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Old 10-02-09, 10:29 PM   #1
Weasel9
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Cartridge bearing hubs on old Rockhopper?

I picked up what I judge to be an early 80s Specialized Rockhopper to turn into a 26" wheel touring bike last week. Today I was overhauling it (just to get it rolling) and while pulling the hub apart, discovered that it has cartridge bearings. Since my (albeit misguided) concept of cartridge bearings is associated with Chris King and Phil, I was surprised.

I've been wanting to explore the world of cartridge bearings quite a bit due to my recent obsession with bearings in general. So I pull a mystery hub apart, and presto! That was convenient.

I don't know who makes the hub, there are no markings on the actual hub body, but the dustcaps on the axle say "Specialized" on them. A lot of parts on this bike say "Specialized" on them, like the BB and headset.

So my questions are:
Who made this hub? I'm assuming it's Specialized.
Who made the other parts marked Specialized? Was it them, or another company subcontracted or owned by them? Like Bontrager...
Does anyone happen to know what type or model cartridge bearings these take? Would it be marked on there if I pull them out? I imagine(hope) it's something off-the-shelf.

I can further describe it if needed. Or post pictures. Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-02-09, 10:32 PM   #2
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Cartridge bearings always have numbers on them.
Those numbers are standardized.
Take the numbers to any industrial supply house that carries bearings, and they will have the replacements.
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Old 10-02-09, 11:01 PM   #3
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Should be easy to find bearings. Most good cb hubs have shouldered axles, so if you take off all the locknuts and cones, and tap on one side of the axle laterally, the shoulder should push the bearing out.

I'd bet money Specialized had the hubs made for them by someone else, but they deserve lots of credit, they had some other very nice specialized branded parts as well. Mavic was doing cb hubs pretty early on, as well as Sachs. Not sure who made them, but I don't think sachs made them themselves, and I'm almost sure specialized didn't. Could have been sunshine/sansin, or joytech I believe was in business then.
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Old 10-02-09, 11:54 PM   #4
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Should be easy to find bearings. Most good cb hubs have shouldered axles, so if you take off all the locknuts and cones, and tap on one side of the axle laterally, the shoulder should push the bearing out.
Do you mean that the axle should be a little bigger in the middle, with shoulders at the threads? No, the axle is standard threaded steel.

Last edited by Weasel9; 10-02-09 at 11:57 PM. Reason: hm, picture didn't work.
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Old 10-03-09, 12:55 AM   #5
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Specialized had those sealed hubs back in the 80's. They were very nice and you can still find them on ebay occasionally. You should be able to take those bearings to a bearing house and get some for them easily if needed.
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Old 10-03-09, 06:50 AM   #6
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+1. Any bearing house should have replacements. Specialized designed the hub in conjunction with Eric Hjertberg of Wheelsmith frame. I don't know who Specialized contracted the manufacture to. As stated by the OP, the axle is not flanged. Here's a a pic that shows the construction.
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File Type: jpg specialized Hub.jpg (18.2 KB, 31 views)
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Old 10-03-09, 07:12 AM   #7
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I've used Specialized hubs since 1983, the pair that came with my Stumpjumper Sport back then will last forever..... the rims too! (Araya 7X)

They may have been made by Suntour, as the parts are interchangeable. Or.... someone else made them for both companies.

Cartridge bearing hubs really are the way to go for durability.... and these are nothing fancy.... then again ..... there's not much to a front hub, or a FW hub. Most people are so Shimano brainwashed they think anything other than cup/cone hubs must be "high end".
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Old 10-03-09, 07:29 AM   #8
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I'm sure they were made by Suzue. They made Suntour's hubs. There's one sitting on the shelf in front of me. It's a beautiful piece.
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Old 10-03-09, 03:50 PM   #9
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Suzue made them (freewheel version) and later hadley made them for specialized
The Suzy's are awesome hubs.
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Old 10-03-09, 07:27 PM   #10
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Excellent! Thanks for everyone's replies. Yes, they look to be of high quality, and I've already become attached to them, haha. It looks like the rims are done for though. I'll probably end up lacing these into a new wheelset.

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 10-03-09, 07:33 PM   #11
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I am pretty sure those hubs were made by Sansin... the quality is exceptional.
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Old 10-03-09, 07:36 PM   #12
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Sansin also made Suntour Superbe hubs...compare my Sansin tandem hub to a Superbe and they are identical except for the name and colour of the side band.

The quality of these hubs is second to none.


Last edited by Sixty Fiver; 10-03-09 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 10-03-09, 07:44 PM   #13
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It just occurred to me that I have a set of Suntour "sealed bearing" hubs as well on another, defunct wheelset. I haven't pulled those apart, but according to

Questions about Suntour cartridge bearing hubs

that thread, those are CB hubs as well. Right under my nose! Very cool. Now I have two wheelsets to lace up... Ah... so many projects so little time!
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Old 10-03-09, 09:16 PM   #14
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I've got a wheelset hanging in the garage with black Sansin hubs. The hubs are painted, not anodized. I know that because a solvent spill lifted the paint on one of them. I never used them because I thought they were probably cheap junk and I prefer cassettes and index shifting on mountain bikes.

I just realized that they came from my Bridgestone MB-2. I should have known they were decent hubs.
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Old 10-03-09, 09:45 PM   #15
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The guy who gave me that tandem hub said he regrets parting with it... I have some Suntour XC Comp hubs that were most likely made by Sansin as well.

These are also smooth beyond all reckoning and they are all loose ball and not cartridge.

Some mid eighties Kuwahara mountain bikes came with some beautiful high flange hubs laced 36/4 with cartridge bearings which are also Sansin hubs.

Suzue also made some excellent hubs and these cannot be overlooked and these were also stock on many bikes like Kuwahara... it seems like the parts spec changed between years.

Suzue seems to have made more middle of the road hubs whereas Sansin hubs always seem to be premium grade... they may have offered a broader line for domestic consumption that I have never seen.

Sansin has always stood out as the best of the best and did make some legendary hubs like the Superbe line... their track hubs are unbelievably nice and sell for very high prices these days.
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Old 10-04-09, 10:42 AM   #16
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Sansin=suzue kinda like Honda and lexus
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Old 10-04-09, 03:18 PM   #17
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Sansin=suzue kinda like Honda and lexus
Honda and Acura? Toyota and Lexus?

Here's the current Suzue über-hub:
http://store.somafab.com/sucl10rohu.html
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Old 10-05-09, 03:43 PM   #18
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Honda and Acura? Toyota and Lexus?

Here's the current Suzue über-hub:
http://store.somafab.com/sucl10rohu.html
yep that's how I meant the analogy... I was born in Detroit, so give me a brake.
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Old 10-05-09, 04:25 PM   #19
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I put sansin hubs on my girlfriend's ghetto singlespeed and they've held up remarkably well considering she leaves it outside
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Old 10-05-09, 05:13 PM   #20
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Honda and Acura? Toyota and Lexus?

Here's the current Suzue über-hub:
http://store.somafab.com/sucl10rohu.html
I don't have my glasses on... is that $399.00 ?

They look gorgeous.

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