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Need new bottom bracket ... Dura Ace or Ultegra?(18 posts)

Need new bottom bracket ... Dura Ace or Ultegra?Tahoe Gator
May 28, 2003 10:06 AM
Current Ultegra bottom bracket has a "tick" and needs replacement. Was surprised to discover the Ultegra upon disassembly within an otherwise complete Dura Ace gruppo. I have heard that Ultegras are more reliable (mine was almost 3 years old) and that some pro teams run Ultegra, but the Dura Ace is 50 g lighter. Is the Dura Ace siffter? Does it require "significant" maintenance or have reliability concerns? Any thoughts appreciated.
re: Need new bottom bracket ... Dura Ace or Ultegra?russw19
May 28, 2003 10:21 AM
You are gonna get a bunch of people telling you that the Ultegra is 'better', but it's not. It is more reliable and maintainence free, but not necessarily better.

First, if you like your frame and have the BB out of it, Face the shell and Chase the threads. A shop may charge you $10 to do it, but it's worth it if you plan to keep your frame for a while longer. Facing lines up the two outside surfaces of the bottom bracket shell so that they are exactly parallel. This is a 100% must for the Dura-Ace BB due to the use of needle bearings.

As for your questions... yes, it's lighter, yes, it is stiffer (due to the extra needle bearings), yes it requires maintainence. It's an old school open bearing system. You must have the water/dust shield in there and properly sealed, and you need to overhaul it once a year like older bottom brackets. It was not designed to be an install and forget BB like the Ultegra. And yes, it has reliability concerns... if you submerge your bike to the BB shell, you will need to overhaul it. And I can not stress enough how needed it is to start with a Faced Shell when using a Dura-Ace bottom bracket.

This is my opinion, but I seem to be about the only person on the planet who has gone thru all this work for my D-A BB, but I also seem to be the rare person who has almost 40,000 miles in 5 years on that same bottom bracket. You need to take care of it, but if you do, it will last forever. If putting in a bottom bracket and riding it until it fails, then replacing it is more your style (and I am not knocking it, some people choose this path) then you are better served putting in the Ultegra. It will last longer if ignored than the Dura-Ace.

Couldn't agree more!cyclequip
May 29, 2003 4:30 AM
Always wondered why so many supposedly knowledgeable people keep dissing the DA BB. Properly installed and serviced, it'll give you excellent results.
May 28, 2003 10:51 AM
If the extra 50g makes enough of a difference, then pay the extra $50-$70, and expect it to last less than 1/2 the time an Ultegra BB will last. Oh, people also tell me that D/A BB's have a habit of grinding the bearing races into oblivion anytime even a bit of dirt gets into them, so no riding on packed dirt, or even in the rain. I hear that they snap more often, too.
FWIW, LA only rides with Ultegra BB's on an otherwise full D/A gruppo.
Your prices are offGalibier
May 28, 2003 11:53 AM
In the Performance catalog, the Dura-Ace BB costs $7.00 more than the Ultegra, not $50-$70 more. I've had a Dura-Ace BB for two years. I had to tighten it after the first two months, then had it serviced ($20) last year. Otherwise, it's performed extremely well. Generally, I avoid riding in the rain, but obviously that's not always possible. I don't know where you got your information on LA, but I question its accuracy: a properly maintained Dura-Ace BB will work at least as well as an Ultegra BB, and it's lighter. Given that LA is weight-conscious and has mechanics to tend to his bikes, I'd be very surprised if he opted for an Ultegra BB.
I call BS!russw19
May 28, 2003 12:37 PM
If Lance is riding the New Dura-Ace, he surely can NOT be riding an ultegra BB! It's not made to fit those cranks yet. Also, why in the good lord's name woud a professional who doesn't ever touch his bike sacrifice 50 grams of empty weight in his bike when he can have a new BB every damn day if he needs it? Lance's BB is overhauled daily! He won't put a BB in that weights 50 grams more so that his mechanic who gets paid 50 g's a year doesn't have to service it.

Sorry, man, you can bad mouth the Dura-Ace BB all you want, but don't make crap up!

^^^no offence is meant by the above^^^ so don't take any to it.russw19
May 28, 2003 1:05 PM
I reread this and thought it sounded like I was trying to call out Alexx... I was not.. I just think the message I replied to was very wrong, but I did not mean to disrespect Alexx. Alexx if you see this, please know that wasn't my intent, and I am sorry if it came across that way.

May 29, 2003 5:26 AM
My local Trek 'boutique' was selling Ultegra BB's for about $75, and D/A for $125 last year, and another shop was getting $139 for them, so, yeah, $50-$70 is a possible retail price differential.

As far as the LA bit, that was 2 years ago (and he was still riding 10 year old Shimano/Look pedals then, too), and quite a bit of press was given to the fact that he wasn't using a "pure" gruppo.
re: Need new bottom bracket ... Dura Ace or Ultegra?pmf1
May 28, 2003 11:17 AM
I have 3 road bikes. All are 100% Dura Ace, with the exception of the BB, which is Ultegra. I just find the DA BB too much trouble. If you like to fiddle with things, then get one and you'll have hours of entertainment to look forward to. If you like to just forget it and ride, get the Ultegra. Yes, the DA is rebuildable, but the Ultegra lasts a long time and only costs $35 to replace. Just chuck it, stick a new one in, and go.

Flex a BB? Come on, do you really think you can flex a BB? I really doubt it.

And 50 grams ... Jesus, who cares about 50 grams? Pour 3 ounces out of your water bottle. Or just f@rt before you get on the bike.
Can you really lose 3 ounces by just f@rting? nmJuanmoretime
May 28, 2003 12:06 PM
Must be an atomic f@rt - f@rt with a little fallout. (nm)Eug
May 28, 2003 12:33 PM
Mine tend to be wetpmf1
May 29, 2003 4:13 AM
Sorry, I'm feeling gross this morning.
re: Bottom Bracket Flex...russw19
May 28, 2003 12:47 PM
Bottom Brackets have a significant amount of flex. It is enough of a problem that pro riders who ride Shimano asked Shimano to address it in future upgrades to the Dura-Ace Group. Hence the new outboard bearing design on the 2004 group, as well as a spindle that is permanetly attached to one of the crank arms. Bottom brackets flex. The Dura-Ace is much stiffer. However, the added stiffness comes from using the same 2 sets of ball bearings that all the other bottom brackets use, plus 2 sets of needle bearings. Needle bearings, by their nature need to be aligned to the spindle correctly or the spindle crushes them and grinds them into the race... the same thing that makes the Dura-Ace bottom bracket good is also it's main weakness.

As for the 50 grams... well that's your call... I can see if it was something extra that made a positive difference, like more padding on your saddle to make you comfy, but when it's just wasted sitting inside your frame being part of a more flexible bottom bracket... I would rather save it than not. If everyone thought that about the 50 grams... there would never be lighter stuff to hit the market and we would all still be riding Reynolds 531 frames straight out of the 70's instead of paying thousands of dollars to save 40 grams over last years best frames.

re: Bottom Bracket Flex...pmf1
May 29, 2003 4:20 AM
1. The guy is a 150 lb recreational rider. He isn't a pro and if he could really feel the difference in BB flex between DA and Ultegra, then he can feel the pea under 18 mattresses as well. I've ridden both and never noticed any difference. I'm no pro either, btw.

2. 50 grams is a small price to pay for not having to fiddle with it everytime you get stuck riding in the rain or when it decides to get loose (they have a funny way of doing that). I'm not saying that the DA BB is a bad product, its just one that takes more time to fiddle with. The older I get, the less time I seem to have available for riding. IMO, the 50 grams and extra flex that you claim exists is well worth the trade off of ease of use.
DA for suredeHonc
May 28, 2003 2:43 PM
I've had a DA BB in my bike since new (8months) - It hasn't caused me any problems so far and as long as you are willing to service it yearly or pay a small fee for a shop to do it you will be better off. Lighter, stiffer and super smooth.
I rode a lots of miles over the years on Dura ace BB ...the bull
May 28, 2003 4:39 PM
Smooth as day one till the end.I would get the Dura-ace over the Ultegra.
Hell I wish Campy made a Shimano style BB!I think this is one of the areas where Shimano is ahead of campy.
Love my DA BBV02-Max
May 30, 2003 7:24 AM
1,400 plus miles on my DA BB in the rainy, sloppy Northeast and I have not so much as touched it since I put it in. (Plus I race Crit's every Thursday during the Summer)

It has been solid and worry free and I highly reccomend it to anyone.

I have an Ultegra BB in the wings should my DA fail, or show signs of being tempermental, but I don't think I will be needing it any time soon.

DA all the way.
doesn't matterweiwentg
May 28, 2003 5:13 PM
if you can stand the maintenance, which really isn't that bad, DA will work fine (assuming you have your BB shell faced and the BB installed correctly; not so hard to do). mine has been going one and a half years now. I have overhauled it twice now.
theoretically DA is stiffer, since the bearing contact area is wider. this probably does not translate into something appreciable for anyone who isn't a cat 1/2 or a pro.