29 December 2011 - 8:10Ask George Week 9: For Dough
OK, this is really it. Dough did point out that there was only one Wednesday left in the year, so I may as well use it. Looks like Dicky has “Mullet Wednesdays” now anyway, so there is much to look forward to. And I’m a day late because of the holiday hoo haw. This question came in via email from Jack in New Zealand.
What’s your spin on Niner EBB set up?
I’ve been on this system for as long as there has been a Niner EBB. I have had minimal issues with it over the last 5 years. I’ve used the original EBB on Rambo, was part of the test team for the OG prototype Bio-Centric (it still lives in Kermit), and now am running a problem free, production Bio-Centric on Rambo and The Gozarian. I have had it move on me when I’ve tagged something hard with my pedals, but we are talking tagged really hard. I carry a wrench with me so I can fix that should it happen. But most importantly, it has been virtually creak free for me. It has only gotten creaky on me in cases where the bike has been in extreme mud and wet, like Singlespeedapalooza, and a thorough cleaning always cures the problem.
I’m a big fan of this system, but because I’ve been around it for so long, I’ve figured out how to avoid some of the pitfalls that some folks have had with it. I’m pretty sure that no one is still using the old school EBB at this stage, so I will be talking strickly about the Bio-Centric. If you still have the old kind, I strongly encourage you to get the new kind, ASAP, it’s worth it.
As with anything, initial set up is key. Lot’s of people have opinions on how things go together. Sometimes there is more than one way to skin a cat, but in this instance, there is only one way to set the EBB up, the right way.
- Start with clean parts. Like really clean. I generally will use White Lightning Clean Streak, not only because it is one of the best degreasers out there, but because it smells good too. Clean the EBB shell, and the EBB surfaces too, and let them dry. A clean EBB is a happy creak free EBB!
- Fit the EBB into the frame, taking care that the halves are going in straight and flush. Do not use grease. The EBB is to go into the frame clean and dry.
- At this point I crank down the pinch bolt nice and tight so I can instal the BB. You don’t want the EBB to spin while you are trying to tighten the BB, so you will want to make sure that it is really cranked down. 1 Grr should suffice*
- Once the BB is in, you can back the pinch bolt off and install the cranks.
Then it’s the standard EBB tightening procedure that I blathered on about here. I just so happened to be messing around with the Gozarian, so I snapped a couple of pics to further illustrate the process of getting the right tension.
I’ll use an allen wrench and the crank spider to rotate the EBB if it doesn’t spin freely. This generation of XTR cranks are especially finicky, so I always loosen the left crank arm which lets the EBB spin more freely.
Once the pinch bolt is cranked down, I usually take a grease pencil and mark the position of the EBB. This is just a little visual indicator that tells me if it does move, and also a benchmark to return a slipped EBB back to it’s correct spot.
The long and short of it is that there is no one perfect system, but if you follow these basic installation procedures, you will have less headaches. I’ve set up countless EBBs this way, and have had a consistently high rate of success. If you have set up your EBB any other way than this way and are experiencing creakiness or slipping, I encourage you to get your bike in the stand and try it my way.
* Grr, unit of measure regarding the tightening and loosening of bolts when a torque wrench is not available or required. eg 1Grr will cause a slight sound while tightening a bolt. 3 Grrs will cause your face to turn red and veins to bulge out, and is seldom recommended unless you are loosening a frozen bolt.