Sea Otter: E*Thirteen’s revised bottom bracket

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Better supplier, more consistent bearings…

Better seals for longer life
Better seals for longer life

As much as we like E*Thirteen’s cranksets in their geared (reviewed in issue 88) and narrow/wide (watch this space) configurations , we have had some issues with the accompanying bottom bracket’s bearing life.  It’s not that they stop spinning- but previous iterations have gone dry rather quickly.  It’s an issue that the company is aware of and has been open about.  Their previous bearing supplier was capable of making some very good bearings… and an unacceptable number of duds.

From July, all E*Thirteen cranksets will be shipping with bearings from a new manufacturer.  The updated versions have better seals and add a centre sleeve to keep moisture inside of the frame from working its way into the balls.  They look… like external bottom brackets for 30mm spindles.

Acknowledging an issue- and fixing it.
Erm… another view.

E*Thirteen deserves credit for being open about their issues and for offering a full-year no-questions-asked bearing replacement policy.  They admit to “dropping the ball” when it comes to their bottom brackets and are working hard to ensure that things run smoothly for existing and future customers.

Comments (5)

    Does the Hope 30mm BSA BB work with e.13 cranks, I wonder?

    Do us all a favour when you get one and open up the bearings and take a look at how much / what kind of grease is actually in the bearings when they leave the factory. Seals don’t work in the long-term (especially in UK conditions) and grease is your next line of defence. Cartridge bearings tend to come with very little grease in them as standard.

    DoctorRad – I’m down for a replacement BB when they’re out and I’ll have a go at pulling the seals off to see what’s inside. They’re not promised until late in the summer.

    @chipps – I am going to get on my high horse here, but I’m firmly of the belief that cartridge[*] bearings are the elephant in the room of the MTB industry, given the amount of grief they cause.

    Plain and simple, almost every cartridge bearing I’ve ever seen fitted to a bike has an insufficient amount of unsuitable grease which quickly becomes contaminated through the non-seals. The grease is suitable for use in photocopiers, not on an MTB.

    Carefully whipping off the seals and whacking in a decent amount of waterproof grease (I use Phil Woods) is far and away the best preventative maintenance you can do to an MTB, with the possible exception of not jetwashing your bearings.

    [*]No other industry calls them ‘sealed’ because they aren’t… at least not effectively.

    …it’s not the drying out that’s the issue but the fact that the bearings are so small that play develops in a handful of rides. My E13’s have wear on the inside of the arm where the play after two rides was sufficient to touch the chainstay which is less than ideal!

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