Recently, I received an email from Matt T. asking me if I have read the article in the 2012 Velo Magazine Buyers Guide by Lennard Zinn about the current bottom bracket nonsense that's currently going on. I replied that I haven't seen it but i will try to track it down. After failing to find it online, I was able to get a client to get me a copy of the article. I, like Matt, was blown away that the editors allowed Zinn to ripp the industry a new hole over all of these new "standards". Below are some of the great points that I really agree with...
In a few short years, the cycling industry has gone from essentially two threaded standards....to at least 16 threadless standards: eight each for road and MTB.
"With the upside of increased frame stiffness claims, that are largely correct, comes a mechanic's nightmare."
"Complaints about creaking or dislodged bearings are common after a frame is replaced with one that has a different BB shell standard than the original. The customer is unlikely to want to buy a new crankset to go with the replacement frame, but many times the adapters creak or work their way out of the frame. The solution to this creaking? In many cases, frame or crank manufacturers suggest using Loctite. Clearly this is a flaw in the design of the system if that's the fix. "(emphasis added by me)
"But the whole idea of press-fit bottom brackets, after all, is to fit into frames that are not made to exact tolerances so that they can be simply molded with cheap labor and not machined afterward. Now you see the problem."
"Is the marginal increase in stiffness worth decreased bearing life, fighting with clunky adapters, annoying creaks, or buying new cranks after a crash? Of course not. We can only hope that the industry pulls it's collective head out of the sand and returns meaning to the word "standard," and that it does so after agreeing on a design that truly works. Until then, cherish that threaded frame, if you still have one."
Thank you Lennard for saying what needs to be said. It is really refreshing and it supports what I've been saying for quite some time. Now go out and find the 2012 Buyers Guide and read the whole article and check out the tables of the bottom bracket shell specifications. You will see why this drives me nuts. Thanks for checking in. -John