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CAN­NON­DALE IN­VENTED THE BB30 sys­tem back in 2000, con­sist­ing of two main com­po­nents: an over­sized 30-mil­lime­ter crank spin­dle and a specif­i­cally de­signed, and also over­sized, bot­tom-bracket shell. De­spite early BB30 gen­er­ally be­ing a pile of horse crap, Can­non­dale at least took into con­sid­er­a­tion that a larger-di­am­e­ter spin­dle re­quired a larger-di­am­e­ter shell to ac­count for bear­ings— which, you know, are kind of im­por­tant.

Many say that BB30 was a hor­ri­ble in­ven­tion that should have never made it be­yond a rac­ing pro­to­type and should not have thrown the en­tire bot­tom-bracket game into up­heaval. But that’s what hap­pened any­way, and it wasn’t long be­fore peo­ple for­got that bear­ings were an in­te­gral part of the in­ter­face be­tween crank and frame.

By “peo­ple,” I’m mostly talk­ing about Race Face (they aren’t the only cul­prit, but def­i­nitely the largest). Race Face uti­lized 30-mil­lime­ter spin­dles for its Cinch se­ries cranks and made a ‘bot­tom bracket’ for them to fit into BB92 shells—which of course are specif­i­cally de­signed around 24-mil­lime­ter spin­dles. The re­sult­ing sys­tem, if you could even call it that, serves lit­tle more func­tion be­yond park­ing lot test rides, but some­how wound up as orig­i­nal equip­ment on a zil­lion bikes around the world. If it sounds like I’m be­ing a bit harsh here, it’s only be­cause count­less peo­ple have spent tons of cash on new bikes only to dis­cover they’ve been shang­haied with op­pos­ing stan­dards and a band-aid bot­tom bracket.

This brings us to the pile of bear­ings and grease you see here. The good folks at En­duro Bear­ings de­vel­oped what has proven to be a re­mark­ably good so­lu­tion to this reck­less act of stan­dards swap­ping. If you’re one of the thou­sands of poor souls stuck in the afore­men­tioned sit­u­a­tion, or you’re just a weight wee­nie like long­time friend of Bike, Carl Bauer, who’s just gotta have that alu­minum spin­dle, then this is the pile of bear­ings and grease you’ve needed.

Carl put a whop­ping 5,000 miles on the En­duro bot­tom bracket be­fore the bear­ings de­vel­oped enough play to ren­der it of­fi­cially beat down. En­duro man­aged to make a ro­bust sys­tem in such a tight space by go­ing wide with dual-row 440c stain­less steel bear­ings on each side. Stain­less steel pro­vides far bet­ter cor­ro­sion re­sis­tance in places that are likely to get wet, like bot­tom brack­ets. Be­sides the bear­ings, the kit is pretty sim­ple, con­tain­ing some plas­tic spin­dle spac­ers and a set of seals.

Carl man­aged to get muck past the seals and into the bear­ings a few times but was able to re­vive them by re­mov­ing the seals, clean­ing the bear­ings and repack­ing them with fresh marine grease. Stain­less steel is a lit­tle softer than the chromium steel En­duro uses in most of its bear­ings. The bear­ings won’t rust eas­ily, but it’s best to ser­vice them any time they start feel­ing gritty to en­sure you’ll get as many miles out of them as Carl did.

It’s pretty tough not to be im­pressed with a set of bear­ings that lasted 5,000 miles, through a wet win­ter, in two sep­a­rate frames. These lit­tle bear­ings out­lasted two sets of Next SL cranks—did we men­tion that Carl is a pun­isher? With those stats, suf­fice to say that this isn’t a bandaid, it’s a real so­lu­tion.

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