HAWK RACING BOTTOM BRACKETS
By Jim Weaver
Service Manager, Fit Werx, Vermont
Sometimes the best products show up out of the blue and from previously unknown sources – all it takes is someone to realize that something can be done better. Sven Folmer of Hawk Racing did just that when he realized that many of the stock bottom brackets from Shimano, SRAM and FSA left a fair amount to be desired. He also realized that ceramic bearings are not always better and he went to work on designing a better bottom bracket with the following goals:
- Improve performance. Stock bottom brackets from the “big three” are “watt suckers”.
- Don’t compromise durability or increase service/maintenance intervals.
- Keep the price reasonable.
Sven succeeded on all three counts. We began using the Hawk Racing bottom brackets in 2009, as an alternative to the stock bottom brackets from Shimano or SRAM. Hawk Racing bottom brackets are available for external BC1.37 X 24 compatible bottom brackets as well as BB30 and other press fit applications. They are available in versions that work with Shimano cranks, some FSA cranks (non “Light”), SRAM cranks, and many others, but not Campagnolo or Zipp. Hawk Racing bottom brackets use high grade Japanese made steel bearings and races and they work much better than stock bottom brackets while meeting or exceeding the performance of ceramic units that cost over double. They do all this and have proven to require little to no maintenance as well.
Hawk Racing bottom brackets offer far less mechanical resistance/friction than standard steel bearing equipped bottom brackets and are a significant improvement on any Shimano bottom bracket, including Dura Ace. The lack of friction rivals high quality ceramic bearing bottom brackets, at a significantly lower cost. They are maintenance free, so you do not need to periodically lubricate the bearings as with many ceramic BB’s. Installation is the same as standard bottom brackets from Shimano or SRAM, using the same installation tool, and weight is compatible with other standard bottom brackets. Some may think that the free spinning is achieved by reducing or eliminating weather seals. According to Hawk Racing, this is not the case and our experience supports this; we have yet to see any problems and have installed close to 100 units. We have seen no reason to question the durability of these bearings and they are arguably the best balance of performance and low maintenance available.
Hawk Racing says that it takes 80% less energy to spin these bearings than other bottom brackets. While we have not verified this figure, if you compare the Hawk Racing BB with a Shimano Dura Ace, one might think that this is a conservative number. These bottom brackets spin easier than just about anything on the market, high quality ceramic BB’s included. Since there is significantly less bearing drag to overcome, more of your power will be transmitted to the rear wheel and more watts going to the wheel is always a winning situation for the rider.
The Hawk Racing bottom bracket is a quick, relatively inexpensive and easy upgrade to your bicycle, and one that we routinely recommend to clients when servicing their bicycles or as a great upgrade when they are getting a new bike. Once you see the difference in how your crank spins with these bottom brackets and knowing that it does not require any continuing maintenance, the Hawk Racing bottom bracket is a no-brainer, particularly at this price. The Hawk Racing bottom bracket sells for $110-$130 (depending on model), and comes with a 2 year warranty.