I know what you’re thinking: A stock, basic SRAM DUB bottom bracket? For an Editors’ Choice item? You can’t be serious.
Sure, I could write about Chris King bottom brackets, the company’s devotion to precision and environmental responsibility, and how the bearings they produce are practically indestructible. I mean, I keep choosing them for my dream builds, so why not write about the King BB?
Too obvious. We all know King makes good stuff.
I could’ve chosen a bottom bracket from Enduro or Wheels Manufacturing or Hope or Ceramic Speed or some other brand that claims to make something better than the stock options.
Part of why there are so many companies making high-end BBs is because the stock ones don’t have a very good reputation for durability or serviceability. The whole press-fit fiasco created a frenzy of brands trying to develop solutions for the creaky, disposable junk that came in the bikes we were buying. Lots of companies came up with a ton of great designs.
And so did SRAM. Of course they knew that shoving a 30-millimeter crank spindle through a 41mm BB92 shell wouldn’t leave enough room for a bottom bracket that would actually work. They didn’t design the BB92 standard—that was a Shimano thing—which was fine with their little 24mm spindle. SRAM also had a small steel spindle option at the time called GXP, but people wanted to buy the 30mm cranks because they were lighter (fuckin’ weight weenies). So they made a bottom bracket. But they knew it wasn’t very good.
SRAM’s test engineers also knew that the sealing on their threaded, outboard-style bottom brackets wasn’t great. Water ingress caused severely premature bearing wear in wet climates. They needed something better.
So they did a ton of development and came out with DUB, which stands for Durable Unified Bottom Bracket. They went from offering two spindle styles to one, ditching both the 30mm aluminum option and the 24/22mm steel option for a 28.99mm aluminum spindle. But it wasn’t so much about the spindle. It was about the first letter in DUB: durability. And that was a bottom bracket issue.
Do you think SRAM wanted to make a 28.99mm spindle? No, but that’s what they had to do in order to make robust bottom brackets within the constraints of existing shell sizes used by frame manufacturers. And it worked. DUB bottom brackets are really good, especially the threaded, outboard-style one.
SRAM re-engineered the sealing system in order to fix the water ingress problem that had plagued earlier designs, and by reducing the size of the spindle, were able to make a reliable solution for the BB92 standard as well.
The DUB bottom bracket doesn’t get much attention because stock bottom brackets were crap for so long that we sort of learned to write them off. But this thing deserves a call-out. It’s about the least sexy version of the least sexy part on a bike, but it’s very well executed. And it’s been around long enough that we now have evidence of them holding up to serious abuse in less-than-ideal conditions.
It’s not a Chris King, but it’s also six times less expensive. And for how well it works, it makes the King or any other high-end bottom bracket much more of a novel choice than a must-buy. It’s no UN-72, but it might be my favorite stock BB since. And that’s why it deserves to be Editors’ Choice.