Monday, September 30, 2013

Engineers...The devil's henchmen

That's right, I said it. Every year the "industry" comes up with a new way to make an old thing.
Some engineer designs it, and sells it to the brand saying, "it's this much more stiff, and still really comfortable..." "Or, lighter..." or "more aero." 
Oh yeah? I call bullshit.
Back in the day, we had products that worked great and lasted for fucking ever. Sure they were a little heavier, but they stood the test of time. Now, we are left with "creaky" bottom brackets because those same engineers decided they could make shit lighter by removing what was proven to have worked, and replacing it with shit like with nylon cups glued into a frame.
I got news for ya Jack, when a dude spends 10k on a fucking "top-of-the-line what have you" and has to bring it back in a week because his bottom bracket is making noise, it was a bad design. When I have to call your warranty department and you tell me to use "a stronger loctite," then indeed, the design was a stupid one to begin with. Sure it's stiffer, but what good is it if you can't use it?
A.) That's what she said
B.) Not very good at all,dipshit

Once upon a time, there was this dude...
Tougher than a coffin nail, and a pretty snazzy dresser. He invented a lot of shit, and was really good at it too. He founded his company 80 years ago with the mindset of "...there has got to be a better way."

Among his many contributions to our world, was this...

The threaded, square-taper bottom bracket. It was (and still is) amazing.
The frame had to have threads, and once installed, it had to be adjusted by hand. It spun for days.

Then this happened...
Which, honestly, was not that bad. I mean, it spun like shit, but the bearings were sealed, meaning it had to be worked on less. It also moved the bearings to the outside of the frame, giving a stiffer pedaling platform.
But this is the beginning of the end for "standards." As far as the history of bottom brackets go, this is the part on the timeline where the creaking begins.
Carbon frame, aluminum insert with threads, cups threaded into them. Would have been a great idea if you didn't have to use large amounts of teflon tape on the threads to keep the materials from touching, otherwise making it sound like your frame is breaking in half.
...because it is.
(This would not have happened mind you, if the frame had been made of aluminum or steel, but they want carbon.  They all want carbon)

"But if we widen the carbon bottom bracket shell, we can just press bearings into the frame. Now it'll be stiffer!"
(In this moment of sheer dorktitude, the engineers high five for having solved a problem which should not have existed.)

But then I digress...

This $2,000 frame is in the trash now because the Carbon shell went egg-shaped, and with no threads and only loctite holding it in, the cup came right out with just my fingers, after one year.
The white spot in the picture shows the amount of seperation between the cups and the frame. 
Doesn't look that bad, but bad enough that it was replaced. 
Carbon is not recycleable. It is bullshit that an entire frame is wasted due to failure. 

I spent as much as that bike was worth on a handbuilt steel bike, and this happened...
A small crack above the bottom bracket due to a flaw in the tube. But guess fucking what, 
They cut that bitch out, and welded in another one for FREE. 
Now it looks like this
And I will ride this bitch into the Mad Max times. 
External bearings and all... 

Sorry about your carbon frame. 
"Your bottom bracket creaks?!"

"...needs more glue I guess."


  1. As a side note, to my knowledge, Tulio Campagnolo did not INVENT the square taper bottom bracket, rather, he PERFECTED it.

  2. It is also worth stating that the failure in my steel frame (in the picture) was due to a flaw in the tube which could only be seen under very high magnification, and not with the naked eye.
    This problem was quickly rectified by the manufacturer at no cost to me, which was why I bought an American Hand-made frame with a lifetime warranty.
    In the event someone sees this post and questions the integrity of Gunnar products, I would be quick to point out that this was an isolated incident, due to a flaw in the tube only, and is in NO WAY a reflection on the quality of workmanship produced by Waterford Precision Cycles. I will continue to purchase their products for the foreseeable future, or until I am broke, whichever comes first. ;)

  3. Engineers will make whatever the marketing department asks for. I guess that makes the marketing department The Devil.

  4. Lol. Yes, I suppose you are right there. I married into a family of engineers so I guess I just needed someone to blame ;)