ISIS bottom bracket bearings

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Raph
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ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby Raph » 13 Jun 2017, 6:31pm

Does anyone know which ISIS bottom brackets have replaceable bearings? I don't mind that they don't last so long as long as I can replace them, unlike Shimano UNs which last so long I don't mind having to chuck those out when worn.

Specifics: I have a Stronglight ISIS bb in Italian thread on its second set of bearings. The LH cup has rusted into the frame, the remover has completely sheared off the splines. I'm going to try a few more tricks but it looks so far as though it ain't going nowhere without getting destroyed. There's a fair amount of life left in the bearings but when they finally die I'll have to cut a slot in it to get it out, unless I leave the seized cup as a permanent part of the frame and keep removing the axle from the drive-side end, which I don't really want to do as I'd like to save the threads before they completely corrode into dust... also because future replacement bearings might need adjustment of the LH cup.

So the two issues are:

a) I can't find another Italian thread ISIS BB, and:

b) if/when I do I'd like it to be one on which I can replace the bearings, same as this Stronglight one, cos as has been copiously mentioned, the thinner bearings don't last as long, but I don't mind that as long as I can keep replacing them.

Can't find any of that in an search, lots of ISIS bb's but nothing in Italian thread. Stronglight website has two ISIS models, but says nothing about Italian thread.

PS. A slightly worrying amount of rust had accumulated at the BB so I waxoyled the inside of the frame, using a schutz gun with a compressor and a neoprene hose to shove up the tubes, similar to how I do a car's chassis. It's a really nice 80s Bottechia that I've always loved and keep going back to even after carbon fibre and alu frames, so I'm quite keen to keep it alive!

Brucey
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Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby Brucey » 13 Jun 2017, 8:34pm

maybe there are exceptions, but the ISIS BBs that I have seen with replaceable bearings have all used weird bearings that are expensive and/or difficult to find. They are also filled with incredibly tiny balls which are more prone to damage and wear than larger ones.

So my suggestion is that if you are in for the long haul with this frame, it would probably be best if you just got another crankset, which uses longer lasting bearings, and that you sort out the frame out properly. If you are going to have one cup locked in an Italian threaded frame, it should be the RH one; being RH threaded, it is otherwise liable to come unscrewed by itself anyway....

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

tim_f
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Joined: 12 Oct 2009, 10:37pm

Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby tim_f » 13 Jun 2017, 10:11pm

Have you considered one of these -

https://www.velovitality.co.uk/collections/transmission/products/skf-bottom-bracket-isis

I have got a British threaded one on one of my mountain bikes for many years. (got it when they were cheaper)

Tim

Raph
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Joined: 13 Mar 2007, 8:14pm
Location: Banbury

Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby Raph » 14 Jun 2017, 1:37am

The shortness of life of the bearings really doesn't bother me as long as I can replace them - as I mentioned this BB is on its second set of bearings, that's since 2011, they're going a bit noisy now when the axle is spun with the cranks removed, but they're still smooth under load. They were readily available as spares at the time from Spa Cycles... but now you mention it, I can't seem to find them again. It's possible that nobody does that size of bearing any more in which case fat lot of use if they're replaceable!

"If you are going to have one cup locked in an Italian threaded frame, it should be the RH one" yes indeed... but I don't have the luxury of choice, the LH is the one that's stuck! But since the RH one has the locating flange, at the next set of bearings the LH cup may have to move... at which point it's toast.

Thanks for the link to the SKF one - very tasty! However the price is making my eyeballs pop out of my @r$€.

The thing I like about the ISIS system is the rigidity, the outer ring never grinds on the front mech when you're giving it the beans, but I know that's been sorted even better by more recent designs so I've already ordered a Sram Apex with external bearings as a backup plan. I know those aren't reckoned to last that long either, but at least they're replaceable. ...for now...

Thanks for the replies!

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Gattonero
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Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby Gattonero » 14 Jun 2017, 8:26am

There used to be the American Classic using a CrMo spindle and replaceable bearings, though not sure how many they did with ITA thread.
Stronglight could be your friend, their ISIS bb's would use double-row replaceable bearings. The replacement bearings can be found at the Enduro Bearings, those guys are oten life-savers!
http://www.enduroforkseals.com/id233.html

Though I would advise to make some proper drifts, it is easy to knock them in a bad way.
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

Raph
Posts: 576
Joined: 13 Mar 2007, 8:14pm
Location: Banbury

Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby Raph » 14 Jun 2017, 2:27pm

Thanks for that Gattonero, just tidying up some drawers full of old junk I just found a brand new pair of Enduro bearings I'd forgotten about! They're marked DR-21531, turns out they're easily available now I know what they are!

Trouble is... if the LH cup has to be cut out, I might still be giving up on the whole system unless I can find another BB in Italian thread, or at least a spare cup. I might even machine the inside surface out of another cup with a currently smaller diameter, I've got a couple of Shimano cups from long-dead BBs, if only I can find an accurate enough way of getting the right inside diameter. It's beyond the capabilities of my pillar drill but I might manage it on a lathe. It's a challenge!

amediasatex
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Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby amediasatex » 14 Jun 2017, 3:05pm

Thanks for the link to the SKF one - very tasty! However the price is making my eyeballs pop out of my @r$€


Bear in mind that SKF offer a 10 year warranty on them including the bearings, and from the few I've encountered that are over <5 years old and still perfect it's probably a warranty you won't need anyway...

How regularly were you putting new bearings (at what, £5 or £10 a pop?) into your existing one?

Raph
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Location: Banbury

Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby Raph » 14 Jun 2017, 3:59pm

I can't remember what they cost, but they currently seem to be around £20-£25 a pair. I've since found a third one - meaning I reckon I only replaced one side, and one of the bearings on the axle now must be an original from 6 years ago. My miles are mostly split between three bikes, but this one has done well over half the total, so doing quite well considering. Even including what I've paid so far, I'm only at half the cost of the SKF, and given I've already got spare bearings for another few years I might as well persevere. Having said that, if I can't find or adapt a replacement cup, it won't be a choice I can make.

I have a spare Stronglight JP400 here, the LH cup fits the bearing perfectly (31mm diameter), sadly though it's English thread (aaaargh!).

I think I've got a chance of grinding out a shimano LH cup to the right diameter, especially as it's plastic. Keeping it dead straight is gonna be a challenge though. I realize the easiest & cheapest option is to move with the times and modernise the whole lot, but I hate chucking out good gear just cos one little component has died... I admit it's an obsession!

Thanks for all the replies!

tim_f
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Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby tim_f » 14 Jun 2017, 4:57pm

would a cup from a new stronglight square taper Italian thread bb fit the body of your existing ISIS Stronglight BB ?

Have you phoned SPA Cycles and asked if a ISIS Stonglight Italian thread BB may be ordered from Stronglight ?

(always best to phone SPA rather than e-mail in my experience)

Raph
Posts: 576
Joined: 13 Mar 2007, 8:14pm
Location: Banbury

Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby Raph » 14 Jun 2017, 6:47pm

tim_f wrote:would a cup from a new stronglight square taper Italian thread bb fit the body of your existing ISIS Stronglight BB ?


Well, funny you should mention that as I've ordered a JP400 in Italian thread from Spa, hoping that the cup dimensions are the same as the JP400 English thread that I've got here. It's only £20 inc post and if it doesn't work out I still have uses for it on other bikes.

tim_f wrote:Have you phoned SPA Cycles and asked if a ISIS Stonglight Italian thread BB may be ordered from Stronglight ?

(always best to phone SPA rather than e-mail in my experience)


Yes, I emailed them and got no reply so I rang them, partly to ask about the Twister cups, they were very helpful and measured them there and then, which is how I know they don't fit.

I only asked if they had any ISIS Italian thread BBs, (they don't). I didn't think to ask them if they can get an Italian thread ISIS BB as a special order, but since they didn't offer I kinda accepted that as drawing a blank.

However... the Stronglight website does say the Twister ISIS comes in Italian thread, so I might hassle various suppliers to see if I can get one. Thanks for giving me the idea!

I still haven't totally given up on getting the LH cup out without destroying it - I think I might file or grind some sharper edges onto the remover to make them more like teeth, and then clamp it to the cup so here's no flexibility for it to slip. Previously I used a big G-clamp, but even that was too flexible and the remover slipped, stripping the splines...

I haven't had a saga like this for decades!

Raph
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Location: Banbury

Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby Raph » 14 Jun 2017, 6:56pm

Great - found this: https://www.xxcycle.com/stronglight-bot ... al,,en.php

But they only have 118mm, I need 108mm! So near yet so far... :cry:

Raph
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Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby Raph » 14 Jun 2017, 11:45pm

Meanwhile, those with a squeamish disposition look away now...

Image

Human - 1, Bicycle - 0. But not without monumental hassle.

The threads in the shell are still good cos I stopped cutting just short of biting into them, and broke the cup by bashing it inwards. I've got a plastic shimano cup in there now, ground out to a larger inner diameter, with an old Royce lockring to locate it for preload, and loadsa grease on the threads. This is just a temporary measure till I find a proper LH cup, or even a whole BB for it, so I'm not going to risk any long rides on it to start with, though in the past I've sometimes had stuff run perfectly for years that was only meant to last for a week, so who knows.

(Conversely I've also occasionally had stuff run for only a week that was meant to last for years, but the less said about that the better!)

NB all that rust has only taken a couple of years to accumulate, so that's a salutary lesson to myself on the importance of greasing threads. I thought I had a rock solid procedure of always doing it, but obviously must have forgotten on this occasion.

Brucey
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Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby Brucey » 15 Jun 2017, 12:34am

FWIW there are any number of (mostly cheap and rather horrid) square taper BB units that are fitted with cups that have a 31.0mm ID. These are made by such brands as Sun Race, Neco, RPM, Token, Tifosi etc. and start around £10. These BB units all use the same size of cartridge bearing, so all have the same size cups. However finding one with Italian threads is rather more of a challenge. I had a quick look and I turned up this one;

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/bottom-brackets/101-tifosi-bottom-bracket-with-70-mm-carbon-shell-campagnolo-italian-thread/

which is a lot of money for just the cups.....but maybe you can do better than this with a better search...?

cheers
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Raph
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Location: Banbury

Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby Raph » 15 Jun 2017, 2:04am

Hey thanks for that - that's effectively what I'm hoping the JP400 will do that's coming in the post. I've desperately got my fingers crossed that the Italian thread version uses the same 31mmOD bearings!

Annoyingly I have old Campag, Royce and Hope BBs here in Italian thread, but they're all 30mm.

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Gattonero
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Re: ISIS bottom bracket bearings

Postby Gattonero » 15 Jun 2017, 8:51am

Can't remember is FSA ISIS bb's would swap cups with Stronglight ones, for sure they have removable cups on Rh & Lh side. Try find a used BB of those
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...