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life of Campy Chorus bottom bracket?(5 posts)

life of Campy Chorus bottom bracket?tarwheel
Aug 18, 2003 7:49 AM
I am swapping my Campy Chorus 10 group from one frame to another. It's about two years old with about 10,000 miles on it. Should I go ahead and tell the bike shop to replace the bottom bracket while there at it, or just wait until it goes bad? I generally go by the philosophy, "If it ain't broke don't fix it," but it might save me some labor costs down the road if it's nearing the end of its lifespan anyway. FWIW, I rarely ride in the rain (except when caught in a storm). The BB seems to be working fine, although I'm not really sure how to tell when one is wearing out.
mine was < 1 yearJS Haiku Shop
Aug 18, 2003 8:18 AM
but i think that's not really indicative of chorus lifespan. perhaps it was a lemon part, or caught some bad weather or something.

fyi, removing and installing a new bb requires only a hex wrench, a 10sp bb/cassette tool ($5-$20), and some grease. unless you are giving the shop your $$ for a really good reason, why not take an evening to fiddle around with the tools and either zinn's book or the park tools repair website, and get familiar with doing this yourself?

fwiw, to the original question, if it's working fine now, why replace it?

Aug 18, 2003 8:26 AM
Changing out a BB is 15 minute job if you've got the campy splined BB tool and a crank remover. The costs of of both tools is only $20.

If the shop is going to charge you twice as much as mailorder for the part (should only be $45-50), then I'd wait and do it later, unless the mechanic tells you that it's obviously shot. If no water or dirt has reached the bearings, it may be good for another 10,000.
Replacing bearings will do the trick (BB by Tune better?)wielerpret
Aug 19, 2003 5:19 AM
My Record BB wore out after only 9000 kms, and so it did with a friend of mine. (Chorus parts are 'Record without carbon or titanium bits') It developed a nasty harsh banging noise and the cranks could be moved sideways by a few mm's.
Replacing 3 generic bearings was enough remedy and the whole thing is as new again. Rather expensive though: Eur. 39,= . Bearings from SKF.
Another rider assures me that a BB manufactured by Tune (pricey) will last much longer. Anyone with similar experience?
Cheers, Luke.
Visit my site, in Dutch, at
mine went at just under 10,000 milesBenR
Aug 20, 2003 10:22 PM
It was a pretty sudden death, unlike some of the old Shimano UN-72 bb's that I used in the past. They didn't last as long but were more predictable and burned out like clockwork.

This one died in one 80 mile race. I noticed a very slight play when taking the bike off the car (to the point where I wasn't sure if it was just nerves or genuine play) to creaking, grinding, and popping madly by the end. It sounded like my bike was going to self destruct, but the bb was securely in the frame and there actually wasn't that much play - just turned very rough.

A couple other people I know also got about 10,000 miles out of theirs but another guy got 18,000 and he's an animal on the bike. So, to answer your question, it's kind of a crap shoot. If you avoid rain and your bb shells have been faced properly, I'd keep the one you have. When it goes, spring for a Phil Wood which supposedly lasts much longer. I got another Chorus for $40 on ebay, otherwise I would've tried a Phil Wood. I didn't know until later that the bearings were replaceable, but after you get done buying them and screwing around changing them or paying a shop to do it, you might as well buy a new unit.

You could get the tools in preparation to do it yourself since the Campy bb tool also works for your cassette. Depending on the shop and tax, a Park crank puller and bb/cassette tool might cost up to $25. Be sure you know how to properly use the tool as it is possible to strip off the splines in the bottom bracket. I had a little problem after being too lazy to screw a crank bolt on the axle to hold the tool in all the way - fortunately I was able to carefully take out the other side to get the pressure off the stripped cup and got it out with a pair of needle nose pliers, much like getting the base of a broken lightbulb out of the socket.

Newer parts are also sensitive to torque settings and Chorus/Record bb's with their small, light-weight bearings are no exception. Borrow a torque-wrench and install to the recommended setting. If you don't have access to a wrench, it might be best to just have the shop do it. If you are a valuable customer for other things besides labor, I would expect a savvy shop owner to give you some pointers on your bb or maybe check the torque settings for free before you install the cranks back at home. It really depends on the size and attitude of the shop. Good luck.