First-look review: C-Bear bottom brackets

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In an era where so many carbon frames suffer from creaking bottom bracket bearings, C-Bear uses precise CNC-machining to create aluminium bottom brackets that do not rely on adhesives or other bonding compounds for a sure fit in the frame. In addition, every bottom bracket is engineered to suit a specific crank and bearing combination, so there is there is no need for extra spacers or adapters.

At present, C-Bear offers a bottom bracket to suit more than 70 different crank and bearing combinations. Every C-Bear bottom bracket is fitted with ceramic bearings with a choice of race-specific bearings (that offer the lowest friction) or cyclocross/MTB-specific bearings (with extra protection against water and dirt).

Independent testing by Friction Facts found that C-Bear’s race bearings were among the most efficient on the market, ranking third in their recent survey of 35 products. Furthermore, C-Bear has been supplying the Lotto Soudal professional team since 2009 and is proud that its bottom brackets have consistently withstood the sprint efforts of Andre Greipel.

C-Bear offers a two-year warranty on every bottom bracket. Buyers can find C-Bear at the local bike shop, or for those countries outside of C-Bear’s current distribution network (such as Australia), they can purchase from C-Bear directly. For more information, visit C-Bear.

RRP: €98-119 (AU$143-173), free delivery for all CT readers until mid-October 2015.

Our take:

The industry is awash with bottom bracket standards and there are numerous crank and/or axle designs. Trying to marry any given two can be challenging but C-Bear appears to have a product to suit most of the possible permutations.

Indeed, C-Bear’s founder, Bart Schouten, is always looking to solve seemingly incompatible crank and bearing combinations, which is why he was the first to offer a bottom bracket to suit Campagnolo Ultra Torque cranks and Specialized’s OSBB, and more recently, bottom brackets to suit Cannondale’s new BB30A standard.

That C-Bear’s bottom brackets are found on bikes in the professional peloton argues for the quality of the product; that they can contend with Griepel’s power is further endorsement. In my hands, the bearings had a light and easy action, while the aluminium cups inspired confidence in a firm seat for the bearings.

Installation was straightforward (just like seating headset cups) and the result was very pleasing: the cranks were spinning with barely any resistance and more importantly, no noise at all. Overall, the range of options, the quality of the bearings, and reasonable pricing (for ceramic bearings, at least) make for a compelling product.

 

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