09 June, 2009

French Bottom Brackets Arrive


The long awaited French threaded bottom brackets have just arrived. That means that you can finally restore that Singer, Reyhand, or Goeland that's been collecting dust in your garden shed. Or look for an inexpensive Peugeot, Gitane, or Urago to turn into a budget randonneuse. In the past you were limited to very expensive Phil Wood BBs or searching E-bay for old stock, now we have the full range of sizes.

Grand Cru bottom brackets have oversize sealed bearings and boron steel hollow axles. The cups are alloy. They includes axle bolts, and weigh about 258gm in 110mm. The taper is JIS. They are available in 103mm, 107mm, 110mm, 113mm, 116mm, and 122mm.

A few notes that may prove useful:

  • Most Motobecanes use Swiss, not French BBs, but some top of the line and later models used French. You can tell by checking the direction of the threading. A French BB has right hand thread on both sides. With Swiss it's left hand on one side.
  • If you want to reuse your old crank remember that it may be ISO taper, especially if it's an old TA or Stronglight or Campy. You can use a JIS BB, but the crank will sit 3-4mm further outboard; compensate with the BB spindle length you choose. Many old double cranks used 118mm BBs; I find 116mm JIS BBs to be a reasonable replacement.
  • French headsets can still be found on E-bay and we may make some in the future. But if you replace the balls and grease regularly those old headsets will last a very long time.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

is this the point where someone emerges out of the woodwork requesting something even more obscure--say a swiss threaded BB in Boron for an Octalink track crank?
M Burdge

Tom said...

Well, we have been asked for sealed bearing cottered BB sets and whitworth threaded square tapers for Raleigh roadsters.
So I think the obscure BB requests have been done.

To death.

To satisfy your urges of obscurity, we have Swiss threaded BB's shelved for the moment. Not sure if we will do it, as frames with the French standard are much more prevalent.

K Matthias said...

Nice work, VO people! This is great news for we lovers of old French bikes. Thanks, again. --Karl

bill said...

This is great news! Thank you for making this happen. Also...the packaging is perfectly elegant.

Bill in San Diego

Anonymous said...

This is great news for French
bike-a-philes ! Thanks VO !!

Would it be possible to, uh, keep this VO BB development kinda quiet?? Up until now it has been easy to convince someone that their poor French bike is un-fixable because there are no parts available for them. It made it much easier to pick up a Peugeot PX10 or nice LeJeune, etc. on the cheap. Even the hipster fixie-doofuses left the lowly French bikes largely alone.

Come to think of it, maybe this isn't such good news at all !!

nick said...

thank gawd! i love you, vo.

Dave Wyman said...

I'm so tempted to go for this and restore some more of my 1962 Follis road bike to its original state - and I'm the original owner. I need to find a clunky cottered crankset, I suppose.

(Recently I purchased a VO Retro Cage and the handlebar cage mount for my Follis; the bike looks great, and makes me feel like I'm 14 again!

Ed Arends (Long Beach) said...

This is great news, indeed; An inexpensive cartridge bottom bracket with French threads! So far, I have only bought one of those Phil BBs; and they are of wonderful quality; I just can't justify the Phil price for my 15 or so beater French bikes

Anonymous said...

Who has a Singer collecting dust in their garden shed?

Anonymous said...

Bless you. And I agree with a previous poster, can we keep this on the down low?

Andrew E said...

cheers, good work!

Anonymous said...

Is the French-threaded bb designed to "plane" more or less than the English-threaded version ?

antbikemike said...

Good job. Thanks for doing all in need a great service.

I have to say that adding a new model for English roadsters would be a hit too.

seaneee said...

"Even the hipster fixie-doofuses left the lowly French bikes largely alone. "

Apparently you haven't been to SF. The Peugeot is the 'track' bike of choice here.

Thanks for more great products guys. Gave you a little shout out here: cyclezine blog

Anonymous said...

this is beautiful. I guess free markets work after all.

patrick barber said...

Oh, great. Now my one ironclad excuse for NOT buying every Peugeot I see has been tossed right out the window. Cheers

Patrick

Anonymous said...

uh,
last time I talked to a hipster fixie guy, it was three days ago. He was in a shop, watching intently as the mech wrapped his chopped and flopped track bars with crisscross baby blue and pink, trimming the excess with an exacto. The bars weren't on his bike. I asked what it was. He said a Huffy. Remembering Andy Hampsten etc., I asked if it was lugged. He said, what's that? I explained, using my Colnago as an example. He said no.
Hipster fixie.

mw

Red said...

Oh, dear sweet LORD thank you. I like Phil's stuff, but I was NOT looking forward to that almost-$200-purchase. VO once again to the rescue!

Charles said...

Can't express how awesome it is that you're sourcing a French threaded modern BB. This means that updating an old French bike is within everyone's reach! I have a few friends with Peugeot Mixte's that are going to be very excited. Thanks for getting these obscure things made for the rest of us cycling nerds, and fans of classic bikes!

Anonymous said...

On behalf of every French-o-phile, garage sale connoisseur, co-op mechanic, old bike lover, and fixie hipster (what the hell, they ride bikes too), I'd like to say thank you.

-Casey Clark, S.P.S.

Reynolds531 said...

I've purchased and had installed on my Gitane Tour de France the new French threaded Velo-Orange bottom bracket. It's up to the high standard that I've come to expect from VO. I like cone, cup and loose bearings but this is much nicer. And I'm 100% certain that it won't start grinding afer a few long rides in the rain.

Anonymous said...

Will these bottom brackets use a shimano-type cup wrench, or a Phil's-type?

Anonymous said...

They use a Shimano tool.

Charles said...

Does my 1974 Motobecane Grand Record have a French or Swiss bottom bracket? Thanks.

jcyrai said...

Charles, if the bottom bracket of your Grand Record unscrews counter-clockwise on both sides, it's French; otherwise it's Swiss-threaded.

Anonymous said...

really. if you made swiss BB's i would love you

UOP said...

Hallo, the bottom bracket shell of my old Peugeot is 68mm wide. Which cartridge size should I buy, bearing in mind that I need new a new crankset.

Greg said...

Question. Will this accept a Sugino XD crank off of a bianchi san jose. crankset of my peugeot u-08 recently passed away and I must replace it somehow.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The BB axle length is based primarily on the crank you plan to use. The crank manufacturer will have a recommended length for each crank model. These do work with most Sugino cranks.

Andrew said...

thanks! my girlfriend's 1988 peugeot will be very happy!

Jesse Schmal said...

Rats - I was so excited to put this Grand Cru French in my Peugeot, only to find it's Swiss threading. Burn. Regardless, the French is still appreciated!

Heather said...

THANK YOU! Oh boy, my husband and I just brought home an old gitane and a peugeot. The guy selling them 'fixed' them up but did not understand the different threadings etc... So I rode home wondering what was wrong! He'd put a non french cottered crank on. as the original was rusty. We have been banging away on the bikes trying to get the cranks off and figure out what to do. And researching the net and fretting over phil wood prices. Thank you! We didn't really know what we were getting into with french bikes. it will save us much hair pulling when we get around to fixing up and rebuilding these bikes.

Anonymous said...

I have a 74 motobecane grang touring. French bb. I have a shimano fc-m442 that I want to put on it. Will your bb work? If so what length spindle? The crank call for a bb-un26 (-E) MM110 for 47.5mm chain line with a 68mm shell.

I think my chain line is less than 47.5mm. My current Nervar spindle is 115mm or 117mm, I think? I want a good fit. Advice please. I don't want Phil Wood bb because of the cost.

My old crank and spindle is kinda like one of these double cranks. I need lower gears now for my old legs. http://www.velo-pages.com/main.php?g2_itemId=5766

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Sorry misspelled "Grand Touring". Also my 74 motobecane has an asymmetrical spindle. Longer on the driver side.

Thanks :)

Need some help anyone...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, If your frame is threaded for a French BB than this one will fit. The spindle length is determined by crank you use. Sounds like you need a 116mm.

Anonymous said...

The crank manufacture recommends a 110mm spindle for a 47.5 chain line. I think my chain line is less than 47.5 But my original spindle is 115mm or 117mm asymmetrical.

So what too do?

azorch said...

Great news! Any idea what I would need to specify for a Follis 072?

test said...

This product is awesome. I finally feel like the silly amounts of money I have put in to an old tatty frame make sense! It rides beautifully.

K

Throwaway said...

hey all, quick advice question on spindle length:

i have a peugeot PH10LE from roughly 1985-7. it has the original nervar crank on it, can't figure out the exact model but contemporary peugeots seem to have come with a nervar 3020.

i got the BB replaced, but it's some kind of jerryrigged italian-threaded setup which is already starting to get crunchy again, and i want to replace it once and for all with a proper french-threaded one. my new mechanic eyeballed it and said, "you'll probably need a 118 for that"-- but could he really see a 2mm difference? someone earlier in this thread recommended a 116mm for a 1974 nervar, but this is 12 years later... any advice welcomed.

thx,
__committed to his peugeot in california

Eynesbury Politics said...

Apologies if this is a silly questions, but will this bb work for a 74 U-08 (R10 down here in Ozstralia) running the original Nervar 3 bolt pattern crankset?

Anonymous said...

Any BBs planned for newer shimano cranks? Trying to make a 105 triple crank fit a PX-10. Thx

zevxis said...

i picked up a 1971 motobecane grand record and want to take it apart and give it a complete tune up/overhaul. not a bike mechanic, so i'd have to trust a local bike shop. was looking at sheldon brown's site, and some things concerned me, especially the crank extraction(the catalog says 'stronglight alloy cotterless 40-52' and SB warns that you MUST have the proper extraction tool)and BB assembly. anyone out there who could give me advice before i potentially make a huge mistake?

VeloOrange said...

It is important to use the right crank puller: http://store.velo-orange.com/index.php/accessories/tools/ja-stein-crank-puller-for-classic-stronglight-or-ta-cranks.html

Stronglight changed the BB taper they used once or twice, so picking a new BB is tricky. I'd try to rebuild the one you have.