Vintage Zeus Bottom Bracket
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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Apr 2012
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    Vintage Zeus Bottom Bracket

    I recently opened up my vintage, 1970-era Zeus BB, French threading, to service it and discovered pitting on the drive-side bearing surface of the spindle. The spindle's a 118x55c with 5mm offset.

    Instead of replacing the spindle, I was thinking of going whole hog, and getting a new Phil Wood BB with sealed bearings. After talking with the tech at the factory, I was given the following recommendation: the BRS19R Stainless Steel Bottom Bracket 68/73mm - JIS with +5mm offset to be used with the BB cup set for a French Thread BB shell.

    I have several concerns about this PW BB. Perhaps one of you forum frequenters might have some insights. First, the PW cup set does not include any kind of lock ring and relies on thread locking compound to reduce the likelihood of the cups loosening. The right-hand threading on the French BB cups are notorious for loosening on the drive side due to the spindle rotation. In the event that the PW cups do loosen, tightening would require crank arm removal to access the cups using the proprietary Phil Wood cup tool. Crank arm removal would not be necessary with the old style loose bearing cups, as the left side cup can be tightened after loosening the lock ring with any adjustments made on that side alone.

    I've read that frequent removal of crank arms increases wear on the surfaces, eventually rendering the cranks useless due to this wear. My Zeus cranks are 40 years old, and have been removed perhaps 5 to at most 10 times during that period. Am I being needlessly paranoid here? Do you think the Phil Wood BB would not present a frequent maintenance issue that would lead to eventual crank arm failure?

    In the event that I do go with the PW BB, in addition to the thread-locking compound, would it be advisable to fit lock rings in place on both sides of the BB (if enough excess cup thread is available to fit them on) to further secure the cups? Do you see any adverse effects from doing this?

    As always, I appreciate any input. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Not a rocket surgeon.
    Reputation: tihsepa's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
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    9,402
    These are very nice.

    Grand Cru Bottom Bracket, French Thread - Bottom Brackets - Components

    Its a sealed unit and of great quality. Not Phil quality but very nice none the less.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: crossracer's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
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    I just have to say wow, I havnt seen something with French threading in 20 plus years. I recently saw an Italian bb that a young mechanic couldn't remove until I told him to turn it the other way. Lol lol
    You certainly get mileage and years out of your parts. Lol lol lol
    Hope it works out for you
    Bill

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