Best Bottom Bracket Review – Top Rated Models with Buying Guide
You wouldn’t think that choosing the best bottom bracket would be a difficult affair but actually, there are dozens and dozens of these products out there and they’re not universal products. This is why the SRAM GXP Bottom Bracket for English or Italian Threading is our recommendation if you are looking for a product with those specifications. As mentioned in the title, the device is used for those bikes that have an English or Italian threading, and it also can be used for either road bikes or mountain bikes, which are, after all, the most common types of bicycles out there. The sealing against the elements is much-improved thanks to the gutter seal technology. This technology also leads to a reduction in friction and seal drag. If this product is not available, we can recommend the SHIMANO BBR60 Ultegra BSA Bottom Bracket, which also has many advantages you may be into.
This product can be used for road bikes and mountain bikes that have an English or Italian threading. The gutter seal technology leads to the sealing against the elements being improved, while also reducing friction and seal drag.
The product is likely to wear out faster than some of the high-end names that are available on the market which are also much more expensive.
If you are looking for a bottom bracket for mountain and road bikes that have an English/Italian threading, which comes with various attributes like sealing against the elements and reducing friction, this might just be it.
This bottom bracket is lighter and smoother than other products, which also means less friction and that’s a good thing. The weight is also lower thanks to the small ball bearings that are part of this bottom bracket.
The fact that this product has a plastic adapter is a bit of a con, as plastic doesn’t really guarantee the long use of the product that you’d like.
A bottom bracket that doesn’t weigh a lot and is smoother than many others, thus leading to less friction, this product sure stands out, even if the plastic adapter is a bit of a con when it comes to overall quality.
Also To Consider
The bottom bracket in this case has much smaller bearings which means the rotation is going to be superior, while the better sealing is going to keep the elements out and prolong its life. The design is also very modern.
The installation process is not that easy, especially if you are not used to doing this, as you’ll also require to work with several tools to get it right.
This product has better sealing which keeps the elements out, while also having smaller bearings to make the rotation go better, but the installation in itself is not very simple for everybody.
10 Best Bottom Brackets (Updated Reviews) in 2020
Because choosing a bottom bracket is such a difficult task, we’ve taken a look at some of the most popular models on the market, that work for various bicycles, and we’ve checked the good and the bad in all of them – after all, there is no perfect product in any category.
- 1. SRAM GXP Bottom Bracket for English or Italian Threading
- 2. SHIMANO BBR60 Ultegra BSA Bottom Bracket
- 3. SHIMANO Deore XT M8000 Bottom Bracket
- 4. SHIMANO Dura-Ace BB-R9100 Bottom Bracket
- 5. SHIMANO UN55 BB Square Taper Bottom Bracket
- 6. SHIMANO BB-UN26 Square Taper Bottom Bracket
- 7. SRAM Dub English/BSA Threaded MTB Bottom Bracket
- 8. Shimano Alivio BB52 Mountain Bicycle Bottom Bracket
- 9. SHIMANO BB-ES51 Octalink V2 Bottom Bracket
- 10. Shimano XTR SM-BB93 English Bottom Bracket
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. SRAM GXP Bottom Bracket for English or Italian Threading
The design of a product can be very telling about the general quality that it offers you. This one, for instance, looks like it is more than able to do the job you want it to do. The fact that it also has an affordable price makes it stand out even more, especially if you don’t want to spend a fortune on other models available.
It is recommended that you use this device for bikes that have an Italian or English treading, as it is unlikely that this bottom bracket is going to work for other types of bikes. It is also recommended to use the device for road bikes and for mountain bikes, but again, not for other types, as there is a big chance it won’t work.
So, keeping that in mind, let’s look at some of the pros and some of the cons that this product has to offer.
If your bike has Italian or English threading, and you are using a road bike or mountain bike, then you may have found the product for you.
The device has a gutter seal technology which means the sealing against the elements has been improved by a lot.
This new and improved technology also means that the bike is going to experience less seal drag or friction overall.
The bottom bracket is interchangeable with SRAM and Truvativ cranksets, but may only be installed with SRAM cranks.
As this is not considered to be a high-end product, although it’s popular because it’s affordable, the product is likely to start wearing out faster than other, more expensive products. Basically, maybe once a year, you may have to change the bearings, or you can clean and lube them more often to prolong their life.Buy from Amazon.com for ($32.99)
2. SHIMANO BBR60 Ultegra BSA Bottom Bracket
Another device that you can choose for English or Italian threading is this one. The model, overall, has a pretty nice design, which makes it look like the product could do its job without having to worry about that, but the thing that surely gets your attention is the fact that it’s a really affordable one.
Many bicycle riders know that these products don’t have a huge life spawn, so buying one that is going to last you for somewhere over a year and which doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money on it, well, that is pretty much a sweet deal if there ever was one, especially since it’s a resistant device.
Taking a look at the good and the bad in this product, we can say that we’ve noticed the following things which should play a role in shaping your opinion about it and if you should buy it.
The product is way lighter than other products available, which means that it’s not going to weight down your bicycle.
The fact that it’s also very smooth means that the bike is going to have to deal with a lot less friction, which, obviously, is a good thing.
The small ball bearings make the weight to also be lower, another thing that is an advantage that you shouldn’t ignore.
The bearing cups of these bottom brackets are anodized, which makes them anti-corrosion and more durable than others.
While the product has many things that work for it, one of the things that are not going to be to everyone’s liking is the fact that it uses a plastic adapter. This not only makes the product cheaper (and, yes, more affordable for you), but it also increases the risk of the bottom bracket wearing out or breaking a bit earlier than other models.Buy from Amazon.com for ($23.99)
3. SHIMANO Deore XT M8000 Bottom Bracket
The Shimano brand started in Japan 99 years ago and has specialized in making bicycle components, having 11% sales in North America, 35% in Asia, and 38% in Europe. These numbers should be enough to give you the confidence to try one of its products since it wouldn’t have these sales without offering you quality.
This is one of its products and if the others are anything to go by, it’s quite a high-quality one. The device has smaller bearings which make the rotation a superior one. At the same time, the better sealing will keep the elements out, so you are going to enjoy one smooth ride.
Taking into account both the good and the bad when it comes to this bottom bracket, what does it manage to stand out and what are the things you should pay attention to? Let’s find out in the next few rows.
The rotation with this product is going to be clearly superior, compared to what is on the market now, thanks to the fact that it has way smaller bearings.
Another important characteristic is the fact that the better sealing this product has is going to keep the elements out, thus you’ll enjoy a smooth ride.
The design is a really pleasant and modern one, as you’d expect from a worldwide known company.
You are not going to have to deal with creaking from now thanks to the quality of the product, which we’re sure is great news!
Despite all the advantages it has (or maybe because of them), the product is not really easy to install – actually, it’s rather hard, as you need to use some specialized tools, which means you may have to require a helping hand from somebody else who has their way around bicycles and bottom brackets.Buy from Amazon.com
4. SHIMANO Dura-Ace BB-R9100 Bottom Bracket
Another product that stands out is this one from the Shimano line, again. There are several products from Shimano on this list as they are highly popular and this unit, right here, is one of those that aren’t an exception to that rule. Of course, the popularity doesn’t come in name only, but thanks to the features of the product.
The material that the cups are made of is aluminum, a material that we don’t have to go into much detail to present, as you know it’s a resistant one that is going to make the product last for a longer period of time without much effort from your behalf regarding the upkeep, unlike other available materials.
Now, let’s all take a look at some of the things that make this product stand out, what the features that are making it a favorite of many users are, and what can work against it, as well.
As we mentioned, the product is made out of aluminum, or better said, the cups are, which means they are going to have a more resistant side, compared to others.
In case your bike has an English or Italian threading, this product is going to work with it as it was built for that.
The shell width is 68 mm for the English and 70 mm for the Italian thread, which is another hint that the product is going to fit just fine.
The design is simple, yet elegant enough to also offer you an idea about what it can do, a thing that you should never ignore.
You ought to be careful when it comes to the installation process, as this is something that is a bit more difficult when it comes to this product. If not done right, you’ll get an unpleasant noise from it, so you need proper tools to make sure that everything is working as it’s supposed to be.Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.99)
5. SHIMANO UN55 BB Square Taper Bottom Bracket
We told you Shimano is going to make multiple appearances on the list. Here we have a product that is recommended to be used for traditional chainsets. As a result, the design is rather different from what we have so far, but that is normal since, as we mentioned, these products are made for a different type of bike.
The device is highly durable and has a hard-wearing sealed cartridge that represents the quality you want in such a product and without which a bottom bracket is close to useless. The product also has square tapered spindle fitting, so everything about it is pointing out to a very smooth ride.
In order to ensure you make the decision that fits your needs the best, let’s see if this product really can compare to others and if it has what it takes to stand out from all the other models out there.
This product is recommended to be used for traditional chainsets, so if this is the type that you were looking for, you are in luck.
The bearings are precisely manufactured, which means that you are going to enjoy a longer period of use, making the product more durable and the whole ride smoother.
The cartridge is also highly durable, thanks to the hard-wearing seal that it has, plus the square tapered spindle fitting.
It is also worth mentioning that this product has a lightweight hollow spindle, which again is pointing to a rather smooth ride.
As a direct result of the fact that it’s made of metal (which, yes, is a good thing), the product is heavier than others on the market. This means that the bicycle is going to feel heavier too, which is not a huge downside, but it’s still something that you should take into consideration.Click to see the price on Amazon!
6. SHIMANO BB-UN26 Square Taper Bottom Bracket
A product that is recommended solely for an English thread is this one, which also comes from Shimano. The device was created for people that are only interested in the English thread, so, if you are one of them, you are bound to take a liking to it, as it has several features that make it quite cool.
Unlike other models on this list, this one has one of the more industrial looks. The device has a design that resembles mostly a hardware piece rather than some little thing that you have to use for the bike, but that is not a bad thing. First of all, it shows that the manufacturers have taken it seriously; secondly, it’s not a device that anybody is going to see anyway.
Let’s check out some of the general pros and cons that this device has and see how it holds up when you have to compare it with others.
As we mentioned, this bottom bracket was made for bicycles that have an English threading, so the device has an English thread to fit it just right.
The shell size is 68 mm, which is the norm for an English threading, which means you don’t have to worry about fitting it.
The spindle length is 109.5 mm so you are surely going to enjoy one of the smoothest rides that you can.
The installation process is not that difficult and you can manage to do it by yourself, surely, as it’s not a hard one.
The cup and non-drive ring are made out of plastic which means that you have to be more careful when using the product so as not to damage it when you tighten it or thread it. This is not really a huge deal, but it’s worth noting it, because you just have to pay more attention when you handle it, that’s all.Click to see the price on Amazon!
7. SRAM Dub English/BSA Threaded MTB Bottom Bracket
But let’s see what other companies have to offer, shall we? SRAM is also a well-known company that deals with bicycle parts. It’s not as old, as it only dates back to 1987 when it was founded in Chicago, Illinois, USA. So, if you are the type who likes to buy only pieces made in America, here’s your chance, basically.
Of course, since Sram is a famous company, as you can imagine, the products that are sold by it tend to be of superior quality, and this device right here is no exception, a fact we can tell by the use of aluminum and steel to create it. These are materials that offer a higher resistance, which means you won’t have to worry about them breaking down too soon.
Now it’s time to look at the pros and cons of this device and see what about it makes it stand out.
The usage of materials like steel and aluminum to create the bottom bracket indicates a clear and high level of quality and resistance that should be a staple to these products.
You can use this device for bicycles that have a press-fit threading, so don’t skip this piece of information, if you want the bottom bracket to fit properly.
The claimed weight of the product is 82 g, which makes it one of the lighter ones on the market, and that’s an important aspect as well, as it doesn’t slow your ride down.
Installing it is not hard, you just have to follow the instructions from the manufacturer and you are all set to go!
While the product has steel and aluminum in its composition, it also has big parts that are made of plastic, which is a downsize, as plastic is far from being as resistant as the other mentioned materials.Buy from Amazon.com for ($38)
8. Shimano Alivio BB52 Mountain Bicycle Bottom Bracket
Ok, now that we’ve seen what other brands have to offer, let’s continue our Shimano marathon, as they tend to be the ones that the vast majority of people put their trust into. What makes this bottom bracket different from all the rest that we’ve talked about so far? Is there enough of a difference between them?
Why, of course! You can tell that just by looking at the design it has, which, again, looks more like a piece of hardware than anything else, and all that hard material used to make it is a big plus. This is the type of product that you should use for the city, but you can also use it for mountain bikes – a 2 in 1 sort of sweet deal.
As you’ve gotten used to by now, we are going to check the pros and the cons in this product and highlight some of them.
The product can be used not only for regular bikes that you ride in the city, but also for mountain bikes, which is a really nice deal to have, after all.
The thread type is that of 68/73 mm with adapters, so you can use it on those bicycles with no problems and make them better.
You will notice that the extremes are made out of aluminum, a material that we’ve already mentioned how resistant it is, thus making the product more durable in the long run.
This product is very quiet, so you are not going to hear any annoying squeaky noises coming from using it.
The sizing washers are made out of plastic, which, again, as we mentioned above, is not the most reliable material out there, and while we haven’t encountered problems with it, generally speaking, it does make products more fragile, so just be careful.Buy from Amazon.com for ($19.2)
Continuing the line of hardware-like products from Shimano, we have this bottom bracket which should be the thing that some of you are looking for. Again, this serious design may give you more confidence in using it, which is a good thing, naturally, as design can speak volumes about what a product can do.
This product has a standard BSA threading, which is what you should know about it when you look at it, so you’ll know if it fits your bicycle or not. In case it does, you can continue reading the pros and cons of it, and you’ll form a general idea about it if it’s what you are looking for or not.
But what exactly are its pros and cons? Let’s look at them together and try to figure out if this is the device that you are spending time looking for or if the search continues.
The product is Octalink V2 compatible; the Octalink is a proprietary splined interface that was created by Shimano.
The labyrinth seals that are part of this product are what keep the contamination out of the bearings, which is obviously, a very important thing.
This bottom bracket uses standard BSA threading, which is what you should know about it when it comes to finding out if it fits your bike or not.
On top of everything else, the bottom bracket also has a 22 mm hollow spindle, which is going to make for a much smoother ride than before.
You are going to need a special spline tool in order to install or uninstall this bottom bracket. This is not a huge deal, as many people are going to be able to do it without much trouble, but we thought it is worth mentioning, in case you don’t feel like you are up to the task or you don’t own such a tool.Buy from Amazon.com for ($34.75)
10. Shimano XTR SM-BB93 English Bottom Bracket
And now, this is another bottom bracket from Shimano, that is used for the English threading. This one is a top-of-the-line bottom bracket that has a lightweight design – it weighs only 73 grams – and more durable bearings that make it an awesome choice for mountain bikers. It ensures smoother rotation and this will obviously improve pedaling efficiency.
It is compatible with 68mm and 73mm bottom bracket shells and it comes in an attractive black finish. Of course, we have to look at the other features that this product has and, checking them out, it does look like they are pointing to a high-quality device, which, after all, is what we are all looking for.
It also comes with a 3-year warranty which says something about its quality. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this product work and if it has any cons that are major or some small things that you can overlook.
This product is an English threaded bottom bracket, which means you have to use it for English threading – it’s the only type of bike that will fit this product.
The device is really lightweight, of about 73 g, which makes using it very light, since it’s not going to make the bike heavier than it already is.
Also worth noting is the fact that this bottom bracket is durable enough for you to use it even for mountain bikes, meaning it’s a resistant product.
On top of everything, the product has a much smoother rotation process, making the ride feel greater, and has an overall better sealing performance.
Compared to the older models, you are likely going to need to use an adapter in order to be able to use these bottom brackets at their full potential, which means a little bit of extra cash that you have to spend.Buy from Amazon.com for ($49.67)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
While you are out there looking for a bike bottom bracket, it will suddenly dawn on you that there are way more models than you would have expected. You were just interested in some affordable bottom brackets and now, suddenly, there is a world of them that don’t work with just any kind of bicycle, and that come with various features.
First things to consider
So what is the right bottom bracket for you? The first thing you would need to do is to focus mostly on models from brands that you may have heard of, such as the SRAM Dub bottom bracket, as even if you don’t find the most affordable bottom bracket, at least you have a pretty good guarantee of the quality.
This is something that pretty much any bottom bracket review is going to tell you as well.
But you can find cheap bottom brackets that are also good? Yes, of course! The main difference between a SRAM GXP bottom bracket and a cheap model is that the one from a famous brand has a higher chance of lasting for a couple of years, while the cheap version may only last around a year, but both should do their job.
You should also check into bottom bracket replacement and bottom bracket removal, as you will have to do those things at some point and it’s important to know if you can do that by yourself or you need the help of someone with certain tools. You should check this regardless if you buy a cheap bottom bracket or an expensive one.
Size and fitting
There are different bottom bracket sizes out there, and they all fit different kinds of bikes, such as a mountain bike bottom bracket for an MTB, or one that’s suited for road bikes. As a result, you should google or ask someone how to measure bottom bracket, in order to make sure the model you’ve picked will fit your bicycle.
The best bottom brackets are the ones that fit your bike, first and foremost, and that’s the thing that you should pay the most attention to.
This is important because there is quite a difference between a mountain bike bracket such as a GXP bottom bracket and one for another type of bike. All good bottom bracket reviews are going to mention this and actually highlight how important this fitting is. You’ll figure out how to remove bottom bracket later, focus on the important things now.
As there are different models out there with different dimensions, naturally, you’ll have to analyze the bottom bracket sizing in several models, to make sure the fitting will happen. A Dub bottom bracket can also be a great idea, depending on your needs!
A bicycle bottom bracket is available in three main category designs: the cartridge-type, the outboard type, and the press-fit type. The first one mentioned is already starting to become obsolete, while the later one mentioned gains more and more territory, so, choose wisely on which one you will focus.
Some still use quite often the easy-to-fit and cheap models. The rise of carbon fibers as a frame material has made the press-fit bottom brackets much more common now, even if when it comes to a high-end bottom bracket, bikes that fit one are rarely more affordable.
All of these changes make it harder for the buyer to realize what they need, but just stick to the main things presented in this buying guide and you will surely find the right one.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What are the different types of bottom brackets?
Bottom brackets can be divided into three main categories, based on the design they have. You have the cartridge-type bottom bracket, the external bottom bracket (also called an outboard bottom bracket), and the press-fit bottom brackets. Other types used to exist, such as the cottered cranks, but they are now obsolete and not produced anymore.
The cartridge-type bottom bracket seems to be going the cottered crank’s way as well, as it declines in popularity with each passing year. This means that in a couple of years or decades, they are probably not going to be produced anymore. On the other hand, the press-fit bottom bracket is gaining more and more territory in this market.
Your choice of the bottom bracket is going to be made based on what your bike needs and that is all that you have to know about it, as you can’t change your cartridge one for a press-fit one since the bike won’t allow it.
Q: What do bottom bracket numbers mean?
Choosing a bottom bracket has become so difficult because there are so many terms and numbers that you are not familiar with, you have no idea what they mean and even the explanation you can find in a video or anywhere else online can be just as confusing as not knowing at all, in the first place.
In the case of the bottom brackets, the numbers that you see mentioned on them or on the papers that come with them simply refer to the nominal width of the shell in millimeters, so you will be able to tell if the model you are looking for is going to be able to fit your bicycle or if you should keep on looking.
The numbers are highly diverse, as you can imagine, which tends to make the whole operation even more difficult for the inexperienced, so asking for help from someone else is nothing to be ashamed of.
Q: How do bottom brackets work?
The bottom brackets that are installed on a bike have the role of connecting the chainset and the bike, thus letting the chainset to move without restrictions. The device has a spindle on which the chainset is attached to, plus bearings that are letting the spindle and chain to rotate with ease.
With the chainrings and the pedals being attached to the cranks, the movement of the bike is made possible. The bottom bracket bearings have to fit perfectly inside the bottom bracket, as here is where the connection between the chain stays, seat tube, and down tube is taking place, creating the overall bicycle frame.
As you saw in the article so far, there are many types of bottom brackets, and they all aim to make your bicycle ride faster and smoother than ever before, without any glitches or weird noises, so you will enjoy the best experience every time you are on your bike.