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Technical FAQ: Are Shimano external bottom brackets interchangable?

  • By Lennard Zinn
  • Published Aug. 25, 2009
  • Updated Jan. 15, 2010 at 8:08 AM EDT

Dear Lennard,
I just bought my first new bike in about ten years, and naturally it has a crankset with external bearings, Shimano SLX in this case. Are these Shimano bearing sets interchangeable across component groups? That is, will LX/Ultegra/XTR/Dura-Ace/SLX all work interchangeably? I ask because I would like to have a spare set up bearings and the place I typically buy this stuff only has Ultegra bottom brackets in stock. I’m guessing they would work fine, although they also carry a Chris King bottom bracket set with adjustable and replaceable bearings that is really tempting.
-Steve

Dear Steve,
Yes, Ultegra or any other Shimano Hollowtech II external bearing set will work fine.
Lennard

Editor’s Note: This post has since been UPDATED and CORRECTED.

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Lennard Zinn

Lennard Zinn

Our longtime technical writer joined VeloNews in 1987. He is also a framebuilder, a former U.S. National Team rider, and author of many bicycle books, including Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance and Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, as well as Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes and Zinn's Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Colorado College. Readers can send brief technical questions to Ask LZ.

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