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Gold Standard in Sealed Bearings

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Gold Standard in Sealed Bearings

Old 07-21-17, 09:03 AM
  #1  
Andiroo99
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Gold Standard in Sealed Bearings

Hi All

Which brand / manufacturer produce the absolute top end sealed pedal bearings? I would also prefer to source either in US or UK / EU.

Thanks

Arb
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Old 07-21-17, 09:25 AM
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Are you asking for impirical evidence or just opinions. By sealed do you mean permanently sealed cartridge bearings or bearings with good dust covers. I am very interested in this topic also. My personal opinion is that I prefer a bearing that can be dismantled, cleaned, serviced and adjusted at will as opposed to a bearing that might possibly last a good while until gritty then binned. Probably lots of opinions on this. This could be like a chain lube thread......
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Old 07-21-17, 10:19 AM
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I was thinking sealed bearings which are 'notionally' not serviceable albeit in my experience even these can often be opened up and repacked.
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Old 07-21-17, 10:36 AM
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Best sealed pedals? Shimano by far. The worst pedals I've owned had a simple lubed bushing - no bearings. These lasted a few weeks before they got loose & sloppy.

Next worse were pedals with a single cartridge bearing and a bushing. The pedals with 2 cartridges were somewhat better, but most were not very well sealed. And when the cartridges failed, they were difficult to impossible to replace.
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Old 07-21-17, 10:45 AM
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These are close to what you are looking for:
Link
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Old 07-21-17, 12:30 PM
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Skf.
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Old 07-21-17, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Andiroo99 View Post
Hi All

Which brand / manufacturer produce the absolute top end sealed pedal bearings? I would also prefer to source either in US or UK / EU.

Thanks

Arb
You're not quite thinking about it correctly. Good bearing manufacturers make low grade, high grade, and ultra high bearings. You want to look into the details of the bearing grade but even that isn't enough.

There are different bearings for different applications. To pursue the hour Record at a velodrome or for a one off time trial with Spinsorship monies on the line one might choose a very low friction bearing with a very short effective lifespan. Even the amount and weight of grease or no grease and oil weight, can change the notion of which sealed bearing is "best" for which application.

How often are the bearings going to be replaced? Do you ride in wet, mud, snow or is this for "race day" pedals? All these questions become significantly relevant to determine what "best" means.

A clear sky go fast race bike, a high stakes performance record attempting bike, a foul weather commuter, a mountain bike and a do-everything bike all have potentially different sealed bearing needs for the pedal bearings.

Do you want labyrinth seals to protect against water with the marginal increased drag, or highest grade ceramic bearings with only minimal lubrication and no dust seals?

SKF makes bearings for F1 cars, but they also make cheap low grade bearings as well. It's not about the manufacturer but the bearing.
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Old 07-21-17, 01:06 PM
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All that being said, they aren't popular but Bebop pedals are great pedals for a road, cross, mountain or really anything bike. They won patent litigation with Speedplay years back, winning the battle, but some in the industry claim Speedplay filed to get the cease/desist back when Bebop pedals were blowing up. Speedplay played the schoolyard bully and threatened and intimidated the mail order outfits and OEM builders to stop using Bebops. The fact that Bebop "won" the lawsuit didn't change the outcome that Speedplay effectively was able to remove the most brilliant pedal design in a hundred years from the market. Needle and sealed bearings. Work great in the peloton. Work great in snow/ice thick mud that makes most pedals useless.

Sadly VP made the decision to cancel production, but there are still many people riding these pedals 20 years later. Bearings and seals were available. Probably going to worth a fortune on eBay in the coming years.
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Old 07-21-17, 08:27 PM
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Interesting discussion. So whats the consensus on ceramic bearings within a sealed unit?

I totally get the points made above about fitness for purpose and hear I am not looking to set a new hour record but rather to fit a great bearing, low maintenance and pretty much bomb proof and good for years to come.
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Old 07-21-17, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Andiroo99 View Post
. . . low maintenance and pretty much bomb proof and good for years to come.
Sounds like 100% ceramic bearings will be ideal.
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Old 07-21-17, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
Sounds like 100% ceramic bearings will be ideal.
Only if your pedals are maintained at one constant temperature, no matter what. Ceramic bearing are strong, but brittle, they don't take to temperature swings and shock loads very well.

Originally Posted by Andiroo99
rather to fit a great bearing, low maintenance and pretty much bomb proof and good for years to come.
52100 steel balls and races, with angular contact, and a sprung preload, on a steel axle, with a high fill of water resistant grease such a boat trailer wheel bearing grease, and contact seals.

Last edited by nfmisso; 07-21-17 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 07-21-17, 10:28 PM
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Any specific product recommendation or brands to look at?
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Old 07-22-17, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Andiroo99 View Post
Any specific product recommendation or brands to look at?
As someone said earlier, bearings are sold by grade. Cartridge bearings are rated on the ABEC scale (higher=tighter tolerance), whereas loose balls are sold by grade (lower=more round). Ball material, as the above poster noted, is also an option.

Cartridge bearings have an additional grading system that accounts for the actual cartridge's dimensions, but this is almost unimportant for bicycle purposes.

Sidebar: unless you are chasing perfection, and fractions of watts, anything better than grade 25/ABEC 3 is a waste of money. You also need to remember that, unless the part itself is high precision, putting super high precision bearings in will not make it roll better.

The take away from all of this, is that the manufacturer of the cartridge/ball isn't important, if it meets the proper criteria. If you would prefer not to go down that rabbit hole, just but then from a reputable bicycle supplier (Real World Cycling, Wheels Manufacturing, etc) at a slight markup, and call it a day.
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Old 07-22-17, 08:09 AM
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Get some NSB, NTN, SKF, F AG or other brand name industrial steel bearings. There are some nuances to picking the best one for your application and maybe standard bearings wont fit your pedals, but all the mentioned brands make high quality, industrial grade, bearings. Stay away from boutique stuff and ceramics.

Last edited by Racing Dan; 07-22-17 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 07-23-17, 07:38 PM
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Thanks for all of the advice. Much appreciated.
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