Friday, February 22, 2013

More proof that handbuilt bearings are better

We read the following post recently at a message board:

FSA installs the bearing cartridge the wrong way in one of the two the plastic cups for all their ceramic PF30 bottom brackets.


The FSA ceramic PF30 bearing come with pretty thin grease that doesn't last too long. Of course it is easy to re-grease them with thicker grease, but that has to be done with them in the bike since you can't remove PF30 without destroying the plastic cup or bearing. 

After removing the bearing seals, I was able to re-grease one side without difficulty, but I found that the bearings were not exposed on the other side. Instead, the plastic ring that holds the bearing was facing out, which made getting grease into the bearings next to impossible. 

When I called FSA about this, they said that is the way they make them because it would cost them $100K to retool the machine to insert the cartridge the correct way. When I asked how to re-grease the bearing, he didn't have an answer.

What's frustrating, beyond the fact these cost $150, is that FSA includes a srynge with grease and instructions on re-greasing, but you can only do that on one side.


FSA builds there bearing by machine and is so disconnected, they install the bearings backwards making greasing hard, if not impossible.  

Too bad the customer didn't purchase our PF BB30 BB with bearings that we build by hand and press into the cups with a simple bearing press.  We make sure our bearings face the right way so you can grease them when needed.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Stem Shootout... 2013!

We thought we'd do a little comparison post taking a look at our VCRC Pro stem compared to the competition.  We are comparing their "flagship" alloy stems to our "flagship" alloy stem.  There are many brands that we didn't include simply because we didn't have the space.  We tried to include what most people look at when considering an upgrade (3T, Deda, Ritchey, Zipp and FSA).  Max weight for a stem to make our list is 140g.  Many heavier stems are much cheaper and cost much less per gram, but you are taking a step backwards with a heavier stem.

All stems compared are alloy.  We'll compare weight and price.  Prices will be taken from and We listed the weight for our stem for each size we offer.  Unfortunately most manufacturers only weigh the shortest stem and publish those weights.  That's OK though, we'll base things on our 120mm stem and give everyone else a head-start.

We will then calculate the cost per gram for each stem.  Lower is better.  We divide the price by how many grams the stem weighs, to calculate the cost per gram.

First up, our Pro stem:

VCRC Pro Stem

Regular Price, $69- On Sale for $59
Weight, 90mm (125g) 100mm (128g) 110mm (132g) 120mm (138g) 130mm (141g)
Cost per gram, $0.43
Ti bolt upgrade saves another 8g for $20
Cost per gram w/Ti bolt upgrade, $0.60

3T Arx Team

Regular Price, $117
Weight, 120g (unknown size)
Comes with Ti bolts
Cost per gram, $0.98

Deda Elementi Zero 100 Pista Stem

Regular Price, $136
Weight, 140g (unknown size)
Comes with Ti bolts
Cost per gram, $0.97

Ritchey WCS 4-Axis 44 Stem

Regular Price, $99
Weight, 132g (unknown size)
Comes with steel bolts
Cost per gram, $0.75

Zipp Service Course SL Stem

Regular Price, $109
Weight, 120g (80mm)
Comes with Ti bolts
Cost per gram, $0.91


Regular Price, $109
Weight, 98g (unkown size)
Comes with Ti bolts
Cost per gram, $0.76

------ There are some surprising stems too that come in more in our price range of $0.4x per gram.  The Zipp Service Course, the 3T Arx Pro and the Pro PLT come to mind.  There are certainly others too, but it seems roughly $0.43 - $0.45 are about the best price per gram you can find right now for a sub 140g stem.  Some notable bank breakers like the carbon Ritchey Superlogic C-260 just blow the mind at $2.18 per gram.