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13th January 2007

For about the last 12 months the bearings on my shimano Hollowtech II XT crankset have been loose and graunchy giving a bad pedalling experience.

Replacement bearings are hard to come by and even if you do get hold of some it's unclear how you press the existing bearings out of the shell. Anyway, I finally tracked down some replacement cups and bearings from a great little place in the states; Enduro Fork Seals.

They also do replacement bearings on their own plus a bearing press but I ordered a set of oversized bearings inside replacement cups which duly arrived and I got down to fitting them yesterday.

They have made a real difference to the ride being really smooth and have much improved the whole feel of pedalling now that the grinding, wobbling motion has disappeared. I hope they will last a lot longer too because of the oversized nature of the bearings.

Read the disclaimer. This is for illustration only to show you how I did the job. If you want the proper instructions go to Enduro Fork Seals site.

Step 1
External bottom bracket cups fresh out the box External bottom bracket cups fresh out the box

Straight out of the packet; includes two replacement cups with installed oversize bearings plus a selection of spacers/seals in various sizes and thicknesses.

Step 2
remove the shimano cups remove the shimano cups loosen the crank arm

Here are the existing bottom bracket cups. Loosen the bolts holding the non-driveside arm first

Step 3
undo the axle end cap to expose the axle end

Use the Park Tools external bottom bracket tool to remove the plastic pre-load screw which will be all that is now holding the non-driveside crank on the axle and then remove the crank.

Step 4
hit it with a mallet to loosen remove chainset

Push the axle through the bottom bracket. If it won't move then a bit of gentle persuasion with a wooden or rubber mallet will help. Remove the crankset completely.

Step 5
remove non-driveside bearing cup

Using the Park Tool again remove the non-driveside bearing cup. Remember, for non-driveside it undoes anti-clockwise. Make a note of whether any spacers have been used (plastic shims between the cup and the frame).

Step 6
remove driveside bearing cup remove driveside bearing cup

Now undo the driveside bearing cup. Remember, for driveside it undoes CLOCKWISE. Again, make a note of any spacers used.

Step 7
note the larger profile

Note that because the new cups use oversize bearings they are wider than the original shimano bearing cups. This affects the chainline and meant that I re-assembled the new cups without using the spacer I had on originally.

Step 8
grease the bearing cup grease the bottom bracket shell

Install the non-driveside bearing cup first. Use some good quality grease on the threads. Note the quality casting on the titanium frame bottom bracket shell. No need for facing here. Tighten using the Park Tool.

Step 9
grease the bearing cup

Install the driveside bearing cup. Again, grease the threads and tighten. Note, the driveside Enduro Fork Seals bearing does not have the plastic sleeve seen on the shimano version. The inner race of the Enduro bearing has a smaller circumference and contacts the axle directly.

Step 10
grease the outside of the bearings put a plastic spacer over the bearings

There's no need to grease the top of the sealed bearings but a bit of grease helps the red spacer to stick in place as required. Place a red spacer on each bearing surface with the 'gold' colour facing inwards. I usually tuck the chain behind the bearing cup now so it is the correct place when you replace the cranks.

Step 11

grease the axle and insert into the bottom bracket cup ensure the red spacer is in place


Grease the axle, ensure a red spacer is in place and push the axle through the driveside bearing cup. Again, a gentle tap with the mallet will ensure it is fully seated.


Step 12

pre-load the bearings


Push the non-driveside crank onto the axle ensuring a red spacer is in place. Grease the axle end cap and using the Park Tool screw into the end of the axle. Very little pressure is required to pre-load the bearings and overtightening can cause premature wear. Tighten to approx. 4-6 inch pounds.


Step 13

tighten the crank arm in place


Tighten the crank arm bolts, alternating between each bolt to ensure an even load.


Step 14

the new Enduro cups in place the new Enduro cups in place the new Enduro cups in place

Put the chain back in place and go out to road test.

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