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The Cane Creek Hellbender 70 bottom bracket might look like a big outlay, but with a complete lack of noises or any notchy feelings being evident, it could pay for itself over the course of a winter or two. It's simple to fit, and basically you can forget about it.
Cane Creek describes the Hellbender 70 as a premium bottom bracket designed for riders who value reliability and longevity but don't require the extreme dirt and mud resistance of the Hellbender Neo.
The Hellbender Neo uses an oil-filled solid polymer matrix that fills any free space inside the bearing, which means the elements can't penetrate as there is nowhere for it to go.
That's probably a bit extreme for general road use, so Cane Creek has created the 70, with bearings made from 440C stainless steel, a dual lip seal, and marine grease for lubrication. Over the last three winter months it's proved to be untouched by wet weather, road spray, grit, salt and mud.
Here on test we've got the threaded BSA option for a 24mm axle. Fitting the Hellbender 70 is easy, as long as you have the required tool. You'll need a 46mm/12 notch tool used for the likes of SRAM's DUB system and a few others. You can pick them up on the likes of wiggle for about £15, so it's not too much of an investment.
In the box you get the two bearing cups, a central sleeve and dust caps for the bearings. You'll also find a 2.5mm spacer, but you only need to use that if your bike is fitted with Cane Creek's eeWings cranks.
All you need to do is grease up the threads, screw them into the frame, and keep tightening until you hit 40Nm.
I started testing the 70 back in December and since then I've been using it on my gravel bike to try to speed up the wear and tear and give it an all-round harder time than it would on my road bike.
Conditions have changed a lot, from dry and dusty trails at the beginning, through to early morning frosts that saw the roads coated in liquid salt, and then into storm season with all of the rain they brought.
My local gravel tracks have been pretty wet, with loads of wet mud, chalk and very fine grit being fired up from the front wheel. I haven't been taking it easy through the puddles either.
Getting back from each ride, I've been giving the bike a quick wash and a hose down. I normally avoid any areas with bearings, but the 70 was fair game for a bit of jet washing.
After all of this abuse, the Hellbender is still running very smoothly, as sweetly as it did when I fitted it, and is completely noise free.
Removing the dust covers, there are no signs of corrosion anywhere on the bearings, and I really don't see longevity being an issue. Three months is quite a short test for a bottom bracket, so I'll be keeping the Hellbender on the bike to see how it copes as we transfer into spring and summer.
With the Hellbender 70 costing £129.99 you are going to want it to last a long time, and I think it will. The anodised black finish that is coating the machined 6061-T6 aluminium alloy bearing cups is hardwearing and hasn't marked.
It's £25 more than Hope's equivalent bottom bracket – £105 and available in six colours – but while Chris King's offering comes with a five-year warranty compared with the Hellbender's one, it will set you back £200.
To put things into perspective, a Shimano Ultegra BBR60 unit has a retail price of around £35.
Overall, I've been very impressed with this unit. It's only been a short test so far, but it is standing up to the elements. It's a bit of an outlay, but if it outlasts cheaper units by a considerable margin then it will pay for itself over time.
Simple to fit and long-lasting bottom bracket that looks to shun the elements
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Cane Creek Hellbender 70 BSA 24mm Bottom Bracket
Size tested: 24mm
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?
Cane Creek says, "Providing excellent durability and corrosion resistance, the Hellbender 70 Bottom Bracket will be an impactful and lasting upgrade to any bike."
It looks to be doing a great job of resisting the worst weather conditions.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Cane Creek lists:
Machined Aluminum Cups
440C Stainless Steel
30mm – PF41/92 is 30mm spindle diameter only
External Cup Installation Tool
12 notch 46mm tool
Bottom Bracket Variations and Weights
BSA Threaded (30mm bearing) – 92g
PF30 (30mm bearing) – 123g
BB30 (30mm bearing) – 100g
T47 (30mm bearing) – 141g
PF41/92 (30mm bearing only) – 78g
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It runs smoothly and is keeping the weather out.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy to fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Some tough competition on price out there.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Hope option is a good comparison and comes in at £105, so a fair bit cheaper. The Hellbender does look good value against the Chris King, though, especially if it continues to last and last.
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
A well-made bottom bracket that's done an excellent job of fighting off the weather. A bit pricier than some very good competition, though.
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!