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Old 01-17-10, 08:48 PM   #1
jaws
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Wheel Bearing Life

My road bike is equipped with a set of Easton Tempest II wheels that have been trouble free with over 10,000 miles. There are no issues with them now but I was thinking at what point do bike wheel bearings need to replaced? Knowing that modern car wheel bearings will go forever with a much heavier load, should there be any concern for the bike wheels.
And when and if they are replaced, are ceramic bearings worth the extra cost?
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Old 01-17-10, 09:13 PM   #2
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Your wheelset uses cartridge bearings. When they wear out, they feel rough/hard to turn (corrosion) or there is unadjustable play in the hub. Worth is relative. Are you losing races by fractions of a second?
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Old 01-18-10, 10:30 AM   #3
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^^ +1. And when/if you do need new bearing, no need to purchase "Easton" brand bearings - chances are the bearings are standard, industrial grade bearings conforming to standards set by Annular Bearing Engineering Committee, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABEC_scale There will probably be a code on the bearing that describes the bearing. You can then buy from an industrial supplier.
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Old 01-18-10, 11:13 AM   #4
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Cartridge bearings last an incredibly long time due to very close manufacturing tolerances. I've got 25-year old wheels with the original bearings and over 25k-miles of racing, including lots of rain.
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Old 01-18-10, 11:56 AM   #5
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[rant]Ceramic bearings for bicycle service are one of the greatest scams and marketing frauds of modern times. A fool and his money.....[/rant]

OK, now that's out of the way. As Danno said, cartridge bearings are very long lived and they will tell you when they need to be replaced. There will be noticable drag and/or play at the rim when the bearings are finally shot.

Mudpie's advice is also spot on. Easton doesn't make their own bearings, they buy them from bearing manufacturers like Timkin, SKF, etc. If and when yours fail, take the dead bodies to any bearing or industrial supply shop and get replacements at a fraction of the cost from Easton or an LBS.

Also, be careful of the grade you ask for as higher ABEC grades (they are numbered 1 to 9 in increasing precision and cost) can get very pricy and are overkill for any bike. ABEC 5 or 6 should be more than satisfactory and may be higher than what you have as OEM.
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Old 01-18-10, 11:04 PM   #6
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There are a few ebay stores that specialize in replacement bearings and will have exactly what you need. Just search on Velomax and you'll find them.
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Old 01-19-10, 12:08 AM   #7
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The type of cartridge bearings in bicycle hubs are the same as those used in electric motors which are rated for tens of thousands of hours of continuous duty. Unless the weather gets to them, and eventually it will regardless of the seals, they'll last almost forever. My old 10s (2x5) road bike had over 50k miles of all season riding on the hubs and the bearings were still like new when I finally retired it.

The one bearing that normally wears out first is the right side rear hub bearing, because it carries two loads, the weight of the rider and the tension of the chain. In any case, if and when the bearings finally die, you can replace them at reasonable cost.
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Old 01-19-10, 12:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Cartridge bearings last an incredibly long time due to very close manufacturing tolerances. I've got 25-year old wheels with the original bearings and over 25k-miles of racing, including lots of rain.
That would be the exception.

Most cartridge bearing hubs people are running are of the low quality type. e.g formulas. Messenger destroy these in about a month of say Toronto winter riding.
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Old 01-19-10, 04:20 AM   #9
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That would be the exception.

Most cartridge bearing hubs people are running are of the low quality type. e.g formulas. Messenger destroy these in about a month of say Toronto winter riding.
What percentage of all bikes are used by messengers? I know three chics who crashed their cars, so obviously all women are bad drivers.
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Old 01-19-10, 07:35 AM   #10
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I overhaul mine every 5k miles. http://www.bbinstitute.com/dl/dx_demo_chapter_13.pdf
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Old 01-19-10, 10:21 AM   #11
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That would be the exception.

Most cartridge bearing hubs people are running are of the low quality type. e.g formulas. Messenger destroy these in about a month of say Toronto winter riding.
Assuming the bearings are a standard size, going up in ABEC rating and specifying better seals for the replacements should solve this problem.
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Old 01-19-10, 10:54 AM   #12
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What percentage of all bikes are used by messengers? I know three chics who crashed their cars, so obviously all women are bad drivers.
What percentage of all bikes with cartridge bearings share your same story? Give me a break for ****s sake.
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