MOBI > Bottom Bracket "Standards"

Here is a one-piece crank and bottom bracket for a child's bicycle made by Roadmaster.

ic3081.025.jpg  

This appears to be an ordinary OPC bottom bracket shell, but is about 43mm ID and about 65mm wide, where an ordinary OPC is 51.4mm ID and 68mm wide.

Which begs the question: how does this mini-OPC improve on the standard size? There are no obvious clearance issues where the extra 9mm diameter of an American OPC would be problematic, likewise the extra 3mm of width. And while there is slightly more material cost in the larger shell and bearing races, a usual rule of thumb is doubling volume drops cost by 5%, and the volume of American OPC shells, bearings, etc., is huge compared to the volume of this, so despite the higher material cost the overall cost of standard OPC is likely lower.

The great thing about standards is there's so many of them.
— Unknown
Shoot me now! Shoot me now!
— Daffy Duck
... now offered in all popular thread formats including British, French, Italian, Swiss, Chater-Lea and Stripped.
— Andrew Muzi, circa 1979
We don't need a new 'oversize' bottom bracket standard. We already have an 'oversize' bottom bracket standard, it is called Ashtabula/OPC.
— Chalo Colina
strandard: when your bike uses some wacko-size "proprietary standard" part, it breaks, and (being a wacko size) you cannot get a replacement so you are stranded.
— Pardo

Here are some bottom bracket shell sizes. American Astabula/OPC and ISO are by far the most common, with Mid increasingly common on BMX bicycles.

nameattributesnotes
American OPC ("Ashtabula") 51.3mm bore, press-in; shell 65mm or 68mm wide. 2
BB30/Cannondale SI 41.96 mm bore for interference-fit 42 mm bearing (6806). Shell 68 mm wide ("road") and 73 mm wide ("mountain"). Bearings located with circlips. Fits spindles 30 mm OD. 1
BB30A, BB30-83 Ai 41.96 mm bore for interference-fit 42 mm bearing (6806). Shell 73 mm wide ("road") and 83 mm wide ("mountain"). Bearings located with circlips. Shell is asymmetrical, shifted to the left. Fits spindles 30 mm OD. 1
BB386 Evo/BB392 Evo 46 mm bore, shell width 86.5 mm ("road") or 91.5 mm ("MTB"). Bearing spacing same as an ISO shell using external-cup bearings. Fits 30 mm spindle using 6806 bearings. 13
BB83/BB86; BB92; aka "Shimano System" 41 mm bore, shell width 86.5mm ("road") and 92mm ("mountain"). Also sometimes appears as 89.5 mm (BB89), 104.5 mm (BB104), 107 mm (BB107), 121 mm (BB121), and 132 mm (BB132). Uses press-in bearings. Fits spindles 19mm, 24mm OD; sometimes 30 mm. 1, 13
BB90/BB95 Trek bottom bracket. The "road" shell is 90 mm wide by 37 mm ID. 37 mm OD bearings (the same bearings as inside common external-cup BBs) insert directly into the carbon frame and accept 24 mm spindles. BB95 is the "MTB" version of BB90, with a 95 mm wide shell on the 2008 Trek Top Fuel and Fuel EX carbon. Fits spindles 24 mm OD, designed to work with cranks/spindles used by Campagnolo, FSA, Shimano and SRAM. 1
BBright direct fit 41.96 mm bore for 42 mm interference-fit bearing. 79mm wide, but asymmetrical, 34mm center to right, 45mm center to left. Fits spindles 30mm OD. Similar to BB30 except for asymmetry. 11
BBright press fit 45.96mm bore 79mm wide, but asymmetrical, 34mm center to right, 45mm center to left. Fits spindles 30mm OD. Similar to BBright direct fit but uses a shouldered retainer. 1, 11
British 1.370" x 24tpi (34.8 mm x 1.06 mm pitch); right side is left-thread; shell width 68mm/73mm. Compare to "English" (ISO) at 1.375"/34.9 mm diameter.
Chater-Lea 1.440" (1-7/16") x 26tpi, right side is left-thread; shell ??. 9
Fat Chance, Gary Fisher 35mm diameter; 68mm, 73mm, Fisher may be wider. Bearings retained axially with a circlip in a groove in the shell outboard of the bearings, but the bearings are also press-fit.
French 35mm x 1mm, both right-threaded; shell 70mm. Note Swiss has same dimensions but French right cup is right-threaded. 4
FSA MegaTech 50mm, press in; shell 68mm, 73mm or 83mm wide.1
Eccentric 54mm, no threads. Usually 68mm wide. Eccentric inserts are typically of three varieties: internal expanding; a smooth OD with setscrews in the shell or a pinch clamp; or an axial clamp. The shell bore tolerance is thus not precise and in practice varies from 53.5mm to 55mm.
Gary Fisher Eccentric 57mm, no threads. Width 73mm.
ISIS Megatech 48mm, press-in; shell 68mm wide.
ISIS Overdrive - I M48 x 1.5, both sides right-thread, shell 68mm/100mm 4
ISIS Overdrive - II M48 x 1.5, right side is left-thread, shell 68mm/100mm
ISO ("English") 1.375" x 24tpi (34.9 mm x 1.06 mm pitch); right side is left-thread; shell width 68mm/73mm. Compare to "British" which is 1.370"/34.8 mm diameter, and "Raleigh" which is 26 TPI and different shell widths. Spindles larger than about 19 mm typically use bearings mounted outboard of the shell.
Italian 36mm x 24tpi (mixed units!), both right-threaded; shell 70mm wide. 4, 7, 8
Klein 35mm diameter, 68mm wide. Cartridge bearing pressed in the shell. Same bearing as Fat Chance/Gary Fisher, but no outboard circlip.
Merlin 30mm diameter, 68mm wide. Bearings press-fit to frame.
Mavic/Stronglight ~45 degree taper collet, ~1.375" ID, shell 65-73mm(?) 6
PF30 46 mm smooth bore, 68 mm or 73 mm wide shell. 6806 bearings sit in shouldered plastic retainers. Shoulder locates the bearing laterally. Plastic retainer allows for lower tolerances than are needed for BB30. This is, in effect, American/OPC with 46mm bore instead of 51.3mm bore. Fits spindles 30mm OD. 1
PF30A/PF30-83 Ai 46 mm smooth bore, shell width 73 mm (PF30A) or 83 mm (PF30-83 Ai). 6806 bearings sit in shouldered plastic retainers. Shoulder locates the bearing laterally. Plastic retainer allows for lower tolerances than are needed for BB30A/BB30-83 Ai. This is, in effect, American/OPC with 46mm bore instead of 51.3mm bore and a non-standard shell width. Fits spindles 30mm OD. 13
Mid 41mm, press-in; width ??. Commonly used with 19 mm, 22 mm, and sometimes 20 mm spindles; often with a different spacer rather than a different bearing.
Phil Wood American Isis 50mm x ?? threaded; ?threading?; shell ??
Raleigh 1.375" x 26tpi, right side is left threaded; shell 70/71/76 mm. Compare to "English" (ISO) which is 24tpi and different shell widths. 9
Ritchey 35mm diameter, 68(?)mm wide. Same bearing as Fat Chance/Gary Fisher/Klein; probably similar to one of them.
Roadmaster child's 43mm press in; shell 65mm wide
Spanish 37mm, press-in; width ??. Commonly used with 19 mm, 22 mm, and sometimes 20 mm spindles; often with a different spacer rather than a different bearing.
Specialized OSBB Shell 42 mm ID, shell width 68 mm. 6806 bearings located using circlips. Appears to be BB30 by a different name and maybe different tolerances. 13
Specialized Alloy OSBB Shell 42 mm ID Shell width 84.5 mm. Bearing width 81.5 mm. Spindle OD 30 mm. 10
Specialized OSBB 62 Carbon 46 mm ID. 62 mm shell width, 30 mm spindle; press-in bearings.
SRAM DUB 28.99 mm spindle. Bottom brackets are available to fit several shell standards (e.g., ISO, BB92, BB30, PF30) , though special tools may be needed to install and remove them. 14
Swedish OPC 45mm, externally-threaded; width ??
Swiss 35mm x 1mm, right side is left-threaded; shell 68mm. Same dimensions as French, but Swiss right side left-threaded.
T47 M47x1 thread, 13 threads engagement, Left-hand thread on right side, right-hand side on left side. Shell widths and bearing placement not standardized but width 68 mm ("road") and 73 mm ("MTB") are common. Wide shell is standard at 86.5 mm. Note that M47x1 is not a standard metric size (M45x1.5 and M48x1.5 are the nearest standard sizes), so it is not possible to cut these using off-the-shelf tooling. (Compare to ISIS Overdrive-II.) 12
T47 Praxis/Trek M47x1 thread, 13 threads engagement, Left-hand thread on right side, right-hand side on left side. 85.5 mm shell width 15
Thread Fit 82.5 Threaded BB shell takes a "liner" which is sized for BB86. Designed for 24 mm spindles but some 30 mm versions are available. 13
Thompson/Thun Press-in stamped-steel cups 30mm, 40mm, and 45mm diameter, also 33mm or 35mm. 65mm, 68mm, 70mm and maybe 80mm shell width. Uses stamped-steel cups like Ashtabula/OPC. Used with 2-piece or 3-piece cranks, often cottered cranks, sometimes square-taper. Like Ashtabula/OPC, the left cup and locknut are on a threaded and adjustable section of the spindle, but unlike Ashtabula/OPC, one arm (or both) may be removed for installation, so can fit a smaller-diameter bottom bracket shell. Reportedly, some Thompson cups may be pressed in to English (34.9mm) or Italian (36mm) shells. 3
Thun-BB30 42mm diameter press-in plastic cups. 68(?)mm width. Cups retained by shoulders, like PF30, rather than circlips like BB30. Nominal diameter is slightly larger than BB30 and manufacturing tolerances are much looser than BB30. A Thun-BB30 bottom bracket may be fitted to a BB30 frame, including a damaged BB30 bore; but a BB30 bottom bracket cannot be fitted to a Thun-BB30 frame. 5

But wiat, there's more...

A few makers have occasionally offered oversize cups to allow repair of damaged bottom brackets. For example, tap with an oversize tap then screw in an oversize cup. Oversize parts of standard dimensions is common practice in the automotive and engine industries, but is rare in bicycles.

Rare, but it happens — here is an oversize cup (photo: Andrew Muzi):

[CA746AOS.JPG]  

Although the above is clearly marked, there are some bottom bracket designs where the threaded parts are of a shape where it is hard to put any clear mark on the (oversize) threaded part.

The ability to fit oversize cups is generally a good thing, but does slightly complicate your life when servicing bottom brackets.

There's also makers who just have poor manufacturing tolerances, but that's not a standard, it's just (too) common.



American/Ashtabula/OPC probably deserves some extra discussion, because it was already wide-spread at the time many of the other sizes above first appeared. Other than self-gratification, why invent a new size, when there is already an existing size?

So it appears a lot of standards which differ by a few mm have no particular strength/weight/etc. advantage.

At the same time, a few years retrospective says most of the "oversize" bottom brackets have been plagued with noise, looseness, and/or bearings that bind. One reason for the problems is loose manufacturing tolerances to save money, and especially designs which encourage making bearing bores separately instead of using a single through pass — two-side designs are particularly hard to align cheaply. Given the original complaint against OPC was it was too cheap and inaccurate, it seems sad consumers paid for lots of new and problematic ``standards'' only for many consumers to wind up with the problem these not-an-OPC ``standards'' were supposed to avoid.

A summary, then, is that we probably should have gone straight from ISO to OPC and only "backed off" to intermediate sizes once the spindle and bearing sizes and alignment and other tolerances were well-established.

More HERE.


https://xkcd.com/927 as of 2019/06:

[large-5.jpg]  

1 ``Press Fit Bottom Bracket Compatibility Update'', Full Speed Ahead, from http://www.qbp.com/diagrams/TechInfo/FSA/externalbbfitchart.pdf as of 2011/07.

2 American OPC deserves special note because it is made in very high volume at very low cost, and as a result shells and cups tend to be made in a range of sizes due to manufacturing "slop" — often quite far from the nominal size, and also often quite out of round. However, shells and cups are somewhat stretchy, and unlike cartridge bearings used with many press-fit shells, many cheap America OPC use adjustable bearings, allowing compensation for other errors. Finally, typical cheap units use large-diameter ball bearings that are relatively insensitive to adjustment, contamination, and damage. Thus, in practice they give good service despite low cost.

3 Sutherland's Handboodk for Bicycle Mechanics, 6th Edition.

4 Bearings carry a "precessing" load that tends to twist the cup. Left cups are always right-threaded; most right cups are left-threaded so the twisting will tend to self-tighten the cup. Right-threaded left cups tend to self-unscrew. Press-in cups are tight enough twisting is not a problem.

5 See http://www.bike-eu.com/news/3532/thun-offers-bb30-for-low-cost-mtbs.html as of 2011/07.

6 The Mavic/Stronglight conical seat requires a conical seat in the frame. A special milling cutter can be used to retrofit many existing frames, including those with ISO and Klein bottom brackets. Retrofit is sometimes used to deal with frame damage that prevents use of of a conventional threaded or press-in bottom bracket.

7 It is unclear why Italian uses mixed inch/metric dimensions. Chalo's hypothesis (which seems quite likely) is the dimensions were designed for metric diameters and manufactured using older inch-dimension lathes, which were not capable of cutting metric-pitch threads.

8 Italian is about 1 mm larger diameter than ISO and has the same thread pitch (24 TPI). Thus, stripped ISO left cups bottom bracket shells sometimes be repaired by tapping them oversize to Italian then fitting an Italian-thread left cup. However, the right cups are not directly compatible because ISO is left-threaded while Italian is right-threaded, so more metal must be removed. However, given a stripped frame, such over-tapping may be an acceptable risk. Note that using an Italian right cup introduces the problem of self-unscrewing, which may lead to further frame damage.

9 Note "brand name" and "size" are not the same thing. For example, Chater-Lea and Raleigh both made bottom brackets in their "named" sizes and also other standard sizes. Conversely, many companies have made Raleigh-size bottom brackets. In other words, your "Raleigh" bicycle may have an Italian-thread bottom bracket or your non-Raleigh frame may take a Raleigh-size bottom bracket; and a Raleigh-brand bottom bracket in your Raleigh-brand frame may use ISO threading.

10 Listed HERE as of 2014/08 as "Custom SRAM GXP, 84.5mm". Listed HERE as might be possible to fit a triple crank in place of the factory double using Shimano SM-BB91-42 adapter, but according to Specialized "I would suggest checking with Shimano and Wheels Manufacturing. Sorry, we don't have that adapter." Specialized "COMPATIBILITY GUIDE SPECIALIZED OSBB / CRANK COMPATIBILITY - MOUNTAIN FRAMES" (document CG0308 Rev.C February 2011; HERE as of 2014/08) states Shimano Hollowtech II cranks may be fitted using the above adapter, SRAM/Truvative GXP cranks using "SRAM BB GXP press-in threaded cups (#00.6415.033.040)", or Specialized carbon cranks using "circlips". It further states that the alloy OSBB shell was used for 2010-11 Stumpjumper FSR carbon models, 2009-1011 Era carbon models, 2009-1020 Epic carbon models, and 2009-2010 stumpjumper HT carbon models. Presumably "carbon model" means the frame is mainly carbon fiber. Unclear what are "press-in threaded cups". Document lists bearings as "6808 series", but standard 6808 bearings are 40 mm ID and 52 mm OD, this is probably an error and "6806 series" is intended, with 30 mm ID, 42 mm OD, and 7 mm width.

11 BBright drawings HERE as of 2014/08.

12 "T47 Bottom Bracket", http://www.paragonmachineworks.com/images/Drawings/T47_BB_SHEET_A1-2.pdf as of 2016/02/29.

13 The complete guide to bottom bracket standards, BikeRadar, 2019/03/14. https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/buyers-guides/the-complete-guide-to-bottom-bracket-standards as of 2019/06.

14 SRAM DUB Will Replace 2 Current Crank Standards With A New One, Wil Barret, Singletrack, 2018/01/016. https://singletrackworld.com/2018/01/sram-dub-replaces-2-current-bb-standards-with-a-new-one as of 2019/06.

15 Trek confirms use of T47 threaded bottom brackets — but with a twist, James Huang; 2019/06/06. https://cyclingtips.com/2019/06/trek-t47-threaded-bottom-brackets as of 2021/09.

BBright, Campagnolo, Cannondale, Fat Chance, FSA, Gary Fisher, Klein, ISIS, Merlin, Mavic, Phil Wood, Raleigh, Ritchey, Roadmaster, Shimano, Specialized, SRAM, Stronglight, Thompson, Thun, Trek, and any other trade names are trademarks owned by their respective owners.