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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ancient Mariner's Avatar
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    How many balls are ideal?

    Sorry about the title. I'm really not trying to be funny.

    I'm rebuilding a 1982 Trek 613. It has a Sugino bottom bracket with caged bearings. Each bearing has 9 balls.

    I've heard, and it seems reasonable, that by replacing the caged bearings with 11 loose balls, it will be smoother and will last longer. There is no problem with the existing bearings, and there appears to be very little wear. This is just a routine servicing, but if I can gain any benefit at all by replacing the bearings, I'm all for it.

    Also, is the Park Polylube a preferred lubrication for bottom brackets?

    Thanks, everyone.

  2. #2
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    11 sounds right when replacing a cage bearing with loose balls in a BB. Park is what I use on flips Phil is what I use on personal builds.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    I always replace the bearing balls with new grade 25 balls. They are cheap and typically of better quality than what they replace.

    Just about any quality waterproof grease is as good as another in a situation such as a bicycle bottom bracket. I use Park Polylube myself, but haves use marine grease from auto parts stores as well.
    Last edited by ColonelJLloyd; 01-18-13 at 12:53 PM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Captain Blight's Avatar
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    Well, Lance has been getting by with only one for years....

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    this is not intended to dissuade you from replacing your BB caged bearings with loose bearings, but reminiscing at a bit, i recall losing them in the chainstays , down the seattube and up the downtube . i came the admire the cage after that...

    they don't readily come out of the tubes with grease on them either.

    to answer your question, i think i remember it being recommended to put in as many as you can and then remove one. in practice, i put in (when i was still doing this) only as many as patience allowed.
    Last edited by hueyhoolihan; 01-17-13 at 11:08 PM.

  6. #6
    Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race dddd's Avatar
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    I always use as many as will fit. I've checked many headsets for example where there was a bit of running clearance even after fitting the full complement of balls.
    Taking one out could lead to unstable bearing support and localized overloading in cases where the number of balls is small, such as in a hub or bb.

  7. #7
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=ColonelJLloyd;15169512]I always replace the bearing balls with new grade 25 balls. They are cheap and typically of better quality than what they replace. /QUOTE]

    I got a bag of a hundred of these off Ebay to use on my keeper bikes. It wasn't expensive.
    I have spoken.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I use phil grease, or marine grease from an tub. Put as many balls as will fit, if they are jammed tight take one out, if they are slack (about one ball space total) then you are good. I have had more than one cage break and make a mess, loose balls can be a PITA but I think they are better in the long run.

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  9. #9
    iab
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    Senior Member iab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blight View Post
    Well, Lance has been getting by with only one for years....
    Sounds right to me. Any more and you are just showing off.

  10. #10
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    11 per side, 1/4 inch bearings of course, + pick up a tub of marine grease at the local auto parts store.

  11. #11
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Phil grease sucks, the oils seperate out and it dries out much quicker than almost any grease I've ever used.

    I use red Mobile 1 synthetic in a tub for flip bikes and Dura Ace grease for my keepers. Dura Ace grease is the absolute best grease ever made for bicycle use.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  12. #12
    MIKE is my name! puchfinnland's Avatar
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    Oh no, the grease discussion again......
    My name is Michael, and I am a recovering bike addict, It has been 11 months since I purchased a bicycle for myself..
    (Im bound to fall off the wagon again, its just a matter of time)
    Lord help me!

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  13. #13
    Senior Member eja_ bottecchia's Avatar
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    Two.

    One is not enough.

    Three is too much.
    My current stable:

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  14. #14
    Senior Member Ancient Mariner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by puchfinnland View Post
    Oh no, the grease discussion again......
    Not really. I'm far more interested in the question about the bearing. The grease question was kinda' parenthetical. I was at the bike shop yesterday, and he was out of Phil's, so the question is really moot anyway. I'm sure a company like Park wouldn't put their name on a product if it wasn't at least very good.

    Miamijim: I hadn't thought about the Mobil 1. I use it in my car, and I'm a true believer. That's a real possibility.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ancient Mariner's Avatar
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    Oh......I'll be offline for a couple days. We're going to Las Vegas to celebrate our wedding anniversary, so let me thank all of you for your valuable opinions. They are all useful, even Captain Blight's.

  16. #16
    Hopelessly addicted... photogravity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blight View Post
    Well, Lance has been getting by with only one for years....
    But is that ideal? That was the question, correct?
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  17. #17
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    I've always packed 'em until tight, and then removed just one, but in the light of recent news I'm thinking it might be an advantage to have two and lose one, especially if you're looking for sympathy and an excuse to be a rotten cheat!

    Shame the bloody cheats! All of 'em!

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  18. #18
    Senior Member mapleleafs-13's Avatar
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    i take it something like this would be ok for replacements!?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/100-1-4-inch...item1e66bfe5e5

    what does G25 mean, is that the hardness of the balls?

  19. #19
    Senior Member Ancient Mariner's Avatar
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    As I understand it, it has to do with the precision (roundness) of the ball. 25 is the best that is commonly available. In this case, 300 is not better, even though it sounds like it should be.

  20. #20
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    And the number of the counting shall be eleven, thou shall not count to ten and thou shall not count of twelve.

    ...

    The grading number relates to how accurate bearings are in millionths of an inch so grade 25 is 25/1,000,000 which means they are very consistent... beyond this you get into ceramic which has no practical benefit on a bicycle but can be made to an even higher level of precision.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mapleleafs-13 View Post
    ..........what does G25 mean, is that the hardness of the balls?
    Grade 25
    Surface finish, sphericity (sp) etc.

    You may find them cheaper at your local "power transmission shop" that sells hydraulic pumps, hoses, BEARINGS etc. when you factor in S&H. Else buy several 100 to amortize shipping.

    My local "PTS" is a bit spendy on 1/4" size ($14?/100) and VERY inexpensive on the smaller sizes. You have to buy a "box" full. A box full of the smaller sizes contain a LOT of balls. IIRC, 3/16" size ($7/175?).

  22. #22
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ancient Mariner View Post
    As I understand it, it has to do with the precision (roundness) of the ball. 25 is the best that is commonly available. In this case, 300 is not better, even though it sounds like it should be.
    You have to be a princess to notice the difference between grade 100 and grade 25... it is much like folks who say grade 4 ceramic is smoother than grade 25 steel.

    Bah.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    11 per side, 1/4 inch bearings of course, + pick up a tub of marine grease at the local auto parts store.
    I use the LubriMatic marine grease, it's green and doesn't have that nasty smell the regular bearing grease has.
    "After all is said and done, a hell lot of a lot more is said than done."

  24. #24
    likes to ride an old bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
    I use red Mobile 1 synthetic in a tub for flip bikes...
    Can I buy your flippers? That's way beyond the quality level evident in most flips I've seen!

  25. #25
    Holy Spokes it's Batsman! Glennfordx4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ancient Mariner View Post
    As I understand it, it has to do with the precision (roundness) of the ball. 25 is the best that is commonly available. In this case, 300 is not better, even though it sounds like it should be.
    I picked up grade 24's from one of the online hardware suppliers that was linked from one of the threads here, I think the next best bearing ( lower # ) was ceramic.

    Glenn


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