Monday, December 20, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Well the first week of the Tour was not disappointing! Lots of crashes and drama has this Tour poised to be the best in several years. To celebrate this year's Tour De France, we are having quite a sale. Take 21% off your order of $200+. You can read all the details and get the coupon code here: https://www.vcrcbike.com/Articles.asp?ID=160
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
We just released our new 2010 VCRC Team Stem to match our 2010 VCRC Team bars. This stem is a little heavier than our 2010 VCRC Pro stem as the VCRC Team Stem puts an emphasis on stiffness rather than weight savings. Overall the weight is respectable and well worth the trade for stiffness for the sprinter types and larger riders who really pull on the bars when sprinting or climbing.
More info can be found here: http://www.vcrcbike.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=2010teamstem
Monday, April 5, 2010
A quick check of the more popular cycling message boards will reveal this gets written A LOT! It is probably our most asked question of any product we've ever sold. Why does my SRAM (or any GXP) BB have play in it? And it's not just our SRAM BB, it is any and all SRAM (GXP style) BBs.
The reason is simple, you didn't install it properly. Some customers scoff at that and say it must be the BB or the bearings themselves, but it's not. Play does not come from the bearings being worn/bad like older BBs where the spindle was part of the BB. The change to integrated spindles about 5-7 years ago was in part to fix this. Play now is caused by loose/mis-installed cranks.
And the biggest culprit is the GXP style BB. But why?
From SRAM: "The GXP system captures the left side bearing between the spindle and the left crankarm while allowing the drive-side bearing to float axially on the spindle, thereby eliminating the necessity to side-load bearings during adjustment."
Sounds great in theory as this design takes the load off the drive side bearing which usually takes the bulk of abuse from being ridden. The GXP design strives to save the drive side bearing from an early failure.
But in practice it's a headache if you don't have experience and the patience to properly install. It's not as simple as installing the cranks and torquing everything down tight. In fact, you might have to repeatedly remove and install the cranks to remove play. The GXP design uses a stepped down spindle which means the non drive side of the spindle tightens against the non drive bearing from the inside (other designs like Shimano's see the bearings tighten up against from the outside). If the width of your BB shell is off either way (too narrow or too wide) issues will creep up.
If there is play in the crank, the left arm is not fully bottomed out. Remove the arm, regrease the splines (with a heavy grease) and reinstall. But you better use a torque wrench because the non drive crankarm bolt needs roughly 54nm of torque. Not sure how much that is? Shimano 10 cranks use 1.5nm of torque! That's quite a difference.
We've heard of mechanics having to remove/re-install up to 6 times to remove play. Someone somewhere probably has done more than that. And add in the issue of the non drive crankarm bolt loosening with use and we've now got real problems. So even if you can remove play, it can come back as you ride because the bolt loosens. We've found Loctite on the threads helps with this.
But that's not all. We have seen some variation in the tolerance of GXP crankarms. Small tolerance variation in the spindle results in a less than tight fit between the crank spindle/non drive bearing interface. Heavy grease seems to fix this for a period of time but if the spindle has been worn or was made slightly out of spec at the factory you'll have to re-torque even more than normal.
So the next time you have play in your SRAM (GXP) cranks, don't blame the BB! Instead get some grease and get ready to get dirty because you got some greasing and torquing to do! Better check the facing of your frame as well. Most frame makers do NOT do this for you and it is essential to your external BB working properly. You want a square 68mm (or 70mm Italian) BB shell. Without that, anything goes!
If you absolutely cannot remove the play, you most likely have a width issue in the BB shell and you will have to add spacers to widen the BB.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
After almost 8 years of operation, our old website was put to rest last week. It served us well and kept on trucking long after it should have. But the time came to upgrade to a newer, more powerful site.
The new site has many new features such as:
- the ability to search for a product
- create an account
- email friends products of interest
- quicker, easier checkout system
- improved security
- easier navigation
- and much more!
We will be releasing several new products in the next week or two to celebrate the new website! Keep checking the site and this blog for the latest news!
Monday, March 22, 2010
There seems to be a new BB standard releasing every other month these days. Well, not quite that many but there are a LOT of different BB types today. In this post, we will try to explain them.
It is important to understand there are several different crank specs combined with several different frame specs.
First are the popular crank types, we will cover the 4 most popular:
Each of these require it's own type of BB.
1. Shimano 10 Speed.
2. SRAM (GXP)
3. Campy Ultra Torque
4. FSA Mega Exo.
We get a lot of questions asking if one of the above cranks is compatible with another crank's BB. The short answer is no. The first three are strictly incompatible with each other, but some have had success using a Shimano 10 BB with a FSA Mega Exo crank and vice versa. Although this is not recommended as the two specs are not 100% compatible without some modifications (as we have done to our VCRC FSA BB).
Add in the confusion of FSA having a standard model of cranks and a "Light" model of cranks (with each requiring it's own type of BB) and it gets quite complicated.
Each of the above manufacturers use a slightly different version of the same design. They all use integrated spindles. But they all implement it differently. This is in part because of patent issues and partly to be different from each other. For example, Shimano doesn't want you to use their crank with a SRAM BB and so on.
In the past few years, many frame companies decided that having a normal thread in type BB was not optimal. This led to the industry moving to press in type systems. There are many different press in designs now being used by most top manufacturers. They are:
1. BB90 (found on Trek mostly but also others)
2. BB86 (found on some Giant and Scott frames)
3. BB30 (developed by Cannondale and now adopted by quite a few companies).
Now it starts to get confusing. The 4 crank types listed above all need their own implementation of the BB90 or BB86 system. So if you have a Shimano 10 crank with BB90 or BB86 and want to switch to a SRAM crank, you can't use your BB90/Shimano or BB86/Shimano kit. You'd need a BB90/SRAM or BB86/SRAM kit.
What about BB30? Well it was first developed for use with Cannondale cranks using a 30mm spindle (most road spindles are 24mm). So none of the 4 cranks listed above work directly with BB30. You can buy a specific BB30 crank from FSA and SRAM (not available with Shimano or Campy cranks). You can also convert a BB30 frame to work with the 4 cranks above by purchasing our VCRC BB30 adapter.
Confused? We didn't even get into MTB and their slight variations on things. Maybe next time.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Is it real? Most doubters of ceramic bearings claim what you feel with ceramic bearings is just better seals with less drag. That is partially correct. Our Ceramic bearings are more resistant to contamination so the seals can be lighter than what a steel bearing needs. Seal drag is real (though minor) and lighter seals make a small difference. Although that is not why ceramic bearings are faster.
Every time we hear a "forum expert" say ceramic bearings aren't any better than steel, they always talk about the seals being the only difference. First, we wonder if they've ever ridden a good ceramic bearing. Second, they are missing the entire point of ceramic bearings. The lighter seals are a nice byproduct, but not the reason for the better performance.
A common question about steel bearings is "why does my crank only spin once or twice?" "Experts" will say don't worry about seal drag because when you ride it goes away. Partly true, but if your crank only spins 1-3 revolutions compared to a ceramic that might spin 20, which would you rather ride?
Because of our ceramic bearings being less prone to contamination, not only can the seals be tweaked for less resistance, but so can the grease. We use a special grease that offers enough lube but also is light enough to allow the bearing to spin freely. So you have better seals and better grease in our bearings. But that is still not why our bearings are faster than steel, but it certainly is part of it.
The biggest reason our ceramic bearings are faster than steel is the ceramic balls and races we use. Our ceramic balls are among the best grade available (made by the top ceramic ball company in cycling) and our races are specially designed to match our balls. By using a near perfect ball (roundness) and a matched race, the bearing creates an extremely hard spinning surface when loaded (ridden). The balls create no heat or friction and combined with the race spin on a glass like surface.
This all adds up to near zero friction in the bearing. Most riders who switch to our ceramic bottom bracket notice an increase in cadence in the same gear. Most riders who switch to our ceramic bearings in their wheels notice an increase in speed but also the ability to hold their speed while coasting in a paceline (think about that next time you are barely hanging on in a race). And some riders notice they attack the field and solo away for the win!
Monday, March 8, 2010
Just today we have launched our new 2010 PRO Stem. It is light and pretty and sure to make you ride faster. Only a fast rider deserves such a pretty stem. Over the next 6 weeks we will be releasing a bunch of new products. We will launch our 2010 PRO handlebars, followed by the 2010 TEAM bars. We have a new PRO Carbon seatpost releasing shortly after that. Next will be the TEAM stem and TEAM seatpost. Sprinkle in some new ceramic goodies and we have quite a spring ahead of us. Stay tuned....
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
There is a lot of confusion about bearings. Not just the difference between ceramic and steel, but the design of the bearing in general. We will be posting several articles clearing up some common mistakes with regards to bearings.
First up is the misunderstanding of a "sealed" bearing. Many people think sealed means the bearing is permanently sealed, both from contamination and from needed maintenance. This is not true. While some low end bearings come with metal shields making removal a difficult process, most quality bearings come with rubber seals often referred to as "2RS". This stands for 2 rubber seals.
Our VCRC Ceramic bearings use rubber seals which can easily be removed for servicing (greasing and if needed, cleaning) and reinstalled.
This is also true for steel bearings that use rubber seals. Don't think that just because they are "sealed" it means they don't need maintenance. Bearings are like chains, you need to keep them lubed and clean for them to last. A VCRC Ceramic bearing will last longer than steel when properly maintained as the parts don't wear as easily as steel, but the longevity has a lot to do with proper maintenance.