bearings can either screwed or pressed into the BB, which are referred to has threaded and press-fit respectively. The threaded variety are more common, with the most common variant being BSA or the English threaded bottom bracket standard. There is also a less common Italian threaded version.

Press-fit bearings came about with the rise in popularity of carbon frames. Since you cannot cut threads into carbon fibre, an alternative means of seating bearings was needed. The solution was to literally press them into the frame. There are benefits to this method, including more freedom for designers, and stiffer and lighter frames. However, this method gave rise to a multitude of different standards, incompatible with each other.

How to Install Your Bearings

As the name implies, threaded bearings are screwed into the frame; this is a relatively straight-forward process. Press-fit bearings need to be pressed into the frame with special tools that squashes them in from either side. While threaded variants will require specific tools, the process is generally simpler.

Bear With Me

Bearing maintenance should be a somewhat regular activity, at least on a seasonal basis. The signs it might need some attention are creaking, a gritty feeling when pedalling, and play in the cranks. A little bit of grease can go a long way.

Replacing Your Bearings

When it does come time to replace your bearings, you’ll need to check the manufacturer’s specifications to see what bearings or cups you need. Unfortunately, there’s quite a wide variety so you need to be sure you’re getting the right part.