A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through my social media when I saw a Chris King Threadfit 30 advertisement that was so good I spent $180 on a bottom bracket.
You see, this photo could’ve been taken in my garage. I’ve gone through dozens and dozens of bottom brackets over the years. Pisgah National Forest eats bottom brackets because of the abrasive granite soil, abundance of water, abrupt compressions, and pedal intensive terrain. I’m hoping the Chris King Threadfit 30 will keep working indefinitely with only occasional maintenance, similar to their other products.
Chris King makes extremely high-end bicycle components in Portland, Oregon. Most people know Chris King for their headsets and hubs, but they make bottom brackets as well. Chris King products cost a premium, but you can count on them being long-lasting and serviceable enough to pass down to your grandchildren.
I've had a certain red Chris King Headset for probably 15 years on a custom Yipsan cyclocross bike, and I never need to think about it; it just keeps working silently. There is no higher praise than that for a headset.
The case for a serviceable bottom bracket is even greater than headsets because, at least with headsets, you can just replace the bearings. I’ve been reflecting on how disposable many of the products in my life are, and mountain bikes are no exception. Tires, chains, cassettes, rotors, brake pads, chainrings, and grips all need replacing on a fairly regular basis. With this purchase, I’m hoping to have removed bottom brackets from that list.
I also needed to buy a special tool, but I found a $14 version on eBay that worked great. It is NOT the same standard as the tried and true Shimano external BB tool, the newer SRAM Dub tool, or the Raceface Cinch tool. However, the installation was easy, and it’s been quiet and smooth so far. I’ll update you in a decade.
After I wrote an essay on how I have an addiction to “new to me” used bikes (73 and counting), I’ve done some reflection on how much time I spend in the buy and sell markets. If I’m honest with myself, it’s not healthy at all. I think I’ll continuously cycle through full suspension bikes, but I could see having the same dialed titanium hardtail and titanium gravel bike indefinitely. On these bikes, I think the economics of a $180 bottom bracket makes sense.
What products do you anticipate still working in ten or twenty years? Let me know in the comments!
Whether pushing his limits on technical trails, seeing what’s around the next corner, or tinkering in his shop; Peter enjoys life to the full. In addition to bikes, he enjoys frame building, graphic design, and math. He lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and son.
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