November 6, 2015 – ‘Another bottom bracket standard? Hooray!’, said no one, ever. The biggest reason for the disdain heaped upon recent bottom bracket developments was due to their press fit nature. Press fit bottom brackets are prone to creaking, simply because it’s an imperfect union – frequently between plastic and carbon. It’s tough to feel your $10,000 race bike is an upgrade when your old steel bike with threaded BB cups never creaked.
The industry moved towards press fit, in its many guises – PF30, PF86, BB90, BB386EVO, BBright – for a few reasons. Compatibility with more cranks, larger bearings, but the main incentive was an increase in real estate for frame manufacture’s new oversized carbon tubes to meet at the bottom bracket. Bigger tubes meant lighter and stiffer bikes, but again, who really cares if your bike creaks like the Flying Dutchman at anchor with every pedal stroke.
Ben Farver, the man behind Argonaut Cycles, lamented the press fit bottom bracket every time he sent one of his custom carbon bikes home. He knew a noisy BB would take the luster off that new bike smell pretty quickly, but he also liked the benefits PF30 gave him designing his frames and spec’ing them for riders. What to do?
He chatted with Chris King and together, they decided to solve the problem once and for all. Their answer, the Thread Fit 30i. It provides all the benefits and crank compatibility of PF30, but adds a threaded interface to remove the creep and inaccuracy that is inherent in the press fit standards.
“The issue lies within the tolerance creep between frame manufacturers and component companies.’ Says Bob Scales, Marketing Manager for Chris King. “The threaded system removes the performance risks associated with the convenience of the press fit products and ultimately delivers a more reliable, high performance product to the rider.”
Thread Fit 30i is the name Chris King has given to its version, but the standard will be open to all manufactures and called T47. Both Paragon and White Industries are working on their own T47 bottom brackets and others will likely follow suit with a 24mm version planned as well. Argonaut and Chris King may have just created the most rare of all things in the cycling world, a new bottom bracket standard riders can actually get excited about.
Check out Argonaut’s video about the standard for more info.