Bottom bracket options for 2010 trek 2.1 apha road bike

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by heavypic, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. heavypic

    heavypic New Member

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    Hello all -

    I am new to this forum. I recently resumed using my road bicycle again after a few years away. I need some help/advice regarding bottom brackets.

    I have a 2010 Trek 2.1 alpha road bike (Shimano 105 components w/ a compact R-600 50/34 crank) purchased in the U.S., that I have used only on a Cycle-Ops trainer for less than 10 hours total since the bike was new. I have never ridden the bike on the road, but I am hoping to do so soon.

    With the help of youtube, I have serviced/adjusted the front/rear derailleurs and everything is quiet and shifting crisply when freewheeling on a bike stand. However, I experience a grinding type of vibration that seems to come from the front crank when using the trainer. I backed-off the trainer resistance wheel from the bike's rear tire, and I still get the grinding vibration when pedaling freewheel while lightly applying the rear brake to simulate riding resistance. It appears the vibration is worse as pedal force is increased and with higher gears. I am suspecting the bottom bracket may need service or replacement. The BB has never been serviced.

    I removed the chain from the front chain-ring and checked the crank for play/looseness...everything seems tight and in good order. The crank turns freely with no roughness, grinding noise or resistance. However, as I turn the crank slowly, I can hear a subtle 'clicking' noise intermittently. I suspect this may be the ball bearings moving and contacting each other in the bearing housing?

    Can anyone suggest what might be the problem? Does the BB needs cleaning/repacking/replacement?

    Can anyone recommend BB options for this model? I don't mind upgrading over the stock BB. I believe this model uses a Shimano Hollowtech II bottom bracket...the BB has the following markings "BC 1.37 x 24". I believe the frame is 68 mm at the crank location. Also, I found a website that claims to have better quality bearing sets (larger, harder, ball bearings)...I'm not sure if this is the best option vs. replacing the BB altogether.

    I have tools ordered. I will be performing the service on the bike.

    Advice appreciated...

    Regards
     
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  2. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    10 hours of use won't kill a BB. Years of storage may harden or dry up the bearing grease though. It could just need a little more pre-load...might be loose cups that need tightened. A lot of times we can not feel a very small amount of play or clearance that results in a noise or roughness under pedal pressure. But it still plays Hell with us until we can dial it out. And it could just need new grease.

    I would first pull the crankarms and then the BB. Grease up the bearings and if you have 'sealed' bearings you can carefully pry back the seals and pack in some fresh grease. Re-assemble and ride it. Even if you wreck the seals the BB is still rideable and would only need slightly more frequent re-grease jobs.

    It sounds like you have British threaded external bearing cups. It might be a snap to repack and go and it might be a sealed for life cartridge unit. Either way, shimaNO still makes a replacement.

    Your TREK dealer can also advise you as to the serviceability of your OEM BB. shimaNO BB's are pretty good quality. Even the lower range units will last for years under normal conditions. Grab the P/N off the cups and / or the inner sleeve. Odds are it is still available in the unlikely event that should you need to order a replacement.

    Good for you for ordering tools and tackling the job yourself. The Park Tool website has some excellent repair videos and tutorials on BB repair as does YouTube. Search for "Ask a Mechanic" videos from Art's Cyclery or any of the amateur videos on the subject. The world is about 92% shimaNO so finding an applicable repair video, website posts and what not should be a breeze.
     
  3. heavypic

    heavypic New Member

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    Campy -

    Thanks for your reply and advice. I did indeed watch some online vids including Parks and Art's Cycles...all good stuff. I'm awaiting delivery of Parks tools, and then I'll have a go with repacking the BB bearings, and checking torque.

    A couple questions. I watched a vid showing the opening of BB bearings and repacking...there was emphasis on carefully removing/reinstalling seals to prevent damage. I was planning to disassemble and clean out all the old grease in the BB bearings. Any recommended solvents for doing so (carburetor/brake cleaner, Simple Green, etc.)? Also, is standard lithium chassis grease or marine grease OK for these bearings and other bicycle parts requiring grease...or is it better to use bicycle/part/brand-specific products? I've done a fair amount of work on cars/motorcycles over the years, and have found that brand-specific products (grease/lube/oils, etc.) are not always necessary, provided one uses good quality products intended for a given purpose.

    Thanks again...
     
  4. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Your OEM grease, other than drying up, shouldn't be contaminated with much of anything. You could just push some new grease into the cups / cones / balls and call it good. The old, dry grease will re-soften when new grease is added.

    If you do need or just want to flush out the old crap out while you have it apart use kerosene, diesel fuel or the like. They don't have solvents in them and leave a light protective film after they evaporate. You certainly can use Simple Green or any of the environmentally friendly cleaners, but to clean up heavy grease I prefer kerosene.

    White Lithium grease is fine for light duty. Marine grease is better for more pressure handling capacity and it's better able to tolerate wet riding conditions (seals be damned...they don't always 'seal').

    Standard automotive wheel bearing grease and agricultural application greases such as the red stuff found at tractor supply also work well for me.

    Hi-Tack or Hi-Temp greases also work just fine, but are somewhat of an over kill for a bike's BB. Like you said, almost any grease can be made to work.

    As I stated above, using care during disassembly you will not damage your bearing seals unless they are old and dried out. In that case...they're gone and there's no saving them. If you tear one it's no big deal. Just push it back in place and the ton of new grease will act as a seal for a long time unless you're riding almost daily in the rain over very wet roads.

    If you totally destroy all your seals, THEN it's time to get replacement bearings or a new BB if it bothers you to not have the seals in place or you anticipate a bunch of wet weather riding conditions.
     
  5. heavypic

    heavypic New Member

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    Campybob -

    Good info regarding lubes/greases....thanks again. I have an old can of kerosene and various grease/lubes around I'll put to use.

    Safe riding...

    Regards
     
  6. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW ...

    I am NOT disagreeing with CAMPYBOB, here, but ...

    Let me say that using either RED "tractor" grease or a MARINE grease (that's the same thing in my book, but I'm certainly not as discriminating an aficionado when it comes to grease as some others may be) is probably best reserved for a truly manly man ....

    Because the notion of being able to extend the interval between re-packing the bearings on my bike's BB by using marine grease crossed my mind, I tried some red marine grease once back in the early 80s, and as soon as I had reassembled my bike and turned the cranks I was amazed at the level of resistance ...

    So, that idea was for naught since I immediately disassembled my crank & cleaned the red marine grease out of the cups & re-packed the bearings with some over-priced, green Phil Wood grease.

    I generally use a generic WHITE LITHIUM grease for hubs & BBs, now ...
    I reserve THOSE heavy weight greases for headset installations.​
     
    #6 alfeng, Aug 28, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2016
  7. heavypic

    heavypic New Member

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    Thanks to all for your advice...

    alfeng -

    Thanks for your reply and helping me to sort out these bicycle-specific lubrication issues. Having worked mostly on cars, motorcycles, and many things mechanical, I have found that there are indeed times when a specific type (weight, composition, etc.) of lube is appropriate for a specific application. Admittedly, I don't have as much experience with bicycles, and the thought did cross my mind that axle/chassis/marine grease might be too heavy for the finer workings of bicycle parts.

    I appreciate the recommendation for use of WD-4 as a cleaner/flush, and white lithium grease for hubs (wheels and cassette hubs) and BBs...I've got plenty of both on-hand. I assume bicycle chain/cable oil is appropriate for derailleur wheels/hinges, cassettes (other than mounting hub), cables, brake/shifter controls. I recently had shifting problems on my Specialized hybrid. The factory grease in the shifter click mechanism had gummed/hardened over time and was preventing the cog claw from engaging the cog...I flushed the mechanism with carburetor cleaner and lubed with Blaster PB50 spray lube and fixed that problem.

    Thanks again...
     
  8. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Straight from CRC's website regarding the uses for their White Lithium Grease:

    You would not use CRC White Lithium Grease to pack your vehicle’s wheel bearings or any bearings on your bicycle or motorcycle.

    http://crcindustries.com/auto/ms_lubricants_feb_2013_v3.pdf

    I don't know how manly I rate on the Manly Man's scale of 1 to 10, but Campagnolo Krystal grease is about the same viscosity as most wheel bearing or general automotive greases. Phil Wood's Waterproof Grease (the green colored stuff) is probably just repackaged automotive wheel bearing grease. I've used both, in addition to generic wheel bearing greases, to repack headsets, bottom brackets, wheel hubs, derailleur pulley bushings and bearings, pedal bearings and the like. Good by me.

    FWIW, Phil's stuff is over-priced, but it's a good product for the application. His Tenacious Oil is pretty stiff stuff too.

    Lithium grease or similar stuff should be fine for the shift lever escapement mechanisms.

    It's all dealer's choice anyway. For guys that do frequent pull downs for inspection or cleaning / re-packing anything will suffice. If riding in dusty or wet conditions or if the rider simply wants to extend his service interval...use the heavy stuff.

    Most of the 'red' greases, such as Lucas' "Red And Tacky" (as I stated above, probably a little overkill for most bicycle applications) are also Lithium based. It's just formulated for higher pressure / shear applications than the typical tube or aerosol can containing White Lithium greases. It's bigger advantage in my book is longevity and wash-off resistance. I don't think the thick stuff is costing my legs much in the way of Watt output in any event.

    Conclusion: Dealer's choice.

    Lube it what you like, what you have on hand and / or what experience has taught you. Keep it clean and replace it as necessary. You'll be fine.
     
  9. heavypic

    heavypic New Member

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    Campybob - Thanks for the info regarding CRC's white lithium grease in the aerosol can. I wonder if perhaps that specific formulation is intended for lighter duty applications, hence not recommended for bicycles in part because of aerosol carriers. I also have white lithium grease in a tube ...different formulation without aerosol carriers.

    Yeah, I'm not a cork-sniffer when it comes to lubes/greases. I frequent motorcycle forums, and the debates over motor oils go on for days! I just want to find what works for specific applications. If I can minimize the number of different products I need on-hand for different applications, that's a good thing...it makes life simpler. I've had success in the past by corresponding with folks on forums having experience in specific applications. When debates arise over this or that product/use, a consensus typically emerges as the dust settles.

    When it comes to bicycling, I'm in it for the work-out, and to keep my equipment in top order...I'm not looking to set any land-speed records or climb the Alps, so if one grease has an almost imperceptible increase in pedaling resistance over another, so be it. What is important to me is a good lube that prevents wear/corrosion, gives good performance, water resistance (I de-grease and wet-wash bikes at standard low hose pressures periodically), and if it safely extends service intervals...that's a good thing too!

    I think I'll try general-purpose lithium-based bearing grease for BBs, cassette hub mounting, headset type applications...after all, this is typically metal to metal lubrication... and perhaps use a lighter grease (white lithium-based tube grease or other) for lower stress workings.

    Thanks again all...
     
  10. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    White Lithium Grease found in tubs and squeeze tubes is generally pretty light stuff. Bicycle bottom brackets are low-speed / high pressure applications that (despite the adoption of the polymer lip seals and contact seals) are fairly open installations directly in the road spray pattern of the front tire.

    I've preferred the heavier, more water proof greases...just my preference. Nothing more. They offer better protection against everything that destroys a ball bearing.

    Dino greases...heavy Lithium greases...polymer and synthetic greases...any of the medium to heavy stuff will offer great protection and a long service interval, generally a couple three years or so depending upon how often you like to use your bike for a submarine.

    A decent viscosity, while adding a little Watt suckage to the equation yields the trade offs above. Users rarely bitch about the same Watt suckage promulgated by the very seals we almost all use these days (Campagnolo high-zoot C.U.L.T. Ceramic hybrid bearings with loose shields excepted, peace be upon our Holy Prophet, Tullio Campagnolo!) yet will search out chain oils that save SIX seconds over 40 Km at 40 Km per hour speeds...I shit you not. Google it. And yet we still ride with sealed BB's and sealed wheel hubs and sealed pedal bearings. Go figure...

    Same goes for greases and thus why Phil Wood, Campagnolo, Pedro's, Park Tool and the like have all become millionaires. Sure...on a very, very cold Winter day that BB my cost you a whopping 2-5 whole Watts...until you get the extra-stiff Hi-Tac Super Ultra-Marine Bottom Stern-Drive stuff churned up, but in the dead of Summer through a wet 15-mile commute into work...you won't notice 'what's' in the bottom of your bike, but you'll be damned glad you put the good stuff in your bearings.

    BTW, I just installed a new Campy crankset and BB a couple weeks ago. I bought the crank because both chainrings were worn and...the left side BB bearing was toast. Yup. A 'sealed' unit bearing. Campy buys German bearings, so decent stuff generally. 5 years old. That's another thing that has to be taken into consideration. It had plenty of grease leaking out the seal because the wear allowed the cup to wobble all over Hell's half acre what was left of the balls and cone.

    Life Lesson from that? Bearings today, generally...all bike bearings as a rule (headsets excepted)...have been downsized. Size and loading / durability have been sacrificed to the great god of weight reduction. Loads are up. Life spans are...well...they certainly didn't get longer.

    A lot of how you maintain your bike has to do with how often you ride it and how many miles you will be putting on it. As does how much you weigh, how much power you develop, the type of riding conditions you are out in, the style of riding you prefer and disciplines you participate in. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    If your bike is only going to see another 10 hours of trainer use in the next year or so, you could literally use 3-in-1 oil in the BB and be no worse for the choice of lubricant. If you are, indeed, planning that return to the road you will have plenty to focus on other than your BB over the next year or so. Use that motorcycle experience and go pick the grease out from your shelf of Castrol, Pennzoil, Mobil, Amsoil, Redline, Motul or whatever you've got and have at it. I have a feeling you're going to choose wisely.

    And yeah, kick starting my 1947 Harley with a crankcase full of straight 70-weight aircraft oil in late December here in Ohio can be a knee-straining workout. Sweating in leathers in 30 degree temperatures...almost hilarious!
     
    #10 CAMPYBOB, Aug 29, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016
  11. heavypic

    heavypic New Member

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    Campybob -

    Yes, I agree with much of what you wrote. For my intended uses, I'll chose the more durable lubes. Again, my concern at this point in life is a good workout....not worrying about shaving millisecond.

    BTW...a '47 Harley in December in Ohio...good for you for keeping those vintage rides alive! I too, ride my Harley in December (Pennsylvania), but mine is a later vintage. BTW, if you like vintage motorcycles, check out the Wheels Through Time museum in Maggie Valley, NC, sometime. I tried to upload a pic of founder/owner/bike builder, Dale Walksler on his '36 knucke, but I get an error message...oh well. It's a great place and well worth the time.

    Regards
     
  12. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Picture uploading to the website is FUBAR...it has been for some time.

    Yeah, I have the old knucklehead, a flathead and a shovelhead. I'm familiar with the museum, but haven't made it down there yet. Maybe this Winter! I blew up the shovel riding back from Daytona and Metrolinea H-D of Charlotte was a big help in making a bad situation into something much more bearable.

    A life spent on two wheels is a good one! Ride safely and have fun.
     
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