Modern Sealed cartridge BB in an old Legnano Road Bike (Made in Italy)

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by CycloTouristas, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. CycloTouristas

    CycloTouristas New Member

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    Hello guys!
    I'm new to your forum, so I greet everyone here :)

    I have a Legnano Corsa with a messed up BB, so I'm thinking about get a cheap sealed BB to ride it on weekends.

    The BB shell of the bike is 70mm length and both caps of the original BB unscrewed regulary (counter clockwise). I've heard that the threads of the shimano BB's plastic cap could be screwed on left and right threaded shells, is that right?
     
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  2. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Is your Legnano the classic puke green with red trim? They are somewhat collectible! Can you post a few pictures?

    A Record-equipped Corsa listed for 1000 Euros: http://www.pianetabici.com/mm/a_bici-corsa-legnano-anni-70_id103215.html

    If it were me, I would have a good local bike shop look at it. Are the bottom bracket threads good or buggared up? They can possibly be retapped/threads chased. A pro-level shop (or some lesser shops) will have the necessary taps to effect a repair.

    The problem of unscrewing cups can easily be solved with blue Loctite thread-locking adhesive.

    It it were my Legnano, I would re-fit the bike with a new Campagnolo 70MM Italian BB set.

    Some Legnanos had a grease fitting to facilitate BB maintenance.

    Just as an aside, I used to ride with an older gentleman that came from the town of Legnano. Yes, he rode a nice Campagnolo Record equipped green/red Legnano cycle. He came to America right after WWII, married and cycled here. He ran his own business for many years...a shoe store.
     
  3. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FYI. Your bike probably has an "Italian" (36x1) threaded BB ... so, YOU need to buy one with that spec (yes, Shimano made "Italian" threaded, square taper JSI spindle, cartridge BBs -- the designation is 'UN-xx' were "xx" is the specific model number ... the spindle length VARIES, so measure carefully ... ISO & JSI are slightly different ... JSI can be used with ISO cranksets).

    Campagnolo, Gipiemme, Zeus, Sugino, SunTour are some examples of cranks which used ISO tapered cranks.

    An ISO tapered crankset will seat about 2+ mm wider (on each side) when mounted on a JSI tapered BB spindle.

    A JSI tapered crankset will usually bottom-out against the end of the taper before being properly seated.

    YOU can buy-and-use a different BB & crankset combination -- your budget is your only limitation.
     
  4. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    BTW. It may be possible to restore your BB to turn smoothly by simply repacking and/or replacing the bearings.
     
  5. CycloTouristas

    CycloTouristas New Member

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    Campybob, thanks a lot for your response :)

    That's an old pic of the bike :http://i39.tinypic.com/2itn5h4.jpg. Everything it wears ir's original except handlebars (a cheap beat up one). The fork was painted without my consent by a stupid bike mechanic. I don't think it worth as much as the Legnano you posted though. It had some tough days :(

    I campagnolo 70mm would be awesome but I can only afford very cheap stuff :(

    How wonderful to ride a bike named from your city! Is the man still alive?


    Alfeng, thanks a lot for the very useful info.

    The strange thing is that I had this BB restored before by a shop and after some miles it was wobbly again. So I opened the BB myself and I saw only the bearings without the cage! Is that possible? I would consider repairing the old BB but after the second fail I'm a bit afraid. Is it possible for a BB to run with bearings without cages (only the metal balls)? What happened? Those questions are swirling around my head.

    It's an olfmega BB with 118 spindle length bytheway.
     
  6. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    It's beautiful, CycloTouristas!!! Pre-braze-ons...1974 or earlier?

    The Gentleman's name was Ezio Bressan. He was some sort of 'royalty' from Legnano...Prince...Count...I forget. He was a very nice guy and 'old' even when I knew him many years ago. For an older guy, he rode his bike well and he had a great sense of humor.

    Here is some patent he filed decades ago for cushioned shoe inserts!
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCsQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Fpatents%2FUS3398469.pdf&ei=a2aVT5nvJ6i36QGFuMzCBA&usg=AFQjCNHwR-u5D9FuuDgdn5MQtoSGS2oqrA&sig2=ih2uNNv59nifYHjIIQ8sMg

    I think Ezio is 89 years old now and, hopefully, still cycling the roads of Florida on his beloved Legnano bicycle!
     
  7. AlanG

    AlanG Member

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    I'm not an expert but I've rebuilt several adjustable BBs and none had cages for the bearings. (Maybe some do, but as I said, I have limited experience.) That is why they are called "loose bearing" BBs. You just use some grease to hold them in place when assembling. I'd suspect if it loosened up, it was because the lock ring and the adjustment ring became unscrewed a little. If none of the parts are pitted, you can just clean it, grease it and re-assemble.

    It is very easy. Here's how:

    http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/adjustable-type-bottom-bracket-service
     
  8. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. With regard to BOTH Italian (36x1) & French (35x1) threaded BBs which both use normal clockwise threading, 'I' have chosen to put the FIXED cup on the non-driveside & the ADJUSTABLE cup which has a lockring on the driveside ... thus, avoiding the problem of the driveside cup precessing while I pedal ...

    [*]this was originally a "Why not?" solution which I decided to try many years ago when I-was-left-to-my-own-devices. ...

    AFAIK, the precessing cup is generally not an issue with cartridge bearing BBs.

    BTW, It seems that "caged bearings" for bicycle headsets & BBs finally came into vogue in the late 70s ... we can probably thank the Japanese (e.g., Sugino, et al) for THAT ...

    Undoubtedly, using caged bearings was as much to expedite assembly on "factory" bikes as any other possible reason ...

    Similarly, while SHIMANO may-or-may-not have been the first to use cartridge bearings, they seem
    to have been the first to provide cartridge BBs ... undoubtedly, the cartridge BB was a way to convince mass production bicycle manufacturers that they could expedite assembly line production with their cartridge BBs + the various "groups" which Shimano made available.
     
  9. CycloTouristas

    CycloTouristas New Member

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    Campybob, I'm not sure but I'd sa 1974. It looks cool and it rides beutifully (I have an other steel road bike and I can definately feel the diference).

    AlanG, thanks, I just did it. Unfotunately after a short ride the damn caps unscrewed themselves :( Propably because I don't have the proper tools to screw them tightly (I did it the DIY way). I am in the dilemma of buing the tools to do it right or buy a sealed new shimano BB...

    Alfeg, the premise seems interesting but I don't quity get it. Whats the difference that way? Why the precessing problem doesnt occur that way? Have it work fine for many miles? Also do you recommend me to buy catridge bearings to put inside?
     
  10. AlanG

    AlanG Member

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    Well it is easier with the right tools but if it looks like I think it does, you can use a screwdriver and tap it GENTLY with a hammer to rotate the lock ring tight if there is a notched cutout. (You'll have to make sure the bearing adjustment ring is correct first and keep it from turning.)

    You will need the right tool to install a cartridge bracket if you elect to go that route. And you may not use that tool much in the future if you buy another bike that uses a different BB system. The loose bearing BB system is a perfectly fine way to go and if it were my choice, I would just keep it if nothing is wrong with any of it.

    You will need a spanner to adjust out the bearing play and another wrench for tightening the ring. If you can rig up something to fit in the holes to hold the inner ring in place (maybe a bent piece of hangar wire) and then gently use a screwdriver and hammer as I suggested, it will not cost anything.

    At worst, I would think you could go back to your bike shop and ask them to tighten it for free or a minimal fee since it worked its way loose and shouldn't have.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Yes, 'I' have found that MY solution works very well ...

    When the ADJUSTABLE CUP is on the driveside, the LOCKRING prevents the cup from unscrewing (i.e., precessing as you pedal) ...

    Without the lockring (as when the FIXED CUP is on the driveside of an Italian or French threaded BB), there is nothing to prevent the cup from unthreading unless something like Loctite is added to the threads OR if the cup was torqued on with what I would describe as excessive force.

    FWIW & FYI. I guess that I was a little slow to adapt to cartridge BBs because they are usually not serviceable OR they are not as easily serviced AND the actual Ball Bearings in a cartridge are necessarily of a (slightly) smaller diameter ...

    So, I Initially ponied up for the earlier iterations of the Dura Ace Octalink BBs because they were theoretically serviceable ...

    But, the Ultegra (cartridge-type) Octalink BB convinced me that cartridge BBs are "okay" ... they are a little tight when new due to the auxiliary seals, but that loosens up with time ... so, I got over my prejudice against cartridge BBs.

    Having said THAT, I recommend that if you think that you want to use a cartridge BB, then you need to carefully measure your current BB spindle's length & you need to know if it is ISO (most Eurpean cranks are ISO, but there are always exceptions) or JIS (most Japanese cranks EXCEPT FOR Sugino & Suntour are JIS -- someone has previously declared that Suntour cranks are JIS, but I disagree) OR opt for a new BB & Crankset combination.
     
  12. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    If you have the original cranks, and they're Italian, and the bearing races aren't pitted, it would be worthwhile to overhaul the original bottom bracket. Regarding the ball cages, I always threw them out and inserted an extra ball. New ball bearings are good insurance on a piece this old and out of maintenance.

    If you don't have the cranks, the more practical approach might be to buy Japanese cranks (Sugino, FSA, or Shimano) and a matching bottom bracket (JIS square taper, ISIS, or Octalink) with Italian threading. Regarding unthreading of the drive side cup, I've never had any problems using good old grease on the threads and a solid yank on the spanner before putting the cranks back on, but if Loctite floats your boat . . .

    Mount square taper cranks dry. That is, clean the tapers thoroughly and grease only the crank bolts. Splined interfaces should be greased.
     
  13. CycloTouristas

    CycloTouristas New Member

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    AlanG, I did something like this but it got loose in a matter of minutes. Maybe the problem is in the cap in the drive side. It needs a special tool or atleast a huge adjustable wrench. I don't have either. But you're right about the shop, they are good guys they will do it for free, sure. After this I'm kind of determined to use this old BB, it's a 35 years old and it will work forever because of its simple design. Shimano's cheap ones make you work less but it will fail in few years (if you're lucky). I like designs that can work for a long time :)


    Alfeng, with your way the adgustable lockring will keep the cap in place BUT in the non drive side will be nothing to prevent this cap from unscrewing itself. I mean you just reverse the problematic cap (the one without the lockring), instead of keeping BOTH caps in place. What am I missing?

    I meant catridge ball bearings (not just balls rolling around). Will it be ok to buy two caged ball bearings and replace the bearing balls?

    oldbobcat, I have the original cranks and they look alright! Everything works fine until the damn thing gets loose! Then weird noises coming out like the BB is killing itself! Maybe the solid yank its the only thing missing from the whole ordeal. But I have a huge spanner and even that is not big enough to fit. The proper tool should be this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrkxaNgL6Y4 but I can't find it anywhere.
     
  14. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    When an Italian-or-French FIXED CUP is on the non-driveside, as it precesses it "tightens" against the BB shell & the lip on the cup subsequently prevents the cup from unthreading ...
    Whereas, when an Italian-or-French FIXED CUP is on the driveside, the lip on the cup only serves to "fix" the cup & prevent the cup moving inward, BUT doesn't preclude it from moving in the opposite direction (i.e., precessing) that the spindle is rotating.

     
  15. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    BTW. As far as "caged" bearings vs. "loose" bearings ...

    [*] The cage is a HUGE convenience, but the cage introduces a small amount of friction + caged bearings add a small additional cost when compared with purchasing loose bearings ...

    ALSO, it is easier (for me) to tell when bearings are out-of-round when they are loose ... of course, some people simply replace their bearings at a set interval of mileage-or-time.

    FYI. I refer to installation of caged bearings as being DIRECTIONAL ...

    'I' set the open side so that it is against the cup AND the cage side toward the cone ... I presume everyone else does it that way, too, but who knows?!?
     
  16. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Cyclo, the guy in the vid is removing a sealed square taper bottom bracket.

    It would be helpful if you could post some photos of the parts you're trying to work with. Then we could advise you on what tools you need.
     
  17. Meangreg

    Meangreg New Member

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    The "loose" bearings are in a race, the machined groove on the edges. Just degrease it, pack it up with new clean grease, insert the bearings around the perimeter (they'll stick in the grease) and tighten to specs.
     
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