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 Post subject: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 4:57 pm
Posts: 89
Back in '07 I changed to a compact chainset. I have tried Shimano Hollowtech & Sram with GXP external. Both of these chainsets have suffered from creaks, clicks & frequent renewals of the BB. I have now gone back to an FSA compact with the old style Octalink BB. I now have a quiet chainset & know from old that the BB will be good for thousands of miles.
My question is:- owing to the limited availability of compact/ Octalink chainsets, should I consider those which are Isis BB compatible? How does the Isis BB compare to Shimano re quietness & longevity?
Many thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 4:31 pm 
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in the industry

Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 7:25 pm
Posts: 1083
Location: Glermsford, Suffolk U.K
I would avoid ISIS, I never got on well with them on my MTB's. If you want reliable creak free running get a square taper BB and crankset. TA still make square taper cranks and of course you an fit the 10 speed rings if you run 10 speed. JD whiskers still have stok of various square taper cranksets.

Octalink is a better BB in my opinion than ISIS as its bearings are bigger than ISIS (I think thats right). I presume you have had the preload on the shimano hollowtech BB set correctly and you have tried the higher pec shimano BB's too.

I personally cannot stand SRAM GXP. certainly for MTB's the sealing ust is noot good enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 4:31 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 8:31 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:16 pm
Posts: 617
the only reliable/durable/creak free BB/cranks are Hollowtech II, Square and octalink


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 8:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2005 3:25 am
Posts: 2174
Location: Southern Indiana USA
Anything except Isis.

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For certain parts stiffer is more important than lighter.


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:02 am
Posts: 2043
Location: On the bike
I have had good luck with my Zipp300 crank which is ISIS. :noidea:


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:11 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2005 3:25 am
Posts: 2174
Location: Southern Indiana USA
That is why Zipp has not made them since 2008 and they were way overpriced at something like $700. Isis is a weak design there are numerous posts on almost every bike forum about how bad Isis is. The bearings are too small in the design.

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For certain parts stiffer is more important than lighter.


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:35 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:02 am
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Location: On the bike
Still doesn't take away that I personally have not had issues with it.


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:16 pm
Posts: 617
your the 1 in a million its worked for, Honestly Isis BB's are really bad


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 12:04 am
Posts: 248
If you want to have the least problems with ISIS, get an FSA Platinum Pro MegaQuad Ti BB (Whew!). They are getting to be hard to find these days, and used to be expensive. But it was the most reliable ISIS BB due to the quad row of bearings. The Ti axle helped keep weight down to around 200-210 gms. One con of the Octalink was it required some preload adjustment and the weight, closer to around 230-250 gms. But their reliability was unquestioned.

One thing about the ISIS cranks, was they were light. The FSA light series weighed around 519 gms with both arms. And when they were being discontinued, you could get them for cheap (like $125). You can still get ceramic/Ti ISIS BBs on Ebay which weigh around 160 gms and so the weight on these setups rivaled anything available today.


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:01 am 
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Shop Owner

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:12 am
Posts: 2194
Location: Alto, NM
dieselgeezer wrote:
I have now gone back to an FSA compact with the old style Octalink BB.


Which Octalink? I love the DA model... very light (180g I think) and if you take it apart and regrease it occasionally it lasts a very long time. So long I've yet to wear one out... but I have a couple of spares just in case. I have spare IRD carbon cranks too (540g)... so I should be set for awhile. Maybe by then there will be a real BB "standard" that actually works.


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:16 pm
Posts: 617
there was, it was 68 threaded with a Hollowtech II BB and crank


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:47 pm
Posts: 1436
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA
I agree about the FSA ISIS BB. It's got dual row ball bearings. ISIS's problem was not enough room between the axle and the shell for decent sized bearings. The dual row bearings addressed that. I've taken them apart and the bearings are close to the ends of the axle. Token's ISIS BB has single row bearings that are farther in. No wonder they don't last as long.

Octalink left more room for bearings. DA BBs used a roller bearing in addition to some ball bearings. They are rebuildable and adjustable. Which, unless you periodically rebuild and adjust them, is a drawback. Most people these days expect their BBs to just work. Shimano still makes octalink BBs- the heavy but serviceable 105 and a track one which is similar to the Ultegra.

I'm not sure what problems you had with GXP but I have been very impressed with mine. I'd read bad things about it but my GXP BB spins much more freely than any of the Octalink or ISIS BBs I've had and makes no noise with the Red and Quarq cranks I've put in it. I think that Sram changed the GXP BB a while back. Perhaps they improved it since you tried it.


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 5:31 pm
Posts: 4411
Location: Surrey B.C. Canada
I run ISIS on every single bike that I own currently and have never had a single problem. So that is currently 5 bikes 3 road and 2 MTB. I had more problems with my ZIPP VUMA QUADS than I have ever had with my FSA cranks and ISIS BB.

I will also agree that the FSA ISIS cranks are pretty damn light and I love the fact that I can remove the spider and run a single spiderless chain ring which reduces the weight of the cranks even more.

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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:03 pm 
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Shop Owner

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:12 am
Posts: 2194
Location: Alto, NM
eric wrote:
Octalink left more room for bearings. DA BBs used a roller bearing in addition to some ball bearings. They are rebuildable and adjustable. Which, unless you periodically rebuild and adjust them, is a drawback.


IME the DA Octalink lasts about as long between service intervals as the throwaway BBs last between replacements. Just opened mine up after a year (~8k miles) including many rides in rain, and it was surprisingly clean and fine. I cleaned and regreased it anyway, since it was apart, but it didn't need it. I *do* have a drain hole through my BB shell so water doesn't sit in there.


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 Post subject: Re: Isis or Octalink BB?
Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:03 pm 


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 Post subject: Isis or Octalink BB?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:19 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:28 pm
Posts: 532
Are octalink BB's hard to come by? Are they particularly expensive? Just buy up half a dozen of them and ride your preferred BB to the grave


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