Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.
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Originally Posted by w98seeng
Do sealed bearings in a hub ride better than a hub with loose bearings? If so, is there a set of inexpensive hubs out there that are pretty good for a the average person? I have Sora HB-3300 and FH-3300 hubs and would like to swap these out as I'm not too crazy about these.
A more difficult question than you probably think.
First of all "sealed bearings" is a term that's poorly defined in bicycle circles. Modern bicycle hubs, like your Sora hubs, have a sealing mechanism. In this case, it's a neoprene o-ring on the cone. It does a pretty good job of keeping the grease in and the water and dirt out. Back in the olden days, we used to overhaul our hubs several times per year. Now I typically go several years between hub overhauls.
Some hubs use pressed in cartridge bearings. When they go bad they're a lot harder to work on but they can go for a very long time without going bad.
Back to your Sora hubs. What makes you "not too crazy" about your bearings? A common problem is being able to wiggle the rim from side-to-side. If you can do that the usual fix is to readjust the bearing preload. If trying to adjust the bearings makes you choose between a "notchy" feeling axie when you turn it with your fingers or a wiggly rim, you probably have pitted cones. If that's the case, replacing the cones and the balls while you're at it (they're cheap) will fix it.
One more thing. Shimano hubs ROCK!