Why is a bottom bracket so called?

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keyboardmonkey
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Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby keyboardmonkey » 19 Jul 2015, 11:35am

Just that, really. There's no actual bracket, is there? Or am I missing something?

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 19 Jul 2015, 11:46am

NA Thinks Just End 2 End Return + Bivvy
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keyboardmonkey
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby keyboardmonkey » 19 Jul 2015, 12:04pm

Ta, Natural Ankling. I read much the same thing on Sheldon Brown, the bit about hanger being the American term for bottom bracket. But as Wikipedia says it's not an actual bracket. So why the term? Because a one-piece Ashtabula affair is shaped a bit like a bracket of some sort? If yes, odd that the term continued in use.

Colin_P
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby Colin_P » 19 Jul 2015, 12:12pm

It'd make more sense being;

Pedal axle housing for the frame.
and
Pedal axle assembly for the actual gubbings.


Could the bottom bracket term come from the evolution of the bike where possibly old frames needed an extension, a bracket, to provide location for the pedal axle. When I say old frames I mean those predating the modern safety bicycle?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_bicycle

Look at the "Cogent safety cycle Nr.18" picture on the right hand side of the wiki link above for example. That shows an extension or what could be termed bracket.

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Mick F
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby Mick F » 19 Jul 2015, 12:29pm

If there's a bottom bracket, there may have been a top bracket or even a middle bracket.

I wonder if these terms had something to do with the early 19th century bicycles?
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Brucey
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby Brucey » 19 Jul 2015, 1:06pm

it is quite possible that this is yet another word that we have nicked from elsewhere, and then mangled into some form of English word, even if it doesn't quite make sense. One possibility here is that it is actually derived from the French word 'braguette' which (amongst other things) meant 'codpiece' and survives today as 'fly' (in trousers).

The French have named all kinds of bike parts in a tangential fashion, e.g. handlebar stem = 'potence' ( normally used as a synonym for gibbet or gallows). I can just see how a load of early safety bicycle frames (eg cross-framed designs) hung up on hooks in the factory, with these odd protrusions sticking out of them, could have acquired a kind of jokey name that stuck, that then got mangled into English.

This is just an idea BTW; I have no supporting evidence for this hypothesis.

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Audax67
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby Audax67 » 19 Jul 2015, 1:21pm

Hum. The French term for a bottom bracket shell is "boîtier du pédalier", a boîtier being pretty well a box or housing and the pédalier being the chainset.

But to muddy the water, the term braquet means the development, e.g. 50/11 or 39/27. Mettre le grand braquet means to go up onto the outer chainring with malice aforethought. So there is a vague connection with bottom bracket.

All these terms seem to derive from the Latin brachium, or arm, which maybe puts a bit of a handle on it: ref moment arm, "the length between a joint axis and the line of force acting on that joint" say Wiki.

What I find illogical is that the article is actually a composite of shaft and bearings. The French just talk about axes, roulements, or cartouches.

Languages are all mongrels.

FWTW I don't think the French ever pedalled with their codpieces, delivered frozen by Findus or not.
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby Vorpal » 19 Jul 2015, 1:25pm

I think it orginally referred only to the tube into which a bearing assembly and crank axle were assembled. It was, therefore a mounting bracket for the bearing and axle. I think the term has changed, even since I first had bicycles as a kid to incorporate more than just that little bit of frame.

It must be Shimano's fault ;)
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pete75
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby pete75 » 19 Jul 2015, 5:26pm

Early(1885) Rover Safety bicycle. Note how the chain set axle and bearing assembly is mounted below the frame tube presumably attached by some form of bracket.


Image

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Mick F
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby Mick F » 19 Jul 2015, 5:31pm

Yes, that's my thinking.
The steering is one bracket, the saddle and post is another one, so the lowest bracket is the bottom bracket.
Mick F. Cornwall

LollyKat
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby LollyKat » 19 Jul 2015, 5:33pm

Mick F wrote:If there's a bottom bracket, there may have been a top bracket or even a middle bracket.


Bracket - something to hang or mount something on.

Bottom bracket - to distinguish from light bracket, pump bracket??

I wonder when the term 'headset' came in?

ukdodger
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby ukdodger » 19 Jul 2015, 9:32pm

I think it's derived from the lugs used to hold the frame together as per Mick F's post. It then spilled over to refer to the mechanical bearing for the cranks. The actual 'bottom bracket' lug is now referred to as the 'bottom bracket shell' which rather cements the name 'bottom bracket' to the bearing for all time!

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gaz
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby gaz » 19 Jul 2015, 10:29pm

Any worthy explanation should begin "In the High and Far-Off Times the Bicycle, O Best Beloved, had no bottom bracket ..." :wink:
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JamesE
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby JamesE » 20 Jul 2015, 2:32am

Vorpal wrote:I think it orginally referred only to the tube into which a bearing assembly and crank axle were assembled.

See How a Bicycle is Made, filmed in the Raleigh factory. Skip to about 3mins 25s, and the Expert Chap refers to the lugs as "bracket pieces" and the BB lug as the "bottom bracket". So yes, that seems to have been the terminology in 1945. Also, earlier, around 1min 30, you can see a design diagram which refers to the entire lug+bearings+axle as the "bottom bracket assembly".

(Which leads me to wonder if the word "lug" came in later or if "lug" and "bracket piece" were interchangeable for a while).

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Audax67
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Re: Why is a bottom bracket so called?

Postby Audax67 » 20 Jul 2015, 7:37am

Now here's one, from Chambers that leans towards Brucey's surmise:

[16c in noun sense 5: from French braguette, ultimately from Latin bracae breeches.]

However, "sense 5" refers to "a small projecting support, usually of stonework, eg in the form of a scroll." Seems like we're back to codpieces again.
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