Enduro have brought out a new angular-contact bottom bracket cup set, the XD-15, with bearings that are said to be 3.5 times more rust resistant than standard stainless steel ones and five times as durable. In fact, they have so much faith in them that they're offering a one-year warranty.
The US$200 XD-15 pairs grade 3 ceramic balls with nitrogen-infused steel races. The bearing is adapted from the aerospace industry, where it was spec’d for use in the wings of Airbus aircraft. It was originally built to deal with the rigors of de-icing, so it should stand up fine to power washing.
As part of its work specification, it's required to run for up to a year without grease and without any breakdown in performance. “We obviously sell it greased,” Cory Caldwell, who works in Enduro’s bicycle division, told BikeRadar. “But that’s what gives us the confidence to offer a one-year warranty with the bottom brackets.”
The nitrogen-infused angular contact steel races are the key to the bearing’s durability
That one-year warranty applies to both standard and BB30 style bearings. This should appeal to cyclo-crossers, as an inexpensive BB30 bearing can be destroyed in a single mud race. According to Caldwell, the angular (cup-and-cone style races) nature of the bearing provides additional benefits, including better preload adjustment, and makes for an all-round smoother running bearing.
Enduro have been testing prototype XD-15 bottom brackets for three years, with help from teams including California Giant Strawberry (’cross and road) and BMC (road), but 2012 marks the first year they'll sell it. RRP is US$200 for either drop-in/Press-Fit or standard cup style units.
Rapha-Focus took delivery of the XD-15 at this weekend's USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships. Here, team mechanic Tom Hopper takes us through his first XD-15 bearing install