FSA's Bottom Bracket Documentation

Oct 12 2011

I know my way around the end of a wrench pretty well, but at 6am, on three hours’ sleep, in my cramped, poorly-lit basement, with the bike inverted because I don’t own a stand, things can get confusing.

All the more so, in fact, when you’re dealing with a wrecked, seasons-old bottom-bracket, where half the cup teeth have been chewed off, and everything’s sealed with a fresh coat of North Beach mud. I had been pretty confident about the correct direction to turn things, but after a few mintes of struggling, I figured it’d better check the directions. RTFM or STFU, right?

RTFM, amirite?
click for full-sized inspection

See that part, under Item 1 in “BB Installation”, about how “English threaded bottom brackets have a reverse threaded non-drive side cup”? That part that I highlighted in red? That’s not accurate. And I was pretty sure it wasn’t at the time.

But when you haven’t had your coffee and you feel and look a bit like Laurens Ten Dam’s nose, you’re dangerously willing to defer to authority. Needless to say, the extraction process was downhill from then on. Fortunately, the story has a happy ending, thanks to Northampton Bicycle and the newest addition to my dream workshop, an impact wrench. But it also got me thinking.

Over the past few months my circumstances, my day job, and—most destructively—my commute have really precluded me from doing anything creative, either on this page or anywhere else. I’ve been self-medicating with as much riding as possible, but this fall, that’s become more difficult as I’ve encountered technical problems resulting from gear that just isn’t very good.

So, through the end of ‘cross season at least, I’m going kill two birds with one stone and start reporting on the crummy parts that keep me from riding, make patently false claims, or otherwise ruin my day. Hopefully it can stir up some of my old productivity, but if not, at least the Internet will have a fairly extensive record of what just does not work for the budget-minded ‘cross racer.

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