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  1. #1
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    ok to to reuse ball bearings? if not, where to buy ?

    so i read that some people replace their ball bearings if they are going to bother to repack the grease.. should i always do this, or can they be reused

    when you guy them, do they come in packs? or do LBS sometimes sell them individually? it would be cool to get like an assortment pack lol
    i need some for pedals, bb, headset and wheels

    and i heard marine grease was good to use? i did a temporary rebuild reusing the same ball bearings and used spray white lithium grease and the axles greased like this spin fast but are noisy so i think maybe the spray grease might not be thick enough.

    this is on my 89 world sport which looks like it has been well ridden.. hopefully dont need to replace any thing besides the balls and grease
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  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    They're cheap when you buy a bag of a thousand, toss the old ones.

  3. #3
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    The best place is one of the bearing supply outlets in your area.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  4. #4
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    The best place is one of the bearing supply outlets in your area.
    bearings-r-us?
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  5. #5
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    There is nothing wrong with using used ball bearings, provided they have not discolored, provided they are not pitted and provided they are not rusted(yup, rust can and does attack bearings).

    So, if the balls look good. If the cup and cone races look good. Then look closer. Get a magnifying glass and look at the balls, very closely. Run a fine point ball point pen around the races, feeling for rough spots indicating pitting. It a race is pitted, replace the race and the balls.

    Hope this is a help
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  6. #6
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    ^thanks.. that "my ten speeds" site in your sig has a great tutorial on rebuilding the BB too

    Last edited by frantik; 04-01-11 at 05:12 AM.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    They're cheap when you buy a bag of a thousand, toss the old ones.
    They are plenty cheap enough if you buy in bags of 100 too. Most of us aren't going to use 1000 bearing balls in a lifetime.

    Edit: To the OP: Bike Tools Etc. (www.biketoolsetc.com) and the Third Hand/ Loose Screws ( www.loosescrews.com) sell bearings in bags of 100. Get Grade 25 balls as they are better than Grade 200 and cost very little extra.
    Last edited by HillRider; 04-01-11 at 11:11 AM.

  8. #8
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    Use a lithium grease or synthetic grease that is about the same feel as Vaseline. If the lube is white then it will tell you when the grease is contaminated and needs an overhaul. I refuse to use waterproof grease (Phil Wood)as I had several bikes with this and 1 winter I hung up the bikes with this grease and rode my Phil wheels and come spring pulled out the other bikes to ride only later to find water had gotten in and separated the grease and rusted the Races of the rear hubs on both bikes, 2 Suntour Superbe hubs waisted from water proof grease.

  9. #9
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    If anyone is curious, here are some photos I took of old and new bearings These were done with a crappy microscope at 60x magnification. The old ones came from a poorly maintained bottom bracket. The white specs on both are dust, not damage.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveizdum View Post
    If anyone is curious, here are some photos I took of old and new bearings These were done with a crappy microscope at 60x magnification. The old ones came from a poorly maintained bottom bracket. The white specs on both are dust, not damage.
    Well, that shows enough neglect and abuse will indeed damage bearing balls but I wonder what the races in this bottom bracket looked like also. Water incursion, inadequate lubrication and improper clearance settings will ruin any bearing.

    Properly maintained and adjusted bearings balls in hubs, bottom brackets and headsets can be reused because what you show hasn't happened to them.

  11. #11
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveizdum View Post
    If anyone is curious, here are some photos I took of old and new bearings These were done with a crappy microscope at 60x magnification. The old ones came from a poorly maintained bottom bracket. The white specs on both are dust, not damage.
    Very nicely imaged damage. Got any pics of used balls from a well maintained bottom bracket?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Well, that shows enough neglect and abuse will indeed damage bearing balls but I wonder what the races in this bottom bracket looked like also. Water incursion, inadequate lubrication and improper clearance settings will ruin any bearing.

    Properly maintained and adjusted bearings balls in hubs, bottom brackets and headsets can be reused because what you show hasn't happened to them.
    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    Very nicely imaged damage. Got any pics of used balls from a well maintained bottom bracket?
    Ha ha, I totally agree. Yes, said bottom bracket was badly abused. I wasn't trying to say that bearings shouldn't be reused. My bottom bracket is in tip top form and I would gladly keep using the bearings for many more years. I just though my own personal scientific curiosity might be shared by others. Applying microscopy to things around my home is one of my many nerdy hobbies.

    Interestingly, the same bearings show little signs of wear with the naked eye or even at 10x. The damage didn't become visible until 60x.

    Edit: Hillrider, I don't know about the races. They looked ok by my eye, but I never put them under the microscope.

  13. #13
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    check ebay, you can buy like a hundred bearings for only a couple bucks. buy grade 25 bearings which are the best quality.

  14. #14
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    anybody ever bough from VXB bearings? i'm assuming the "G25" means grade 25 http://www.vxb.com/page/bearings/PRO...-Balls/Kit8590
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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    frantik, it's ok, but you must clean and inspect each ball bearing.

  16. #16
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    Any half-decent bike shop will sell them, too, and they'll sell you the number you need. Yes, they'll cost more than buying a bulk quantity from some mail-order source. But they'll have them in stock.

  17. #17
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    yeah i called my lbs and they said they had them but then i gotta open up all the various hubs and bearings and count exactly how many of each size i need. i think im just gonna order them in bulk so i can have them on hand..
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  18. #18
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    How long were they used to look like that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by daveizdum View Post
    Ha ha, I totally agree. Yes, said bottom bracket was badly abused. I wasn't trying to say that bearings shouldn't be reused. My bottom bracket is in tip top form and I would gladly keep using the bearings for many more years. I just though my own personal scientific curiosity might be shared by others. Applying microscopy to things around my home is one of my many nerdy hobbies.

    Interestingly, the same bearings show little signs of wear with the naked eye or even at 10x. The damage didn't become visible until 60x.

    Edit: Hillrider, I don't know about the races. They looked ok by my eye, but I never put them under the microscope.
    You'll know that those BBs are worn by looking at the discoloration. No need to use magnification to inspect the balls.

  20. #20
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    I usually go to loose screws or bike tools, etc. now that I have a hobby of fixing up bikes and need a regular supply. I think if there is a local bearing place, that be fine too. I've never searched one out. For just a few, your LBS is fine. However, I'd double-check on the grade. I've bought the balls from a couple LBSes. Both times, they came out of bottle of Grade 200 bearings.

  21. #21
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    The usual grade for quality bike use is 25. This refers to how spherical the balls are, higher number are less spherical.
    The hardest working ball bearings on a bike are in the headset. These can become ovalised from impact. As long as they all remain in alignment there is no problem but if you mix them around you can have localised damage. I prefer to replace the HS bearings during maintenance or treat the whole race very carefully.
    I regularly re-use wheel bearings if they look OK.
    I wouldnt know what bottom bracket bearings look like, mine are all sealed within a cartridge.

  22. #22
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    The hardest working ball bearings on a bike are in the headset.
    really? i would assume it would be BB or maybe the wheel hubs..?

    However, I'd double-check on the grade. I've bought the balls from a couple LBSes. Both times, they came out of bottle of Grade 200 bearings.
    yeah thats another reason i think i might just order a bunch. shipping is killer on BBs though heavy mofos. or i could get ceramic balls which are light but cost a ton haha
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  23. #23
    We haven't located us yet nealjoslyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frantik View Post
    anybody ever bough from VXB bearings? i'm assuming the "G25" means grade 25 http://www.vxb.com/page/bearings/PRO...-Balls/Kit8590
    Just recently bought 200 bearings for rebuilding hubs from VXB. Can't complain with the purchase as they were super cheap and claim to be grade 25.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Headset is definitely the hardest, it takes rider weight, weight transfer while braking, front wheel shock going over bumps (thrust direction and radial direction), and really doesn't turn very much to spread out the point loading. Wheels and BB spin. Front wheel might be the next most stressful, but not clear about that.

  25. #25
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    huh that makes sense..
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