So yesterday I washed my bike which is a Stock Components Surly Straggler 2015. I noted some squeaking around the BB even after lubing the chain so I decided to clean the bottom bracket. I didn't have the tools so I went out to buy them, and funnily, when I came back 2 hours later the squeak was gone. So it must have been related to water somehow. Anyhow, I now had the tools so I wanted to use them.. I removed the left crank and then the spindle. I noted then that the BB only has the two cups, but there's no sleeve, this center plastic tube through which the spindle runs:

enter image description here

I wonder why my bike is missing that piece? Is it not absolutely required?

EDIT: I found the Surly bottom bracket installation instructions here and from this PDF it seems like for my 68mm bracket, no sleeve is provided:

enter image description here

So I guess that the part isn't 'missing', and the mention of 'Road' use in the table could suggest that they assume you don't hit any dirt. The frame does have a small drain hole in the bracket. Well, but I DO hit the dirt. Can anyone suggest a BB upgrade? It somehow seems logical that a sleeve will protect better.

  • An aside: you should probably be a bit more careful with how you wash your bike.
    – Batman
    Nov 12, 2017 at 17:28
  • Uhm, yea. I really wonder though. I just used hot water and washup soap with a sponge. It was raining the last days and I ride through mud too. Maybe the squeak was already there and I didn't notice until the wash :/
    – zedoo
    Nov 12, 2017 at 18:01
  • 1
    Are you sure the tube was not suck inside the BB housing? Nov 12, 2017 at 19:15
  • 1
    Yes, I'm sure. I can feel the holes from the seat tube and the downtube connecting to the housing
    – zedoo
    Nov 12, 2017 at 20:29
  • @zedoo: Hot water for bikewash isn't such a good idea because hot water is more likely to wash out grease than cold water, especially if it gets inside of the BB, wheel-bearings or steerer
    – Carel
    Nov 13, 2017 at 17:09

1 Answer 1


It's not required for the BB to function or the bearings to be located correctly or loaded correctly. It is only a shield against contamination, particularly from water that gets into the seattube at the seatpost opening. That said they're actually pretty important parts that do a lot to make the life of the BB what it should be.

I have no idea why yours might be missing. My guess would be a mistake when assembling or servicing the bike. Make sure it's not still in the BB shell. They pop on and off the cups easily so it could have gotten stuck in their. Sometimes you have to loosen the BB cable guide mounting screw for the BB sleeve to pass through.

  • Taking the bike to the shop on Wednesday to mount the sleeve. I have no clue if they just have a matching spare sleeve or if the sleeve and cups always come together. Will update.
    – zedoo
    Nov 18, 2017 at 22:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.