I’ve spent the last few days researching bottom brackets for my new Ogre frame.  Bearing in mind (no pun intended), that I intend to run a Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 (with an ensuing 54mm chainline), I’ve been looking at all the various potential combinations of cranks and BBs.

Having been encouraged by Terry at Brixton Cycles to go with a square taper BB rather than an external one, I’ve been investigating what the best BBs are and the impact that this has on other component choices.

To cut a long story short, I’ve decided to go with an external bottom bracket instead – sorry Terry!  To be precise, a Hope Ceramic Bottom Bracket.  Here’s my reasoning:

  • It’s a highly-regarded component from a respected supplier
  • Whilst a square-taper unit might provide better reliability/longevity, should I have an issue with it in rural South America, servicing/replacing an external BB should be much easier than a square-taper type, which would likely require multiple proprietary tools (that I would probably have to carry with me).
  • If it comes to replacing completely whilst on tour, I can replace with a cheap and widely-available Hollowtech-compatible version (external BBs being much more common these days in the MTB world).
  • Middleburn make a lovely Rohloff-specific chainset that is my preferred option and is designed for external BBs only.
  • It’s made in the UK 🙂 (even if it uses Swiss bearings!)

An honourable mention goes to the Chris King ThreadFit 24, which is similarly highly-regarded and very good-looking but a little difficult to justify, budget-wise.  That said, had I gone with a square-taper BB, it would likely have to have been a Phil Wood – they’re a work of art!  Alternatively, of similar high-quality but manufactured by a classic British engineering institution, Royce.  Maybe next time!

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