SOC13: Enduro’s Sleeper Angular Contact BB & Wheel Bearings, Plus New BB Install Tool

Enduro angular contact bearings for bottom brackets and wheels

Enduro has been using nitrogen steel for the bearing race for about three years, offered in their top end products. It’s a much tougher metal that uses stainless surgical steel that has nitrogen infused during the last remelt. This keeps it from becoming brittle under repeated rolling over the bearings, which can happen with regular metal.

The tough part for Enduro is that the raw metal has about a year lead time, which makes it difficult to scale production if there’s a sudden demand, which is why they haven’t publicized it much. They receive it in rods, then have to machine away about 90% of the material to make a race. The scrap is recycled as stainless steel.

Enduro’s Matt Harvey says they were lasting so long in bottom brackets, they had to develop better seals. New polyurethane O-rings last as long as the bearings -at least five years- and they have an oval cross section that helps it hold more grease for quieter operation and better tolerances against crank spindle variations.

Think that’s cool? There’s more…

Harvey says this set up makes it durable enough to run without lube or seals, but they do still use grease and alloy backed seal covers to keep dirt out.

They use these angular contact bearings in their high end bottom brackets to fit 24mm and 30mm spindles, the latter of which are fairly new and retail for about $200.

Their standard steel races (with steel or ceramic bearings) are used in Wheels Manufacturing’s new PFBBs. Those, too, get the new polyurethane o-ring on the outside of the shell to keep things quiet between the BB and frame, and it has a double lip silicone outer seal. They also use angular contact bearings, which handle side loads better, something BB bearings see a lot of. They’re directional bearings – should you upgrade, make sure the black side faces inward. Their testing shows they last 2.5x longer than radial steel bearings.

Another benefit to angular contact bearings is that they make up for frame misalignment or poor tolerances because they can bevel themselves into alignment with the spindle rather than bind like radial bearings. So, if your cranks seem to have too much rotational friction (ie. they don’t spin as freely as you think they should) despite your best efforts at cleaning and set up, Harvey says their BB’s (or Wheels Mfr’s) could very well be the solution.

All of this development of materials and angular contact bearings would do well for wheels, too…And they’re working on it. They’re now making three different size wheel bearings, with three more on the way. Replacement bearing kits will initially be available for Zipp, Mavic, Easton and American Classic. They’ll keep adding sizes to cover more wheels, too. And Harvey hinted that some major OE customers should be launching wheels with them soon, too. The key improvement is that once the hub has the proper preload, which they say is 3x what Shimano’s wheels recommend, there will be no play in the wheels. And that’s a good thing as disc brakes make inroads!

Enduro Bearings Bottom Bracket Installation Tool

Lastly, they have a new pressfit BB installation tool with a stepped pilot bushing that fits inside the bearings to guide them in perfectly straight. Delrin bushings between the twisting parts of the tools help it run smoothly, and they say you can hand tighten a Pressfit BB into a frame. An allen wrench will also fit into the ends for tough jobs.

Enduro Bearings Bottom Bracket Installation Tool

Ever used a headset press to push a BB into a frame? These parts will help keep the BB inline, reducing your angle of attack.

Enduro Bearings Bottom Bracket Installation Tool

A split, spring loaded (by way of a rubber brand around it) fitting surrounds both sides of the bearing on each side. Once it snaps into place, use the tool in reverse to press the cups out, making removal just as easy. And gloriously free of rubber mallets.

Enduro Bearings Bottom Bracket Installation Tool

Here are all the parts. Price? Not sure, but it’s probably aimed at shops rather than the home mechanic.

Comments

brian - 04/24/13 - 3:00pm

my son has been using xd-15 bb for past three years in all conditions, two years on his cyclocross bike one on his mtb, this cups and bearings are incredible it still spins like champ.

TheH - 04/24/13 - 3:28pm

What was old is new again. Angular contact bearings? Ask Shimano any time in the last 30+ years how they feel about AC bearings.

Better steel alloy is the only innovation here.

Johnny Doe - 04/24/13 - 4:04pm

TheH- serious? Ever take apart a Shimano external or press fit BB? Standard RS series cartridge bearing. Frankly, I think this is kick ass. External/Press Fit BB’s that last longer than 1k miles? Sign. Me. Up.

Psi Squared - 04/24/13 - 4:09pm

External bearings that last longer than 1k? Why they’re widely available from virtually every manufacturer. I’ve got nearly 15,000 miles on my Record UT BB bearings. Wild exaggerations like the 1k thing really don’t contribute anything useful.

brian - 04/24/13 - 4:38pm

angular contact is not new, however I remember repacking shimano, or specialized b/b after every winter on my mtb, almost every time b/bs were pretty well done by then.

Johnny Doe - 04/24/13 - 4:40pm

Psi- no exaggeration. Both Shimano & Race Face BB’s have had short lives on my mtb. And that’s with proper facing for the cups and torque for the preload (on the XT cranks). And I’m not the only one who’s run them to the ground early. Heck, my Athena BB is still going strong on my roadie, never even adjusted the thing, but it by far doesn’t see the abuse that the MTB does. So yes, I still stand by my Sign. Me. Up.

Alex K - 04/24/13 - 4:42pm

@Johnny Doe – TheH was talking about angular contact bearings in Shimano’s hubs, not in their BBs

MuMu - 04/24/13 - 4:46pm

Diggin’ that pressfit installation tool…

CXisfun - 04/24/13 - 9:48pm

How is anyone killing a BB with any regularity in 1k miles? That’s absurd.

Ck - 04/24/13 - 10:18pm

I just received one of WheelsMfg’s angular contact PF30 BB’s after chatting with the founder of the company about their adapters and BB’s. A refreshing conversation. I actually can’t wait to burn through my current SRAM PF30 BB so I can install it and see for myself how well these angular contact bearings hold up.

Bog - 04/25/13 - 1:39am

A couple of things here:

1/ Angular contact bearings are likely not self aligning. They are just meant to handle axial loading properly whereas deep groove bearings end up rubbing the side of the bearing race if overly loaded axially.

2/ It is very easy to go through some brand’s external bb’s in well under 1000 kms if the conditions are nasty. Done it myself several times.

Matt - 04/25/13 - 3:57am

My King BB has over 40k miles on it and it’s still going strong. I use it for mountain biking once or twice a week and commute and ride for fun on the road every day. I live in England too so it’s normally raining…
It’s out of warranty now but that doesn’t seem to both King, they’ve warrantied headsets I’ve bought from eBay second hand twice.
Gulp, I sound like a fan boy now…. King sucks

don - 04/25/13 - 7:53am

Will give them a shot, I go through BB30 bearings like candy. I’ve gotten better longevity by cleaning out the stock cheas-o grease and re-packing with Phil Woods waterproof grease but still not great.

don

KingMe - 04/26/13 - 1:31am

@Matt You nailed it brother. CK is the best. Heck I’ve been using their espresso tamper for nearly 10 years now and never had to adjust/lube it once

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