Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bottom Brackets & Pedals

When I think of bottom brackets, the first brand that comes to mind is Phil Wood.  For years they have been the go to manufacturer for almost indestructible bottom brackset, but I have also been reading about an even older bottom bracket manufacturer that I'm also considering using.

Phil Wood Bottom Bracket, Stainless Steel, 197g + 34g cups

SKF have been a part of cycling since the 1940's, supplying bearings for Campagnolo and builders Alex Singer and Rene Herse.  Their bottom bracket as with the Phil uses a sealed cartridge design, but uniquely uses roller bearings on the drive side.  SKF also uses larger ball bearings on the non-drive side which increases the durability of the bottom bracket greatly, so much in fact that SKF offers a 10 year or 100,000km warranty!  

Exploded diagram of SKF bottom bracket

The SKF bottom bracket may not be as pretty as the Phil Wood, but you'll almost never see the shinny bits anyway.  As well, the SKF uses a standard install tool and the cups are included, unlike with the Phil.  The Phil BB has a small weight savings over the SKF, but that is accompanied with a higher cost.

SKF Bottom Bracket, 240g

What I find most interesting about both of these bottom bracket manufacturers is that neither have a primary focus on cycling per se.  What I mean by that statement is that was a Phil Wood himself was not an avid cyclist, but was a talented machinist who set out to create a superior bottom bracket and hub designs.  Similarly, SKF, aside from this bottom bracket is almost exclusively a bearing manufacturer.  In fact SKF was recently about to cease the manufacturing of this bottom bracket until Jan Heine of Bicycle Quarterly fame stepped as SKF's world distributor for. 

MKS Sylvan Pedals, 390g

The last part to accompany the crankset are pedals.  I have used several different designs from early Shimano mountain bike/BMX pedals, MKS quill and track pedals.  I am likely going to stick with my favorite pedal on this bike though which is also made by MKS, their sylvan or touring/cyclocross pedal.  For my foot they are the perfect width and I love the fact that they are double sided.

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