cup-and-cone vs sealed
Would a Shimano cup and cone hub be better for touring applications (heavy loads) rather than a 'sealed' none cup n cone type hub?
From what I understand the cup and cone type offer better strength for heavier loads?
Sorry, when I say 'sealed' I meant cartridge type hubs. So for touring, when carrying a load, would cartridge hubs or cup and cone hubs be better?
Last edited by digger; 01-17-08 at 10:36 AM.
Cup and cone bearings are a lot more easy to repair by yourself in the middle of nowhere is a problem develops. For that reason I have not gone with the sealed type hub.
(But I'm and old guy that likes to repair my own equipment)
J E R S E Y S B E S T
Originally Posted by SingingSabre
I guess I've read that too.
"The seals commonly sold in the bicycle
business are not capable of sealing out water because they were never
designed for that purpose"
Perhaps that should read "designed". Seems that over the years they have proved relatively effective. With something like the Phil, it is supposed to be easy to change with just an Allen key (?) and nothing like a press or puller is required for the job. If that is truly all that is required, then it would have an edge given that carrying ball bearings wrenches grease, etc... isn't all that wonderful a fix.
My main concern is the durability of the axle. I plan on making an axle for the LX or DX out of ground hardened stock. Then it should be as durable as the phil or DT, and I will take my chances with the bearings. They do need fairly regular repacking if opperating in wet conditions.
As far as the actual bearing strength is concerned, it may be the loose bearings are stronger. You can get more of them jammed in there and they are larger than in the cartridge, but powdered bearings don't seem to be a real problem. I look more at axle strength, and ease of maintenance.
Has opinion, will express
I think a lot of people are concerned, on the strength side, with the lateral forces that might be applied to a cartridge bearing.
For sure, most cartridge bearings for bicycles are designed for other applications, mainly in electrical motors, but also in a range of industrial applications. In these cases, the lateral forces might seem to be minimal... but are they really? Does a ceiling fan have no lateral force when the blades are acting like propellors and trying to whizz the shaft into or out of the housing? Does the act of tightening a fan belt on a car mean there are no lateral forces on the bearings in the alternator, or are there quite strong forces trying to turn the shaft sideways? There probably aren't meant to be these lateral forces, but I can guarantee there will be, even with things like thrust washers in place in the shaft.
On a bicycle, I don't think the lateral forces, even under a loaded touring bike are going to worry a pair of properly installed cartridge bearings. Certainly experience shows otherwise, with perhaps the most-used example on my bikes being the bearings in my SON Dynohub.
For my part, I love the fact that sealed bearings run so smoothly right out of the box. A case in point:
I have bought a few sealed bearing hubs in recent times. A Velocity fixed-gear hub, a Magura front disc hub and a pair of Novatec hubs. They all obviously vary in the bling and quality factors, but one thing about all of them is that they spun perfectly right from unpacking.
I bought a pair of Velocity Dyad wheels with the Velocity c&c hubs. The rear was just OK in how it spun. The front was a complete disaster with way too much preload. Now this is an Australian company that has a worldwide reputation for quality. The front hub preload was a stinker. The wheels were returned to Velocity anyway because they were the wrong hole number (32 cf 36). I'm hoping the replacements are better, otherwise I will have to rebuild them myself.
Machka's bike had Formula sealed hubs. When the rear one got really noisy and clunky, I dismantled it. The operation itself is no worse than undoing a c&c hub, and in fact is better if there are loose balls in the c&c version that will spill everywhere. Her bike has been to hell and back... several times... and when I peeked under the seals of the old bearings, they were relatively fine. The problem was more to do with the friction fit of the bearings into the hub housing, which I suppose is an issue that balances out any disadvantage of c&c hubs. Fitting the new bearings was a complete cinch... with the right size tube for the inner race, a bench vice and a few taps of the hammer.
As to the issues of water ingress and seal lubrication as indicated in the supplied link above... well, I don't have much time for Mr Brandt's opinions on several things. What I do understand is that SON had problems with the initial batch of their dynohubs, with water penetration through the seals. Certainly, the fix has been a good one with my hub coming up to around 40,000km of service. I think the official strip-down service interval for these hubs is around 50,000km.
It's also important to remember that cartridge bearings can be sealed, unsealed, or sealed on only one side. There is a whole array of bearings that have been adapted by bicycle component manufacturers/designers. I discovered this link the other day just to show this:
This one contains some information on standards and abbreviations -- and take note of where Shimano and Campagnolo's ball bearing quality actually falls in the world of bearings:
It's an Australian site. But when I did the rebuild on Machka's Formula hubs in Canada, I got the parts number from the side of the bearing and trotted off to a nearby industrial bearing supplier. "Yeah, we've got that one in stock".
Sheldon Brown has basically said on another thread in Bicycle Mechanics that Shimano hubs are better than any other hubs on the market except Phil. I'm still testing his opinion. But I do wonder if a Deore hub will spin happily in all sorts of nasty conditions for 50,000km before having a scheduled rebuild?
I'm still trying to wear out a set of Campag cup and cone hubs that are older than I am and I have grey hair. They've done a lot of miles under me and who knows how much in total.
My take: it doesn't make much difference
Has opinion, will express
How many rebuilds have you done on them (or should I say, strip, clean and repack)?
It's really about the quality of the hub to start with-- there are good hubs with cups and cones and good sealed bearing hubs and really bad hubs of both types.
I cleaned my campy hubs on a regular basis and at about 75 to 85 thousand miles I changed out bearing and cones, mostly because I bought some replacements and just wanted to, but the cones were well worn but smooth.
I have a tandem, KHS, no-name hub. Did the great divide, loaded with gear packed in panniers front and back. By the time we were in Mexico I had gone through the original, and two other sets of bearings and cones after smashing both bearings and pitting the cones to the point of being hard to turn.
I am sure the camy stuff was a hole lot better, and for my money it never hurts to buy good stuff, lesson learned. That said the last three sets of wheels I bought are cartridge type and have had zero problems, and if a tandem can't destroy it its got to be good.
I wish there were cup and cone hubs with an oversized axle like phils have. Ok, there are; the new XTR and XT hubs have a 14.5mm axle, but it's aluminum, and I don't know whether that would have adequate durability for touring. What would be sweet would be a drop in oversize chromoly replacement for the XT hubset, with one side cone built into the axle, and the other side threaded to take a combination cone/pinchbolt like the Joe Murray Impact Headset used:
I don't know if that design could translate well to the narrower diameter (even with oversized axles) and more stressed environment of hubs, but if it could... imagine perfect effortless hub overhaul/adjustment with just a 3 or so mm allen key!
Has opinion, will express
Of course, the question remains... how many touring cyclists actually end up with problems in their hubs, whether c&c or cartridge, compared with, say, rim and spoke problems? I would venture to say they are few and far between, and generally would have to do with inappropriate adjustment or human error on rebuilding or repacking, rather than durability problems in the hub design itself.
I suppose another factor is that you will be considering the types of environments you are likely to be riding in and take appropriate measures to impede the entry of water or sand... even to acquiring hubs with higher levels of seals.
I went on a 6 week trip along the dirt and paved "Savannah Way" in Australia in July-August 2006. The 48 spoke 26" wheels with PW hubs did much better that the derailler, BB, chain and brake cable... They basically fell apart. The wheels were great - even when they went at about 90 degrees to the direction of travel when I ran into patches of "bull dust".
I forded rivers in NW Queensland and E Northern Territory because there are no bridges there. When the Shimano BB had troubles I decided to put in a PW BB - so when I returned to Canada I ordered one.
Now as soon as a muscle tear on the sole of my L foot heals I will start using the bike again :-)
To speak directly to the concerns you seem to have on this subject:
Originally Posted by digger
"...when I say 'sealed' I meant cartridge type hubs. So for touring, when carrying a load, would cartridge hubs or cup and cone hubs be better?"
It would depend, in part, on the exact type of cartridge bearings. If you are looking for maximized mean time between failures, or maximal maintenance intervals, the higher quality cartridge bearings are probably the best way to go. Phil Wood sells extra-heavy-duty bearings, for those who prefer them.
If you are looking for the most trouble-free servicing, as well as the most trouble-free operation, most Phil Wood hubs are extremely easy to service -- much easier than non-cartridge cup and cone bearings.
To make what could be a very long response shorter: A lot depends on you and the criteria you have. If economy is a factor, that influences the recommendation. If you have mechanical skills and do not mind overhauling cup and cone bearings, that also influences things. If your overriding priority is reliability couple with serviceability, that will also influence the recommendation outcome, or the evaluation of the available options.
In sum, It depends to a large extent on your evaluation criteria.
Last edited by Niles H.; 01-19-08 at 12:38 PM.
Can someone plz clarify something I've never been clear on with Phil Woods:
They say you don't need a bearing press to remove the bearings, but does that mean that after disassembling with two 5mm allen keys, you can literally just pop the bearings out with your finger and pop in a fresh pair?
Mad bike riding scientist
Yep. The whole thing comes apart in your hand. Slide in a new bearing and ride. I've been thinking about this lately when it comes to spoke replacement. I haven't had to replace the spokes on the hub yet but taking the freehub out might be easier then trying to remove the cassette on the road.
Originally Posted by Thasiet
When using cartridge bearings, do you still have to tweak between too tight binding and too loose play? Or do you just pop them in, tighten down, and ride, like any other bolt on your bike?
Mad bike riding scientist
I've had several and never had to adjust them like cone and cup bearings. Most all of them press on the housing of the bearing and not on the bearing itself. Since they don't press on the bearings themselves they won't bind. The American Classics I had just had a metal piece that fit over the axle and the quick release went through that. The axle was press fit through the bearings. I had a pair of Suntours that had a threaded piece that fit into the bearing to keep the axle centered.
Originally Posted by Pepper Grinder
Thasiet, thanks for getting an answer on that one.
It can be a little messy doing the regular ball bearings. That is the kind of thing I carry gloves for. Basically though, all I do is undo, one side, and unscrew the cone assembly, then I withdraw it far enough that while removingthe bearings they can't fall through. In shop I use a rare earth magnet on a rod to pull them out. Then I whipe up the grease, and pack in new grease, and push the bbs into the grease. If I drop a bb it normally just sits on top of the axle, at the same level as the race so I poke it sideways into the grease. Then I carefully switch sides with the axle, and I repeate the process. Clean up the cones and put everything back in the same place I removed it.
I'm sure you all know how to do this. My point is that with minimal org and process you really can't drop a bearing and it isn't too messy. It's probably a 15 minute thing.
I feel pretty confident that as far as lateral loads are concerned the cone assembly is the one actually designed for it. The balls are large and the raceway is set up to catch lateral loads. The PW with standard cartridge bearings is doubtless wonderful, but if those bearings where going into a machine with significant end loads, they would either be timpken roller bearings, thrust bearings, or some such.
Speaking of loose bearings with rubber shields... I'm no car guy, and can barely change the washer fluid. Yet two summers ago I decided I wanted to do the brake job on the front of my F-150. I had car guy living next door, and got the guide out of the library. The F-150 has the disc rotor integral with the wheel hub, so when you replace the disc you have to do the wheel bearings also and the seals. The bearing assembly isn't a cartridge, but it has all the rollers in a cage. You have to pack them with grease and install them. Pretty familliar process compared to a bike. The bearing asembly on the F-150 takes maybe a teaspoon of grease, scale wise, is about the size of a headset, or somewhat larger. I'm stunned 30 000 miles later it is still going strong. I take from that that bearings are pretty rugged things...
The bearings on your F150 are simular to what most RWD cars have had for 50 years. Many manufactures are now using cartridge wheel bearings. My VW Passat has um. Actually has both inboard and outboard bearings in one assembly, press fit installation. They are not servicable. But are supposed to last 3 to 4 time longer, or 150 to 200k miles vs 30k like in the case of you F150. I finally replaced one side on the VW after 220k, it was getting noisy, but worked perfecty fine, no play.
I'm not a big fan of C&C bearings and shimano hubs in particular.
Has opinion, will express
The critical thing with a cartridge bearing is ensuring that what is used to retain it in place on the axle bears on the inner race (the part that sleeves on to the axle), and that the pressure is pretty light. Otherwise, pushing too hard against the inner race will push the bearings to one side on both the inner and outer races, increasing wear and likely causing a degree of binding.
The American Classic data sheet says to adjust the freeplay with the lock nuts such that there is a tiny bit of "wiggle" on the rim of the wheel. If that wiggle isn't there, the lock nut has been tightened too much. If the locknut too loose, you won't interfere with the free run of the bearing, but the inner race may work its way loose, and cause the outer race to wear away the hub.
Using a lock nut or retain on the outer race of a cartridge bearing is pointless as that won't stop the inner race from moving on the axle. And anything that bears on the seals is asking for disaster.
At least, that is my take on it.
That's about right Rowan-- cartridge bearing hubs need a tiny bit of "play" when mounted on the bike. I'd suggest getting qick release shewers with allen heads on them. These make dialing in the micro play in the hub easier.
With the old cup and cone hubs, the axel sould have play when off the bike, and no play when clamped down with the skewers. Again, allen headed skewers are a good idea.
That was for the older style American classic rear hub only, not the front hub or newer rears. I know as last summer I tacoed my Sprint 350 rear in an accident and had to replace it with the newer model (man that hurt- the wallet that is). The newer rear should have no play in it, I immediately noticed the lack of play in the new one so I checked it out with them.
Originally Posted by Rowan
About once every couple of years, on average. I occasionally squirt in grease through the oilhole.
Originally Posted by Rowan