Bottom Bracket Questions Posted on 15 Jan 19:44 , 0 comments


We sell an extensive range of bottom brackets so not surprisingly we get lots of questions. It is only a little bit technical, but can be confusing. So let's try and keep it simple.


First identify your bottom bracket type:

  • Standard BSA (English) threaded: 1.375" diameter 24 threads per inch. 68mm shell width (mountain bikes have a 73mm shell)
  • Older Raleigh1.375" diameter  26 threads per inch. 71mm shell width. 
  • French: 25.4 threads per inch x 35mm. 68mm shell width Right hand thread BOTH sides. Sometime in the early 80's French manufacturers gradually changed over to English threading
  • Swiss same as French but with a Left Hand Thread on the drive side. Usually found on French bikes.
  • Italian. 36mm diameter 24 threads per inch, 68mm shell width  Right Hand thread BOTH sides 

There are other rarer types that we can't help you with anyway.


  • Rule number 1  - ASSUME NOTHING! whatever the make or age of your bike.
  • Measure the shell width. It should be 68mm. If it is 71mm or 76mm it is likely an older Raleigh with 26 TPI
  • If it is a Raleigh and originally came with a cottered chainset it is Raleigh 26 TPI. 

Raleigh 26 TPI bottom brackets usually look like this

  • If the adjustable cup and lockring are on the Left Hand Side, it is English or Swiss threaded, unless someone has assembled it incorrectly in the past (very likely)
  • If the adjustable cup and lockring are on Right Hand Side, it is French or Italian.
  • If it has adjustable cups and lockrings both sides it is probably French threaded
  • If the fixed cup has a concentric circle engraved round the axle (see photo below) it is French threaded. Not all French threaded cups have this circle. They should but they don't always.


  1. Remove the adjustable cup and lock ring. It shouldn't be tight. These are always right hand threaded so undo anticlockwise.
  2. Remove the axle and bearings.
  3. Remove the fixed cup. It may be tight. If you are sure it is English or Swiss threaded then it undoes  CLOCKWISE . If it is VERY tight and you have any suspicion that it might be  French or Italian threaded, try turning it anti-clockwise (it is worth a try!)



The length depends more on the chainset you choose, than your frame. If it is a new chainset, the manufacturer/supplier can advise. If it is an old one the there is a database here

If you are just replacing the BB then this article by Velo Orange is worth a read too.


    • Make sure the threads inside the bottom bracket shell are clean and free from grit, flakes of paints etc. You should be able to screw in the cups by hand.
    • Fit the fixed cup side first  (RHS on English & Swiss - LHS on French & Italian) but don't screw all the way in and then the adjustable cup. Then tighten both sides up firmly.


  • Over the years many and various tools have been used for bottom brackets. You will just have to find the correct one to remove your old BB
  • To fit your new one, you need a "standard" (splined) tool to fit all of the VO bottom brackets
  • For the Threadless bottom brackets you will need an external bottom bracket cup tool  like this one

Any questions just contact us and we will try to help.