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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 04-13-14, 04:14 PM   #1
RollCNY
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Short Bearing life on Soma Somax rear hub

Anyone have any experience with life expectancy on sealed cartridge bearings? My Soma Somax rear hub stock bearings were toast after less than 2400 miles, and I replaced them with bearings through my LBS, and now they are getting crunchy after about 1000 miles. I do ride the bike in New York winters, but clean after use, and still have the original Excess freewheel, which has seen the same conditions, operating just fine.

The hub bearings are small (6000's), and I picked up some Enduro ABEC-5 bearings for, but I am wondering if I should just pull the hub and lace the rim with something more durable. I have Surly new ultra hubs in a different wheel set, and they seem solid, but only have a few hundred miles on them.

Thanks for any insight / experience.
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Old 04-13-14, 05:14 PM   #2
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I strongly doubt there is anything about the hubs. My guess is that if you are destroying bearings on the soma's you'd destroy them on any other sealed bearing hub. It's possible you just had bad luck and got a couple of bum sets of bearings.
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Old 04-13-14, 05:19 PM   #3
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Maybe see if you can find some Phil Wood bearings that fit. They make aftermarket bearings that are greased with some special alien gism that is magical.
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Old 04-13-14, 05:33 PM   #4
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I'll pop in the Enduro bearings, as I have them already. Just seems like a very small bearing to start. None of my front hubs have ever had issues, nor have my 130 OLD road hubs, all used in similar conditions. Just seemed unusual.

Thanks.
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Old 04-13-14, 06:18 PM   #5
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I would bet the Somax hubs are re-branded something or other probably Novatech/Joy Tech. From what I understand they sometimes ship pretty bad bearings with them but that would only explain the first set not the second. Cheaper to throw in some new good bearings than to get a new hub and have it relaced. Worth another shot.
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Old 04-14-14, 01:54 AM   #6
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Gee, and people think loose balls and grease are a bad idea.
Each system has its issues but I fail to understand the hate for loose ball bearings.
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Old 04-14-14, 05:53 AM   #7
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Gee, and people think loose balls and grease are a bad idea.
Each system has its issues but I fail to understand the hate for loose ball bearings.
I agree. Half of my wheels are loose ball, half sealed cartridge. The sealed cartridge fronts seem to hold up very well, but the rears are a pain.
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Old 04-14-14, 05:56 AM   #8
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How are you doing the "clean after use"? If you're using any form of power wash or blasting it with a hose, you will be forcing the muck past the bearing seals which is a good way to trash bearings.
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Old 04-14-14, 07:19 AM   #9
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How are you doing the "clean after use"? If you're using any form of power wash or blasting it with a hose, you will be forcing the muck past the bearing seals which is a good way to trash bearings.
Hand wash, and garden hose. Typically once per week I pull the wheel and hand wipe any built up crap. Chain gets relubed after every wash, and I appy oil to the outside of the freewheel seals and hub seals when the wheel is off (lay it flat and puddle lube on the face to percolate in, but have no clue if it is actually reaching the bearings or just flowing down the axle).
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