Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Playskool Bikes?

Presenting the latest greatest from the company that brought you the $1,200 ti frame with holes in it: the plastic bottom bracket.

This was inevitable, of course. Similar plastic "bearing" systems have been used in industrial applications for a long time. And the plastic bottom bracket should be cheaper AND lighter (and easier to install) than a conventional sealed bearing setup. Also, it's not the first time something like this has been used in BMX. If I remember correctly, Hutch made a mini headset in the '80s that used magnesium cups and some sort of nylon 'bearings'. Of course that was a setup meant to be used by riders under 90 pounds.

As for a bottom bracket on a full-sized bike, I'm not too sure. In an industrial setting, 'bearings' like this just have to spin. There may be pressure, but one would presume it to be fairly steady. Bottom bracket bearings get abused on a daily basis. Tailwhips to the pedals, drops, whatever. I'm no mechanical engineer, but there's a lot of stress that'll have to be dispersed one way or another, isn't there? Flex, deforming, cracking—all of these things seem likely. Is it worth it to save a few ounces? Will crankflips still be possible? Are they fireproof? Isn't this a case of fixing something that isn't broken? Can plastic headsets be far behind? Hub 'bearings'? How much plastic is enough on one bike?

(Also, if this idea DOES work, why use so much plastic? Will this mark a return to the Euro bottom bracket standard? Should I keep my old Edwin just in case?)

Oh yeah, one more question for Eastern. How many plastic 'bearings' are there in this?:


Anonymous said...

i know it's wrong, and i hate myself for saying so, but i actually quite like that ti frame

Anonymous said...

Originally posted by Not Eddie Roman:
It's not a fucking trend--it's modernization. Bitching about people buying light bikes is like bitching about cable TV, indoor plumbing or the fucking polio vaccine. Oooh, you still ride a heavy bike. You're not a rebel--you're an idiot.

Anonymous said...

macneil tried this a long time ago. IT FAILED.

Charles said...

Wouldn't that nascar be full of plastic bushings in the suspension?