Do we really need another bottom bracket standard? Maybe. It depends on what your experience has been with pressfit 30. Personally, my Argonaut has been fairly maintenance free but any steel frame I’ve ridden with one has been a hassle. Noisy, creaky and kind of a pain to maintain.
Ben from Argonaut Cycles and I had a conversation a year ago about how much BB86 and PF30 makes sense in terms of frame design and performance, yet as the crux for a bike’s drivetrain, it’s riddled with failure. In short: a larger bb cluster allows you to shape a bike’s tubes and not have to worry about the cluster where they all intersect. That’s why it’s kinda hard to use a threaded, English BB in a frame with OS diameters.
Enter the T47 BB standard. It uses a standard PF30 shell, that’s just threaded with 47x1mm pitch to take these new nifty Chris King BBs – either 30mm or 24mm axle compatible. You thread them in like an English BB and walk away. The frame builder can work with OS tubing diameters and achieve the same “stiffness” without dealing with the hassle of a PF30/BB30 bearing.
I’ll step aside with the tech jargon and leave Argonaut Cycles and Chris King to explain the rest below.
“Argonaut Cycles is proud to introduce several upgrades to our award winning carbon fiber frame. Argonaut produces custom carbon bicycles made in Bend, Oregon. Each frame is unique not only in sizing, but in the carbon lay up of the frame, offering each customer a bike that compliments their strengths on the bike. Innovation is the backbone of Argonaut and these new features will improve performance, ride quality, and the aesthetic of the frame.
New To Market Chris King Thread Fit 30i Bottom Bracket, designed in collaboration with Argonaut Cycles.”
Chris King Thread Fit 30i:
Designed in collaboration with Argonaut Cycles, the Thread Fit 30i is a solution to the common issues surrounding the Press Fit system. Press Fit bottom brackets revolutionized crank compatibility years ago, but the standard is prone to creaking on rides and requires constant maintenance. “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.”
Argonaut Cycles saw an opportunity to add real value by pushing a new spec out to the industry and turned to Chris King to help develop a part that would still allow for an oversized bottom bracket shell and complete crank compatibility. The Thread Fit 30i is the product of this effort, and now comes standard on Argonaut Frames. The 30i is not another in a long line of constantly changing standards, but a solution to a pre-existing problem. Other domestic component companies are working in collaboration with Chris King to create a new standard which will be called T47. T47 will be an open standard in 2016 for all builders and component companies to use.
Ben Farver, owner of Argonaut comments, “The PF30 is convenient to build a frame around allowing customers to use any crank on the market. The issue, however, is with a press fit system, you have to hold a super tight tolerance in both the frame and bottom bracket. Often these tolerances work against each other.
All in all, a PressFit system is the wrong style of engagement in a bottom bracket. Threads are really the way to go, but a larger bearing is still ideal. The traditional threaded BSA is great from a durability standpoint, but it limits a customer’s crank options. As a frame manufacturer I don’t want to have to talk someone into buying one of my bikes while at the same time talking them out of a crank they might want to use. My production manager and I were talking about all the challenges of PF30 one day, and thought, why don’t we just make a new standard that solves both problems? I called Jay Sycip, who runs the Cielo arm of Chris King, and we discussed the true consumer benefit of creating a threaded spec that leverages the larger bearing used in the PF30. We agreed that it would yield a much higher interface success rate, and more importantly, a better ride. So, this project is an attempt to solve a problem the entire bike industry is suffering from, and lead the way to a better, lasting standard.”
Chris King Thread Fit 30i Features:
Engineered, manufactured and assembled in Portland, Oregon USA
Legendary made-in-house bearings
Easily serviceable with our integrated grease injection tool.
Unnecessary? Maybe. But as someone who is always trying to perfect the modern road bike, Ben truly believes this is the way to go. I’m sure everyone will feel the need to moan about “yet another standard” but the essence of design is improvement, not compromise.