I recently bought 6 Tange bearing retainers with 11 1/4 bearings for some bottom brackets (this isn't an argument for or against bearing cages). I have several hundred grade 25 1/4 loose ball bearings and I'm wondering if anyone knows the grade that Tange would probably use. I don't mind switching the bearings as they are pretty cheap, but I don't want to go through the trouble just to learn that Tange uses precision bearings. Any one know or can make an educated guess?
'''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
Tange has a good reputation for quality products so I would think they would supply good quality bearings and the "improvement" from changing them for known Grade 25 balls should be small to nonexistant. If the bearings were from some unknown Asian supplier, I'd go to the trouble but not from Tange.
Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder
The only real dissadvantages to caged balls, given the same ball count, is that the cage does take up a little space (less lube surrounding the balls) and could be installed backwards. The advantage is the ease of installation.
I've never seen any difference in the grade of the balls, in actual use. Other factors like how well adjusted the bearing unit is, is far more critical to livespan and spin. Andy.
Any company that goes through the bother of making an 11-ball retainer is unlikely to skimp by using anything less than grade 25 balls in that retainer. If the customer is after cheapness over quality, they'll select a 9-ball retainer in the first place.