Quick response to Lennard Zinn regarding Campagnolo Ultra Torque

Dear Lennard,

I appreciate you mentioning my approach to the Campagnolo Ultra Torque issue in your most recent column in Velonews, even though you don't think that it's a good option for Franck.  I agree that the external shim kits that he mentioned is not a good option, specifically because it will not work with his press fit bottom bracket.  In light of this fact, there is no way for Franck to damage his nice ceramic bearings performing the "Rogue Mechanic" tip using one of my shim kits designed for threaded bottom brackets.  Additionally, since Campagnolo uses angular contact bearings in their Ultra Torque system, a small amount of side load will not hurt the bearings.  I will agree with you that the noise is probably not coming from the Hirth joint, especially if the connecting bolt was tightened to the recommended torque recommended by Campagnolo.

Your point about pushing laterally from the non-drive side of the crankset does not reflect the same type of side load when pedaling is off-base.  I would argue that the combination of rider weight and leg strength is more than enough to compress the wave washer.  I would also argue that rarely does a rider apply force to the pedals in a singluar plane (perpendicular to the axle).  Regarding your statement about chainring movement, if the amount of lateral chainring movement that is present in some Ultra Torque systems was the norm, it would be a non-issue.

I too was surprised that the Praxis bottom bracket didn't improve the situation.  It makes me wonder if it was installed properly.   I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the bottom bracket shell is out of spec...I've see that situation more than I can remember!  You mentioned to Franck that "facing" the bottom bracket shell might improve things... If you are aware of an accurate way to face a press-fit bottom bracket shell (that can be done in a shop), please let me know.

You mentioned In your closing paragraph that regular bearing service helps as well as packing the cups with grease (this will quiet things down for a while).  I agree that this should/can be done, but it doesn't address the cause of the problem/noise which is movement (when the wave washer is compressed and then springs back).  Beyond that, I would hesitate using epoxy to hold the cups in place until I have exhausted all other options for fear of damaging the bottom bracket shell if the cups would need to be removed sometime in the future. 

In closing, I like Campy as much as the next guy, but I guess that I haven't developed a taste for the blue Kool-Aid.  Years ago when one of my clients was experiencing a knocking noise that appeared to be coming from his recently installed Campagnolo Record Ultra Torque bottom bracket, analyzing the situation and coming up with a practical solution is what I am paid to do.  In the years since, the problem hasn't been addressed by anyone from Vicenza other than "that they designed the axial movement into the system."  I guess that I will continue to produce the shim kits for both threaded and press-fit bottom brackets until folks no longer have issues. 

All the best,

RM