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  1. #1
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    80's "sealed bearing" hubs

    How sealed are they?
    I got an 87 vintage road bike that has a "sealed bearing" marked on the hubs. I'm just wondering if its okay to use the bike or repack the bearings first?
    ' seems to spin freely with no drag.

    Thanks in advance!
    "Cycling is for pleasure not penance"

  2. #2
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DVC45 View Post
    How sealed are they?
    I got an 87 vintage road bike that has a "sealed bearing" marked on the hubs. I'm just wondering if its okay to use the bike or repack the bearings first?
    ' seems to spin freely with no drag.

    Thanks in advance!
    Most of what I've encountered have been conventional cup-and-cone ball bearing hubs with seals on the dustcaps. At a minimum, I'd probably pull a cone off to look at it and put a dollop of fresh grease in it. If the grease was old, I'd take it all apart and clean everything before putting in new bearings and grease. It'd be good for another 20 years.
    Jeff Wills

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  3. #3
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    Sealed Bearings

    Hi, most wheels marked sealed bearing were the cartridge style sealed bearings pressed into the hubs. As apposed to hubs marked sealed mechanism usually were loose ball bearings with some type of o ring seal on the axle cone or on the hubs dust shield. To know for sure and if both wheels are the same hub then take the front apart to inspect and confirmed sealed or not. If not then I would re grease and put in new bearings using a waterproof or lithium grease just to start fresh. Not auto wheel bearing grease. Good luck.

  4. #4
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    If the hub really has cup-and-cone bearings and it hasn't been serviced since new, I definitely would overhaul, clean and add new grease to it.

    I once got a '86 vintage bike from my brother that hadn't been ridden in about 15 years and the grease (hubs, headset and bottom bracket) had dried out to the consistancy of dry rubber cement. The hubs felt ok when turned by hand but would have been ruined by riding them in that condition.

    Even cartridge bearings can be relubed, particularly if they are open bearings but even if they are sealed, the seals can be pried up and fresh grease added.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    ... the ones in my specialized Expedition were shielded and have seals on the cartridge, they're still fine 20 years later.

    ... Phil Wood uses submersible pump bearings ..

    ... neoprene seals can be removed to service cartridge sealed bearings .

  6. #6
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwbikeman View Post
    Hi, most wheels marked sealed bearing were the cartridge style sealed bearings pressed into the hubs. As apposed to hubs marked sealed mechanism usually were loose ball bearings with some type of o ring seal on the axle cone or on the hubs dust shield. To know for sure and if both wheels are the same hub then take the front apart to inspect and confirmed sealed or not. If not then I would re grease and put in new bearings using a waterproof or lithium grease just to start fresh. Not auto wheel bearing grease. Good luck.

    I worked on plenty that were marked "Sealed Bearing" and were cup-and-cone bearings. The only way to really tell is to take the hub apart.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    ... the ones in my specialized Expedition were shielded and have seals on the cartridge, they're still fine 20 years later.
    Perhaps they are but not all OEM grease is that durable. I ran into some that certainly wasn't.


    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    ... neoprene seals can be removed to service cartridge sealed bearings .
    Yeah, that's what I said too.

  8. #8
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    Okay, I removed the cones. It looks okay, but since I already got it out, I might as well repack the bearings.

    Thanks folks!
    "Cycling is for pleasure not penance"

  9. #9
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    If your old 80s hubs are in good condition, an overhaul and good repacking of grease will have them spinning like butter! Even better than the newer cartridge style hubs.
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