Jimbop
sooooooooooo....after several months of thinking about it, today I finally ordered my first titanium frame - gravel/all road Reilly Gradient. It's a thing of beauty and I've the three demo rides I've done left me grinning, particularly as it seems to encourage me to push my limits off-road in a hooligan fashion 😁

It's going to be my only bike (I'm discounting my caadx, which is being retired to serve the rest of its days on my turbo trainer) and it will get plenty of winter, wet weather, mud, gravel, single track and general abuse. It has a BSA/English threaded bottom bracket and i'm looking for a good quality, weatherproof bottom bracket to fit the R8000 crankset I'm getting for it. I've read that ceramic bearings are slightly higher performance than steel but also read that they make no difference. I'm happy to invest in a good quality one if it's going to stand up to abuse and perform well but I don't want to go Lamborghini style over the top if something middle of the road will do just as well. Thoughts?
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olapiquena
I realize you said middle of road.. but i don't think there is such a thing.  Also... given your 'uk weather'... the issue isn't bearings, it's sealing (IMO)

I have ~9,000miles of mud, grit, dust, salt, ice, while racing, touring and toodling in New England on my Chris King BB.  In that time, i have cleaned and lubed the thing maybe 3 times, and replaced the bushings/fit kit and a crush washer once (all of which are design features... it's designed to be cleaned/lubed/maintained). Though in fairness, the crush washer cracked in half, which was weird.

If i were to have just went with a standard sram or shimano bb, i would be just about to need my 4th replacement bb. They are all sealed poorly and not designed to be maintained. Always seem to go after about 2-3k. 
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Jimbop
olapiquena wrote:
I realize you said middle of road.. but i don't think there is such a thing.  Also... given your 'uk weather'... the issue isn't bearings, it's sealing (IMO)

I have ~9,000miles of mud, grit, dust, salt, ice, while racing, touring and toodling in New England on my Chris King BB.  In that time, i have cleaned and lubed the thing maybe 3 times, and replaced the bushings/fit kit and a crush washer once (all of which are design features... it's designed to be cleaned/lubed/maintained). Though in fairness, the crush washer cracked in half, which was weird.

If i were to have just went with a standard sram or shimano bb, i would be just about to need my 4th replacement bb. They are all sealed poorly and not designed to be maintained. Always seem to go after about 2-3k. 

So my first thought was CK as I'd heard good things about them but when I checked my specific model I saw some fairly negative reviews, which oppose your very positive experience... IDK why but I don't seem to be able to post a URL but anyway the reviews where on chainreaction for the threaded 24mm version. I have been reading a number of very positive reviews about Hope Technology BBs, they have something they call the Labyrinth seal, no clue how legit it is but people say they are very weatherproof and like them a lot.  Also read that you need a special grease injection tool that's quite spendy but not sure if this is true or not?
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pushstart
My experience with CK BB was not great. Part of it was my fault, though.

In addition to the crazy price of the BB, I bought the expensive grease attachment so I could service the BB myself.  My frame was also titanium. I greased the threads (mistake!) and installed the BB per normal. I proceeded to ride in all weather. I used the grease attachment to purge the grease and replace with Phil Wood grease every 3 months (2-3k miles).  After a few of these (~8k miles) the BB was clicking badly; new grease  didn't help. I talked to CK and they offered to replace the bearings, but ... the aluminum BB had completely seized in the time frame and was destroyed when I tried to remove it. My fault for not realizing I would have needed to use anti-seize; the design where you don't have to remove the BB means you need to consider this carefully.

In the end, I won't buy another CK. I use Wheels Mfg bottom brackets with Enduro bearings. These may not be the fanciest, but they are relatively inexpensive. I have the tools to replace the bearings. I do this about every 6k miles. But I am doing mid-Atlantic riding. It rains (and I ride in the rain), but it is not a daily thing!

I just don't see the value proposition with CK compared to even a regular OEM Shimano BB. Not sure what prices are in the UK, but here a regular Shimano BB can be found for $20 (or less).  The CK costs $150.  So you could buy 7-8 "regular" bottom brackets.  I do think the Wheels Mfg option (which cost around $50, replacement bearings around $20-30) lasts a bit longer than an OEM BB.

I've also used a Hope threaded BB; my main issue was the SRAM adapter they provided compressed the bearings and applied very noticeable friction to the BB spinning.  I used it anyway, but the bearings didn't last longer than a Wheels Mfg, so I didn't investigate the availability of replacements when it started clicking (probably around 5-6k miles; I don't remember specifically -- that is typical BB mileage for me).
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monkeyrider
Chris King. I've had mine since 2010 or 2011. I moved it to a different bike when I bought a new frame. I was burning through one a year until I switched. I ride in rain, dirt, and muck. That thing is solid. I've replaced wheels, chains, cassettes, cables, derailleurs, but not the bottom bracket. Well worth the money.
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Volsung

I live in MN and ride year round, so it must be nice to only have to deal with some drizzle in the UK instead of salt and 130 degree temperature changes.

 

I cracked the bearings on a CK BB within 1k miles on one bike.  On the replacement I had to have them flushed out every 2k or so miles, so a few times a year, and they never really spun that freely or quietly unless they had fresh grease.  Ceramic BBs aren't necessary or noticeable really.  Even the drag I had on the CK disappeared if I was spinning the cranks with something stronger than my fingers.  It's probably like hubs, the draggiest hub is only 3 watts worse than the best.  It'll add up but most of us won't noice.

I currently have almost 6k miles on a 32 dollar Dura Ace BB from Amazon.  

 

I don't think it matters on a BSA BB, but something pressfit it might make more of a difference.


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Koyote
Shimano threaded BBs have always worked fine for me, over long periods of time. And they don't cost much. And they can be found pretty much anywhere. Don't see much reason to try anything else, if your frame and crankset will accept one.
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GHC
I've had good luck with wheels manufacturing.  

https://wheelsmfg.com/bottom-brackets/threaded-bb.html

The have lots of options, from ceramic to angular bearing .... I run the lnon ceramic non angular bearing ....i use the straight sided ABEC bearings (around $12-15 US), and am plenty happy.   Easy to change and service bearings if needed, which isn't often.  

(Key to BB life in my opinion ... no power washers or hard spray nozzles)
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