Pinkbike Product Picks

Jul 19, 2013
by Mike Kazimer  
Wheels Manufacturing PF30 bottom bracket

PF30 bottom brackets are becoming increasingly common, as are aftermarket replacement options. Wheels Manufacturing's PressFit 30 offering consists of two machined aluminum cups that house a 6806 Enduro bearing with a 30mm inner diameter inside each cup. The company offers three different bearing type options: angular contact, traditional, or the Ceramic Hybrid bearings we tested. To help keep the elements out, there is an o-ring located where the two cups overlap in the center of the bottom bracket shell, as well as one towards the outer portion of each cup. The bearings can be serviced either while still in the frame or can be removed completely for a more extensive overhaul. Adaptors are available for riders using cranks with a 24mm (Shimano) or 24/22mm spindle (SRAM/Truvativ). Weight: 110grams (actual). Made in the USA. MSRP: $110 USD. www.wheelsmfg.com

Enduro PF30 BB
Two seals prevent contaminants from reaching the ceramic bearings in Wheels Manufacturing's PF30 bottom bracket.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesAs with the majority of PF30 bottom brackets, installation was quick and easy - knock out the old bottom bracket, and then simply press the cups in with the correct tool, ensuring that they sit flush with the frame. To prevent creaking, the use of a retaining compound is recommended - this helps take up any excess room that would allow the cups to move in the frame if tolerances aren't exactly right. Once everything was installed we hit the trails, and proceeded for forget about the bottom bracket for the next couple of months. At the end of our test period the bearings were still spinning as smoothly as the day we installed them, without any visible contamination of the grease surrounding the balls. Granted, test conditions were a little drier than what we usually experience during the saturated winter riding here in the Pacific Northwest, but there were still a number of wet, muddy rides that the bottom bracket survived. Credit goes to the two seals that protect the bearings - a thicker, outer seal that covers the entire bearing, and then the seal that protects the balls themselves. These seals do a good job of keeping water and mud out, but should the elements manage to make their way in, the seals can be removed and the bearings can be cleaned and regreased. As to whether the use of ceramic bearing is worth the additional cost over steel bearings, the jury's still out on that one. There wasn't any performance advantage that we could notice, but we also don't have power meters and a team of scientists at our disposal to crunch the data. In theory, the ceramic bearings should be more resistant to corrosion and pitting than steel bearings, which could make this bottom bracket a good choice for riders who ride in wet, muddy conditions, conditions that can drastically reduce a bottom bracket's life span. - Mike Kazimer



Rubena Highlander tire

Rubena is a relatively unknown brand in North America, but the Czech Republic based company isn't new to the tire world, with a history that extends back to the early part of the 20th century. The Highlander is their latest mountain bike tire, developed in conjunction with freerider Richard Gasperotti. The Highlander is currently available in 2.55” and 2.4" widths, but 27.5" and 29" options are in the works. Four different sidewall constructions are available, all of which use Rubena's slow rebounding 'DEAD' (Downhill Extreme Adhesive) rubber compound. We spent our time on tires with the Radical Ride A Max construction, which is a dual ply, 127tpi casing with an aramid bead The tread pattern consists of a set of horizontally oriented rectangular lugs and a set of vertically oriented rectangular lugs, with angled side knobs. Weight: 990 grams (actual). Price: $97.99 USD (Radical Ride construction). www.rubena.eu

Rubena Highlander tire
Despite its large proportions, the Highlander proved to be faster rolling than expected.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesAt 2.55" wide, the Highlander is one of the wider tires we've used in quite some time. Mounting them up onto a set of rims with a 23mm inner diameter brought back memories of the (in)famous Gazzalodi tires popular in the early 2000s. The Highlanders aren't as wide as those behemoths, but they still have a large footprint, and are wide and tall enough that not all frames will be able to accommodate their size, which is why Rubena also offers a 2.4" option. On the trail, we were pleasantly surprised to find that there was less rolling resistance than expected, especially given the width and blocky tread pattern. It never felt like we were fighting the tires to maintain momentum, even on hard packed trails. On loose, loamy trails the Highlanders did have a floaty feel to them - the wide footprint kept them closer to the top of the loose stuff, but they still provided enough traction keep things in control, even on steep, fall line sections. It did take a bit of adjustment to get used to the extra width and height when cornering - the tire is big enough that it takes some fairly aggressive cornering techniques to fully utilize the side knobs. Traction through sections of trail filled with rocks and tangled roots was excellent, and this is where the tire's width was especially beneficial, providing plenty of grip to keep the bike tracking in the right direction. There weren't any issues with traction on steep rock faces either, although the tread compound didn't feel quite as sticky as some of the other rubber compounds on the market. As is the case with tires utilizing a soft, slow rebounding rubber, tread life was on the shorter side of the spectrum - riders who spend their summers lapping up the bike park may want something with a harder, more durable rubber compound. - Mike Kazimer



Troy Lee Designs Ruckus jersey and short

Troy Lee's Ruckus clothing collection is intended for all-mountain riding, or as it used to be called, “mountain biking.” Designed for riding uphill, downhill, and everything in between, the jersey and shorts have a relaxed fit and are available in wide range of color options. The Ruckus jersey has ¾ length sleeves and is cut slightly longer in the back to prevent it from riding up, with breathable mesh panels located along the underarm portions of the jersey to keep the temperatures down. There is also a zippered pocket on the right side of the jersey. Colors: thunder blue (shown), thunder yellow. Sizes: S, M, L, XL. MSRP: $50 USD. The Ruckus shorts are constructed of a polyester / spandex mix, and are cut to sit just below the knee. A stretch panel on upper rear portion of the shorts helps keep them in place when pedalling, and the fit around the waist can be adjusted via an elasticized band attached to a hook and loop closure. A detachable chamois liner is also included. There are two pockets, a zippered left and a non-zippered right. Colors: white, black, blue, fluorescent yellow. Sizes: 32-28. MSRP: $110 USD.
www.troyleedesigns.com

Troy Lee Designs Ruckus jersey and short
The overall comfort and durability of the Ruckus jersey and shorts earned them our accolades.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe Ruckus jersey and shorts have earned a place in our permanent rotation due to their excellent fit and high comfort level. The jersey's cut is relaxed, but not so baggy that it turns into sail on the downhills, and the flat collar prevents it from bunching up when worn with a hydration pack. The Ruckus shorts' fit was stellar as well, along with the construction - they are made from a material that is light enough for hot summer rides, but with enough abrasion resistance to make them able to handle the wear that can come with muddy downhill rides or extended time in the saddle. Knee pads fit well under the shorts, with enough stretch to keep them from riding up, and while there isn't any adjustable venting, there are a few small vents on each leg, and we never felt overheated while wearing them. The detachable chamois liner short isn't an afterthought either, remaining comfortable even on multi-hour rides. The only slight issue we had with the shorts is that the stretch panel toward the top rear has developed a perma-dirt stain despite repeated washings. This fabric is slightly different than the rest of the short, and the texture seems to trap dirt in it. It's certainly not a deal breaker - this is mountain biking after all, not a fashion show - but a non-white color and a slightly less textured fabric would make it easier to keep these shorts looking good as new. - Mike Kazimer






71 Comments

  • + 50
 The day I spend $110 on a pair of bearings housed in aluminum cups is a sad day in my life.
  • + 63
 That's why Wheels Manufacturing also offers a non-ceramic bearing PF30 BB for $49. Hopefully that price doesn't make you sad.
  • + 16
 Oh for sure! I've just never really seen the merits of a ceramic bottom bracket unless you're an insane weight weenie. They don't last longer in the dry conditions of Norcal, and it's my understanding that they really are more efficient when used in a motorsport application with RPM's upwards of 10k.
  • + 3
 I've just put the Chris King press fit BB in my 720DH, yes good BB's are expensive but out last cheaper ones three times over...
  • + 49
 How about the day you spend $100 on a single tire? Geez...
  • + 6
 Yet, somehow companies like Specialized are able to make top notch tires for 40 percent less. And I think everyone here knows that they all come from the same factories in Asia. The only exception that comes to mind is Continental which is German-produced.
  • + 9
 dhf's, $25 here. why run anything else?
  • + 5
 Schwalbe is produced in Germany as well as far as I know
  • + 6
 I had a friend who worked for schwalbe in Germany, came straight from Asia, at least the majority of them did.
  • + 3
 Most, if not all Schwalbe are made in Indonesia.
  • + 1
 Schwalbe table top and Small Block 8 on my dj bike, $30 for the Schwalbe, 50 for the kenda
  • + 3
 Granted my experience with hybrid ceramic bearings is mainly in road wheels and road bb's, but from what I've seen is that the balls are to damn hard for the steel. Which results in the race pitting quicker then it would in a regular bearing. I'm sure for some the weight savings are worth it but I can't see myself spending that kind of cash on a bearing that doesn't last. Full ceramic bearings on the other hand...
  • + 1
 Would you mind telling me what the difference between a hybrid ceramic bearing and a full ceramic bearing is? I haven't heard that term before.
  • + 1
 Only some Continental tires are German made (usually the Black Chili models), the cheaper ones are from Asia.
I guess that it will be the same with Schwalbe.
  • + 1
 thecarpy, A hybrid ceramic bearing will have ceramic balls and steel/aluminium races, a full ceramic will have ceramic balls and races.
  • + 0
 They do last longer ! From what I have heard Smile up to 4 years my bb only normally lasts 6 months Frown ad they run much smoother Smile
  • + 1
 Have a Racing Ralph Evolution GateStar in my hand right now--Indonesia. 4th most populous country in the world. They manufacture stuff.
  • + 1
 Well obviously you'll never buy a Chris King headset or bottom bracket then. Good. More for the rest of us.
  • + 1
 @riish Only problem is they're a little heavy.
  • + 1
 Extremmist: you are right about Conti and Schwalbe production. only the black chili models (protection and UST) are made in germany
  • + 10
 Kind of funny story: I was walking around the Seattle Bike Expo and saw the Rubena booth and tires which actually looked pretty good. I had never heard of them but was interested and they were advertising their tires for 40% off. Great, sounds like a good deal! So I asked how much a pair of tires would cost with the 40% off and was told $120. I didn't say a thing and just walked over to the Schwalbe booth and bought a pair for $90.

I understand the theory behind brand value but a completely new company (to us) with nothing groundbreaking should not be asking for a premium over Maxxis and Schwalbe.
  • + 1
 Must be nice. They are 89.00 at most stores here in bc!
  • + 1
 Continentals are made in India...
  • + 2
 yes... india and germany
  • + 1
 If they're made in Asia how come we pay so much? Someone is laughing all the way to the bank.
  • + 2
 Because if they were made in europe they'd cost bucketloads more and people would whine even more on here.
  • + 1
 Actually I'd pay the extra if the Schwalbe or Continental tyre was made in Germany. We in the developed world are exporting all our manufacturing/jobs to Asia in the name of cheap prices and I think it's crazy. My Good Year car tyres used to be made here in Australia and were $200 each. I bought a new set a few weeks ago and they're now made in Thailand and are $165 each. I'd rather pay $200 plus and keep the jobs here. I realise I'm probably in the minority with my old school ideas but I believe greed for cheap consumer goods is morally bankrupt and will lead to more and more unemployment in the Western World. Anti dumping tariffs should be imposed on all cheap imports to protect our local industries.
  • + 20
 Pinkbike: please more reviews - i could read these all day...
  • + 19
 I choose "nothing to see here".
  • + 7
 I gotta say, the pressfit setup does not sound easier than the threaded external bearings. Pressing in and out bearings and using special compounds to prevent play, making sure you don't push them in too far, and all the rest sounds like it is asking for frame killing mistakes. I'll stick with my external threaded ones.
  • + 2
 Press fit is unbelievably dumb. All kinds of possibilities for creaking and failure. It's a deal-breaker for me.
  • + 0
 the problem with ceramic bearings is that (bearing manufacturers) do not advise using them for high impact activities like mountain biking, at least beyond XC racing, due to ceramics being inherently more brittle than the steel alloys used in regular bearings

I've been experimenting with using both stainless steel and ceramics in the PF30 BB of my Stumpjumper and there appears to be no real difference in durability. This is my 2nd Stumpjumper, my 1st had a faulty BB shell (mis-machined tolerances) which kept destroying bearings and causing clicking, Specialized were solid and upgraded me to C.F. frame within 3 days of returning my alloy Evo frame

I have been getting about 7-8 months out of either bearing style before they go gritty and need replacing? My Stumpjumper is only used for trail riding though so nothing too aggressive.

we use ceramics in a lot of the BB30 and PF30 road bikes we service, and they are expensive at around GBP£130 a pair of bearings (not including cups or spacers!!) but the road guys seem to swear by them; I'd expect this is the 'placebo' effect in action really?

regarding fitting, we always use a gap-fill (bearing retaining) loctite compound which is normally yellow in colour, and press-fit using park tools. Loctite is used whether fitting bearing (BB30) straight to BB shell, or used when fitting bearings into plastic cups (PF30) and then used when fitting the cups into the frame BB shell itself.

Any contact between bearing outer and additional seals / spacers and the crank arm itself onto the bearing is always given a good coat of Shimano Anti-Seize - proper setup with loctite and anti-seize reduces 99% of creaking or other funny business.
  • + 3
 Yeah, so real simple- not!
  • + 3
 HampsteadBandit, full ceramic bearings are not recommended in impact situations because they are brittle. That's the full white ones with the white balls.

As for steel races with ceramic bearings, they'll use the dark grey silicone nitride balls and they are not brittle whatsoever. I've seen a guy put a silicon nitride ball on a steel plate and hit it with a hammer. He hit it hard enough that it dented the face of the hammer and the steel plate but the ball did not smash.

For MTB applications, full ceramics are obviously out, as you say. As someone points out above, when using steel races and ceramic balls, the ceramic balls wear the races down faster than steel/steel. I would also suggest that, despite the smoother running of a steel/ceramic BB bearings, at low RPM and a bunch of seals, there wouldn't be an advantage. Seals are always the biggest source of friction. And losing weight... pfft. There is little weight difference with the steel/ceramic versus steel/steel. The races weigh too much.
  • + 8
 Dear PB, perhaps in your next product picks you could describe the romping ability of each product, or possibly the level of friskyness one could achieve while using the product.
  • + 2
 I'd read that...
  • + 1
 Can I be the reviewer?
  • + 8
 can I be the test subject?
  • + 6
 Im really not feeling some of the new stuff in TLDs line up , i loved their stuff due to the simple yet clean lines and design but now they seem like they are going after that " fox racing " effect ... What a shame
  • + 2
 old ruckus looked sooo much better, sorry TLD as i like a lot of the kit but that top is hideous
  • + 7
 Surprise surprise. Pinkbike liked everything. Again.
  • + 1
 I came to see what they had to say about the TLD jersey. Always interested to see how $4 of almost see-through material fashioned into a t-shirt can be 'reviewed'.
  • + 2
 Sorry, but for $110 the Ruckus short is a huge disappointment. The pockets are so hard to get in and out of that they are pretty much useless. They could have spent an extra $1.00 in manufacturing and actually put in a zipper on each pocket. I can't get my hand in the pocket while riding and I've lost stuff in the unzipped one so I never even use it anymore. Plus, the fit of the chamois is like an undersized diaper and the "adjustable" length short is just two hems where you cut between them, which leaves a nice ghetto look with fabric that frays when it's brand new. Love TLD products but this a huge waste of money! Come on Pinkbike, how about an honest review; I like how there is conveniently no mention of the useless pockets!
  • + 3
 It's not a conspiracy - the pockets aren't mentioned simply because there weren't any major issue with them. They're small, but when riding I usually don't carry much more than my house key and maybe some cash for a post ride burrito. An iPhone fits without any trouble as well. I agree that if you wanted to carry much more than that it would be a tight fit.
  • + 1
 Hi Mike. I appreciate your reply and look forward to your reviews. I certainly don't think there is a conspiracy. However, I think it is hard to be 100% subjective when free test products are being thrown your way. No write up regarding the ghetto "adjustable" hem length or the diaper chamois? And how easily can you access that iphone? Please don't answer, but if you were spending your own money would you honestly pay $110 for these?
  • + 1
 Bottom brackets are disposable to hard mashing single speeders. No matter the brand or cost, all will be destroyed in less than one season. I gave up on expensive bottom brackets on my single speeds. For the rest of you wimpy spinny gear types, I can see the appeal, maybe.
  • + 2
 Try a Chris king. They're the only ones that have lasted for my SS.
  • + 0
 I have. It lasted no longer than the others. While the CK bearings might be made to higher tolerances, they crush just as easily. The only thing that has helped are the BB with dual bearings on each side. Those last longer before crushing and disintegrating.
  • + 1
 "This fabric is slightly different than the rest of the short, and the texture seems to trap dirt in it. It's certainly not a deal breaker - this is mountain biking after all, not a FASHION SHOW- but a non-white color and a slightly less textured fabric would make it easier to keep these shorts looking good as new"

Coordinating your shorts to match your shirt. To match your helmet to goggles, pedals to handlebars, brake lines to shock spring. It's fun pretending things aren't what they really are. I'll remember that the next time I'm in the lift line/ catwalk in whistler. I keed I keed.
  • + 3
 This years Ruckus short will shrink like balls in cold water if you put them in the dryer. Mine shrunk so much they don't fit anymore after two washings... just saying.
  • + 2
 I wish mine would shrink a bit. I find their sizing charts to be a bit off.
  • + 1
 err, why does the bearing housing go right through the bottom bracket? it would be lighter if they just made the cups house just around the bearing press into either side individually
  • + 3
 Press-fit bottom bracket? 1990 Gary Fisher Pro Caliber -- never again.
  • + 1
 Ruckus jersey has been delivered to me a week ago (2012 model in army green), still waiting for shorts (black, 2012 as well).
  • + 3
 Iove TLD stuff but the Ruckus shorts this season are ass ugly
  • + 2
 Ruckus jerseys are awesome! Love the 3/4 sleeve, they are so nice for hot days and breathe really well!
  • + 1
 The BB is worth the cost. It's way better than the shitty SRAM/Truvativ units.
  • + 1
 TLD is not cool. How about a nice clean look without the comic book styling. No class.
  • + 1
 Good to see a reliable replacement for the horribly unreliable SRAM/Truvativ PF30 bottom brackets..
  • + 2
 Those tires do look rather ruined
  • + 2
 the wear pattern is troubling. Looks like it is chunking instead of slow even wear.
  • + 1
 Lightning bolts are so last year!
  • + 2
 You mean I have to change my tattoo AGAIN??!!
  • + 1
 I think you mean Jointing compound, never heard of retaining compound.
  • + 2
 Most makes of thread loc offer a retaining compound for use on press fit applications. Loctites is 121078.
  • + 5
 Retaining compounds (like Loctite 609) expand as they cure, which is why they work well to fill the gaps in press fit applications. You wouldn't want to use them on threaded items, since the expansion would make it extremely difficult to get them out again (that's what threadlock is for).
  • + 1
 It say's Enduro on it, so its gotta be awesome! ;0
  • + 3
 Just remember Enduro was making seals and bearings before anyone realized that we were all riding enduro style.
  • - 2
 Love my Rukus Jer/short combos don't ride in anything else, PB nailed it as did TLD this time and 2014 colors designs r sic as!
  • + 12
 I prefer superman pajamas since they make me fast as bullets and stronger than trains.
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