Is it possible for the left-side of a cartridge-type bottom bracket to be too tight ? I followed the tightening torque instructions, and now the axle is not running as freely as when the cup is less tight.

Should I un-tighten it ? Or is it normal that there is some sort of "preload" on the bearings ?

2 Answers 2


It is never okay for there to be "preload" on any bearing set. It causes them to wear out prematurely.

Adjust it to where there's no play nor binding (or as close as you can get to it).

Thank you for being sensitive to the obscure mechanical needs of your bicycle.

The instructions are going to bias on the side of tightness, because most people will notice and complain about loose bearings but not tight bearings. And when the BB wears out after 20k miles, they won't know that it could have lasted 100k miles with proper adjustment.


Back out the lock ring of the bearing and retighten to 1/2 the max torque spec. Use thread locker. The spindle should rotate freely at that point and the thread locker will insure it remains tight. What you are describing occurs when the bottom bracket of the frame is not entirely square. It causes the bearing to set a bit off when tightened to max torque spec..

  • In that case taking it to a bike shop and having them cut the shell square using the special cutting tool just for this, is the better options.
    – Nuі
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 7:21

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