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  1. #26
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
    FWIW when I did a search on this topic I got a lot of technical/academic info and virtually no "real world" experience reports. I was just looking for the experiential end of it all.
    When I spin up the wheels on my 1955 Raleigh, which have steel cup and cone bearings with oil lubrication I can walk to from the shop to the house and grab a coffee and when I come back they are still going to be spinning at nearly the same speed I left them.

    The custom Arvon hubs I run have cartridge bearings and they will do the same thing as will many of the conventional / high quality hubs I run.

    I use G25 bearings since this is what is most readily available in steel and marine bearing grease and they are more than good enough.

    The quality of the machining in the races and cups in loose ball hubs and closer tolerances makes a huge difference and this is why Campy hubs tend to be as stellar as they are as the QC is exceptional.

  2. #27
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    When I spin up the wheels on my 1955 Raleigh, which have steel cup and cone bearings with oil lubrication I can walk to from the shop to the house and grab a coffee and when I come back they are still going to be spinning at nearly the same speed I left them.

    The custom Arvon hubs I run have cartridge bearings and they will do the same thing as will many of the conventional / high quality hubs I run.

    I use G25 bearings since this is what is most readily available in steel and marine bearing grease and they are more than good enough.

    The quality of the machining in the races and cups in loose ball hubs and closer tolerances makes a huge difference and this is why Campy hubs tend to be as stellar as they are as the QC is exceptional.
    The old cup-and-cone hubs spin like a gerbil on crack. (yes, I stole this from you). They require more maintenance, of course, and are less durable, but they're fast. Same goes for the old BBs, in my opinion.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  3. #28
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
    Ceramics are a waste of money.
    Depends on what you are looking for. I put a ceramic BB on my climbing bike. I did a lot of research and on an 8 mile 3500' climb at my power output (which ain't nothin to write home about) they are worth about 5 minutes. If you are racing which I was, that is a huge difference. If I wasn't racing - they would indeed be a waste of money.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  4. #29
    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    The "A-class" wheels that came with my bike, don't appear to have any way to take them apart. I'm confused.
    Don't be, bicycle road hub bearings come in two flavors:

    1) Cup & Cone
    B) Cartridge

    I have no idea what the marketing term "A-Class" means in this context but you have "B", which can indeed be serviced when the bearings fail but not necessarily by the average owner as they are press fit.

    Servicing on "1" is something anyone w/ a modicum of mechanical touch and a few simple tools can perform for decades and avoid any failure in service, shop $ and will spin as one says "forever".

    As with fine wine good quality well maintained C&C hubs get better w/ age but unlike wine taste awful.

    Here's Sheldon Brown on the subject:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/hubs.html

    -Bandera
    Last edited by Bandera; 07-23-13 at 05:51 PM.
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

  5. #30
    Senior Member LarryMelman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    What are the hubs?
    Original wheels were ALX-320 (made by Alex aka "A-Class" from Taiwan). Replaced with Mavic Ksyrium Equipe which, in the hub, I believe is identical to the Aksium (requiring the stupid freehub cleaning and lubing which is unique to Mavic).

    I know the Mavic's have cartridge bearings, and I assume the ALX's do too. Do they require or benefit from any kind of service?
    Last edited by LarryMelman; 07-23-13 at 05:50 PM.

  6. #31
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    Original wheels were ALX-320 (made by Alex aka "A-Class" from Taiwan). Replaced with Mavic Ksyrium Equipe which, in the hub, I believe is identical to the Aksium.
    Yeah, see Bandera's reply. It isn't always immediately obvious how to get into a press-fit cartridge hub but most of them are serviceable.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    The old cup-and-cone hubs spin like a gerbil on crack. (yes, I stole this from you). They require more maintenance, of course, and are less durable, but they're fast. Same goes for the old BBs, in my opinion.
    A racer guy told me once that a the fastest cup and cone bearings had very low preload on them to the point that there was minute lateral movement of the axle.That preload is key to getting the most out of C&C bearings, which of course, is something that cannot be adjusted with cartridge bearings unless they are incorrectly installed so they have side-load.

    Another friction factor with many sealed bearings is from the seal itself. It has to contact at least one rotating part.

    Maybe a few other points that I have picked up along the way. Lower quality bearings need more servicing earlier in their lives. Examined under a powerful microscope, the surface is not smooth at all, even though it feels smooth to the touch. The bearings "wear in" early in their lives and smooth off that surface, resulting in a decrease in their diameter, a sloppiness in the sideplay, and discoloration of the grease from the metal that has been worn away.

    From my understanding, the best quality ball bearings are measured by the smoothness of their surface, which in turn does affect their diameter. Metal quality also plays a role in this.

    Naturally, there is little point installing quality bearings if the cup and cone remain of poor quality.

    My experience with ceramic bearings is zero. I've never felt the need to use them.
    Last edited by Rowan; 07-23-13 at 06:19 PM.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
    Don't be, bicycle road hub bearings come in two flavors:

    1) Cup & Cone
    B) Cartridge

    I have no idea what the marketing term "A-Class" means in this context but you have "B", which can indeed be serviced when the bearings fail but not necessarily by the average owner as they are press fit.

    Servicing on "1" is something anyone w/ a modicum of mechanical touch and a few simple tools can perform for decades and avoid any failure in service, shop $ and will spin as one says "forever".

    As with fine wine good quality well maintained C&C hubs get better w/ age but unlike wine taste awful.

    Here's Sheldon Brown on the subject:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/hubs.html


    -Bandera
    Anything that says "Alex wheels" makes me shudder.

    Anyway, the other issue with cartridge bearings, if replacing them yourself, is ensuring you get the right bearing. The designation of the bearing model should be stamped on the rim of the outer race, but I think few bike shops carry replacements. The best source is always an industrial bearing supply company. In the context of bearings, the ones used in bikes are fairly lightweight, used for things such as fans that require a light-duty bearing, but can keep spinning constantly for very long periods, so the lube is generally good quality.

    The other important factor in replacing a bearing is to ensure any side load to keep it in place is very light. This requires as deft a touch as adjusting C&C bearings, because too much side load impedes a cartridge bearing, and causes premature wear -- the balls run against the side of the races, not in the middle of them.

    On adjusting C&C bearings, the complication on hollow axles is the extra preload imposed when doing up the QR. That is why there is a need for some trial and error initially in getting the preload right when the wheel is off the bike. In fact, the preload on the bearings should result in a very tiny amount of lateral axle movement, which will disappear when the QR is done up tight on the bike.

    If the preload is perfect with the wheel off the bike, then the bearing will bind slightly when the QR is done up.

    Sheldon Brown's site has that nifty easy to make QR "tool" to help get the preload adjustment just right off the bike. I don't use one -- I've had enough practise adjusting hubs on a fleet of MTB hire bikes to do me for a lifetime, thank you very much.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  9. #34
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    And finally, if you are going to replace balls in any bearing, do the set entirely together, not one or two in a set. By doing the former, you ensure the balls are all the same diameter (give or take an umpteenth fraction of an inch) and they will wear together; if you do the latter, the new balls will be bigger than the old ones, and will in fact take all the load on the bearing, resulting in excessive wear on the race.

    Oh, and another from the Rowan personal fact file from experience -- be fastidious in making sure the lock nuts on the axle are done up correctly. Early in my tinkering on bikes, I failed to do this, and the cone eventually wound itself up so tight that it broke the race in half. That would be OK a few miles from home, but this happened about 50 miles from anywhere on a long tour on the hottest day of the tour.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  10. #35
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
    FWIW when I did a search on this topic I got a lot of technical/academic info and virtually no "real world" experience reports. I was just looking for the experiential end of it all.
    Trying to move us back to the question rather than the debate on Cup and Cone Vs. Cartridge bearings, some of us have switched and have noticed a difference. I have in the bottom bracket and might at some point give the hubs a try. I agree there is a lot of technical pages out there like the site from Park Tool that I posted and this site: http://www.westernbikeworks.com/cera...arings-article

    But that isn't the real point is it? What do you want and what do you feel your cycling pleasure is worth? Sure Timex watch works fine. But Citizen ECO Drive or a Mavado, Seiko are a grade above to most people and if you are into watches as much as some of us are into bicycles the idea of what it is worth to you can't be judged by anyone but you.

    You didn't ask what is easier to service or what is less expensive or what will keep you out of the LBS. You asked for some real world reviews of people that have tried them. Look to those that answer that question and then make up your mind.


    But we are in 50+ so the answer should be , Harumph...the old way was good enough for Eddy it should be good enough for you.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    Trying to move us back to the question rather than the debate on Cup and Cone Vs. Cartridge bearings, some of us have switched and have noticed a difference. I have in the bottom bracket and might at some point give the hubs a try. I agree there is a lot of technical pages out there like the site from Park Tool that I posted and this site: http://www.westernbikeworks.com/cera...arings-article

    But that isn't the real point is it? What do you want and what do you feel your cycling pleasure is worth? Sure Timex watch works fine. But Citizen ECO Drive or a Mavado, Seiko are a grade above to most people and if you are into watches as much as some of us are into bicycles the idea of what it is worth to you can't be judged by anyone but you.

    You didn't ask what is easier to service or what is less expensive or what will keep you out of the LBS. You asked for some real world reviews of people that have tried them. Look to those that answer that question and then make up your mind.


    But we are in 50+ so the answer should be , Harumph...the old way was good enough for Eddy it should be good enough for you.
    I think the answer was given early on. For the ordinary rider the expense is not worth the minimal gains achieved over good quality and properly adjusted steel bearings. The people who used to frequent this forum and might benefit from ceramics are over in the racing forums.

    Maybe we can now spin off the discussion entirely away from bikes and talk about watches, eh?
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  12. #37
    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    That is why there is a need for some trial and error initially in getting the preload right when the wheel is off the bike. In fact, the preload on the bearings should result in a very tiny amount of lateral axle movement, which will disappear when the QR is done up tight on the bike.

    If the preload is perfect with the wheel off the bike, then the bearing will bind slightly when the QR is done up.
    Truer words were never data entered.
    Make sure your Uber$$$ ceramic wheel re-build is set to this spec or you will find it difficult to get that "1-2mph/>5 minute" advantage you paid for.

    Here's where a deft touch comes in, other than when flipping an omelet.

    I added a set of nearly modern Shimano R(something or other)30 low spoke count wheels to my collection as a sop to non-Ludditeism.
    Since they were C&C I spun them, laughed, and backed off the "factory" too tight adjustment before installing them on my NOS Non-Hydraulic/Shifter/Not-Electric Brake/Steel Bearing/Plastic road bike. They now sorta spin foreverish and will do so after a winter overhaul.

    Never trust factory bearing settings.

    -Bandera
    Last edited by Bandera; 07-23-13 at 07:15 PM.
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

  13. #38
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    If you might want to be entertained and see another side to this 'debate'(?), do a search on ceramic bearings on a longboard skateboarding site like Silverfish.
    This is those guys equivalent to our "what chain oil is better than WD40" threads
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  14. #39
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    I think the answer was given early on. For the ordinary rider the expense is not worth the minimal gains achieved over good quality and properly adjusted steel bearings. The people who used to frequent this forum and might benefit from ceramics are over in the racing forums.

    Maybe we can now spin off the discussion entirely away from bikes and talk about watches, eh?

    Because you want to spin the conversation away from what he asked? I am not in the racer forum so obviously not everyone with ceramics has moved so that information is misleading. The question was simple, has anyone tried them and what are their reviews. I didn't see the question on why not to try them, can you cut and paste that for me?
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  15. #40
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    As always in the 50+ forum, expertise is much, much less important than unsupported anecdote.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  16. #41
    Senior Member LarryMelman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Anything that says "Alex wheels" makes me shudder.
    Well they were good wheels, never a problem of any kind with the bearings or with truing. And maintenance free. The front wheel developed a mystery click around the seam that no one could fix. But the back wheel never had a problem of any kind.

    The other important factor in replacing a bearing is to ensure any side load to keep it in place is very light. This requires as deft a touch as adjusting C&C bearings, because too much side load impedes a cartridge bearing, and causes premature wear
    Now this part worries me. The Mavic's require freehub cleaning every 1500 miles or so. So I'm resetting the bearing side load (I think) every time I do this. And possibly screwing it up. Dammit.

  17. #42
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Anything that says "Alex wheels" makes me shudder.
    .
    I can't really comment on their complete wheelsets, but they make some very good rims for the price. I see a lot of folks looking at the price of them and assuming they are crap. They're just exceptionally good value in my experience.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


    The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. Elbert Hubbard.

  18. #43
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    Well they were good wheels, never a problem of any kind with the bearings or with truing. And maintenance free. The front wheel developed a mystery click around the seam that no one could fix. But the back wheel never had a problem of any kind.



    Now this part worries me. The Mavic's require freehub cleaning every 1500 miles or so. So I'm resetting the bearing side load (I think) every time I do this. And possibly screwing it up. Dammit.
    Cup and cone bearings are what's known as angular contact, meaning they take both radial and axial loads. Cartridge bearings are radial load only, so adjustment is only to the point of eliminating side play, not to preload.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


    The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. Elbert Hubbard.

  19. #44
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    ok,i took a shot and got a ceramic bb.replaced hubs with dt swiss.so far i have gotten a 10% reduction in my times and a 1.5 mph increase in crusing and top end speed.i dont believe it myself but the clock doesent lie.

  20. #45
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    I can't really comment on their complete wheelsets, but they make some very good rims for the price. I see a lot of folks looking at the price of them and assuming they are crap. They're just exceptionally good value in my experience.
    Off the peg wheelsets tend to suck... Alex rims tend to be very economical, are of decent quality, and stand up to a lot of use and abuse and those pre-built wheels can be a bargain if you are willing and able to hand tune them.

    After 5000km on my hybrid touring and commuting bike the front wheel that had been built with a Formula hub, DT Swiss spokes and an Alex DA22 rim was within 5/1000 laterally and vertically which was how it left the stand before it went on the bike.

    I sold it with the bike and checked it the other day after two more years of commuting... it is still 5 by 5 although the rim will have to be replaced soon due to braking wear but it must be pushing 20,000 km as it sees a lot of miles.

  21. #46
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Always end up on the second tier of the Podium by a second or less?

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    Quote Originally Posted by silkey View Post
    ok,i took a shot and got a ceramic bb.replaced hubs with dt swiss.so far i have gotten a 10% reduction in my times and a 1.5 mph increase in crusing and top end speed.i dont believe it myself but the clock doesent lie.
    Impressive. But it would be handy to detail the make and model of the BB and hubs you replaced as a reference. Also over what period since you started with the faster rides.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    went from a standard low end sram and shimano deore hubs.i used those about a year.the very first ride after install the speed was there,every time.its just smoother on hills and the flats.i have 2 weeks on the new stuff so it wasent just a one fluke ride.im happy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by silkey View Post
    went from a standard low end sram and shimano deore hubs.i used those about a year.the very first ride after install the speed was there,every time.its just smoother on hills and the flats.i have 2 weeks on the new stuff so it wasent just a one fluke ride.im happy!
    Thanks for a good look at the changes and the results.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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