How can I tell if my bottom bracket needs servicing?
Just like your chain and cables, bearings need to be regularly serviced and work MUCH better when properly lubricated.
Inspect your bearings at least every few months (always after extreme wet muddy rides) and service your bearings at least once a year.
Easiest way to inspect a bearing is by removing the chain from the crank and spinning it using your fingers. The bearing will fall somewhere between these three conditions:
- Clean - feels like it’s spinning effortlessly in fresh grease
- Dirty - feels like it’s spinning with some grit in the grease
- Dry - feels like it’s spinning effortlessly, but it’s making more noise than usual
With this simple test, you can get a good sense of your bearings being contaminated, damaged or good for another ride.
If they feel gritty, you'll want to service them. Here is a link to the best practice in pulley service. And at a minimum, they’ll need to be serviced a year from their install date or last service.