Well I couldn’t wait. I had the parts on order but in the throws of obsession it’s hard to hang on for things to arrive in the post so I popped into Henry Burton’s on the way home (Henry Burton’s is an old-school bike shop in town) and blew a bit more hard-earned money on some 1/4″ bearings and a tool to take the fixed cup off. The guy in the shop warned it might be pretty tough getting it off since they’re usually screwed on extremely hard, but my experience with the adjustable side was bourne out and it came off ludicrously easily.
I saw a YouTube video last night where a guy showed that instead of replacing the nine-bearing race it’s possible to fill the cup with eleven loose bearings, and this has the advantage of increasing the bearing surface. In light of what I found in the bracket it also means I won’t have to worry about bits of bearing race running round since there’s now nothing to break off. I made sure to use plenty of grease and got the fixed cup nice and tight, and the whole thing went together nice and easy, just with lots of ums and ahs about how tight was tight enough.
An interesting problem that cropped up was that one I had the axle nice and tight I found the position of the rear wheel left the chain really super-tight, so I had to just release the tension on the rear axle bolts to take a bit of this off.
Anyway, it’s all back together now with Teflon grease inside the bracket and copper anti-seize grease on the threads of the cups and pedals. I went for a brief ride to check it all worked and it was like night and day. Nice smooth running and no rubbing against the chain guard this time. I’ve never tended to a bottom bracket before and was amazed at just how much it transforms the feel of the drivetrain. It’s so much more positive, at least compared to riding round with bits of bearing race floating about…
Sad to report, I am running out of things to fix on this bicycle. What do I do then?