FSA's Bottom Bracket Documentation

Oct 12 2011

I know my way around the end of a wrench pretty well, but at 6am, on three hours’ sleep, in my cramped, poorly-lit basement, with the bike inverted because I don’t own a stand, things can get confusing.

All the more so, in fact, when you’re dealing with a wrecked, seasons-old bottom-bracket, where half the cup teeth have been chewed off, and everything’s sealed with a fresh coat of North Beach mud. I had been pretty confident about the correct direction to turn things, but after a few mintes of struggling, I figured it’d better check the directions. RTFM or STFU, right?

RTFM, amirite?
click for full-sized inspection

See that part, under Item 1 in “BB Installation”, about how “English threaded bottom brackets have a reverse threaded non-drive side cup”? That part that I highlighted in red? That’s not accurate. And I was pretty sure it wasn’t at the time.

But when you haven’t had your coffee and you feel and look a bit like Laurens Ten Dam’s nose, you’re dangerously willing to defer to authority. Needless to say, the extraction process was downhill from then on. Fortunately, the story has a happy ending, thanks to Northampton Bicycle and the newest addition to my dream workshop, an impact wrench. But it also got me thinking.

Over the past few months my circumstances, my day job, and—most destructively—my commute have really precluded me from doing anything creative, either on this page or anywhere else. I’ve been self-medicating with as much riding as possible, but this fall, that’s become more difficult as I’ve encountered technical problems resulting from gear that just isn’t very good.

So, through the end of ‘cross season at least, I’m going kill two birds with one stone and start reporting on the crummy parts that keep me from riding, make patently false claims, or otherwise ruin my day. Hopefully it can stir up some of my old productivity, but if not, at least the Internet will have a fairly extensive record of what just does not work for the budget-minded ‘cross racer.

6 Responses to “FSA's Bottom Bracket Documentation”

  1. Jacob October 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    I would assume that tubeless cross tire setups will be on this list, but if not, please consider this a humble request.

  2. The Domestic October 12, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    Totally agree! I remember having a similar experience with a FSA MegExo BB recently. It failed after only 9 months and I tried my hardest to fix it with FSA’s crappy documentation on hand. Needless to say I got no where and had to have the bb replaced by people that actually know what they are doing. I’ll steer away from FSA bb’s in future if I can help it.

  3. rosey October 13, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    i had three fsa crank arms fail on me. two of them failed during my cross country tour. their products are so horrible that i’m not surprised even their instructions are wrong.

    the only FSA items i trust/use are ones with no moving parts and no bolts. i.e. their compact alloy handlebars

  4. Martin Criminale October 13, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Oh man… it has been ages since I actually read any of those instructions. How crazy that they are wrong…?! And how long has this been the case? And to think they include them to address liability. Ironic perhaps?

  5. ryan October 14, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    I think you might have to change your website tagline if that’s the direction you plan to steer this website.

    Also, I think SRAMs GXP bottom bracket instructions have an error regarding bottom bracket shell width and spacer use.

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