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Old 08-24-07, 11:41 PM   #1
facial
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Ball bearing tightness?

Hi I'm sort of a newbie here but I was wondering what you ppl consider the optimal torque or pressure on the ball bearings that connects the wheel to the axle.

I have a bit of experience with this. I have a nice cheap department store mountain bike, a Mt Fury Roadmaster. I initially modified it to be loose enough so that I could spin the free axle (holding the wheel) for maybe a couple of seconds, thinking that it would minimize friction. But then that led to disaster, since the ball bearings wore down fast and soon I had a lockup. Apparently when I opened it up the bearings were almost completely abraded and destroyed. That was half a year ago. Now I'm doing just the opposite thing - the axle is now tight enough so that I have a dificult time turning the axle with my bare hand (again, holding the wheel stationary). My intention is to minimize the slip between the bb and the track. Is this the best thing to do? Or can I loosen it up a little without expense of bb life?
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Old 08-25-07, 12:05 AM   #2
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Your previous bearings failed due to them being utter crap. Your present bearing adjustment is too tight. Find a place inbetween that allows free spinning of the bearings with no play, erring toward play as the skewer can exert a little extra pressure.
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Old 08-25-07, 06:08 AM   #3
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Please just read this: http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=105 and learn how to do it properly. If you have any questions you can ask us.

The only thing you need to remember as loose as you can get it without getting play. This doesn't apply to QR hubs as you need a very small amount of play when adjusted off the bike.

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Old 08-25-07, 10:07 AM   #4
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The xmart type bikes are pretty notorious for having poor hubs and/or poorly lubricated bearings.
I have an acquaintance that buys the $60 Target bikes. After about 6 months, the rear hub eats the bearings and gets destroyed. After dealing with Target for a couple months, he eventually winds up with a replacement wheel. It's good for another 6 months and then he buys another $60 bike from them.
His biking cost is $60/yr.
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Old 08-25-07, 10:40 AM   #5
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Please just read this: http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=105 and learn how to do it properly. If you have any questions you can ask us.
That's a GREAT article - you've got to love Park Tools.

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Old 08-26-07, 06:29 AM   #6
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That is pretty good--but I like how at the end, for cartridge bearings, you're supposed to go see a professional mechanic for removal/installation.
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Old 08-26-07, 07:43 AM   #7
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The xmart type bikes are pretty notorious for having poor hubs and/or poorly lubricated bearings.
It's actually more than just that. Poor quality hub, poorly lubricated and always poorly adjusted. If you take one and actually do the adjustment properly, they really ought to last a little longer. Yeah they aren't as smooth as a dura ace hub or what not but they are still hubs.
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Old 08-26-07, 08:13 AM   #8
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Holy crap, Park tool uses adjustable wrenches to service bikes too


I don't feel like a hack any more!

I Park Tool!
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Old 08-26-07, 11:07 AM   #9
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Holy crap, Park tool uses adjustable wrenches to service bikes too


I don't feel like a hack any more!

I Park Tool!
Not at all a hack move. After a few scraped knuckes a mechanic soon learns to absolutely not use a cone wrench on a locknut and that locknuts are unpredictable enough in size and condition that an adjustable is often the best choice.
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Old 08-26-07, 11:42 AM   #10
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If the axle was free enough to spin a couple seconds, I'd guess the biggest problem may have been lack of grease, and possibly loose adjustment.

I have good luck with those crappy steel hubs. I have Wald hubs that have lasted decades, and they're the same crappy steel, thin-axled hubs found on these bottom line bikes today. I ride junk that just seems to last forever. Then again, I'm not afraid of turning a wrench or shoving grease in bearings.

Quote:
It's good for another 6 months and then he buys another $60 bike from them.
His biking cost is $60/yr.
That actually isn't too bad. I suspect many visitors on this forum spend many times that on their bikes per year.
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