I haven't been able to find any hard data on this. I have the impression that most top-end bikes made the switch around the year 2000.

It would be great if I could get an answer for both of these:

  1. When was the first alternative to ST used in pro racing?

  2. When was ST used for the last time in pro racing?

  • Looks like Dura-Ace went Octalink in 1996, but there were other non-square taper bottom brackets before that (Shimano Octa Joint, Canondale Coda, Williams AB-77 etc.).
    – Batman
    Sep 17, 2016 at 20:31
  • Campagnolo Record Pista has still square taper BB and many pro track racers use it.
    – ojs
    Sep 19, 2016 at 4:58
  • @ojs I wasn't able to find evidence that it's still being used, could you provide a reference?
    – BSO rider
    Sep 19, 2016 at 19:04
  • 1
    Link to Campagnolo track catalog: campagnolo.com/WW/en/disciplines/track. A quick image search showed that track cyclist are usually photographed from the left so you can't see the more recognizable crank and Dura-Ace Track is far more common, but here's recognizable one from 2015: gettyimages.fi/detail/news-photo/…
    – ojs
    Sep 19, 2016 at 20:32
  • Shimano MTB octalink BBs were introduced in 2000: mombat.org/Shimano.htm
    – Booker
    Jan 14, 2017 at 16:45

2 Answers 2


"First alternative" is a little tricky because if you looked hard enough you could potentially find a pro riding Sweet Wings cranks in the early 90s, which use a spindle and bottom bracket design thats very much a forebearer of external bearing cranks. And if you're not just talking road, you'd be able to find plenty of examples of MTB/DH and of course BMX riders riding Profile and other splined spindle tubular chromoly cranks also in the 90s. There were other 90s high end non square cranks too made by Bullseye and Tioga that could have found their way on to pro bikes.

Campy held out on ditching square taper for a long time. I want to say Ultra-Torque wasn't released until 2007 and before then all their cranks were ISO square. I would suspect the last square cranks in the peloton were on all-Campy bikes.


The best that I can find is a page on the Wayback Machine, that shows a prototype of the Dura Ace 7700 groupset (first to have the splined cranksets) being given to several teams and individuals for the 79th Giro d'Italia, as well as being used for several races later in the year (Including the Olympics with a win) (emphasis mine):


Dura-Ace took another leap forward with the appearance of the new 9-speed 7700-series components. 300 production prototype groups were prepared for the Mapei, Polti, TVM, Panaria, MG, and Festina teams who would begin testing the components in the 79th Giro d’Italia. After three weeks grueling weeks of racing, the 7700 components successfully completed their first test under fire.

Later in the year, when Pascal Richard won the Olympic Road Race, the top 12 places were all riding on prototype 7700!

Johan Museeuw several months later with the first World Professional Road Championships won on Shimano’s new ultra lightweight 9-speed. In addition to Museeuw’s win, Shimano sponsored riders took the top 9 spots riding Dura-Ace 7700 series equipped bicycles.

And of course, the first TdF win for Shimano was 1999 with Lance Armstrong.

As far as the last time they were used in pro racing, I cannot find a definitive date. Since Shimano patented the Octalink design, which led to the creation of the 10 splined ISIS system, I would suspect that it would have been whichever groupset adopted ISIS last, or possibly some of the lesser funded Continental/USA teams clinging to fading technology for budget reasons.


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