Author Topic: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?  (Read 11625 times)

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Offline PeteJack

Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« on: March 08, 2016, 11:13:49 am »
My LBS talked me into replacing the original square taper (ST) bottom bracket in my 520 after 51000 miles with a Shimano 105 Hollowtech BB by saying that new ST cranks weren't available (it seems that it's only Shimano ST cranks that aren't available). Now, from the CTC forum it appears that Hollowtech BBs don't last very long, < 2000 miles some people are saying. This has got me worried, it seems that ST BBs last much much longer than Hollowtech. I've got a Route 66 tour coming up. Should I be looking for an ST BB or possibly replacing the Shimano with a Hope BB or am I looking at replacing a BB somewhere in New Mexico ( I was going to write NM but that's overdoing the initials  ;D)

Right now I'm leaning towards doing a preemptive replace of the Shimano with a Hope because I like the feel of the Hollowtech setup and the changing is superb. Waddya think?

At the least I can take a spare Shimano BB with me, they are only $20 at REI and don't weigh much.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2016, 11:45:00 am »
My LBS talked me into replacing the original square taper (ST) bottom bracket in my 520 after 51000 miles with a Shimano 105 Hollowtech BB by saying that new ST cranks weren't available (it seems that it's only Shimano ST cranks that aren't available). Now, from the CTC forum it appears that Hollowtech BBs don't last very long, < 2000 miles some people are saying. This has got me worried, it seems that ST BBs last much much longer than Hollowtech.

Apparently I am luckier than those $4 billion dollar lottery winners.  I have several of these HollowTech bottom brackets and they all work just fine after far more than 2000 miles.  Wow, wow, wow.  All my square taper bottom brackets are made by Shimano or Campagnolo.  They all work fine too.  I have a friend who loves his pricey Phil Wood square bottom brackets.  There are a few companies making square taper cranksets.  Shimano even makes them.  But no nice, upper level, high end square taper cranks are made on earth anymore.  The world has moved on to the two piece type cranksets now.  With the bottom bracket bearings outside of the bottom bracket shell.  Curious how you came to this conclusion that "ST BBs last much much longer than Hollowtech."  Do you have any actual personal proof?  Or are you just making up stuff off the top of your head?  I am aware most science and rebuttals of science are done this way now days.  Testing, proof, observation is so out of date.

Offline DaveB

Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2016, 11:57:18 am »
I've got Hollowtech II bottom brackets on two bikes with over 10,000 miles on each and they are still in excellent condition.  I don't know who told you about 2,000 mile failures  but that seems absurd unless they criminally abused their bikes. 

Offline PeteJack

Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2016, 12:16:27 pm »
Curious how you came to this conclusion that "ST BBs last much much longer than Hollowtech."  Do you have any actual personal proof?  Or are you just making up stuff off the top of your head?  I am aware most science and rebuttals of science are done this way now days.  Testing, proof, observation is so out of date.
No I have no personal proof and I didn't come to that conclusion, other people did. As for personal proof, of course not, that's why I've raised this question. Check the link to the CTC website. In particular TrevA who says I got sick of replacing the bearings on the Hollowtech every 2-3000 miles. The general opinion there is that Hollowtech BBs don't last as long as STs. Russ I've as much reason for taking TrevA at his word as I have for taking you at your word.
Quote from: DaveB
I don't know who told you about 2,000 mile failures  but that seems absurd unless they criminally abused their bikes.
Again, check the link.

Sorry I can't get the link to work the second time.

« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 12:22:10 pm by PeteJack »

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2016, 03:25:46 pm »
No I have no personal proof and I didn't come to that conclusion, other people did. As for personal proof, of course not, that's why I've raised this question. Check the link to the CTC website. In particular TrevA who says I got sick of replacing the bearings on the Hollowtech every 2-3000 miles. The general opinion there is that Hollowtech BBs don't last as long as STs. Russ I've as much reason for taking TrevA at his word as I have for taking you at your word.

Why are you wasting the time asking these questions?  You don't want to believe this other person you cite on the other forum, and you don't want to believe my opposite opinion.  I suggest you resolve this conflict by flipping a coin.  Heads this bottom bracket/crank, tails the other.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2016, 05:40:40 pm »
No I have no personal proof and I didn't come to that conclusion, other people did. As for personal proof, of course not, that's why I've raised this question. Check the link to the CTC website. In particular TrevA who says I got sick of replacing the bearings on the Hollowtech every 2-3000 miles. The general opinion there is that Hollowtech BBs don't last as long as STs. Russ I've as much reason for taking TrevA at his word as I have for taking you at your word.

Why are you wasting the time asking these questions?  You don't want to believe this other person you cite on the other forum, and you don't want to believe my opposite opinion.  I suggest you resolve this conflict by flipping a coin.  Heads this bottom bracket/crank, tails the other.
Because questions had been raised as to Hollowtech durability I came here to get the experience of people who have actually done some touring with these things. Yes, judging by the tone of the only responses I got it was a waste of time

Offline DaveB

Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2016, 06:01:43 pm »
Early failures on Hollowtech II bottom brackets can be caused by poorly faced, out-of-alignment bottom bracket shells.  If those reporting the early failures have badly aligned frames, it would explain a lot as no bearing will tolerate much of that. 

Offline PeteJack

Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2016, 06:38:41 pm »
Early failures on Hollowtech II bottom brackets can be caused by poorly faced, out-of-alignment bottom bracket shells.  If those reporting the early failures have badly aligned frames, it would explain a lot as no bearing will tolerate much of that.
Thank you Dave that makes sense.

Let me say something about how 'improvements' come to market. It's budget time and Mr S is at the head of the table on his one hand is Mr HT who has developed the Hollowtech product on his other hand is Mr ST who oversees square taper manufacturing. "So" says Mr S to Mr ST "what are your requirements for next year. Mr ST says "our machinery is worn out and we need some spendy new specialized plant, broaches etc. Those square tapers are quite tricky"
Up pipes Mr HT "We're ready to go now with our new line, and we use cheap off the shelf hardware i.e. a piece of tube that we can machine a spline on with any one of a hundred CNC machines we already have. Thanks to this we can sell at lower unit cost and higher margins and no big capital investment" Then Mr S says "Mmm the racers like HT. Looks like a no brainer. Tell the marketing boys to sing Hollowtech's praises".

NB No discussion of whether it's a better product for the average Joe It all boils down to making the most money

I've no idea whether Shimano operates like this but over a lifetime in manufacturing I have sat in similar meetings.

Offline RonK

Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2016, 09:55:05 pm »
It's an outrageous lie that square taper bb's are no longer available, even from Shimano. Bikes stores that tell you this are quite literally ripping you off. They should be held to account.
Just Google UN55 (the Shimano bb at the most reasonable quality/price point for touring bikes) and you'll find literally hundreds of offerings.
However I have toured many thousands of kilometers on a Hollowtech bb also, with no issues at all.
It is posible that users who ride a lot in wet, muddy UK conditions would experience more issues, but then they probably have more issues even with square taper bb's.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 09:57:17 pm by RonK »
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline PeteJack

Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2016, 11:22:41 pm »
It's an outrageous lie that square taper bb's are no longer available, even from Shimano. Bikes stores that tell you this are quite literally ripping you off. They should be held to account.
Just Google UN55 (the Shimano bb at the most reasonable quality/price point for touring bikes) and you'll find literally hundreds of offerings.
However I have toured many thousands of kilometers on a Hollowtech bb also, with no issues at all.
It is posible that users who ride a lot in wet, muddy UK conditions would experience more issues, but then they probably have more issues even with square taper bb's.
Good point about the UK conditions. Actually it wasn't the BBs but the square taper cranks the man said were unavailable. Because the originals were so old and beat up I was worried about them breaking so I asked him to put new cranks on as well. Thanks for the reassurance Ron. It seems like I'll be OK this year with the Hollowtechs but I don't suppose I'll get 50,000 out of them! I'm rather attracted to the Hope BB not only is it good kit but they are made in a village, Barnoldswick*, near where I grew up in Yorkshire. Hey ho perhaps it's time I got a new bike. You could call the one I've got now The Bike of Theseus.

*Bet you pronounce it wrong, a lot of people in the UK do too. They also make Rolls Royce jet engines there, that's what the B in RB211 is.
** Since I first wrote this I've googled "pronounce Barnoldswick" and most of the results it comes up with aren't even close to the way the denizens pronounce the name!
« Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 03:29:06 am by PeteJack »

Offline RonK

Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2016, 12:53:11 am »
It may be the case that you can no longer buy a Shimano square taper crankset, but there are plenty of offerings suitable for touring bikes from the likes of Sugino, Stronglight, IRD, Velo Orange just to name a few.

« Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 12:55:07 am by RonK »
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline DaveB

Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2016, 08:25:32 am »
Let me say something about how 'improvements' come to market........NB No discussion of whether it's a better product for the average Joe It all boils down to making the most money

I've no idea whether Shimano operates like this but over a lifetime in manufacturing I have sat in similar meetings.
I think you are too cynical about how component changes occur.  A lot of the changes are driven by performance rider's constant demands for the holy grails of "stiffer and lighter" and the new designs provide both of those.  Touring riders are not that concerned but they are a tiny portion of the market anyway. 

As to just making changes because the machinery is worn out, note that Shimano still makes both square taper and Octalink bottom bracketrs despite the fact that the vast majority of the OEM market has made them obsolete.   

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2016, 12:24:54 pm »
Shimano has a long history of planned obsolescence.  All of the bike companies are guilty of pointless specsmanship.  Tapered square might be heavier, but the bolt circle is almost nonexistent, so it is a foolish issue to talk about weight here.  The engineering term is moment of inertia.  I think the only real negatives about tapered square is that you need special tools to service it, tools not likely to be on your bike.  OK, since you are forcing the soft aluminum crank arm onto the hardened steel axle, you also deforming the soft aluminum crank arm and if you do it enough times you wear out the crank arm.  I still have some tapered square bottom brackets in service, and I have not worn any of the crank arms out yet. 

As for cranks based on out board bearings...

Since the bearings are on the outside of the bike frame, they are more exposed to the elements, and that makes them more vulnerable.

Either way, bottom brackets do not generally instantly fail, and you almost always have enough  warning to plan for getting the crank serviced.  I would not spend a lot of time fretting over the life of the crank. 
Danno

Offline PeteJack

Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2016, 01:49:09 pm »
Quote from: DaveB
As to just making changes because the machinery is worn out, note that Shimano still makes both square taper and Octalink bottom bracketrs despite the fact that the vast majority of the OEM market has made them obsolete.   
This reminds me of he Bob Newhart skit about General Chariots board meeting. "Do these holes in the chariot sides serve any purpose?" Someone has the temerity to ask. "Yes they serve a purpose: they keep us employed next year" the CEO replies.

Thanks Paddleboy. I suppose they'll go like my old BB with a just perceptible wobble. Interestingly the Hollowtech has fixed what I thought was a problem with the rear derailer. It was jumping gears on the larger cogs, especially when honking. It's stopped doing that now. I believe the wobble in the rings was moving the chain just enough to cause an inadvertent shift. There was I thinking it was the detents on the shifter worn out (one of the very few original components on the bike) Not even Sheldon mentions that as a cause of autoshifting. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/autoshift.html


Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Shimano Hollowtech experience anyone?
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2016, 10:46:33 pm »
It may be the case that you can no longer buy a Shimano square taper crankset, but there are plenty of offerings suitable for touring bikes from the likes of Sugino, Stronglight, IRD, Velo Orange just to name a few.

I guess since they're not named Shimano or Campagnolo all those other manufacturers go by the generic name "No One."  :)

Love my Sugino "No One" square taper crank.