Crank Brothers Cobalt BB review£55.00

Crank Brothers' steel and alloy Cobalt crankset looks gorgeous, but its ISIS bottom bracket looked a decidedlydodgy feature of the design. However, that was before we spent months riding it.

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Crank Brothers' steel and alloy Cobalt crankset looks gorgeous, but its ISIS bottom bracket looked a decidedly dodgy feature of the design. However, that was before we spent months riding it.

ISIS splined bottom brackets had a lousy reputation for longevity because there wasn't room for big enough bearings or good enough seals between the large hollow axles and the frame shell. Crank Brothers' overkill approach uses double-row bearings on the drive side and big push-fit Viton external seals that cover the complete bearing face and, so far, it seems to be working.

The bottom bracket completed the dirty end of autumn and a full winter in the bowels of our deliberately uncleaned 'Fossil Fuel' test rig and continued to work without problems. No creaking, no wobbling and no nasty noises despite running much longer than most ISIS bottom brackets we've used before. If the 158g titanium-axled Cobalt bottom bracket is too expensive, the steel version (with a claimed 220g weight) is £49.99.

 

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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