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Smooth-running bearings and a creak-free fit are all you can ask from a BB, and that is what I'm getting from the Easton PF86 30mm Bottom Bracket. It looks to be well sealed, so longevity should help justify the price.
The Easton PF86 bottom bracket has been designed to work with its new EC90 SL cranks and 30mm spindle, which you can read my review of separately here. Don't worry if your bike isn't PF86 as all the other options are catered for too.
Easton says that it has developed a seal that achieves a low level of drag while still keeping the elements out, and even though the test period has been pretty dry I have been out in the rain as much as possible to check for water ingress and creaking of the cups in the frame.
So far, nothing to report after about 400 miles, but I'll see if I can run the setup long term and update the review if I have any issues.
Fitting was a pretty simple affair thanks to some detailed technical drawings from Easton. The only real issue for me was the fact that the inner sleeve is quite a large diameter and clashed with the internal guides inside my frame. Thankfully, if uncovered the spindle wouldn't get anywhere near the cables, so that was how I fitted it. It won't affect all frames but it is worth bearing in mind.
The only thing to question really is the price. Compare the Easton BB's £59.99 with the likes of Shimano's press-fit units coming in at around 20 quid, and you have to wonder why; after all, they are pretty reliable from personal experience. The Praxis M30 BB will set you back around £35 for a BB86 setup, although something similar from Hope is above £100.
As it stands I can't see any real issues with the Easton PF86 and I'm not really expecting that to change. I've had press-fit bottom brackets creak after one ride in the rain on some test bikes, and the fact that the Easton is still running quietly in my B'Twin Ultra CF frame gives me every confidence it'll stay that way.
Smooth-running bearings and keeps the water out – what more could you want?
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Easton PF86 30mm Bottom Bracket
Size tested: 86.5mm
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?
Easton says, "Easton Bottom Brackets have been developed for use in combination with our new Easton EC90 SL crankset. Bottom Brackets are an essential part of the bicycle that is often overlooked and forgotten, but we saw the BB as another opportunity for performance gains and improved efficiency. Typically with any bearing there is a tradeoff between protecting the bearing internals for longevity and bearing seal drag which impact efficiency.
"For our new BB we have developed a seal that achieves a very low level of seal drag while still retaining excellent protection qualities. Our in-house testing procedure included developing a 24 hour continuous water invasion test, essentially pouring water into the side of the spinning bearings for an entire day continuously. And our new seal proved to have excellent contaminant exclusion. Combining those results with extensive real-world testing, we are confident of the seal's performance and overall BB durability while being impressed by the overall efficiency. We then used a new thinner and low viscosity bearing grease and modified the percentage of grease fill to again find the perfect balance between durability and minimized running friction. We found that a thinner grease, with the correct fill level, was more durable than a thicker grease when spinning at high speed. A thicker lubricant under the centrifugal force would be thrown to the outer bearing race where it would stick and not return to the inner race under lower speeds, leaving it susceptible to increased operating temperatures and higher wear. If you're running the best crankset on the market, you should have the performance BB to match."
It is a top quality bottom bracket that befits the crankset it is designed to work with.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Type - BB86.
Compatibility - 41mm Press fit, 30mm Spindle.
Weight - 66g.
Size - 86.5mm.
The price is a little high but in the right ball park. It's cheaper than a Hope equivalent.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Runs smoothly and keeps the elements out.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The inner sleeve could have a smaller diameter.
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
The Easton bottom bracket has worked well at avoiding the issues found with press-fit bottom brackets. There has been no creaking or water ingress to date.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!