Ask a Mechanic | Bar Tape Tips & PF30/Shimano Bottom Bracket Adapter Options

Welcome to our Ask a Mechanic column where our expert mechanic Daniel Slusser answers your bike maintenance questions. If you have a question for Daniel, please post it on our Facebook Wall or e-mail Daniel directly at Today’s column offers some tips on taping road handlebars in response to the video below on the Art’s Cyclery YouTube Channel. The second question covers different options to consider when choosing an adaptor for a PF30 (pressfit30) bottom bracket used with a Shimano crankset.

Question: My bar ends were so stubborn when I got them in, some of the tape is still sticking out! I dont know what to do! From: Unknownjoker650 on YouTube

Cork Handlebar Plugs

Cork handlebar plugs are classy and work great.

Answer: The fit between each handlebar/tape/plug is different. It is a good idea to test fit the plug into the bar before you start taping to give you a better idea on how much tape you need overhanging on the edge of the bar. The best thing to do in your case is to take the plug out and either trim some of the excess tape off before you put the plug back in, or find some smaller plugs. Tapered bottle corks are great for a retro look and they fit almost anything.

Question: I bought a used Niner Air 9 alloy frame, not realizing it had an entirely new bottom bracket shell size, from the standard size I’ve known for decades. Now I need to buy a new PF30 bottom bracket adaptor for my XT crank set, and I don’t know what to get for the bottom bracket, because there are a lot of them on the market. I’m pretty sure my local bike shop guys know even less than I do about it, or maybe I should say my experiences with bike shop mechanics in almost 30 years of having to use them has been 80% not that great.

What can you suggest for a good PF30 bottom bracket that isn’t going to fail and cost me another $100 ($70 plus labor) in a few months, like some of the forums say? Its not realistic to think any of us are going to be able to avoid riding through water or getting moisture on the bottom bracket shell either. Also, the bottom bracket shell on the Air 9 alloy frame has openings inside the bb shell, so those can be a path for moisture too. Thank you for any insight you can offer. From: Barb

Wheels Manufacturing Angular Contact Bottom Bracket

Wheels Manufacturing’s angular contact bottom bracket is a beautiful piece of American engineering that is durable and efficient.

Answer: For your PF30 bottom bracket and XT crank combo you have three different routes you can go. You can get a standard Sram PF30 bottom bracket and use Enduro BB30/PF30 adaptors to step it down to 24mm (for your Shimano XT crank).

The second option is to use a standard English (bsa) Shimano bottom bracket, that you likely already have, with Sram’s PF30 adaptor that your Shimano bottom bracket can thread into.

The third premium option is to go with Wheels Manufacturing’s new angular contact PF30 bottom bracket. It is beautiful, sealed well, and it’s angular contact bearings will last longer than traditional radial bearings. Because Enduro makes the bearings used in Wheels Manufacturing’s bottom brackets Enduro’s 24mm spindle BB30/PF30 adaptor will fit perfectly. If you really want to go all out on a bottom bracket that will be supremely efficient, you can go with Wheels Manufacturing’s ceramic bearing PF30 bottom bracket.

If budget is your biggest concern I would go with option #2, assuming you already have a Shimano English bottom bracket. If you already had a standard PF30 bottom bracket on hand, then option #1 would be nearly as affordable as option #2.

Daniel Slusser is a professional bicycle mechanic with over ten years of experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from HSU and a master’s degree in history from Cal Poly. When he is not riding, wrenching, or writing he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.