Outboard bearing bottom brackets are perilously close to ubiquitous on mountain bikes these days, but still debate rumbles on about the relative longevity of different offerings. A slew of high-end BBs have been coming on to the market from the likes of Chris King, Hope and Pace, and now legendary maker of shiny things Phil Wood is getting in on the act.
Continuing a Phil Wood tradition of straightforwardly abbreviated product names, the outboard bearing BB is called the OBB. It follows on with constructional tradition too – stainless steel, lots of polishing, replaceable custom bearings packed with Phil Wood Waterproof grease. We’re told that the bearing seals are also used on submersible water pumps, while the centre sleeve has O-ring seals to prevent water getting in via the seat tube. Unlike some aftermarket BBs, the Phil Wood unit uses plastic sleeves between the crank spindle and bearings to avoid metal-on-metal contact and the possibility of damaging the spindle should the bearings begin to drag.
Sounds good, and looks good too – it’d almost be a shame to hide it away in a frame. You’d expect this to be a pretty spendy item, but the £85 asking price isn’t completely terrifying. Phil Wood products are available from Sideways Cycles – 01270 883785, www.sidewayscycles.co.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org.