important: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.

How to Replace a Cartridge Bottom Bracket

Demonstrates how to remove and install a sealed cartridge bottom bracket.

Video updates

  • 01:30 - The torque specification are actually 25-30 ft-lbs, or 300-360 in-lbs. Check with the manufacturer for exact products specs.

This tutorial will demonstrate how to remove and install a sealed cartridge bottom bracket, found on most modern bicycles. You’ll need to remove both cranks first, so be sure to refer to last week’s crank removal and installation tutorial before you begin.

Required Tools

For this job you’ll need a splined bottom bracket tool and a 32mm headset wrench, or a large adjustable wrench.

Components

A cartridge bottom bracket usually has two main components. The cartridge contains the sealed bearings and spindle, and is usually threaded into the right (or drive side) of your frame. The lockring supports the opposite end of the cartridge and is usually threaded into the left (or non-drive side) of your frame.

Bottom Bracket Removal

Remove the drive side first, using the lockring tool and wrench. On most bikes, the drive side has a left-hand thread, so you’ll need to turn your wrench clockwise to loosen. Once the drive side is removed, the non-drive side should easily loosen and unthread by turning counter-clockwise.

Before installing the new bottom bracket, carefully clean the threads on the inside of your frame, and then apply a thin layer of waterproof grease to the threads on both sides of the frame.

You’ll notice that most bottom brackets have an ‘L’ and ‘R’ written on them to assist in installation.

Bottom Bracket Installation

To install, first thread the new lockring part way into the left side of the frame by turning it clockwise. Don’t tighten the left-side yet.

Thread the cartridge all the way into the right side of the frame by turning it counter-clockwise. Tighten it with about 25-30 foot-pounds of pressure (300-360 inch-pounds) using a torque wrench. Torque specifications vary, so it’s a good idea to check the manufacturer’s website for their exact product specifications.

Now you can finish tightening the left side clockwise until it is nice and snug.

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