The Token Ninja BB86/BB89.5/BB92 Bottom Bracket offers premium bearings at an attractive price while avoiding the annoying press-fit installation method. There was a bit of creaking until it bedded in, but it's been smooth running ever since.
The bottom bracket is part of Token's Ninja range and fits into frames made for press-fit BB86, BB89.5 and BB92 bottom brackets with a 41mm diameter, and is fit for Shimano 24mm diameter axles.
Installation was super simple but it helps if you have the Token tool (BB841T-5RSP / BB841T-5SPA), or the Park Tool BBT-69.2 bottom bracket tool is handy.
The cups are threaded against each other, which apparently leads to less axial force.
The construction of this bottom bracket is exceptional, especially considering its relatively low price. The aluminium outer cups look neat and sturdy in the anodised red, and prevent the teeth from being chewed up when installing the bottom bracket. A plastic and fibre composite coats the aluminium shell to allow for a precise finish so that the bottom bracket fits snuggly within the frame.
Both left and right sides of the alloy shell have been extended so that when the bottom bracket is tightened, it compresses evenly around the bottom bracket shell for 'unparalleled stiffness'. This super-snug 'locking' of the bottom bracket gets rid of the creakiness you can get from a press-fit bottom bracket.
Token uses its own X-Seal technology to protect the bearings from the dirt and grit we often get on British roads, and I have ridden in some pretty horrid conditions and not noticed any deterioration in performance.
This specific model uses TBT bearings, which are made with ceramic balls and hard races, which provide low rolling resistance for durability and performance.
I heard some creaking in the first 500km, but since then it seems to have bedded in and there hasn't been a single noise since. It's on my training bike which gets the most use and also in the harshest conditions, and currently I estimate it's covered well over 2,500km.
It's not the cheapest bottom bracket you can buy – Shimano makes a BB86 press-fit unit for £32.99, so quite a saving over the Token Ninja. However, I'm really impressed with the quality of the Token, and the bearings feel really smooth – I'd be happy spending the extra £10, especially as you also have the ease of installation.
You can spend more, too: the Easton PF86 30mm tested a while ago here on road.cc got an 8/10 rating from Stu and it is looking fairly light at 66g. However, it is £10 more at £59.99, and is installed using the classic press-fit method.
Or you can spend a lot more – premium ceramic bottom brackets can cost at least twice the price of the Token. CeramicSpeed's top of the line BB86 BB is £275 (currently £224 from Sigma Sports), and though C-Bear's BB86 bottom bracket for 24mm axles is nearly half the price of the CeramicSpeed, it's still more than double that of the Token at £119.99.
If you're looking for a smooth-running bottom bracket but don't want to fork out premium prices on something from the likes of Ceramic Speed or C-Bear, Token's Ninja range is well worth considering. It caters for a huge range of BB options for all shell sizes, and not having to install a press-fit unit makes home mechanics that bit easier.
Well priced with some quality bearings that are surviving harsh British conditions without any compromise on performance
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Make and model: Token Ninja BB86/BB89.5/BB92 Bottom Bracket
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Ninja range from Token is designed for the serious cyclist looking for those extra watt savings compared to a standard bottom bracket.
Token says: "TOKEN's NINJA bottom bracket solves the creaking issues, improves bearing life and adds stiffness to the bottom bracket.
"They start with Fusion technology; it is a combination of plastic and fibre that cover an alloy bottom bracket shell. The composite material allows it to be precisely machined and fit snugly in the frame so it doesn't move in the frame and sound like grandma's clicking and creaking arthritic knees. But plastic and fibre don't do a good job of supporting bearings; poorly supported bearings can wear prematurely.
"Token house the bearings in an alloy shell and wrap it with plastic and fibre. This fusion of the three materials provides the bearings a solid platform to sit on and extends their lives. A lot of people would be satisfied with this, but Token went even further by extending the alloy shell so the right and left sides lock together. This locks the frame, cranks and bottom bracket together and provides unparalleled stiffness.
"The NINJA bottom bracket is can be purchased individually or in a package that includes adapters to fit several different frame and crankset combinations.
"The NINJA bottom bracket doesn't just solve the problem of noisy bottom brackets - it actually improves the life of the bottom bracket and makes your bike stiffer. There aren't many times a replacement part actually improves your bike but put one on your bike and you'll wonder why you didn't install a NINJA sooner."
Combining press-fit with standard threaded, where the cups screw into each other, is so much easier than standard press-fit, which can be a right pain to install. It is definitely one of the smoothest bottom brackets I've ever had on my bike.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Token uses this 'double thread' pattern, which supposedly leads to less axial force, and TBT bearings which house very hard races and ceramic balls for durability and smoothness. Token has fused the nylon cup to the aluminium externals to eliminate the creaking often experienced with press-fit. Its own X-Seal technology is used as a barrier to keep grit and dirt away from the bearings.
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Metal outers on the cups give a real solid structure and combined with the nylon internals make it a lot stronger than standard press-fit bottom brackets.
Rate the product for performance:
Super-smooth running and spins forever.
Rate the product for durability:
Had a tiny bit of creaking in the first 500km, but now absolutely nothing. Done more than 2,000km so far.
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
The Easton we tested was 66g, but this is still pretty light.
Rate the product for value:
It is well priced in the bottom bracket market, with smoother bearings than most standard bottom brackets.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Other than the occasional creak in the first 500km, the bottom bracket has been perfect.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ease of installation and how smooth the bearings still are.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Just the odd creak at the start.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It is at the cheaper end of the market, more than Shimano's BB86 press-fit unit but nowhere near the price of Ceramic Speed and C-Bear bottom brackets.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Apart from the creaking early on, it's excellent. In terms of price, durability and performance, it's hard to fault.
Age: 21 Height: 185cm Weight: 69kg
I usually ride: Dolan Rebus My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, Always love some off-road with some mates.
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Top marks Granny. Great work
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