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  1. #1
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    how long should axel bearings last?

    i have a rear wheel with a surly flip flop hub that is two years old. i noticed that it wasn't spinning as it should so i loosened the cone nuts. my bike nerd friend recommended that i replace the bearings. i ordered some phil wood bearings. this is my daily commuter bike.

    how long do bearings usually last?

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    where has the bike been ridden? what is the part you have ?
    'should' does depend on a lot of conditions, ,, some ifs..
    none are stated,
    so no answer is possible.

    PHIL Wood Company, specify a Cartridge type bearing, made to their specifications,
    their hubs do not have cones to adjust,nor do the company's BBs.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-04-10 at 09:49 AM.

  3. #3
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    Bearings can last decades if properly set up.

    Don't ride the bike with the bearings loose. If there's any play in the rim then they are too loose. If you can wobble the axle around even a tiny bit then they are too loose. They should be just tight enough to take out all the play and no tighter.

    Rubber seals can cause a feeling of drag, or your brakes could be dragging.

    If you think the bearings are shot, google "pitted cones". That's what shot bearings look like. (the cone is part of the bearing, as well as the bearing balls.)

  4. #4
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    nyc year round commuting.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    If they are loose ball bearings, replacing balls is cheap,
    doing so annually will increase the life of the races they run in.

    once a month take something on the bike and do maintenance on it.

    may be like painting the bridge, forever, finish at one end then start on the other,

    but thats how you get a reliable bike.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Looking at some Surly hubs they are clearly cup and cone bearings. So loosening the cone was the worst thing you can do. The next step you need to do right away is first of all stop riding it until you can service the hub as you will have already started the damage to the bearing balls. Get some replacement loose balls from a bearing house or local bike shop. Rebuild the hub with the new balls and grease. Set the cone tension so that you have no play in the axle and just a hair tighter to create a very light preload drag. If you go too far the axle will feel "coggy". That means you have too much preload and need to back it off slightly. It's a fussy setting but bearings set to have just a hair of preload drag will last for a lot of years. Those with too little or too much will soon wear out the balls, cups and cones.

    Too little bearing tension or even a loose bearing creates a condition where only one or two balls at a time are carrying the load as they roll over the upper contact point. The rest of the balls are just falling around in a space that is too wide. So instead of all the balls sharing the load only one or two at a time are carrying the load. A sloppy loose bearing creates a pair of non-concentric bearing tracks between the cup and cone where the balls run into and out of wedge shaped pathways. As the balls roll into and out of the maximum pressure point the balls tend to get shot out of the pressure point like a pumkin seed squeezed between your fingers. This quickly ruins the balls by wearing at the sliding points and by crashing them into the other balls. And the damaged balls will quickly wear at the cup and cone.

    If you've only done this for a day or two it's likely you have not created any lasting harm. But you want to stop now and fix this issue by using new bearing balls and properly adjusting the preload after cleaning out the bearings and using fresh grease.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  7. #7
    Senior Member ClarkinHawaii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post

    Too little bearing tension or even a loose bearing creates a condition where only one or two balls at a time are carrying the load as they roll over the upper contact point. The rest of the balls are just falling around in a space that is too wide. So instead of all the balls sharing the load only one or two at a time are carrying the load. A sloppy loose bearing creates a pair of non-concentric bearing tracks between the cup and cone where the balls run into and out of wedge shaped pathways. As the balls roll into and out of the maximum pressure point the balls tend to get shot out of the pressure point like a pumkin seed squeezed between your fingers. This quickly ruins the balls by wearing at the sliding points and by crashing them into the other balls. And the damaged balls will quickly wear at the cup and cone.
    .
    WOW A++ Excellent

    Is this your original writing, or did you copy it from some other source?

  8. #8
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    yes, well stated but not true regarding my hubs (i hope!)

    http://surlybikes.com/parts/hubs/

    Oh, we’ve got hubs all right. All are forged aluminum with medium height flanges, and spin on high load, well sealed, adjustable cartridge bearings over standard sized axles (9x1mm front, 10x1mm rear). This is a common size so it’s easy to find replacements should the need arise or to swap axles if, for instance, you have a QR axle and want to go solid. And did you notice we said the bearings are adjustable? This is so you can adjust play as the bearings wear so you don’t have to replace bearings as often.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    cartridge bearings that have seals can be repacked, you pop the seal out, and clean and re grease the bearings,
    then put the seals back in.

    Surly or the contract shop that makes things for their brand,
    probably chose the bearings in them originally on Best Price per thousand.

    When My Bullseye radial contact 6001 bearings needed replacement I got Enduro Brand bearings . those have
    a full compliment of balls , the other had spacers between the balls .
    another QBP stocked item.

    A bearing for an electric motor has different RPM than a Bike hub.. so not all sealed bearings are ideal
    in a low rpm installation.

    Ideally a hub that has a lateral preload adjustment would use an angular contact bearing,
    as the bearing more resembles the cup and cone like situation it is installed in.
    radial bearings are not intended to have side loading..

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