Before you roll your eyes at the prospect of another cycling industry “standard” hear this one out. The folks at Chris King and Argonaut Cycles have taken aim at one of the sport’s most troublesome annoyances and seem to have come up with a pretty solid solution.
This issue is creaky bottom brackets, a problem that’s been exacerbated in recent years by the industry’s insistence on using various derivations of the PressFit 30 standard, which is a convenient design to build a frame around because it allows consumers to use just about any crank on the market.
The catch is that press fit systems require super tight tolerances in both the frame and bottom bracket — and often those tolerances work against each other, resulting in ride wrecking racket and the need for frequent maintenance.
Threaded style systems are a far better solution from a noise and durability standpoint, but they can limit crank options. Enter the new T47 Standard, which was designed in collaboration between the two Oregon-based companies. It uses the same 46mm internal diameter as press fit systems (thus crank options are vast), but the BB threads into the frame instead of being pressed in.
The new bottom bracket will work with cranks that have the commonly used 30mm diameter spindle, and Chris King is also planning to produce adapters for 24mm set-ups.
All this will alleviate the primary issue with PressFit, which Argonaut’s Ben Farver refers to as tolerance creep between frame manufacturers and component companies. The new threaded system removes the risks associated with the convenience of the press fit products.
The T47 now comes standard on Argonaut Frames, and there is hope of more industry wide adoption down the road, as other domestic component companies work in collaboration with Chris King to embrace the new standard, which will be an open standard in 2016 for all builders and component companies to use.
“As a frame manufacturer I don’t want to have to talk someone into buying one of my bikes while at the same time talking them out of a crank they might want to use,” explained Farver, who owns and runs Argonaut Cycles. “My production manager and I were talking about all the challenges of PF30 one day, and thought, why don’t we just make a new standard that solves both problems? So I called Jay Sycip, who runs the Cielo arm of Chris King, and we discussed the true consumer benefit of creating a threaded spec that leverages the larger bearing used in the PF30.”
The pair agreed that it would need to yield a much higher interface success rate, and more importantly, a better ride. “So this project is an attempt to solve a problem the entire bike industry is suffering from,” added Farver. “That in turn will lead the way to a better, lasting standard.”
For more info and background, check out this video from Argonaut.
[vimeo width=”610″ height=”343″]https://vimeo.com/144672392[/vimeo]