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please forgive me for asking this BB DA/Ultegra question....(14 posts)

please forgive me for asking this BB DA/Ultegra question....Gall
May 15, 2003 2:58 PM

I started having the problems with my Dura Ace BB. Since I dont feel like dealing with these problems in the future i was just going to replace it with an Ultegra BB.

Besides the weight whats the difference between them?

Also anyone know what size goes into my Trek 5200?


Sealed bearings with an Ultegra...Lone Gunman
May 15, 2003 4:09 PM
68x109.5 or 110mm double chainring, 68x118mm triple chainring. Sealed bearings means little to no maintanence, nothing to really adjust, make sure it is tight, tighten down the arms.
do itDougSloan
May 15, 2003 4:09 PM
The ultegra is sealed and one piece. It's a no brainer. Functionally, they are identical.

Can't help on size; if remove the right side crank, you should be able to see some numbers on the bb that tell you the size and threads, or any place you get one from should be able to tell you immediately.

re: please forgive me for asking this BB DA/Ultegra question....LC
May 15, 2003 4:13 PM
Like any US made bike: English threading, 109.5 if your got a double and 118 if you got a triple.
re: English threading....Rusty Coggs
May 15, 2003 4:35 PM
beleive it or not,but there are and have been made in the USA bikes with italian threading.
re: English threading....russw19
May 15, 2003 5:01 PM
True, but Trek is not one of those companies.

re: please forgive me for asking this BB DA/Ultegra question....russw19
May 15, 2003 5:06 PM
Have your local shop face your bottom bracket shell when you put a new bottom bracket in. I am willing to bet money on your BB shell not being faced from the factory, and I bet whomever built your bike didn't do it initially either because Trek puts the BB's in at the factory. So unless you bought the frame separate and then all the parts and you faced the bottom bracket yourself, don't assume it was done.

The Dura-Ace bottom bracket uses needle bearings that the rest of Shimano's line does not. If your two cups do not line up perfectly, you will have your D-A BB die a premature death. But it's something that should be done regardless of what level bottom bracket you put in... Face the shell and then chase the threads... it's worth the time money and effort.

please explain ... FACE (nm)Gall
May 15, 2003 5:54 PM
please explain ... FACE (nm)LC
May 15, 2003 6:52 PM
Makes the ends of the surface of the BB shell parallel. Don't worry about facing if your installing a cartridge type like Ultegra.
please explain ... FACE (nm)russw19
May 16, 2003 9:03 PM
Facing a Bottom Bracket seems to be a part of building bikes that is no longer done for no reason at all. In fact it is downright stupid to not do it. You just invested what, about a grand on a frame? Have the frame prepped, and done properly! Someone else said don't bother if you use an Ultegra BB. That's crap. Don't bother if you have a $50 frame and don't care about it, but bother if you plan to keep your frame for a while.

When frames come new from any factory, there are 4 things you should do to them to make sure they last as long as they should. Face the headtube. Face the Bottom Bracket Shell. Chase the Bottom Bracket Shell Threads. And spray a framesaver type protectant inside your frame (steel bikes.. if Ti, you can ignore this step)

Here's what that means. All bearing surfaces need to be 100% parallel to each other if the bearings are going to function with minimal friction and last. The headtube and bottom bracket shell both in theory are parallel surfaces, but this is often not true on your frame. As they get heated in welding and heat treating and all that, they have a tendency to warp slightly. Facing a BB or headtube involves getting a cutting tool (specifically for this) and milling the two surfaces exactly parallel to each other. It insures that your bearings line up properly. It can make a difference in your BB or headset lasting longer and can even make your bike track a straight line. (although I will admit it has been years since I saw a headtube off enough to cause the bike to mis-track a straight line)

Then you need to Chase your BB shell's threads. When your frame is heat treated and painted, the shell can warp and paint gets into the threads. Chasing the shell is taking a cutting tool to clean and fix the threads in your BB shell. It basically cuts new threads into your shell if your old ones are that bad, and if they aren't it just cleans out the paint and fixes the damaged threads. It insures that your bottom bracket threads in smoothly so that it tightens properly and doesn't loosen prematurely damaging your frame or the bearings or the cups.

Framesaver is a chemical treatment to help waterproof your frame from the inside. It helps prevent corrosion. Most frames actually get lots of condensation build up inside them from temperature changes, and framesaver prevents this internal condensation from damaging the raw (unpainted) frame on the inside of the tube walls.

You can ignore all this stuff if you really want to, but you are just killing your frame prematurely, and for what? A few bucks at the bike shop? Take pride in your bike and have it prepped and prepped right. Take it to the shop and ask them to Face the BB and headtube and Chase your BB shell. If you are going to skimp on the cost, skip the chasing the shell. Your bottom bracket kinda does that when you install it, but Face your BB and Headtube. It's worth it if you have a nice bike.

Shimano claims poorly prepped frames as the reason Dura-Ace bottom brackets don't last as long as they should. Sheldon Brown on his website agrees. I think by the amount of people on this board who don't know what Facing a BB is for, they may be onto something. Like cars these days, qualified people aren't working on your stuff anymore.. it's just a bunch of kids who think that if they can true a wheel, they are a master mechanic... being a good bike mechanic is a lost artform.

If you plan to keep your frame for about 5 or so years, have it prepped. If you plan to get rid of it next spring, skip it and let it be someone else's problem.

Russ, can a determined DIY'er do this work, or do you recommendTNSquared
May 19, 2003 8:42 AM
always having your LBS do it? If the latter, how can I double check the work to make sure it is right? (No offense, but not everybody in the back room of a bike shop is as conscientious as you.)

If the former, what tools would I need?

Russ, can a determined DIY'er do this work, or do you recommendrussw19
May 19, 2003 12:40 PM
I hear what you are saying.. and there is a twofold answer to this..
It's not really a DIY project because of the tools involved.
Go to and look up the following tools.. they are what you need to do this job and do it right...
Bottom Bracket Thread Tapping Tool: BTS-1
Bottom Bracket Facing Tool: BFS-1
Headtube Cutting and Facing Tools: HTR-1

Read thru some of that stuff on the Park webpage.. it's cool info, and not something that a lot of people really know about. The thing about this is if you have a really nice frame and you get it bare, and you have access to these tools, there is no excuse for not doing it. It just puts the finishing touches on your bike and insures it goes together properly. However, I am admittedly "old school" when it comes to building up a really nice bike. I don't chase and face the prebuilt $600 bikes we get in the shop, but if I had a friend who bought a new frame, I would tell them to do it, or do it for them for some beer. This can be an expensive thing to have a shop do because of the cost of the tools. They are very specific tools, and I know semi-respectable shops that don't have them. Because of the cost, I can understand why people do not do this with their new frames, but it is also a MAJOR reason that stuff fails like a Dura-Ace Bottom Bracket. It the needle bearings in that BB aren't lined up right, they will fail. It sucks that people will sacrifice a lower level BB because their frame is not prepped right.

Anyways, those tools all cost a lot! The BTS-1 is almost $400 shop cost! The HTR-1 is $300 cost! and the CRC-1 is also $300. That's a grand worth of tools that may get used 5 or 6 times a year by an average shop. It's criminal that the framebuilders themselves often don't do this, as it it them that should be the ones to do so.

So anyways, the twofold answer... no you can't really do it yourself because the tools to do so are well into the thousand dollar range. And often shops way overcharge for this because of the cost of the tools. So I know I really harp on how bad this really needs to be done to your bike, and it really does, but I also can understand why some people just won't do it. But I have a few older classic bikes that I plan to have for the rest of my life as collector type bikes.. these are the ones that get this treatment. Plus I work in a shop on the weekends specifically so I have access to these tools and the employee discount. I do it because I obviously love cycling, but the pay is weak at best.. it's these perks that make up for it.

Hope that helps you out some... but if you decide to skip this on your next bike, I surely can understand, but keep in mind you maybe killing things like your headset and bottom bracket long before their time.

Thanks for the info.TNSquared
May 19, 2003 1:21 PM
I suspected as much about the tools. I am slowly educating myself by reading "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance," but haven't made it this far (I'm assuming he covers it.)

I'm not too worried about my current bike, it's just an average alu frame with Ultegra, but I am eyeing a steel Serrota frame for a build project and didn't know if it would be worth investing in the tools. But at $1,000+ for something I may only need once (and if I'm lucky to build more bikes, every few years) I guess not.

If you were in TN, though, I'd buy you as many beers as you like!

Thanks again,
Dura Ace BB are a pain, but they are worth it.MR_GRUMPY
May 15, 2003 7:47 PM
The Ultegra BB feels a lot like the Chorus and record BB. The Dura Ace (when adjusted correctly) feels much smoother. The Dura Ace BB doesn't like water. Whenever I have to ride in the rain, I use my grease injector to run a bead of grease around the seals, from the outside. When done, I clean it off with a rag. One of my friends, runs his dry, without any grease. He claims that there is no resistance that way, and that the bearings don't wear any faster. He does have to take it all apart and clean it, whenever it rains. Even I'm not that kind of a nut.