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One of my bikes has an Ultegra 9 speed bottom bracket (6500). Bearings are going and prices for new replacements are steep. If I spend the money for a 5500 or 6500 bottom bracket, I am relegating myself to 9 speed drivetrain for a while longer. Not a bad thing as I have plenty of cassettes and some extra shifters. One option might be to replace the sealed bearings in the existing bottom bracket. Does anyone have experience with this? Another option is to go with a 10 speed bottom bracket and crank, but that might give some chain rub issues due to spacing up front. It is also even more up front dollars and, if I'm going that far, I might as well consider buying a 10 speed groupo. I am sort of rambling here as I'm not really sure which direction I want to go, and would like to hear the forums thoughts. In case it matters, I am mechanically inclined and have built a few bikes.
 

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You'll be able to use a 10sp crankset on your 9sp drivetrain. You'll just need to readjust your FD as a new install.
 

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I have two brand new 5500 Bottom brackets left over after I sold my Trek last year. I can sell them to you for reasonable price.
 

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I love 9 speed, just love it. Can't see spending the cash to replace a system that is all but bullet proof and is smooth as butter. That said, I did opt to replace my 6500 crank/BB about 2 years ago or a bit more with a 6600 outboard bearing crank. I am running my 6500 FD and 9 spd chain and have no issues at all. I really like the 6600 crank too, seems stiffer and smoother than the old 6500.

You could watch eBay for a decent deal on a 6600 crank set and just replace the 6500 all together.
 

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Shimano still makes the 5500 BB.

Bearings are not replaceable.
 
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