Author Topic: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker  (Read 1394 times)

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Offline CanvasAndSteel

Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« Reply #60 on: November 29, 2015, 02:57:53 pm »
Now that I'm at my keyboard and not thumbing on my phone I can give a fuller response.

Yes, Sugino makes some very fine square taper bottom brackets, as does Stronglight.  Shimano, as you noted, makes squre taper for their more affordable cranks, as does Origin 8, Sram and several others.  But the bike industry has not moved on from square taper because of performance issues.  Indeed, square taper bottom brackets will outperform and long outlast and external bottom brackets, partly because of the difference in size of the bearings (significant difference with loose or caged balls, less so with cartridge bearings). 

The cycling industry was not addressing a performance issue when it moved on from square taper, but a production issue.  With external bottom brackets they needed to make only one size and hand out spacers with them, whereas square tapered bottom brackets required different length spindles.  A one size fits all solution allowed parts companies to save money.  It also simpliefied things at the shop, as anyone with a torque wrench and the special bb tool for each different bottom bracket could install it.  There was no skill or experience required, such as preloading the cup on the square taper.  Spin a well adjusted crankset on a square taper and watch the think go round 15-20 times.  Do the same with an external bb and it will go around 2, maybe three times.

As for quality cranks for square taper bottom brackets, there are a few out there.  There are clearly fewer than for the external bottom brackets, but how many does one need?  And, even better, they aren't of the ugly aluminum pie plate sort so common with modern cranksets (certainly my personal opinion).

As for durability, most external bottom brackets are basically disposable, with the best of them lasting for a few years of hard use and the worst of them requiring replacement after every season.  Square taper bottom brackets can easily last for decades and many thousands of miles.  Most people would prefer to replace their bottom brackets than do the maintenance that will keep a square taper bottom bracket spinning as new, but it's not a quality or performance issue.

As for QBP and Surly, yes, I know of QBP (I live in the Twin Cities), and, yes, I'm aware Surly is a subsidiary of QBP.  But Surly has been responsible for significant innovation in the last decade or so.  And appeal of their bikes is broader than retro grouches.  As another poster mentioned, they (along with 9-Zero-7) are almost singularly responsible for fat bikes.  The Troll is a more versatile frame than anyone else is building.  I could go on.  As for "cheap Chinese steel," 4130 Chromoly is 4130 Chromoly, and I can't fault the welding at the tube joints.  In addition, it's only specialty builders and a small number of production companies that don't have their frames made of "cheap Chinese steel." 

For the record, I put XT Hollowtech cranksets and bottom brackets on both the Trolls I built, but for a major tour I am planning in the summer of 2019 I will switch to a square taper bottom bracket and crankset.  I haven't yet decided whether it will be SKF, Phil Wood or White Industries.

(meaning you won't be told that square taper bottom brackets are no longer made or that they are, but just basic, inexpensive ones).  I built up Surly Trolls for my wife and me.

I'll admit I was surprised Sugino still makes square taper cranks.  I have not heard of Sugino since the mid 1980s.  Did not even know they still existed.  As for the ones Surly uses on its complete bikes.  They are some Chinese company I have never heard of.  Shimano abandoned square tapers on its upper models in the late 1990s or so.  They may still make square taper cranks for the cheapest bikes they equip.  But not on the upper levels.  I have several Dura Ace square taper cranks.  And Campagnolo square taper cranks.  All over 15 years old.  Not sure I would recommend someone build up a bike using parts 15 or more years old.  Just like I would not recommend someone build up a bike using 7 or 8 speed parts.  The biking world has moved on.

Not sure how square taper bottom brackets can use larger bearings than Shimano Hollowtech.  Square taper bottom brackets go inside the bottom bracket shell on the frame.  Its a tube about 1.375" diameter.  Hollowtech shells are about 1.875" diameter.  About half inch larger because the Hollowtech shells that hold the bottom bracket bearings are outside the frame's bottom bracket tube, which is about 1.375" diameter.  With the larger Hollowtech shell you end up with more and bigger bearings.  But anyway, bottom brackets are fairly durable and rarely give any problems.  The problem with square taper sealed bottom brackets is there are not many or any higher end cranks built for them anymore.  The Sugino mentioned above are probably nice.  I have good memories of Sugino from about 30 years ago.

Jan Heine, the link you provided, runs a magazine and a bicycle parts company.  A company that sells the square taper bottom brackets you are fond of.  He might have a vested interest.  Kind of like when a bike magazine recommends a bike and then you see advertisements in the magazine from that same bike brand.  Makes you wonder if the magazine selling advertisements to the bike company can be trusted to do an objective review of the bike.  They are paid by the bike company.

You say you are a Surly owner.  Do you know anything about Surly?  Surly is a brand name created by QBP.  QBP is the largest bike parts distributor in the US.  QBP is based in Minneapolis.  QBP supplies all the stuff to your local bike shop.  QBP saw an opportunity in the biking world.  People were fond of old biking parts for some reason.  Not sure why because old bike parts never worked as nicely as newer parts.  But QBP wanted to capitalize on this fondness people had for the old days.  So they created the Surly brand.  All Surly stuff is made in China.  QBP has many contacts in China because they import all the stuff they distribute from China.  QBP knows China very well.  QBP had Surly bike frames made in China from cheap Chinese steel.  China is a huge steel producer.  Hopefully QBP monitors closely the Chinese factories making the Surly frames.  QBP can sell its Surly frames pretty cheaply in the US because it makes them very cheaply in China and still make a good profit.  Good business plan.  QBP already distributes to every bike shop in the US so they have the distribution network already established.  Sell Surly frames and parts to the same shops they already serve.  QBP saw the niche for old style nostalgic bike parts and they filled it with the Surly brand creation.

Offline fiveonomo

Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« Reply #61 on: November 29, 2015, 08:29:28 pm »
Thanks for all of the input guys.  I started with other sites and still frequent them and get some information from there but I really like it here.  I like the guys I'm talking to on this forum, the have been a big help.  So as long as everyone wants to share their thoughts and experiences I'm listening. 

I take the bike to the powder coat guy tomorrow, pretty excited to get it done.  I will post a picture when I get it back.