I wasn’t trying to open a new debate on BBs all over again, I just wanted to explain why we use Spanish on our frames. Russ on his SPRFLS blog said I was making and impassioned defense….if you read it again you’ll see that it’s not exactly impassioned “This is just my common sense look at the bottom brackets and why I think that the Spanish BB is the best choice for our frames.” I had no idea that people had such strong feelings about bottom brackets. In all of the years that we have run the Spanish on our frames I haven’t heard any complaints about the bearings blowing up. Not from the team guys and not from customers so I was sure that the bearings were holding up so I was comfortable saying that performance wouldn’t be sacrificed. I agree that 100g isn’t a lot of weight but 100 grams here and there adds up (hollow stem bolts save about 2g per bolt). In the comments we’ve heard from both side of this but one poster on the SPRFLS site summed up my thoughts really well.
Mr B said: “Most people seem to be saying that mids are better because the extra strength is worth the extra weight.
If this is the case then why does everyone run stems with massive holes milled into them? Surely by then the weight saved isn’t worth the strength lost?
The reason people run stems with the holes is because they are strong enough for the job in hand, so we then need to ask ourselves what strength do we need from a bottom bracket.
Isn’t it possible that a spanish bearing is strong enough and that mid are overkill?
Has anyone actually had problems with disintigrating spanish bearings?”
I’m going to look into the claims of failing bearings and see where that leads us. I’m not trying to convert anyone from Mid or tell people that the BB they have is inferior, I just wanted to answer the question of why I’ve chosen the Spanish BB’s for our frames.
I get a lot of e-mails from people asking questions about MacNeil products. I’ve been seeing this question a lot lately and I think it’s a good one.
The question is, “When most other brands frames are using the mid BB why is MacNeil still sticking with Spanish BBs?”
Here is my answer. This is just my common sense look at the bottom brackets and why I think that the Spanish BB is the best choice for our frames.
The Mid is an American BB without the aluminum cups. As I see it, this is a minimal change and has no great advantage over the old school American BB which was developed in the 70′s BMX for 1 pcs cranks.
The advantage of the Spanish over the Mid is a lot clearer. The Spanish shell is smaller than the Mid which reduces the weight of the shell itself, more weight saving comes from the bearings as you can see by the photos. The bearings are narrower, the inside race is much thinner, add these things to the smaller diameter of the shell and the weight savings really start to add up. Even the bearing cover/spacers are a little lighter due to the reduced OD. In total the weight savings is about 100 grams or nearly a quarter of a pound. And before anyone says it, no I didn’t take into account the less than 2mm longer that would need to be added to the frame tubes to reach the smaller shell but that’s really minimal.
Besides the substantial weight savings, I think it looks way better. With all of the frame tubing diameters getting smaller in the last couple of years the Mid BB looks a little big and bulky. When the Mid and Spanish first battled it out for BB supremacy the frame tubes were a lot bigger in diameter. At that point in time almost every frame used a 22.2mm (7/8”) chain and seat stays, down tubes were all in the neighborhood of 42mm, so the Mid didn’t look out of place back then, but as the tubes have gotten smaller (seat and chain stays are 19mm or less) on the current frames the Spanish B.B. fits in better.
About 100gr saving that doesn’t sacrifice performance or cost any more money, while being more consistent with the reduced tube sizes used on current frame ….. makes sense to me. I’m not trying to tell you what to run…just laying out facts and letting you known why I’ve made the choice that I have on the MacNeil frames. Just something to think about if you’re looking at a getting a new frame.
Spanish Bearing and Shell – 191g Mid Bearing and Shell – 289g Difference = 98g
Spanish bearings on the left, Mid on the right.
Bearings, top view.
Mid set up.
Spanish set up.
Mid bearings – 123g if you have trouble with digital scales.
A few of weeks ago I went over to Japan to see Shoe-G and to meet up with Yossy from Zen Distribution who takes care of MacNeil over there. I had never been to Japan before which is surprising considering all of the time I’ve spent in Asia over the last decade. It was worth the wait! What an amazing place. All of the things you have heard about Japan are true. Dialed. Advanced. Clean. Friendly. I loved everything. One of the greatest things was riding my cruiser around and seeing how bike friendly Japan is. Bike lanes, official bike parking areas with huge rack systems and just a general acceptance by the drivers. Progressive city. I went to a well know commuter/fixie/BMX shop called W-Base. The owner Moto and his brother Rip have been involved with BMX in Japan since the the early days which explains why the store is as much a BMX museum as it is a shop. We ended up at a great party that brought together people from all types of cycling and a their love of cheap Japanese malt liquor. I also hooked up with Shoe-G at his place so that I could meet his lady and his super cute daughter who was dressed as a cow at dinner. Thanks to Yossy and the boys at W-Base for showing me around and introducing me to Kirin Green Label (good value and quality!) Check the photos and if you ever get a chance, go to Japan. It’s a truly amazing place.
Bibi and his girl Julie had a baby girl on Sunday! Her name is Charlie. We don’t have much more info than that at the moment, but we’ll let you know more as soon as we know. Congratulations to Bibi and Julie from all of us here at MacNeil!
A few weeks ago, Chris Martindale took a quick trip up to Alaska and sent over some photos. He’s got a family full of “boat” people. His dad is part owner of a boat yard that does really nice yacht remodels (that’s where Chris works) and his uncle owns fishing/research boats, that Chris has spend numerous summers on with his cousin Mike Leask when they were kids.
“I help my uncle and cousin drive there fishing boat from Seattle to Sitka. Its a 5 day trip, basically driving a thousand miles at parking lot speed. The trip was a lot of fun, but I dont understand why people would live up there this time of year. It snowed everyday on us. Here’s some photos.”
Wade has been riding one of the two Bibi samples. Bibi has the purple one you saw the other day and Wade’s been riding the “peacock” one. He’s been super psyched on it and shot a bunch of photos with Tim Okane at the Igloo. Check em all out after the jump!
Harrison and his babe Michaela tied the knot over the weekend. It was a great ceremony with a super good party afterward. It happened at the Sidney Pier Hotel, a really cool new hotel right on the ocean on Vancouver Island. A small group of family and close friends were on hand to celebrate with them.
It wasn’t that long ago that good bike shops were hard to find. Now they’re everywhere. We just got this video sent to us from our Hungarian distributor. It’s a look at their new shop, and it’s amazing. Anyway the video also reminded me of my first trip to Europe for the 92 worlds in Budapest, seriously one of the craziest trips of my life.
So, some cleaver people thought it would be fun to write some shit in the comments… I just got to the office this morning and definitely had a good laugh… Check out what was written and let me know if you think I’d say stuff like this:
“Shea, I did receive your e-mail, however I disqualified your entries for containing explicit material. Vagina’s and penis’ are not our piece of pie here at Macneil. If Ryan Nyquist was part of our team it would me a different story but unfortunetly your entries will not be accepted. I am very sorry”
“Shea, to be honest with you im not a fan of “smack” or “shovels”, but infact its not the kids or shovels, but the way you positioned them on your designs… I meen really.. a grain shovel up a pre-teens ass is clearly too explicit.”
“Hey guys I’m a dirty prick and love driving Ryan Nyquist’s cockles up my bum hole.”
So… Shea… Out of the 320 shirts I received, I filed your email in the wrong folder and missed them on yesterday’s post. I’m real sorry!!! I’m surprised I didn’t miss more… I posted your shirts after the jump, so everyone, check em out! As far as your deleted comment goes, it had a bunch of links in it and was being held for moderation… It’s in there now.
Jellyman… I looked for your shirt entries eveywhere, but didn’t see them… Send them over again and I’ll make sure they make it up! I’ll wait for a few hours, so we can get your shirts in before we post the winner…
Check out a random still of Gary on the Apple site. The image was taken from a Vans pod cast and like any big company that knows nothing about BMX, they chose to use the photo in the worst possible position… If you know anything, you can tell Gary’s about to do an alley-oop turndown, but none the less, it’s pretty rad Gary’s on the Apple site!