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September 22, 2008


Michel Tagliati

I have a TREK Madone SSL 6.9 2012 H1 58" frame model fitted with Camagnolo Record. I have ridden on it for one season and now there is a +2 mm play in the seat of the left bearing on the BB90.

NOTE: I have no idea who assembled this bike, I bought it used, and in mint condition, less then a 1000 km, serial # and all good. I am 2nd owner, hence warranty not valid i recon.

After reading up TREK BB90 failure and the eminent summary of experience with Camagnolo Ultra Tourque axial movement and the discrepancies in the "slip-fit" casing design I am left with trying to use Loctite 640 (after riding "shimmed in" on the trainer this winter) to avoid lateral movment in the front cassettes (1-3 mm) which does affect alignment and gearing.

Using Speedplay pedals I am however in riding unaware in feel of what I am aware of in functionality, my old FSA K-Force crankset (shit engineering part #2) left me irritated.

Shimano really have figured out an excellent enginnering feature for eliminating and adjusting away with all axial movement. I can go back to Shimano and fit a KCNC BB90 adapter but I will give TREK representatives the option of fixing it their way if they can. But the bearing surface on the left side of the BB90 is not cylindrical, it ellipsoidal, so the play of the bearing is really not due to complexed campagnolo engineering (unless the axial movement and a 90+kg rider does that to the bottom bracket bearing surface in the BB90 design.

I am going back to a titanium frame and regular no fuss stuff soon. This is so enervating. I just want to ride. Maybe a Pinarello with BB30 instead and Campy? It seems to work for Movistar Team at least =)


John - my chain set has just developed a creak and it has not been off since I bought the bike 2 years ago, but I only use it in the good weather in summer. I checked for leteral movement today before reading your article and I definitely had some. There was something I thought of that I don't think anyone else mentioned, if there is lateral movement then the spring that holds the crank bearing in place must be under pressure when tlateral movement occurs and this could be the source of the creaking. In fact once everything is assembled is there actually any need for this retaining spring? And would a wavy washer on the crank side possibly solve some people's problems. As I said I haven't taken mine apart yet so don't know if both bearings and cups are the same, if not this may not work. So anyway the first thing I am going to try is Putting grease in the spring holes, and I may even try it without the spring, I can't really see that it does much once it is fully assembled, if lateral movement is ok for the bearing on the non drive side then I would expect it to also be ok on the drive side. I will let you know how I get on - Ken in the UK


Hello Jeroen, I hope that this finds you well. The short answer is that with threaded bottom brackets, the shim kit is still the best solution. If you take your time and do the installation right I think that you will be satisfied with the result...a smooth spinning noise-free UT system. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for writing. -John

Jeroen (Holland)

Hello, before ordering the shim kit I want to know what is today's solution for the clicking sound in the bracket. Is it the shims or is there a better solution?
For a couple of weeks i have my second bike with campagnolo and this bike also has the clicking sound with my first bike I thought it was due to the age of the aluminium frameset but for the new frame carbon and the 2012 version chorus the noise is still there.
So can you sugest to buy the shim kit?


I'm sorry to hear that you are have issues with the UT on your Dogma2. I have shim kits available on my site on the online store. You can find to by clicking on "store" in the menu bar or by following this link...


Thanks for writing and let me know if you have any other questions.

Frank Pfeiffer


thanks for the post. I have the same problems on my new SR 11s crank with the titanium spindle and would like to space out the BB cups on my Pinarello Dogma2 frame. Where can I get the spacers in the USA?
Thanks a lot in advance for all the help.


Thanks for your comment Dave. My solution to the axial play in the UT is the placement of the proper combination of shims placed between the face of the bottom bracket shell and the non driveside bottom bracket cup. When the cup is threaded tight into the bottom bracket shell, there isn't any movement of the shims at all. If this procedure is done properly, there isn't any movement of the spindle and bearing within the bottom bracket at all. In closing, the use on my shim kit might not be elegant but it is effective and functional. It has become less noticeable since I came up with the low-profile shims. Thanks again for your comment! -John


This thread is very interesting ! - it seems to me that neither the campag nor shimano outboard bearing BB systems have any proper "engineering" solution to lateral loading(axial with the BB). Such forces DO exist (just watch your frame flex laterally at the BB when climbing out of the saddle or sprinting). Surely you can only get zero play with these systems by adjusting the components to the point of one plain face or washer rubbing on another ? Either that or the cartridge bearings have to take the lateral load themselves ? While in practice this may WORK, it offends against elegant design in my view.

eric gosalvez

hi, i have this problem with my hirth joint. my campy super record 11s 2010 crankset was properly installed with the right torque to specification on my colnago with italian bottom bracket. after several hundred miles, i felt that i was spinning squarely. went straight to the shop to have it tightened, worked fine. on my next ride, same this happened and it goes on after every ride, i need to go back to the shop to have it tightened. sent it back to where i bought it (somewhere in boulder, colorado), they sent it back to me and said it is not installed properly. they sent it back to me and not covered b warranty. what should i do next. i spent a fortune for this, my first super record. i have the records 11s on my other bikes and did not have this problem. please advise. thanks and more power.


Hi! I haven't assembled my Mirage UT yet.
Now iam getting afraid of the issue told here.
My frame is a DeRosa Planet with Italian BB, width is slightly more than 70mm.

How should I screw in the BB cups?
- greasing and torque with 35Nm ?
- hand torque with Loctite222?
- with Loctite222 AND torque with 35Nm?

Another thing: unfortunately I have no UT fixing bolt (M15x1 - 10mm Hex), it didn't come with the crankset.
Spaer part price is quiet huge ~30$ for a bolt. I read on other forum, that ISIS M15x1 bolt can be used!
How would it work? Has anyone tried?


Thanks for the article, I hope it helps me figuring out what is wrong with my crankset or bottom brackets. I assembled a Chorus Crankset on a Bianchi Infinito 2011 model with english threat. Immediately after installation, I found that the crankarms were spinning with some resistance. Disassembly and extra grease didn't do the job. Also, it didn't change after the first few 100s km. If I compare it to my Shimano Ultegra crankset that I have installed on another bike, then the Ultegra spinns so much easier.
After reading the above article makes me think about the bottom shell of the Bianchi being just a bit too wide, thus when adjusting the bolt the crankset gets compressed too hard to the bottom bracket.
Reading this last comment by Jay also makes me think about removing the wavy washer on the non-drive side and I wonder if this 1. fixes my problem, and if 2. it is a good idea to do in general without increasing the danger of causing permanent damage to the crankset or bottom bracket. Any ideas?


hi guys,
i bought a 2011 Wilier Cento Uno & Campy Chorus 11 UT,
my LBS installed the BB shell in the BB supplied with the frameset & the
Chorus Crankset.. he didn't put the wavy washer on the non-drive side as it
causes friction while spinning the crank he said.. is this true? did he set it
up correctly? all your comments will be appreciated..

Bill S

I can only comment on the creaking or I think more accurately a clicking that developed in my UT Record crankset. As background I use the cups on a threaded Moots Ti frame. After about 8,000 miles this developed. I found an entry which told me how to check for play in the bearings.

That entry said to rotate the left crank next to the down tube and pull them towards each other to check for "play" in the bearing. I did and there was play. I replaced the bearings and the clicking went away.

I have a 2nd Moots with a Super Record crankset with the ceramic bearings and after 11,000 miles on that set up no play or clicking has developed. I think the ceramic bearings are worth the cost for this reason.

I can't comment on any other frame-bb combinations though.

luggage racks for cars

Hi. I was happy with campagnolo centaur carbon crankset for 2 years. I had 3 frames and always work fine. But when i got my first frame with bb30 i used campa os fit cups

Steven Smoke

There is apparently an issue with the Campagnolo 10 & 11 speed Hirsh Joint cranks. The number of complaints with this issue is proof of it. I have the Campagnolo Super Record with the titanium Hirsh Joint and ceramic bearing and I have suffered with the same creaking sound. I have disassembled and reassembled this bottom bracket many times attempting to alleviate the problem with no success. I have re-measured, re-torqued, re-greased, re-cleaned, over and over again with no solution. The problem will disappear for a few weeks but return soon after. Riding style should have no bearing on the reliability of a crank.

For those comments issued by people with apparent science or engineering background, just because the presentation or testing of the issued is not scientific doesn't negate the existence of the issue or discovery of a solution to the problem. This issue is not quantum-mechanics. The crankset is creaking and collectively we are trying to eradicate the problem. Let us not get lost in the eloquence of the language. The bottom line is that if your bottom bracket is creaking it will more than likely be fixed by a bicycle mechanic. His function and our interest are to address this Campagnolo BB issue. We can save the technicalities for board room meetings. When you are on the road cycling either your equipment works as designed or it doesn't!

All the eloquent denials of this issue is a waste of time to the average rider. Just the shear number of complaints regarding this system is proof enough for me and others that the problem exists!

I've been riding Campagnolo for over 40 years and I can honestly say that there earlier designs appear to have been more reliable. They lasted for years without issue. This product should work as designed. Extra spacers, washers, and weekly maintenance should not be required.

I have the ceramic bearings. I don't like the fact that the bearings are not adequately sealed. Dirt does enter these bearings causing them to fail. Each time I do a BB tear-down I can't believe how much dirt has entered the bearings. Given the frequency of tear-downs required I will probably use the standard steel bearings until this matter is addressed. What advantage is there to having expensive ceramic creaking bearings?


brad stewart

how can we get ahold of these spacers? I tried to email but do not have outlook. Can you contact me by this hotmail account please?


That's awesome James! That's the function and durability that we should see out of UT. As I mentioned numerous times, the axial movement/noise does not happen with every bike. Additionally, I agree with your statement regarding outboard BB's...overall a better design than cartridge bottom brackets especially when it comes to bearing longevity. Thanks for writing! -John


I've done about 4 years and 40,000km on an UT BB and have _no_ bad news. I service once a year on average and regrease the bearings as a part of the service. The bearings still have no perceivable play or wear, and certainly no knock or side to side movement in use. No loctite in sight either. I weigh about 75kg, train and race A grade club races. I think I put the BB through it's paces. Shimano and Campy cartridge BBs used to last about a year. The UT BB is magic, like the Shimano outboard BB. Increases the perceived BB stiffness too.


Kester Calderon

Thank you for this write up, I need help. I just installed a 2010 Super Record on my bike ( 2008 Pinarello Prince) just 2 weeks ago and after which suddenly heard this creaking sound coming from the bottom bracket. So I checked, removed it all again from the crank, bottom bracket, checked my frame's bottom bracket shell for cracks and tread life. All seems okay, I checked the bottom bracket for minute fractures despite being brand new and all is fine. I re-installed it again, greased the bottom bracket tread and did all installation procedure to it's manufactures instruction and still the creaking sound is there. I checked my rear wheel, skewers, cogset and all is fine no wobble etc. At this point I stopped doing all the checking and adjustment and not used the bike until now as I do not want to damage anything. I did all my research to find out similar problems but all I see are vague testaments and tips until I read yours. Now I am in the process of researching for answers before I touch the parts again as to not add problems to the existing one. Note. These are brand new parts which is the reason of my care in handling removing and re-installing procedures. I hope you can shed light to this and hope there is no quantum mechanics to solve the problem. Thank you very much
Kester Calderon, DMD

P.S. I am from the Philippines, I ordered the parts from the US so I placed myself in a position that returning the parts is difficult. My options now is research for possible solutions to the problem doing it here. I am not a not a bike mechanic but I do my research on how to handle the Parts to its specifications and did all bike fixing and assembling in my small shop at home. Thanks again


As of this moment, I've read up to where the "wave washer" image be.

But my coming is that I now own a 180mm Record 10 UT crank.
Someone in the bike business whom I consulted: tells me that I have the OPTION to continue with the conventional Record BB.
That the UT crankset will successfully install.

?Is this true?


Hi. I was happy with campagnolo centaur carbon crankset for 2 years. I had 3 frames and always work fine. But when i got my first frame with bb30 i used campa os fit cups. And know when i'm pedaling i can see movement of crank on left or right side, sometimes chain touch fd. I tried to use second wavy washer but it was to much and i can't fix the bolt. Any ideas?


I have a 2010 Giant TCR Advanced BB86 and experiencing creaking. I used permatex (similiar to Loctite 641) and went away for a couple of rides and than came back. Replaced the bearings and went away for a couple of rides and than came back. I think Imay have not allowed enough time for the sleeve retainer permatex solution to dry but seems very hard to remove the cups (without heat). Wondering if I should add a another wavy washer or re-apply the permatex on the cups. Any advice or experiences?


Hi from the UK!

I have the same creaking on my Campag Mirage UT bb! Only 600m in. Brand new bike.

I can't detect any movement or sliding within the cups. I'll keep checking. But it's really frustrating. It sounds like an old winter hack bike I used to ride 20 years ago.

Thanks, Rogue Mechanic for a great posting!




Thanks for the post. I had the play and click. This post reminded me about the BB shell spec. This makes sense given the fact the bearings are fixed. If the shell is too narrow, the wavy washer will not provide enough force. I measured my BB and I was .45mm under spec after I had the frame faced. I installed a BB spacer to bring the BB shell back within spec - problem solved. Zero play. No click. Note: I have an Italian BB and I could not locate anyone who provides spacers for the 36mm ID required (English is 35mm). I had to file an English spacer to make it work for me.

Thomas Carne

First and foremost, bearings should not be allowed to move either on the shaft or in their housing. This is basic mechanical knowledge. I understand the reasons for the use of the wavy washer use as it allows for the discrepancies in bottom bracket widths. More than likely this is why there are those that experience this problem and those that don't. Quite simply put, manufacturing is not perfect and your bike may leave the factory with a very wide BB ensuring that minimal slack is evident in the BB therefore it would be less likely you would experience the fore mentioned problems. But clearly if you can add only minor lateral pressure to the crank, then the wavy washer is not coping with the job.

I have experienced this problem on mine and a friends bike. The easiest and most available fix is to fit an additional wavy washer which will increase the pressure on the bearing set holding it in position and it will also remove some play within the BB (a shim in effect). Shimming is another possible solution but they are a little hard to come by.

I want to make this perfectly clear that if you have noise coming from your BB its an indication something is wrong. Ignoring it will only end up with worn bearing cups and bearings.

I'm glad to say that it does appear to work, though early days yet. For $5 - $10 washer I certainly think its worth a try.

For my ten cents worth I believe the problem occurs due to the bearings "sliding" laterally within the cups. It is especially notable when high torque situations occur as there is a vertical force and a horizontal force applied which compresses the wavy washer allowing the shaft and bearings to shift (to the chainring side), then as the load is removed the chainring bearing reseats back into the cup giving you the ticking sound. Which is exactly what you get in your pedalling action.

Good luck to all and enjoy your campy groupsets


I have been using the UT cranksets since they first come on the market.

I was using a Record 10-speed, and never had any noises - flawless.

However, soon after changing out to 11-Speed Super Record and about a 1,000 miles into using them, it too developed a 12 o'clock ticking. I like to think that I'm a solid mechanic, so I read a lot of postings (including those here) and thought about this for a while.

To make sure it wasn't a noise being generated elsewhere I changed out pedals, seat post and saddle and still it was there, and rechecked all bolts on stem, handlebars and water bottles bosses . I had used the Loctite and checked the cups - which were well and truly solid! Ticking still there.

As an experiment I had a spare wave washer - pulled everything apart (again) and installed the 2nd wave washer (that's the non-drive side) along with a little grease packing. Ticking gone...

That's several hundred miles ago and the tick has not come back, and the whole crank assembly feels a lot firmer.

Now I find it strange to go from one crankset to another which is more or less the same, with design and same frame. How or why one wave washer should make a difference still leaves me puzzled - but I'm puzzling in silence. I believe the pro's whack in another wave washer, grease, torque and walk away .....???

I hope this helps



I also had the same noise at the same crank position and noticed that the wavy washer had been marked at it's high contact points, which would mean to me that the washer was moving abeit very little. Thinking that this tiny moment could be creating the ticking noise even with light pressure on the crank arm I greased all the contact points with a moderate amount of grease, reassembled according to the instructions that came with the crank. For now the noise is gone. I think this a better solution than the spacers, being that with spacers you're compromising the reason for the wavy washer in the first place. My bottom bracket width was right in the middle of the range specified by campy (67.95). Spacers may be needed in order to bring the BB width to within specs. Also, although I could replicate the movement that you demonstrated with pulling or pushing the crank arm in or out I noticed the with ordinary pedal pressure the crank didn't have any outward or inward movement, if it did chain rub with the front derailer would be an issue and none of the responders indicated that to be so.



Super article. I noticed this myself when I put together my Super Torque: hold assembly moves under torque. After about 4k, clicking developed. I took everything apart, cleaned, and re-greased. The Hirth joint was immaculate. I put it all back together with the presribed torque... still the click.

I came to the same conclusion as you--that the shell needs to be the perfect width to support Campy's narrow tolerances. I am not sure how to face a shell that is too narrow. I will follow your directions for producing the correct dimensions with washers.

This is my first experience with Campy, and I started out with Super Record. It's a little disappointing, frankly. But thank you for confirming the diagnosis, and prescribing the cure.



had the same problem. as its a width issue with the hirth joint, to increase the width on the axle line, you can wind out one of the cups slightly which increases the overall axle width & thus removes the play.

if you add a spacer on the non-drive side between bb cup and frame face, this will solidly take up the play & make up distance. As the distance is minute (1mm?) I don't see there as being cause for concern on the cup placement being moved out on the non-drive side.

Anyone else resolved the movement issue in this way?


Russ Perry

Can I have a summary of things to try? I have a clicking (when pedaling) and a graunch (ususlly when pedaling - drive side at 12 o'clock - does happen when freewheeling occasionally)

seo company uk

Have you informed the powers that be of your findings


I'm getting the same knocking noise after 1500 miles (Professionally Built-up Look 595 with Campy Record 11speed) during race speed sprints (usually near end of a sprint and when the bike is rocking side to side). No other time I'm I hearing this knock including standing climbs. I'm 180Ib all-arounder but sprinting is my strongest skill.

Squeezing the non-drive side crankarm towards the drive side, I was able to make the whole driveside crankset move back and forth, I could see the drive side of the crankset move out or away from the bottom bracket just like your pics!! My mechanic/builder is checking with Campy....so stay tuned.

Frank Meeussen

Has anyone seen a problem with the fixing bolt? I have had clicking noises caused by a loose fixing bolt. It has been tightened many times, which relieves the noise but as of this weekend I have now lost my second bolt when it has fallen (shot) out on a ride. Frustrating. It is a Centaur UT crank - installed by a shop I trust, double checked by another and everything is good as far as they can see.

Peter Liptrot

With the prevelance of wider bottom bracket shells on frames - in which the bearings slot in, removing the need for cups - it is evident that with these designs there is no scope for the spring clip to be used. Does this relegate Campag UT to the 68mm/70mm bottom bracket shell frames only?

Taking issue with one opinion above - if riding style has a negative effect on equipment, then that equipment is faulty. Campag make their money from cyclists who have to buy their equipment, and all of us in that category will, at some point, ride poorly. If that means the equipment becomes problematic, then the equipment has a flaw.

Brian Weatherburn

Came upon this discussion while trying to find out what might be causing my click which developed after a few hundred miles from new. (UT crank in a Wilier frame). I couldn't find any of the side movement mentioned above but stumbled on the cause partly by chance. I decided to check all bolts and screws etc to see if anything was a bit loose - While checking the five hex screwbolts which hold the chain rings together I found that two of them weren't as tight as the other three - no way were they loose but they turned maybe 15 degrees or so. Confess I didn't use a torque wrench, I just used an Allen key with a bit of commonsense 'feel'. Can confirm after a couple of hundred miles that my click has definitely gone now. This could be the cause of one or two other peoples annoying clicks rather than the more bothersome problem mentioned above?


I´m to buy a new Super-Record. I didn't know about these UT troubles. In my case, I need to install the 86,5x41mm integrated BB cups in a Lapierre frame. I think that, due to these accurate dimensions, Campy must have designed the cups with exact dimensions so as not to give lateral tolerances related problems. Has anyone answer to this point? Thanks

yuri siqueira

John, It works I put an nylon spacer, i guess was better option than metal. Fine I rode almost 500k and no noise. But I have another noisy trouble.... NOKON CABLES, making me nuts... any suggestions or any experience to fix it... thanks from brasil...


replace narrow with wide in above post


Seems this is much to do about a bb shell that is too narrow, presume there is a chain line alignment issue as well. So why not measure shell to make sure correct width and face to spec. for UT rather than build up with internal spacer and extra wavey washer?


Hello Danny, Yuri, and Jeff:
I hope that this message finds you well and thank you for your comments.
Danny, I really don't think that you will have a problem getting the cups off. Just use the right tool and go slowly.
Yuri, If that doesn't work, I have a better solution in the works. Stay tuned!
Jeff, Hey, you know what they say.... there's never a dumb question. Nope, it's definitely not the crankarm hitting the front derailleur.
To all others: Thanks for your comments and for checking in.
Best regards,

Jeff Parnell

Probably a dumb question, but: That clicking noise is NOT the drive-side crankarm rubbing on the front derailleur, is it? (I didn't see it mentioned as being ruled out). The only reason I ask is that at one point the noise was noticed as being at 6 o'clock on the non drive-side which would roughly correspond to 12 o'clock on the drive side where the front derailleur would meet up w/ the crankarm.

yuri siqueira

I had the same problem, with craking crank. I will do the same with your instructions, down here in brazil, I'll let you know if work, I hope so. - Colnago C50 - Campy record

Danny G

I have had a problem with the hirth bolt working loose. I put locktite 222 on the threads and this seemed to fix it. I may have screwed up when I installed my cups ,put the locktite 222 on the threads and hand tighten , then not feeling so great about just leaving it hand tighten, I put recommended torque on it. do you think I'll ever get them off again? cervelo carbon soloist

Davern White

Wow it's taken a long time for someone to mention having your bottom bracket's outer shell faced off properly. Whenever I've encountered bikes - be they old school tapered set ups or newer outboard bearing types (like ultra torque) with clicks and creaks the root cause has almost always been a frame's bracket that hasn't been prepped right. Tap clean the threads and face off the outers square and 9 times out of ten the clicky demon will go away.

David Shepherd

I'm glad a lot of other people figured out the minsconceptions in your ideas about how the Campy system works.

The right side bearing is basically fixed, with only a very small amount of movement possible, once the spring clip is in place (probably .010 inch or less). If you really want to stop all movement, a very thin washer could be placed in the right side cup, before the spring clip is installed, although it should not be necessary. Too much washer would not allow the spring clip to extend into the cup properly and render it useless -riding on top of the bearing OD. The clip must extend past the outer bearing race and keep it from moving.

The wavy washer has nothing to do with the crank's ability to move side to side. It produces a preload tension in the 20-60 pound range, that pushes against the left side bearing, transferring the force through the spindle to hold the right bearing against the inner face of the cup. Shimming the left side just fouls up the preload and is sure to result in premature bearing failure. That is a very bad suggestion, sure to cause more problems.

I could see how someone could put the spring clip on, but neglect to verify that the ends of the clip went far enough into the hole to keep the right side bearing from moving. If the clip is hitting the bearing OD, that could result in a large amount of side play, on the order of 2mm. This is a simple case of failing to verify a correct installation. All you have to do is put the right side on the crank in first, push the clip fully into place, then try to move it side to side. If the crank arm can be pulled out, the spring clip in not in place.

FWIW, I just took my crank off for servicing after 5,000 miles and everything looks great. There is no evidence of any wear on the cups and I've never had a problem with clicks or creaks. I cleaned out the old grease, packed in new grease and I'm set for another year.

My recommendation for anyone haveing problems is to start over, perhaps with new cups and bearings. Be sure the BB faces are square to the threads, grease the threads and torque the cups to 35Nm. Forget about the loctite method. To check the BB faces for squareness, screw the cups in until they contact a .010 inch feeler gage, then use .008-.012 feelers to check for tight or loose areas. If no area exceeds that range, you should be OK. Of course, there should never be any paint on the faces of the BB shell.

Edward Westbrook

Man. What a cluster! (get it?) I think that you will find that if you assemble the crank per instructions and keep it extreamly clean on the hirth joint, creaking, popping clicking etc. will go away. The wave washer is designed to keep a uniform preload on the bearings and use the drive side as a datum point (not rocket science). The crank is designed to not play if you are riding your bike properly and is a vast improvement on bearing wear as opposed to "hard preloading" with shims or concentric thread systems. If you rock your bike so much that you overcome the preload of the wave washer (the numbers are much simpler than you think). then you may get the crank to move - work on your style. One thing that has been consistant on Italian mechanical engineering from Ferarris to Super Record for decades is if you ain't using the hardware right the engineering who designed it doesn't care about your lack of skill - it's an Italian thing; part of the art. That's why so many doctor types with too much money and not enough skill have their Ferarris in the shop more than on the road. Shims no! The Campy guys know what they are doing. Moral: assemble it clean, don't think you know more than the mechanical engineers who designed and extensively tested it and ride it correctly.


When I first saw this design I looked up the variations in width allowed by the bottom bracket shells. I was a bit concerned, but the wave washer appeared to take up the play possible.

Some other things to consider, the tolerances of the crank system, in other words, does Campagnolo grind the bearing lands while the parts are assembled or individual? Think of the tolerance stack.

Second, and probably bigger issue is the alignment to centerline of the opposing sides of the BB shell and the parallelism of the faces with relation to the virtual centerline of the shell. The old cup and spindle system was very tolerant of errors.

What I find surprising here is that a number of bikes were carbon, therefore bonded, and the chance of heat distortion of the shell after processing is assumed to be much less.

I can imagine it now, "after proper CMM (co-ordinate measuring) of your bike frame and the tolerance spec sheet of the crankset, select one that is an acceptable fit..."

Tim Danaher

RM --

I had the problem you described.

Turns out I'd inserted the bolt from the left hand side (it was in the left-hand crankarm in the box, duh).

Inserting it from the right-hand side (as you are specifically told the do in the instructions), the problem went away.

I don't know if this is the cause of *your* particular problem, but the external manifestation of my problem was exactly as shown in your video.

mark fischer

HI there I had the same issue on my Torelli Countach OS, the click started fairly quickly and only went away after adding another washer to the bottom bracket. I went through all the steps measured the bottom bracket width, checked the wave washer etc. I believe thi design is the issue and something will come down from Campagnolo to fix it.

Brendan McDonnell

Hi I just built a 2007 Look 555 with 2008 Chorus group.When I first built the bike I noticed the side to side play and asked a Campagnolo Pro shop if this was normal the mechanic/owner said yes, that the wavy washer was designed to take up the play in bottom bracket. Well needless to say at about a 1000miles I noticed a click from the non drive side but it is only noticeable when I first start riding after about 10 minutes the noise goes away. I haven't taken the bb assembly apart yet to verify the cause but I am glad I found your posting this sounds logical and also answers a lot of questions. At least now I have a direction to go in to possibly solve this issue thanks.

Rod Igo

Hello , Great postings on Campy Ultra Torque Creaking and tcking. Mine have done that as soon as I installed them ,I recently removed them and am gong back to isis bottom bracket cranks. I have three sets of mega exo type bottom brackets and they all creak so Isis stronglights I'm looking for now or I'll try the spacers next to the spring washer for one last go on the Ultra Torque's. I guss I owe it to my bike to try one last time, but after so many atempts to quiet it down with thread tape, loctite and anti seize grease till it comes out the sides I'm just ready to move on, but If I can find the .30 mm washers with very little work I'll try it...Its great to here the plain ad simple logic to why the creaking happens.Thanks , I'm glad I came accross this site, lots of insight and great photo's to go along with the info....


Hey Robin, Dave, Jim S, and JoeR,
Thanks for all of your comments. Just wanted to let all of you know that I haven't walked away from this... I've just been swamped with work. Stay tuned... -John


Good article. I put together a bike for the first time in ten years this past July using a Campy Chorus group set. I followed the assembly instructions including liberally applying Loctite 222 to the bearing cups. My click from hell started three weeks after assembly. I don't recall what my BB width is other than it is within Campy spec as measured using a caliper.

The UT click issue has been documented in several places on the Internet. In fact, I found your article through a link from one of the forums discussing the issue. The problem is usually characterized as "click" or "knock" noise when the drive side crank arm is in the 1-2 o'clock position. A Rep from Campy commented on the problem last year in a posting in Lennard Zinn's area on Velonews. He suggested letting the Loctite dry for 48 hours and torquing up to 70 Nm. which 10 Nm above Campy spec. I increased the torque on mine from 50 Nm to 60 Nm and the problem went away for a while and came back.

I briefly spoke to a mechanic at my local bike shop about the problem a month ago. He has come across the same problem. This shops solution is to install a new wave washer. My guess this will work for a while.

A BB width on the low side of spec sounds like it may the root cause of my "clicking" issue. Where can I get BB spacers? I will try spacing out the BB cups and replacing the wave washer on the next go around.

Jim S.

The instructions I have for my UT crankset has 2 methods for installation. A prefered method and the 2nd choice if not able to use the prefered method. The prefered method did not use loctite and the cups are torqued. When I had called Campagnolo to check about the installation they recommend also to check and tighten the torque screw occassionaly too. I'm not sure if this would have anything to do with the problem you are writing about but maybe if it gets loose it will cause the whole system to wear faster and lead to this potential problem sooner.



Thanks for posting this info. I have the same issue in my Van Dessel Rivet equipped with a Record UT crank. The BB play showed up after 2,000m of riding. No abuse or rain riding on this bike. It was assembled by the VD folks for me. They've built up many Campy UT equipped bikes, so I highly doubt that it's an issue with them.

I'm going to try using some spacers to take out the play as you did. While I have some BB/Cassette spacers that will work on the NDS cup, where does one obtain the spacers that are used alongside the wave washer?

When I disassemble the UT BB, I'll check for bearing wear, but I suspect I may not find any. I have another new Record UT system that can be used to test the bike's BB shell as well. I'll digital mic it anyway just for curiosity.

Thanks again for the info...I've been wondering about this since I developed some increasing play for the last 600m.

Robin Seibel

You're experimental analysis is fundamentally flawed and needs to be revised. The first thing you need to do when using said analysis is to not use physically unrealistic scenarios. Pushing on one side of a crank is one of those scenarios. Elsewhere, someone made a post stating that with a 40-60lb load (I don't remember the exact figure), the wave washer did not visibily compress. The washer was loaded by itself, outside of the BB. Couple that with the minimal axial load put on any BB bearing by a rider or any riding condition, and you have to conclude that there is no real potential for axial slop in the system: the wave washer won't allow it. Certainly, pedaling won't cause it.

It's also incorrect to say that the "fixed distance" of the Hirth joint/Campy BB is a potential cause. That "fixing" doesn't exist, except in the extreme limits of BB width, i.e. where the BB is too wide or when the BB is so narrow that load is not applied properly to the wave washer. The Hirth joint, FWIW, has been proven reliable and hardy in applications much more demanding than a BB. The limits on BB width that Campy gives are generous in that anyone producing a BB shell with any competence at all will produce a BB that fits inside those limits. Those BB width limits do not put any stress on BB shell machining.

Approaching your observations or theory from a purely theoretical view, it would seem the only apparent reason for the slop to occur would be bearing wear. It's possible that bearing sealing used by Campy, specifically the bearing seal placed on the BB axle on one side of each bearing, allows more contaminant to enter the bearing. However, this is easily addressed by being liberal with grease on that side of the bearing during inspection/overhaul. The wear rate for the bearings is orders of magnitude, i.e. 100x, 1000x, and etc, greater than that for the Hirth joint or any other component in the crankset. Also, there is no reason for the wave washer to degrade. As long as a spring material operates in its elastic region, it's spring constant--a measure of the amount of force needed to compress or elongate a spring a given length--will not change measureably.

There are, however, issues that come to mind that might be the root cause of what you're seeing. It's not documented what your customers did or didn't do to or with the cranksets. I mean this just from an objective, documentation point of view. That is one large, unknown variable. Likewise, your experimental method and method of analysis are also not well documented or executed. This isn't a slam, but just a statement of fact in the context of accepted experimental method, i.e. Scientific Method. I know that such experimentation is not in your experience, so that you didn't use Scientific Method isn't a surprise, and it's certainly not a statement about you. People not experienced in science usually don't understand the efforts to which scientists and engineers have to go in order to properly test something or prove/disprove a theory. Hell, we spend a lot of time revising our own experiments to account for things we previously forgot to include. No matter, to truly analyze or test something requires fixing all the variables except the one in question and doing the experiment or test in an absolutely repeatable fashion with the details painstakingly recorded. Again, we spend a lot of time doing error analysis on our experiments and experimental data so that we can say how good our data is or determine when the experiment needs more refinement.

From an observational point of view, this issue doesn't seem that widespread. There has been almost no comment about it in internet forums nor in bicycle media. While you feel you've seen a significant number of cases in your shop or reported in email to you, those cases have to be viewed in the context of the total number of Ultra Torque cranksets out there. I don't know what that number is, but it is reasonable to assume that it is in the tens of thousands.

Now, the only real bothersome thing I read in your story, here, is the title. It suggests, without any verifiable data, a serious problem with Campy UT. Moreover, it's been suggest, by you, in more than one internet forum. While on the surface this may not seem to be wrong, a deeper view shows the potential problem. This example proves just that: it was rumored, in the SE USA, that gas was running out, that supplies were limited. The rumor was in fact wrong. However, since the rumor spread, people began to worry, worry begat panic, and lo and behold, there arose a gas supply problem. That was caused solely by runaway rumor.

Obviously you believe what you're saying to be true. However, on the internet, where anyone can post anything as fact or true to their beliefs, people SHOULD be more critical of what they read or choose to be believe. Unfortunately, that's not what people do, and that is the problem with the way you've chosen to highlight this alleged "issue."


Hello Bob, Tim, and JohnS,
Thanks for taking the time to comment. Bob, At this time, based on what I have seen first hand, I'm leaning towards the cups "wearing" or becoming "polished". What I'm seeing is not bearing failure or wear... I am still working on a solution, and I don't like to jump to conclusions before thoroughly thinking it through. The fix that I have shown was what I came up with during my troubleshooting process and may not be my final decision for a solution for this issue. Based on the volume of emails that I have received, I have accepted that this seems not to be as isolated as some folks on the forums believe. Hang tight, I'm going to see what I can do. I will certainly post any developments. Thanks for checking in and for your kind words. -John


I had a Stronglight crankset with their Activ-link system which also allows for no independent preload of the crank axle. Terrible design and nothing but problems. It's currently on eBay. I may end up just going back to the old three piece setup. Record cranks, PW BB.


I had a Stronglight crankset with their Activ-link system which also allows for no independent preload of the crank axle. Terrible design and nothing but problems. It's currently on eBay. I may end up just going back to the old three piece setup. Record cranks, PW BB.


hey John,
Thanks for the post. And all the good stuff on the website. keep up the good work. Don't fret too much about all the cycling forums or spend too much time arguing with someone who names himself after a bike model. cheers.


I'm seeing the exact same problem with my UT crank in my Trek 2007 Madone that you describe. Why did it fit together when new, but now after ~4000 miles this gap shows up? Do you think its wear on the cups and/or bearings?
Thanks for all the info.


Hello Mark,
Thanks for your comment. I'm just sharing my theory based on my hands-on experience. On one hand, I do not intend to disparage Campagnolo by doing this, but on the other hand, if this is indeed true, there needs to be a fix. I never made a statement that all bikes with this system have the issue, but a strong majority that I have seen do. Before looking deeper into this, I searched and found that others were experiencing it too. I agree that times were simpler with the square taper interface! Thanks again! -John


Very interesting. I've got a 2008 Chorus UT on my 2006 Look 565. After ~1000 mi. I developed a click associated with the drive side power stroke. Pulled the crank apart, liberally greased the bearings and cups on both sides, reassembled (I did not use Loctite when reinstalling the cups, just torqued to spec, I think ~40nM). 1500 miles later all is good, smooth & quiet. However, both Campy and FSA have very little tolerance for variability in BB shell widths. To my thinking, only a design that uses a pinch bolt on the non-drive arm can easily accomodate different BB shell widths and the associated effects on the crank system. Nevertheless, I really like my UT crankset and the engineering behind it, but I recognize the minute tolerances required for everything to work right. Life was much simpler back in the days of internal BB bearings and square taper spindle/crank interface!

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