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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Part in question: SRAM GXP Pressfit BB86. Frameset: Norco Search XR Steel

Bottom bracket started clicking last weekend when I went on a really long ride with a fair amount of dirt and a lot of elevation. I pulled the crank, it was dirty and gunked up - cleaned and relubed with Park Tool polylube green stuff. Seemed to go away for a bit, but it almost immediately came back. After a 20 mile ride a few days later this is what the BB looked like:

Non drive side:


drive side:


What's going on here? I feel like the lube should be that nice green color after such a short ride. I've swapped pedals and checked my seatpost - still clicky clicky when I power on the left crank. Is this one done and is it something my shop would warranty? I bought the bike in March, so less than six months old.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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What did you lube? Did you lube the bearings? As in take them out, pop the dust covers, pack new grease and purge the old? Even when you do that, if the BB already started grinding and making clicking sounds, the balls/races have worn away enough that the tolerances are no longer maintained, so repacking only gives you a little while longer while you order new bearings.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I cleaned and lubed the crank spindle, the bearing faces/dust covers and the race on each side. I didn't pop the dust covers off and pack new grease. On the GXP bearings I wasn't aware you could do that. Sounds like I just need to get this thing replaced.
 

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I cleaned and lubed the crank spindle, the bearing faces/dust covers and the race on each side. I didn't pop the dust covers off and pack new grease. On the GXP bearings I wasn't aware you could do that. Sounds like I just need to get this thing replaced.
The grease you added is just going to hold the dust it captures. Use a pick to pull the seal out, clean the old stuff out (I use a light oil or solvent to dilute it), and pack new green grease before pushing the seal back in.
It won't repair the wear, but you'll get to see how bad it is, and it'll give you a few rides while you wait for parts.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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I cleaned and lubed the crank spindle, the bearing faces/dust covers and the race on each side. I didn't pop the dust covers off and pack new grease. On the GXP bearings I wasn't aware you could do that. Sounds like I just need to get this thing replaced.
Yeah, that actually doesn't do anything. The crank spindle doesn't rotate against anything (and if it did, it'd eat through metal). The spindle snugs up against the bearing races, the bearing races rotate along their respective ball bearings. This is where grease is needed. This is a closed system in a cartridge bearing. A light film of grease is nice to help insert/remove the spindle, but as you notice, it picks up dirt and dust pretty easy, so it's best to keep that pretty minimal. Usually good to have some on the spindle splines as well.

If the bearings are bad, the bearings need to be replaced. NSK, F.A.G., SKF, and a few others make quality bearings. I've had excellent results with these bearings, well outlasting Enduro and other lower quality brands. You pay for the higher quality ones though. "Enduro" brand bearings are mid-grade at best, but fairly cost efficient for most. Bearings are wear items, so they need to be replaced every once and a while. The bearings insert in the BB and are usually pulled out with a blind bearing puller or punch going around the edge. In some cases, a headset remover took works great. Then they should be put in with a BB bearing press (bike shop usually has one).

The bearing type (number) is on the dust shield, probably under layers of grease in the picture.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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The grease you added is just going to hold the dust it captures. Use a pick to pull the seal out, clean the old stuff out (I use a light oil or solvent to dilute it), and pack new green grease before pushing the seal back in.
It won't repair the wear, but you'll get to see how bad it is, and it'll give you a few rides while you wait for parts.
Yep, good advice.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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I cleaned and lubed the crank spindle, the bearing faces/dust covers and the race on each side. I didn't pop the dust covers off and pack new grease. On the GXP bearings I wasn't aware you could do that. Sounds like I just need to get this thing replaced.
You can replace the entire BB, that is definitely an option, which will likely come with some more crappy bearings. Unfortunately, in the MTB world, it's pretty rare to get good bearings with BBs. I have found a few exceptions. My E13 BB came with high quality SKF bearings.

It's only the bearings that need replacing though.
 

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Evolutionsverlierer
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The grease you added is just going to hold the dust it captures. Use a pick to pull the seal out, clean the old stuff out (I use a light oil or solvent to dilute it), and pack new green grease before pushing the seal back in.
It won't repair the wear, but you'll get to see how bad it is, and it'll give you a few rides while you wait for parts.
This and I just did exactly that with a very old bottom bracket and got it spinning almost like new again.
Key thing for me was to clean out the old grease and whatever foreign objects in there really really good.
 

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Hey first thing, I’m not hearing the condition of the bearings. Check and report, remove crank, turn inner race, a good bearing you can’t tell if bearing is turning, is super smooth. As races wear they will become rough, then grindy, then bind so hard that you can’t turn the inner race. In the past when mine started clicking they were super grindy feeling and was difficult to turn crank backwards.

click can have lots of causes, crank itself, ring to crank, pedal to crank, pedal. But common is bb interface to frame. The last is the curse of press fit. There’s this stuff called retaining compound… but you’ve got plastic cups which at least in my experience are quiet.

if your bearings are grindy replace the bb. I know folks say pop the seals but I’ve never got a bb to work a week after I do that, seal won’t be the same after removing it, could be I’ve always waited too long and the wear inside the bb means races and balls are self destructing.

I ride a lot in rain. That exact SRAM bb twice lasted me <2 months. Rwc was much better quality and lasted nine months before rough, Chris king has gone years now. SRAM is so cheap it’s probably good to try that same one again, you’re ahead if it lasts 2 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hey first thing, I'm not hearing the condition of the bearings. Check and report, remove crank, turn inner race, a good bearing you can't tell if bearing is turning, is super smooth. As races wear they will become rough, then grindy, then bind so hard that you can't turn the inner race. In the past when mine started clicking they were super grindy feeling and was difficult to turn crank backwards.
The NDS bearing feels and spins smoothly when I spin it with my finger. The DS definitely feels like it has some resistance. The cranks do catch between 6 and 8 pm when I spin them with no chain on

click can have lots of causes, crank itself, ring to crank, pedal to crank, pedal. But common is bb interface to frame. The last is the curse of press fit. There's this stuff called retaining compound&#8230; but you've got plastic cups which at least in my experience are quiet.
I have swapped the pedals out and it didn't change anything, checked torque on the chainrings and seat post torque - all sources others have said would click.

I ride a lot in rain. That exact SRAM bb twice lasted me <2 months. Rwc was much better quality and lasted nine months before rough, Chris king has gone years now. SRAM is so cheap it's probably good to try that same one again, you're ahead if it lasts 2 years.
Is there a better bottom bracket that will fit SRAM GXP cranks? I spent a ton of money on GXP Force 1 cranks and now I'm feeling kind of a dope because GXP bottom brackets seem to fail so often. Chris king makes a fit kit #6 for GXP, but I don't entirely understand what that entails, it's only $22.

Thanks for the replies all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If the bearings are bad, the bearings need to be replaced. NSK, F.A.G., SKF, and a few others make quality bearings. I've had excellent results with these bearings, well outlasting Enduro and other lower quality brands. You pay for the higher quality ones though. "Enduro" brand bearings are mid-grade at best, but fairly cost efficient for most. Bearings are wear items, so they need to be replaced every once and a while. The bearings insert in the BB and are usually pulled out with a blind bearing puller or punch going around the edge. In some cases, a headset remover took works great. Then they should be put in with a BB bearing press (bike shop usually has one).

The bearing type (number) is on the dust shield, probably under layers of grease in the picture.
Are you saying it's better to press the bearings out of the cup that they come in and replace them with something nicer than to just swap the whole BB? It almost seems more cost effective to just replace the whole thing, but it would be nice to replace it with something that isn't going to fail again in 6 months

Wheels MFG makes a couple for $70 or $80 vs $40 for the same one I had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You are most likely getting clicking from your bearings inner race against your cranks spindle. A result of misalignment.
Yeah it definitely seems like the BB is walking in the frame and causing that clicking. Someone suggested using a retaining compound when installing that will help seat the BB. The shop that installed it was pretty flippant with me when I asked him to grease the spindle, so I doubt he used anything more than that to install the BB.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Are you saying it's better to press the bearings out of the cup that they come in and replace them with something nicer than to just swap the whole BB? It almost seems more cost effective to just replace the whole thing, but it would be nice to replace it with something that isn't going to fail again in 6 months

Wheels MFG makes a couple for $70 or $80 vs $40 for the same one I had.
Well, the BB is only as good as the bearings, in other words, the bearings are 95% of the BB. These are not some elusive secret. It makes no sense to buy an entirely new BB with mid-grade bearings when you can just buy the bearings themselves, either mid-grade or high grade. Bearings are wear items. It looks like yours is a 6806 bearing, the most common type of BB bearing. If you can't handle this (no offense, some people just don't want to deal with it), take it to the bike shop and have them put in a new bottom bracket. That's what the bike shop is for. If you want to get a little further into mtb maintenance, that's what this site helps with.
 
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Yeah it definitely seems like the BB is walking in the frame and causing that clicking. Someone suggested using a retaining compound when installing that will help seat the BB. The shop that installed it was pretty flippant with me when I asked him to grease the spindle, so I doubt he used anything more than that to install the BB.
I'm not sure what cranks you have, I didn't see mention of it above. Maybe I missed it. When you pulled them (or if you pull them again) do you see running marks from where the bearings run on the spindle? If there are any (and I'm betting strongly there are) feel with your nail if there's any steps/wear/polishing. It will be more on one side of the circumference and not as much on the other. I'm betting this is where your noise is coming from. The shop is not wrong for not greasing the spindle. You're not supposed to.

Your cups are delrin, they shouldn't be clicking, although you can put them back in with retaining compound.

As others have said, covering everything in grease is a no-no. You need to pull the cranks, pull the primary dust shields that cover the bearings (clean these really well, there is a groove that dust shield runs in, that traps dirt on its way to the actual bearing themselves. This groove gets gritty and makes a ton of grinding/dragging noise. Next, carefully remove your dustshields on the bearing themselves and with a teeny bit of wd-40 or something similar clean those out with compressed air. Repeat until no dirt/grime comes out. Regrease with a suitable grease. Your poly lube is fine. I've also used Rock and Roll Super web. Recently I made a home brew of Mobil-1 red synthetic grease and some 0-W30 Synthetic and mixed until I liked the consistency. Put your dust covers back on the bearings, the primary dust covers back on the bottom bracket (over the bearings...there should be no grease here) and re-install your cranks. I'll bet they spin much better and without grinding/scraping even if your bearings are a little worn.

I don't think this will solve the clicking though, because it is most likely that your clicking is coming from the bearing on the spindle.
 

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The NDS bearing feels and spins smoothly when I spin it with my finger. The DS definitely feels like it has some resistance. The cranks do catch between 6 and 8 pm when I spin them with no chain on

I have swapped the pedals out and it didn't change anything, checked torque on the chainrings and seat post torque - all sources others have said would click.

Is there a better bottom bracket that will fit SRAM GXP cranks? I spent a ton of money on GXP Force 1 cranks and now I'm feeling kind of a dope because GXP bottom brackets seem to fail so often. Chris king makes a fit kit #6 for GXP, but I don't entirely understand what that entails, it's only $22.

Thanks for the replies all.
The ck worked for me but they're big bux, I got a discontinued color for $100. I didn't believe they would last but now I know they do so would buy again for a bike that I'll keep forever. The $22 just gets you some plastic gizzies to adapt metal bb to your crank spindle. Ck has a bearing grease purge, I've done it 3x and it works well, I got a knockoff 1/2 price purge tool from pinkbike. I use polyrex em and the drag is really low.

lots of options for gxp. I think you should start just replacing your bb with another cheap sram. Now $30? You can't get a pair of reasonable bearings for $30. If these cheapos continue to fail for you then consider spending more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I have SRAM Force 1 GXP cranks. I'm confused now. The SRAM road crankset and bottom bracket user manual says to grease the spindle: https://www.sram.com/globalassets/d...cranksets-and-bottom-brackets-user-manual.pdf

Page 22.

Every PF install video I've seen also says to grease the spindle and those faces as well.

Yes it does look like there's polishing on the spindle. Can't feel it with my nail though.

1943453


Also inside of DS bearing with dust cover off
Grease:
1943456


No grease:
1943460
 

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I have SRAM Force 1 GXP cranks. I'm confused now. The SRAM road crankset and bottom bracket user manual says to grease the spindle: https://www.sram.com/globalassets/d...cranksets-and-bottom-brackets-user-manual.pdf

Page 22.

Every PF install video I've seen also says to grease the spindle and those faces as well.

Yes it does look like there's polishing on the spindle. Can't feel it with my nail though.

View attachment 1943453

Also inside of DS bearing with dust cover off
Grease:
View attachment 1943456

No grease:
View attachment 1943460
Ah, that's slightly different than what I was describing as far as the primary dust shields that give a first line of defense for the bearings dustshields. Didn't realize you were running road cranks. Your dust shield is still on the crank spindle. No matter though, a ton of grease there isn't going to help matters at all. Also any grease on the spindle will be pushed away quickly, doing nothing for that interface between the bearing and spindle.

Try this...grease the spindle and then reinstall. See if it clicks. If it doesn't, the noise is coming from where I've described. It will again soon though as this isn't a lasting remedy.
 

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I run the wheels manufacturing BB's on all of my pressfit bikes. Dead silent and spin really smooth.

 
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