I'm asking this question as I'm interested in the community opinion in the idea of "am I taking the right path" or "is there a better way".
tl;drl; - scroll to the bottom, please.
Namely, almost two years ago I've committed a (successful, in my opinion) conversion of cottered bottom bracket to a square-tapered one on a Motobecane 2040 steel road frame (late '70s or early '80s).
Why, one may ask. The reasons are:
- I got the frame for a very attractive price and wanted to build a fixie on it (succeeded)
- I hate cotters - they say you need only a hammer and a wrench to install and remove one, but in practice I never managed to do it properly (or I'm abusing my bikes). For square tapered cranks you need allen key or socket wrench for installation and a special crank remover for removal (sockets and allens I already had and the removal tool is like $5)
- I was aiming for maintenance-free riding (also in bad weather), thus cartridge bearings were a very good option. If the set gets excessive play I'd rather replace the bearings or the complete cartridge than overhaul the ball bearings, set the play, check it and adjust after some time, etc.
So what was the challenge?
- it is a Motobecane frame, where the BB threading is neither typical French, nor BSC (a.k.a. BSA), nor Campa, hence an off-the-shelve cartridge bottom bracket set with cups (either nylon or aluminium) is nearly unavailable
- there are BSA axles available, but the BB shell on Motobecane is a bit wider so without replacing the balls it won't work. And again - it wouldn't be weatherproof.
- the drive side cup was seized (i didn't have impact wrench then)
After an evening with Vernier caliper and internet, sourcing for affordable parts I've came up with a brilliant idea - I would keep the original cups and find a BB cartridge that would fit them. It was to be done. the cross-section of the whole concept (proven, working, nota bene) looks like this:
Black is the BB shell,
Red are the original cups (with bearing races),
Green is the Miche square-taper bottom bracket cartridge.
Positioning of the axle is done by placing some shims (ground to size) on left or right side.
The whole setup is working correctly now for more than 1000 km. The retaining nut came lose once, in fact I've assembled everything to check my proof-of-concept and it was working so well that I forgot to tighten or thread-glue the setup. After fixing that I'm experiencing no problems whatsoever.
Soon I'm going to build a daily commuter for my daughter based on Raliegh Ladies Traveller (something between the '30s and the '70s) frame (which we got for free and she really liked shape of the frame and front fork). As it is Raleigh, the bottom bracket has proprietary threading, which isn't BSC (a.k.a. BSA) - I've already checked it.
TL;DR; reference: My question is:
- shall I go the same way I went for my Motobecane, or
- do you know some better way to convert the bottom bracket for the frame with non-standard cups?
Btw. both cups (undamaged) are now degreasing in a bucket, threading in the BB shell is also in very good condition.