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  1. #1
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    BB question

    I'm considering upgrading the drivetrain on my '04 LeMond Zurich. Currently has a Shimano Ultrega 9 speep triple chain ring, 12-27 rear. The specs sheet for this bike state the BB is '68 x 118 (shell x axle, mm), Shimano splined axle". Exactly what do these number refer to? Trying to figure out if there is a BB that will fit that will be compatible with the 11 speed Shimano Ultrega manual group. Talked to the LBS and one guy said, "yeah, no problem at all". Another guy said "figure on lots of unexpected costs because things are not likely to fit". Currently confused. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    68mm is the width of the BB shell, 118mm is the length of the spindle, pretty standard stuff. You should not have any problem upgrading.

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  3. #3
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    Forgot to mention that you will likely need new wheels as the 9 speed hub is not compatible with 11 speed.

    Anytime doing a major upgrade like this and depending on how well the the bike is maintained, you should expect some unexpected findings.

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  4. #4
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    Yep, already figuring that new wheels will be in order. If not because of the new 11 speed cassettes but because the Bontrager Race X Lite wheels are starting to show cracks at the spoke nipples. Obviously, given it is a '04 frame, all cabers are externally routed. Otherwise the frame is in 9+ shape.

  5. #5
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    If you had Mavic wheels on your bike, they would be compatible with 11 speed....Very few people sell triples anymore. Compact doubles go down to a 34 tooth small ring.
    If you aren't fussy about having everything match, you could just buy a rear wheel. Front wheels seem to last forever.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ivanthetrble View Post
    I'm considering upgrading the drivetrain on my '04 LeMond Zurich. Currently has a Shimano Ultrega 9 speep triple chain ring, 12-27 rear. The specs sheet for this bike state the BB is '68 x 118 (shell x axle, mm), Shimano splined axle". Exactly what do these number refer to? Trying to figure out if there is a BB that will fit that will be compatible with the 11 speed Shimano Ultrega manual group. Talked to the LBS and one guy said, "yeah, no problem at all". Another guy said "figure on lots of unexpected costs because things are not likely to fit". Currently confused. Thanks!
    First guy was right. Second guy is clueless. It's not hard at all, as long as you have the all important 'clue'. As the others have posted the 68mm is the width of the bottom bracket shell (frame), and the 118mm is the triple axle. If it was a double it would be...110-111mm...I can't remember. You will need a new rr wheel or freehub(depending on the wheel), unless you have a Mavic wheel.
    #promechaniclife

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ivanthetrble View Post
    I'm considering upgrading the drivetrain on my '04 LeMond Zurich. Currently has a Shimano Ultrega 9 speep triple chain ring, 12-27 rear. The specs sheet for this bike state the BB is '68 x 118 (shell x axle, mm), Shimano splined axle". Exactly what do these number refer to? Trying to figure out if there is a BB that will fit that will be compatible with the 11 speed Shimano Ultrega manual group. Talked to the LBS and one guy said, "yeah, no problem at all". Another guy said "figure on lots of unexpected costs because things are not likely to fit". Currently confused. Thanks!
    The obvious question you have to answer is whether, when you total up all the costs for your proposed upgrades whether you would be ahead to sell your bike and buy a recent model used bike with all of the features you want. Investing a lot of $$ in a 16+ year old bike often is not a winning proposition. Just saying.

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    I am looking to get a new bike in the not too distant future. Right now I can't find the bike I want anywhere due to the Covid inspired run on bikes. The $$ are not a huge issue at this point and the rear rim has a crack in it so it will need a new set of wheels anyway. I'll upgrade they LeMond now and then maybe be looking for a '21 model (Specialized Tarmac Disc Expert Di2) when the new models come out later this year. I have been all over the web looking for a 58cm Tarmac but either the only color it is available in is the hideous camelion color (barf!) or the bike is located on the east coast and they don't ship.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ivanthetrble View Post
    I am looking to get a new bike in the not too distant future. Right now I can't find the bike I want anywhere due to the Covid inspired run on bikes. The $$ are not a huge issue at this point and the rear rim has a crack in it so it will need a new set of wheels anyway. I'll upgrade they LeMond now and then maybe be looking for a '21 model (Specialized Tarmac Disc Expert Di2) when the new models come out later this year. I have been all over the web looking for a 58cm Tarmac but either the only color it is available in is the hideous camelion color (barf!) or the bike is located on the east coast and they don't ship.
    You only need a rear wheel if you are planning on changing horses soon anyway. Any entry level budget wheel will be better than those Bontrager Race X Lites which were so prone to spoke hole cracking. Mine was trash at 4K miles.
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  10. #10
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    It means your frame has a bb that is left over from a time when they used to always work perfect and the only confusion was English or Italian threads.

    As said you'll have no problem. I'm not positive that would be the case with all cranks but Ultegra or other shimano definitely isn't one to be worried about.

  11. #11
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    All parts are assembled and looking like no compatibility issues. Bye bye 52/42/30 triple chain rings, hello 50/34 compact double with 11 speed 11-28 cassettes. Looking at the gearing, I will have a bit bigger gear on the high end (old was 116.94", new will be 120.38") and maybe lose one step on the low end (old was 29.37", new will be 32.01"). If I swapped out the 11-28 for an 11-30 the new low gear would be 29.90". Rarely ever used the 29.37" gear in the past 16 years anyway. New wheels should be a bit lighter and hopefully much more durable than the Bontrager Race X Lites. Learning from many people that they didn't tend to last all that long and the cracks at the spoke nipples was an issue for just about everyone. Excited to see how the changes impact a favorite older ride. And from an aesthetics standpoint, should look really good! Just about everything will be black, save for the metal flake blue paint/carbon of the frame and a few silver-ish frame accent stripes.

  12. #12
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    Congrats, now let's see this ride!

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  13. #13
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    LeMond.jpg

    Well, the conversion is all done. Only things that carried over are the seat and bars. The Selle San Marco Rolls seat is the only saddle I have used for, well, forever. I still have two brand new ones in the box when these wear out. Shimano Ultrega compact double with 11 speed (11-28) cassettes. Wheels are Bontrager Paradigm Elite with Continental GP 5000 tires. Went up a size on the tires to 25s and the ride is noticeably better. May be room for 28s but the clearance at the seat tube is a bit tight. Shifting is smooth and the gear range is pretty much the same as when it was a 52/42/30 triple. Probably shed a little weight overall with slightly lighter wheels and group. Was it worth upgrading an older bike? In this case I would have to say definitely yes! Shifting is crisper and gone is the triple chain ring that I was never a huge fan of. I think it looks great as well. Pretty much all black and blue.
    Last edited by ivanthetrble; 07-01-2020 at 07:42 AM.

  14. #14
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    I love the frame, but those bars are just weird. With that tall of a head tube can you actually ride that low in the drops? You may want to consider upgrading to a compact bar, the Alu versions are pretty cheap.

    Besides that you should be able to ride that beauty for another 20 years.
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    Yeah, that may be changed soon. I usually ride the hoods so that isn't a big issue. When I tried out new bikes that was a big difference, the much shallower drops. That would be an easy change but I will ride it a while first.

  16. #16
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    Very nice looking ride! Congrats on a successful upgrade. Should be good for many more miles.

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    As I first was reading this, I was thinking ditch the bike and get something new. Now that I see the pic, I am on-board. Beautiful bike!! Nice work!

    Jim D

  18. #18
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    Quick update: After having the chance to ride this bike for the past few weeks, and updating the bars to a more flat top, shallow drop bar (I can actually ride to drops now! yeah!), and I dropped the stem by one spacer, I am now questioning if a new bike is in my future. I'm sure a new bike would offer a few advantages/upgrades but not sure there would be enough to warrant the likely $5K to get them. I am really astounded what a difference this upgrade has made. I want to get an accurate scale to see how much this 59cm frame weights but when I pick it up and then pick up my wife's new Specialized Roubaix Pro (54cm) I think mine is actually lighter.

  19. #19
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    I had been riding 9 speed Shimano 105 for decades on my two bikes. I switched out one to R8000 11 speed and after a few weeks was ordering up another 11 speed set, yes, new wheels to boot. I loved the 9 speed but the 11 is delicious. Donít get me wrong the 9 speed was great, truly great, but the 11 R8000 is too! The new Belgium Plus wider rims with White hubs, CXray spokes.

    I normally was riding an 11-25 but tried an 11-28 on the first one. The second one back to the 11-25. Goofy as it sounds I missed the 16 toother. The second build I went back to the 11-25 so sweet 16 is back. Not sure if itís in my head but every time I look down cruising through towns Iím on that 16. Up or down on the 50-34, there it is the 16.

    The 11 speed R8000 is real nice. The new wheels, wider rim xray spokes a little lower pressure and the wide is a lot plusher. Went to a 32 wide tire from 28 too.

    Dang itís nice to wrench on bikes and everything turn out better than before. All manifested in your ride. Caffienating now and out for another sweet summer ride....nothing better.

  20. #20
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    Btw, gorgeous gorgeous bike! I also got caught out in the rain the other day and got soaked to the point the frame was full of water. Over the winter I drilled a hole in the cable guide screw for under the bb shell and when I got home put a little puff of air in the hole and the water came out in a steady stream....beautiful bike you have. The fade on the fork from carbon is cool as chit. The Ultegra looks magnificent.

  21. #21
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    Thanks! It looks better now with a more modern set of shallow drop bars. LeMond2.jpg

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