BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket

BBinfinite debuted last May with a unique, one-piece pressfit bottom bracket design intended to remedy any intolerances in your frame, ensuring smooth, quiet cranks. Shortly thereafter, we received a test unit and combined it with our SRAM CX1 build and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.

The BBinfinite bottom bracket sets itself apart by putting both bearings in a single shell, allowing them to control the placement of each in relation to the other without regard for any differences in frame design. As they told us, even an offset as small as 1/1000th of an inch can cause drag and premature bearing wear. From our own experiences, we believe them. With their system, you have perfect alignment between the bearings. You also end up with a much broader contact patch between the shell and the frame, which eliminates play and, thus, creaking.

That’s the promise, here’s how it held up…

BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket review and actual weight

The parts consist of the shell with bearings and two covers, weighing in at 117g for a PFBB30 model for 30mm spindle cranks.

Because everything’s put together as a fixed system, you need to order a unit that’s specific for the type of frame and crankset it’s going to marry. They even have Campy versions to accommodate the pre-installed bearings that come on Campagnolo cranksets…but even those BB’s come with bearings just in case you want to switch the stock Campy ones out. That eliminates spacers, reduces and other contrivances that can introduce problems.

BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket

The shell has a lip on one side, which is pressed into the non-drive side of the bike. A cylinder inside prevents outward (preload) pressure from installing the cranks to affect the bearings.

The “Top Hat” covers use a labyrinth seal system to keep water out, and a bushing sits between them and the bearings. This provides a smoother contact surface between parts and eliminates metal-on-metal contact that could cause squeaking.

BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket

The drive side has no lip, which is why it can press through the frame as a single piece. The slight indent on the middle of the shell should allow for Di2 wires to slip past even in the tightest BB shells, but something to think about, particularly on metal frames.

BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket

It comes with installation cups, which fit on either side of the frame like so:

BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket review

You’ll need a headset press or similar to actually press it into the frame. Not shown in this pic, they provide a small amount of light-duty thread lock to brush onto the non-drive side of the BB and inside the frame on the drive side. Once it’s all in place, it pushed in easily.

BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket review

Then just place the caps…

BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket review

…and you’re ready to install the crankset.

BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket review

It’s a very flush fit and looks super clean, especially on the drive side.

BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket review

SRAM’s cranksets use a plastic preload adjuster to take up any play, and I’m happy to report it doesn’t interfere with the BB’s shell. I’ve had issues with it rubbing slightly on another aftermarket BB, but it’s all clear for this model.

BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket review

Now, it’s off the to races!

BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket review

And the races were wet! And muddy! And sent grass clippings flying everywhere!

Yes, we had a somewhat wet cyclocross season here, and plenty of wet training rides. But even after six months of riding in temps ranging from below freezing to pleasantly warm, wet and nasty to dry and dusty, the BBinfinite is still rolling extremely smoothly. I decoupled the chain from the crankset just to check, and the cranks spin almost as freely as a wheel, which is a huge compliment and something I’ve never experienced with a standard BB.

So far, my testing has been with a Moots Psychlo-X RSL frame, which likely has pretty good tolerances in it’s BB shell. So, as a followup, the next time we’re building up a carbon bike from scratch, we’ll try to test another BBinfinite (or swap this one in if it’s the right fit) to see how it handles that type of frame. On my Moots, it replaced a Chris King PFBB30, which is super nice and had no issues whatsoever after more than a year of use, but the BBinfinite is simply the best I’ve tried.

Retail is $165. An extraction tool is available separately for removing the BB from your frame.

BBinfinite.com

37 COMMENTS

  1. The removal tool is $65 and it looks like an air compressor attachment. How necessary is it for removing the BB, because that’s a fairly big additional cost.

  2. @Ck – That’s just an air chisel with a special die.

    I can’t imagine using an air chisel to remove a pressed in bottom bracket, unless it is a one-time use bottom bracket! Imagine thousands of impacts on that aluminum housing.

  3. Put some threads on it and an axle through it, and we are full-cycle back to threaded cassette type bottom brackets. LOL.

    The idea should be to use less material (integrated type headsets, bottom brackets, etc.) to achieve weight savings and use the inherent strength of the frame material; not to go back to metal sleeves in frames holding metal and plastic covered ball-bearings (metal covers x3).

    Why can’t the frame manufacturers use the same precision tools and keep the same precision standards as BBinfinite, that would be a simpler solution (for us consumers at least)?

  4. Here is what I want to see: Measure circularity of both sides of the shell before and AFTER pressing into the frame. Measure concentric-ness of the inner bearing sleeves before and after. I just can’t see how that thin of an aluminum sleeve can maintain 1/1000″ tolerance after being pressed in. I mean, I’ll believe it when I see it.

  5. what if there was a system where this sleeve would somehow thread on the bb shell. The bb case would thus need threads machined on its inside. Someone should look into that.

  6. I have the BBInfinite BB on my 2013 S-Works Venge and it works as advertised. Smooth and quiet! The bike originally came with delrin press in cups with Ceramic Speed bearings, which of course creaked and drove me crazy. I bought the BBInfinite when they were raising money through Kickstarter and bought the ceramic bearings model. Obviously Specialized learned from their mistakes as all S-Works frames for 2015 include metal cups instead of the delrin ones.

    You press the entire shell into the BB with green (iirc) loctite. Then the S-Works cranks were installed with the correct amount of washers and wavy shims. Now I have smooth sailing, and a slight increase in weight for the aluminum shell.

    BB was quiet all last year, and I hope many more to come!

  7. @pfs:
    It’s held by blue threadlocker applied about half an inch on the BBinfinite shell at the Drive Side, and in the Frame on the non drive side.

    I have a BBRight version of this waiting to be installed, but the stock BB on my frame hasn’t worn out yet. Though, I am very very excited to try these out when the opportunity comes up.

  8. Abelf – That is just crazy. Do you think manufacturers would actually put threads in a frame. That is such a bad idea.

  9. Here is an idea. Make threads in the frame – using a precisely aligned jig. Then just thread the bottom bracket into the frame, without any special tools. Since no pressing is involved, they will stay aligned, tight and completely creak free.

    I think that would be an excellent idea. Anybody makes frames like that?

  10. If you have to use pf30 this is a cool additional option imo. I just set up a frame with the praxis gxp kit. I agree that threaded bb is ideal, and hope to see them come back to standard. Why not just a 30mm threaded bb? We have said this all before haha, oh well.

  11. Imagine If you didn’t have to put threaded sleeves in your newly manufactured carbon frame. Manufacturers have went away from the threaded external bottom brackets for several reasons – cheaper cost to manufacture, advertised frame weights, and BB/crank stiffness. This is a well thought out solution to a poorly executed “new standard”. This is similar to a sealed cartridge system, but have you spun a sealed cartridge unit. Even the low end shimano sealed cartridges spun with very little resistance. If I could count how many times someone asked “How much does it weigh” or “How much does it cost”?

  12. This is a great solution to a problem that shouldn’t exist. If you want a 30mm spindle, there are several companies that make cranksets and BBs that can put a 30mm aluminum spindle in a BSA threaded shell. It’s time to call it quits on the failed experiment called BB30, and all the little children it has spawned.

  13. BB30 isn’t a failed experiment. Haters gonna hate but you’re ignorant.

    The reason people have problems with PF30 variants specifically, as well as cheap “BB30” frames is POOR TOLERANCES!!! BB30 is a very precise standard which when adhered to is problem-free.

    These solutions are to patch over poor manufacturing, where the standards which were set out for BB diameters are not adhered to, BB shells are NOT ROUND!!! etc…

    This product is an excellent, if un-necessary/evil solution to an unfortunate problem of people cutting corners. I treat PF-30 bikes for creaking on a daily basis, and spend far less time on proper BB-30 frames, in fact really not much more than threaded BBs.

    The thing that made threaded BBs fine was you could get away with crappy frame tolerances as long as the threads were decent enough to not strip out… No longer the case, and instead of stepping up manufacturing QC, companies are just claiming ignorance. You know it’s wrong when a brand-new BB suddenly has crunchy drag simply being pressed into a brand new frame…

  14. ahh bike rumor. The land where new tech news is always greeted with:
    1) how come it doesn’t have fender eyelets
    2) it should be threaded
    3) the industry is forcing this on us
    4) hongfu/light bikes makes it
    5) my design idea is better

    Why waste your time with news if any of the above is your opinion?

  15. Nice, but less than $50 buys you a Tripeaks adapter that enables you to fit your favourite brand threaded BB. 11,000 miles and counting without a creak

  16. goridebikes…

    Cannondale created BB30 and I’ve owned two creaky Cannondales. Four Cannondales in all…the two that didn’t creak had threaded shells(an old TT bike and a threaded CAAD9). That said, plenty of bikes have NO problems with creaking but even the high end stuff isn’t always free from BB30 creak. Right now, my only BB30 bike is a Shiv TT. Its a $6000 frameset and it creaks too.

    • Since 2005 I run CAAD7 Saeco SI BB30 of course ,inside the shell 2 Circlips, 2 bearings that all. No creaking, just grease PW green once a year. The creaking is pfbb30 problem ? or also for all alu unthreaded frame ?
      thank,s

  17. Goridebikes hits the nail on the head. There’s nothing inherently wrong with pressfit bearings, it’s just the p!ss poor attitude towards ‘tolerances’ in the bike industry. Worse yet: there is no easy shop fix (i.e. machining) for a carbon frame that isn’t to spec.

    People selling a $3000,- frame with a 40.8 mm ID on a BB92 shell need to be slapped around the ears with said frame.

  18. I have bought a BB92 in December 2014 with delivery to Europe.
    After having tried the Shimano BB92 that were literally moving and cracking into the BB, this BB was just the best thing to put on my MTB. There are no alternatives/adapters for BB92 but it really deserves the purchase.

  19. “Manufacturers have went away from the threaded external bottom brackets for several reasons –cheaper cost to manufacture, advertised frame weights, and BB/crank stiffness”

    2 of those reasons are true.. : )

  20. Looks like a good design, after riding a chris king pf30 through 50+ cx races (2 seasons) I’ll stick with it. I love the ability to flush grease using (a proprietary tool…). But with most things King, I imagine for the same price as the bbinfinite, I’ll take the longevity/grease option over alignment. Possibly lucky but zero creaks on my Kona jakes either.

    don

  21. @goridebikes

    Do you think Cannondale evo carbon bikes come with cheap frames?

    I own a Cannondale Carbon bike which come with PF-30 and it creaking. Local Cannondale vendor is unable to resolve it.

    I’m now looking for second bike where I can use Shimano Ultegra/Dura-Ace crank without using adapter.

  22. Looks like a good design, after riding a chris king pf30 through 50+ cx races (2 seasons) I’ll stick with it. I love the ability to flush grease using (a proprietary tool…). But with most things King, I imagine for the same price as the bbinfinite, I’ll take the longevity/grease option over alignment. Possibly lucky but zero creaks on my Kona jakes either.

  23. I think this is brilliant, hit all the nails on the head. bearings in a perfectly machined body, Installed with a retaining compound, install tool, di2 routing, and removal method is well thought out for ease of use and safe for the frame. best set up I have seen yet.

  24. @Sharon that’s too bad, you should find a better mechanic perhaps.
    I own TWO evos and have never ONCE had the BB creak, nor have I done anything more than proper assembly and pulling the crank to clean/grease ONCE a year. Which is what I would call the bare minimum of maintenance.

  25. If you’re going to make complaints based on your layman’s understanding of tolerancing, run away and get a proper engineering degree. Decreasing your tolerances, even slightly, results in much greater costs. You need more accurately made tools which also have to be replaced sooner as they wear out of compliance earlier. You need to factor in your increased rate of reject parts that don’t meet tolerance and you need to pay for the more advanced techniques required to confirm that you are in fact meeting your tolerances. All of this has to be paid for by someone, and in the case of a business, that’s the consumer.

    It’s certainly possible for the bike manufacturers tighten their tolerances and to press the bearings directly into the frame. They just won’t survive very long because everyone will complain about their bike prices increasing by $1000 or so against similarly spec’d models from competitors, just to silence a creak.

  26. Just installed a BBinfinte unit in my Cervelo R5 – after 5000km the original factory rotor BB had developed a wicked creak when standing / climbing or sprinting. Have been down the locktight route before on other creaking frames with PF30 and BB86 which worked ok , but thought I would try the BBininite install .The BBinfineite BB runs super smooth and feels like it has stiffened the bottom bracket – very satisfied and will be looking at this solution for my other bikes when the POS factory BBs start to eventually creak.

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