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  1. #1
    artistic tricyclist
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    Cup and Cone vs. Cartridge

    What are the opinions on this topic? Ive been a big fan of swapping the old bbs (cup and cone) out of my conversions for modern cartridge ones. Easier (less parts) to service, dont have to worry about as much gunk getting in during the winter. What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    Hello. crushkilldstroy's Avatar
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    i am lazy. i like cartridge bearings.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jacquie Phelan
    Until mountain biking came along, the bike scene was ruled by a small elite cadre of people who seemed allergic to enthusiasm.

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    Macaws Rock! michaelnel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invicta
    What are the opinions on this topic? Ive been a big fan of swapping the old bbs (cup and cone) out of my conversions for modern cartridge ones. Easier (less parts) to service, dont have to worry about as much gunk getting in during the winter. What do you guys think?
    I agree. I dunno if I'm right, but I agree.
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    San Francisco, California

  4. #4
    Skidmaster teadoggg's Avatar
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    loose ball for life!

  5. #5
    shot pulling robot ThaRiddla's Avatar
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    On a beater, I'd go cartridge. If I had a bike worth being that anal about, I might consider cup and cone.

  6. #6
    72 & Sunny adamkell's Avatar
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    cartridge BBs, loose ball hubs.

  7. #7
    King of the Hipsters
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamkell
    cartridge BBs, loose ball hubs.
    Why the distinction?

    I would like to know which has less rolling resistance: cartridge or loose ball hubs.

    Otherwise, it seems to me loose ball hubs represent more maintenance, but maintenance the user can do himself with fewer tools and for less money.
    That type of user self-reliance and minimalism has a lot of appeal; certainly in keeping with the street fixed-gear philosophy in general.

    I have recently bought a new set of Canecreek Volos wheels because of the hubs and the low inertia rims.
    Aesthetically and philosophically, I would have preferred a loose ball hub, but then, I've never maintained a loose ball hub, and so I will just enjoy my new wheels with their cartridge hubs.

  8. #8
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    Cartridge Bearings have significantly more resistance. It is not as critical in the BB because it doesn't make as many revolutions per mile as wheels do. I am amazed by all the high end bikes with cartridge bearing wheels. Your 700c wheels make between 775 and 800 revolutions per mile. In high gear your BB will turn 160-170 revolutions per mile. I have handled some high end wheels --the old Rolf wheels especially-- that had a ton of drag in the axles. Most Cartridge bearings do not have any real adjustment available.

    As a kid I had some hot wheels and I had some little cars with big axles. The reason the hot wheels cars went down the track so fast was thin little wire axles that had very little surface area rubbing on their support. As the axle size goes down the touching surface decreases 3.14 times as fast assuming you do not change the width of the supports.

    We have now have seals on most the loose ball bearings on bicycles. Some of these seals have very large diameter seals that rotate on the hub side not the axle side(this will increase the resistance significantly). For a Race bike that is well maintained between races/rides and doesn't spend a lot of time in the mud/rain I would take the seals off completely.

    We go to amazing extremes to lower weight and decrease wind drag but think nothing of the drag caused by sticky sealed bearing seals.

  9. #9
    greatest man alive moz138's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zbikenut.com
    Cartridge Bearings have significantly more resistance. It is not as critical in the BB because it doesn't make as many revolutions per mile as wheels do. I am amazed by all the high end bikes with cartridge bearing wheels. Your 700c wheels make between 775 and 800 revolutions per mile. In high gear your BB will turn 160-170 revolutions per mile. I have handled some high end wheels --the old Rolf wheels especially-- that had a ton of drag in the axles. Most Cartridge bearings do not have any real adjustment available.

    As a kid I had some hot wheels and I had some little cars with big axles. The reason the hot wheels cars went down the track so fast was thin little wire axles that had very little surface area rubbing on their support. As the axle size goes down the touching surface decreases 3.14 times as fast assuming you do not change the width of the supports.

    We have now have seals on most the loose ball bearings on bicycles. Some of these seals have very large diameter seals that rotate on the hub side not the axle side(this will increase the resistance significantly). For a Race bike that is well maintained between races/rides and doesn't spend a lot of time in the mud/rain I would take the seals off completely.

    We go to amazing extremes to lower weight and decrease wind drag but think nothing of the drag caused by sticky sealed bearing seals.
    i think the point though, is for people who dont mind sacrificing performance for maintenance, you know? for people not mechanically inclined adjusting a bb or a hub can be tough.
    "besides me, everyone else in sarasota florida with a "fixed gear bike" can get f*cked.. this includes but is not limited to, ringling art nerds, new college hippies, nathan fabian, and the dude that lives down street.

  10. #10
    i don't stop travsi's Avatar
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    i think for a winter situations or heavy rain conditions, cartridge
    bearings are the way to go. unless you don't mind servicing your
    parts often. that said, i rode this entire past winter with a cup and
    cone campy bb, but serviced it probably four times because i'm
    anal about that kind of stuff.

  11. #11
    blacksheep the blemish
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    If you think about how flipping tight you can get your cog on rotafix style without very much pressure on the wheel the amount of leverage the outside of a wheel has over those bearings in the middle makes the actual performance difference fairly unimportant in the scheme of things even performance wise. But if we were all real bike dorks we'd have already converted all of our bearings to FSA sealed ceramic.

  12. #12
    LF for the accentdeprived
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    I'm willing to bet $10000000 that at least 95% of people within BFSSFG can't feel the drag difference between loose ball and cartridge bearing hubs, all else being identical, in a blind test. Probably more like 100%.
    I mean, I spin my cartridge hub'd wheel with the bike flipped over and it spins until I get bored of watching.
    Wearing a loose T-shirt instead of a biking jersey slows you down 10x more, I am sure. I wear loose T-shirts.

    That said, loose ball isn't that hard to service, and it's certainly easier to put in new balls or even cones than to find and install new cartridge bearings.

    End result: loose ball for trackracing, cartridge for the witer bike, and whichever looks best or is the cheapest for all other bikes, IMHO
    Quote Originally Posted by dutret
    Do you deny that you are clueless or do you just think that "moron" didn't need to be tacked on there?
    Bike on flickr and on FGG

  13. #13
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    <i>Wearing a loose T-shirt instead of a biking jersey slows you down 10x more, I am sure. I wear loose T-shirts.</i>

    A 1/4 psi difference in your tires slows you down more. The amount of force applied by bearing resitance is miniscule. When you also consider that they are less then a cm from the axis you can see they are not robbing you of enough torque to matter to anyone.

  14. #14
    d_D
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cox
    Otherwise, it seems to me loose ball hubs represent more maintenance, but maintenance the user can do himself with fewer tools and for less money.
    The amount of maintence required is mostly determined by the seals and has very little to do with bearing type.
    With fixed stuff I'm not sure it's something you can really pick and choose. Once you remove the poorly sealed stuff desinged for track use there isn't a massive selection left.

    Plus for most street use it really isn't that important for most people. Hubs don't need to be that well sealed to fend of occasional rain. Look at the number of people here that rave about phils with their poorly sealed exposed bearings. You could kill the bearings quite quickly with a few nasty off road rides but they are fine on the street.
    Last edited by d_D; 03-05-06 at 10:22 AM.

  15. #15
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d_D
    Look at the number of people here that rave about phils with their poorly sealed exposed bearings. You could kill the bearings quite quickly with a few nasty off road rides but they are fine on the street.
    I thought phils had sealed bearings, but they had open bearings for track use, if you didn't want the drag that the seals cause. Am I wrong here?
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Irwin Goldstein
    Men should never ride bicycles. Riding should be banned and outlawed. It is
    the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion.

  16. #16
    likes avocadoes
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    I once came in 2nd in a stret race (out of about 50 starters) riding suzue jr's with nothing but rust as a lubricant. I'm not convinced that a whole lot of energy is lost at the bearings regardless of type/style.

    In the stand my da track wheels will spin significantly longer than the phils, but put 215# on there and the difference is meaningless.

    My only concern w/ cartridge bearings is the inability to micro adjust them. Eventually all cartridge bearings will wear out a tiny bit, which will result in a tiny, but noticeable amount of play (at least in the stand), I still have phils in most of my current wheelsets, and in all of the wheelsets that I use at least once/week.

  17. #17
    robots in disguise beppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zbikenut.com
    Cartridge Bearings have significantly more resistance. It is not as critical in the BB because it doesn't make as many revolutions per mile as wheels do. I am amazed by all the high end bikes with cartridge bearing wheels. Your 700c wheels make between 775 and 800 revolutions per mile. In high gear your BB will turn 160-170 revolutions per mile. I have handled some high end wheels --the old Rolf wheels especially-- that had a ton of drag in the axles. Most Cartridge bearings do not have any real adjustment available.

    As a kid I had some hot wheels and I had some little cars with big axles. The reason the hot wheels cars went down the track so fast was thin little wire axles that had very little surface area rubbing on their support. As the axle size goes down the touching surface decreases 3.14 times as fast assuming you do not change the width of the supports.

    We have now have seals on most the loose ball bearings on bicycles. Some of these seals have very large diameter seals that rotate on the hub side not the axle side(this will increase the resistance significantly). For a Race bike that is well maintained between races/rides and doesn't spend a lot of time in the mud/rain I would take the seals off completely.

    We go to amazing extremes to lower weight and decrease wind drag but think nothing of the drag caused by sticky sealed bearing seals.
    +1

    w/r/t r-dub's question/statement about the actual difference under load, I have no idea. However, lateral play in hubs can be dangerous, in the far-from-rare circumstance of making hard turns on wet or sandy roads, so for that reason I like loose bearings on hubs better.
    Looking for a gipiemme pista headset, trade or otherwise. PM if you have one.

  18. #18
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invicta
    What are the opinions on this topic? Ive been a big fan of swapping the old bbs (cup and cone) out of my conversions for modern cartridge ones. Easier (less parts) to service, dont have to worry about as much gunk getting in during the winter. What do you guys think?
    So your saying that you can convert a cup and cone type hub to accept the cartridges?

    I just repacked my Suzue basic last night. It had smaller bearings on the drive side. The two cups looked different so would you use two different cartridges? Incidentally how much grease do you put in there? I was guessing a lot. Enough to ooze out once you reassemble everything.

  19. #19
    THIS SPACE FOR RENT
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    He's talking about BB's. Converting a hub would take some serious metal mangling, I'm sure someone has done it though.

    I always go for modern BB's, I think the harm done from repeatedly ripping off and then reinstalling the crank arms on a square taper to adjust the BB i not worth any advantage gained by keeping it old school.

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