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Old 08-01-10, 05:18 PM   #1
lesiz
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Maintenance on sealed bearings

Took my 2-year old De Rosa Idol into the LBS for the annual tuneup. This is the first time I used this particular LBS.

I've always read that the BB and Headtube should be periodically disassembled and inspected and re-lubed. Well, the mechanic here said that on modern bikes with sealed bearings that the BB and Headtube should not be opened unless there is a specific problem that needs addressing. Then he pointed to a vintage Trek 1100 and said it's bikes like this that need periodic maintenance on the BB and Headtube.

So, whoopee, I learned something today. Are the readers in agreement with the mechanic's opinion?

One problem he's addressing for me on this machine is that the stem gets out of alignment with the fork. This happens on every ride, and also happens on a good technical descent like Deer Creek Road. This is a recent problem in a 2-year old setup.
Headset: Campy OEM Integrated Stem: Zipp carbon SL145

I don't know what he'll come up with, but my concern, beyond the inconvenience is that there is a crack developing somewhere in the system. I'd hate to be doing a 40mph descent and have the handlebar all of a sudden come free. Any conjecture here?
(not about my fate in that descent, but about the alignment problem)

One more thing. In this shop there is a "Tips" jar at the mechanic's counter. I never saw that before. Is this common? I have no problem with leaving a tip for the person wielding the wrenches, I just never saw it before. What's a reasonable tip, percentage wise.
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Old 08-01-10, 05:30 PM   #2
davidad
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Those bearings are not serviceable. They are throaways.
That said, you can replace the radial bearings in the outboard BB's, but it takes an expensive puller and press tool.
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Old 08-01-10, 05:42 PM   #3
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If your stem moves out of alignment with the fork preventing it is a simple matter of snugging down the stem clamp bolts. It says nothing about insipient failure.

As to not servicing sealed bearings, your machanic is correct, use them until they get noisy or develop play then replace them.
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Old 08-01-10, 07:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesiz View Post
...Well, the mechanic here said that on modern bikes with sealed bearings that the BB and Headtube should not be opened unless there is a specific problem that needs addressing. ... Are the readers in agreement with the mechanic's opinion?

... on a good technical descent like Deer Creek Road.

.
Yup, sealed bearings are virtually maintenance free, and it's usually not worth tearing apart a cartridge bearing to service it. Unfortunately, they are considered throw-away items. I miss adjusting the bearings "just right" on machines of yesteryear, but considering I have ~6500 miles on a set of Bontrager wheels without any maintenance and the wheels still spin smooth in my hand, it does leave more time for riding. LIkewise my mountain rig is over 6 years old and I've never had to touch the wheel bearings.

Deer Creek is a real brake burner. I'll climb it but will descend the backside intersecting into Yerba Buena. I can't enjoy the descent on Deer Creek.
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Old 08-06-10, 06:39 PM   #5
lesiz
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Thanks for the info everyhone.
I know what you mean about Deer Creek. My rims are too hot to touch after descending that one.
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