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Does unloaded wheel spin matter?

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Does unloaded wheel spin matter?

Old 10-12-19, 03:54 PM
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Jixr
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Does unloaded wheel spin matter?

I have a DT swiss R32 spline wheelset, and its the nicest wheelset I have.

Though when you flip my bike upside down, and spin the wheels by hand, they don't spin anywhere near as long as two of my other bikes that have generic formula and novatech hubs.

I'm trying to figure out if that wheelspin time reflects loaded bike performance, or if possibly its just time to replace my cartridge bearings in the dt swiss wheels.
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Old 10-12-19, 04:24 PM
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Unloaded, it's pretty much meaningless. Unless you can tell that the bearing are worn out (roughness or binding when turning the axle), replacing the cartridges is unlikely to improve unloaded spin and may actually worsen it, as seal drag is a major reason why cartridge bearings don't spin unloaded as long as loose balls. Seal drag lessens over time as the seals wear in.
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Old 10-12-19, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Unloaded, it's pretty much meaningless. Unless you can tell that the bearing are worn out (roughness or binding when turning the axle), replacing the cartridges is unlikely to improve unloaded spin and may actually worsen it, as seal drag is a major reason why cartridge bearings don't spin unloaded as long as loose balls. Seal drag lessens over time as the seals wear in.
And compared to aerodynamic and tire losses, seal drag is in the "mice nuts" category, down in the noise.
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Old 10-12-19, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Jixr View Post
I have a DT swiss R32 spline wheelset, and its the nicest wheelset I have.

Though when you flip my bike upside down, and spin the wheels by hand, they don't spin anywhere near as long as two of my other bikes that have generic formula and novatech hubs.

I'm trying to figure out if that wheelspin time reflects loaded bike performance, or if possibly its just time to replace my cartridge bearings in the dt swiss wheels.
Easy reason as to why. Those cheapo cartridge bearing hubs are known to have short lived bearings--they skimp on the seals to lower spin resistance. Result being, yes, they spin longer unloaded--but they also don't keep the water from the weather out.
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Old 10-12-19, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Unloaded, it's pretty much meaningless. Unless you can tell that the bearing are worn out (roughness or binding when turning the axle), replacing the cartridges is unlikely to improve unloaded spin and may actually worsen it, as seal drag is a major reason why cartridge bearings don't spin unloaded as long as loose balls. Seal drag lessens over time as the seals wear in.
the bearings don't feel gritty or crunchy, not quiet, but not noisy. The wheels have probably close to 2500 miles on them, and 2 seasons of cyclocross and some gravel riding.

I've even removed the outer seals from the bearings, and that didn't show much of an improvement.
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Old 10-12-19, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Jixr View Post
I have a DT swiss R32 spline wheelset, and its the nicest wheelset I have.

Though when you flip my bike upside down, and spin the wheels by hand, they don't spin anywhere near as long as two of my other bikes that have generic formula and novatech hubs.

I'm trying to figure out if that wheelspin time reflects loaded bike performance, or if possibly its just time to replace my cartridge bearings in the dt swiss wheels.
Perfect excuse for an experiment.

1) Take the bike to the top of a moderate hill, get on, and coast down to the stopping point - then mark the road.

2) Install second set of wheels and repeat using the same body position.

3) Tell us what happened.

I've always wondered why my friend coasts faster/further on his bike as I do mine. It could be his extra 30# on me, the hubs, the tires, a combination of all, etc.

'Science' is fun!
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Old 10-12-19, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Jixr View Post
I've even removed the outer seals from the bearings, and that didn't show much of an improvement.
This was going to be my suggestion.

Just as a point of personal curiosity and experimentation, I like trying to maximize the "free spin time" when I set bearings up. I try to set the preload as loose as possible...basically, right at the point where physical play is gone. I know this doesn't result in any real world gains on the road, but it's fascinating to me how a few degrees of a turn on a cone nut can change bearing operation so dramatically. It is, of course, very logical, but it's no less interesting to me.

So I feel you -- that "free spin time" is something that makes me smile, too.

I recently bought a set of wheels with Novatec hubs, and one of the bearings went bad pretty quickly. I replaced it and, obviously, couldn't adjust anything. It either worked or it didn't (it took me a few tries to get it seated perfectly). I thought to myself, "huh...this is no fun...I can't adjust anything!"
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Old 10-12-19, 11:08 PM
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I hate to ask this, but do you ride the bike upside down? If not, don't worry about it.
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Old 10-12-19, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Jixr View Post
I have a DT swiss R32 spline wheelset, and its the nicest wheelset I have.

Though when you flip my bike upside down, and spin the wheels by hand, they don't spin anywhere near as long as two of my other bikes that have generic formula and novatech hubs.

I'm trying to figure out if that wheelspin time reflects loaded bike performance, or if possibly its just time to replace my cartridge bearings in the dt swiss wheels.
The worst part about free-spin “tests” is that people are seduced into buying products with worthless bearing seals in the hopes that it will make their bike easier to ride. Not in any noticeable sense, but their bearings will go bad that much faster.
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Old 10-13-19, 05:11 AM
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It matters to me, I had these superbe pro wheels with bearings as smooth as butter and no play, they would just spin and spin and spin.....I loved it. Ahem, back to reality, In response to your question I have no idea, and it would be hard to argue with the science stated above, but the perception of nice spinning high quality wheels makes me feel better.
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Old 10-13-19, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Easy reason as to why. Those cheapo cartridge bearing hubs are known to have short lived bearings--they skimp on the seals to lower spin resistance. Result being, yes, they spin longer unloaded--but they also don't keep the water from the weather out.
You might have a point if the DT Swiss hubs were a “cheapo cartridge bearing hub”. None of the hubs that DT Swiss sell can be classified as “cheap”. In my experience, cartridge bearings of just about any kind last far longer with less maintenance than any other hub I’ve used. They even spin far better.

Originally Posted by Jixr View Post
I have a DT swiss R32 spline wheelset, and its the nicest wheelset I have.

Though when you flip my bike upside down, and spin the wheels by hand, they don't spin anywhere near as long as two of my other bikes that have generic formula and novatech hubs.

I'm trying to figure out if that wheelspin time reflects loaded bike performance, or if possibly its just time to replace my cartridge bearings in the dt swiss wheels.
Do they spin well when off the bike? If so, then it’s something other than bearings. If it is the bearings, look at the owners manual to see if there is any kind of adjustment that can be made.
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Old 10-13-19, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You might have a point if the DT Swiss hubs were a “cheapo cartridge bearing hub”. None of the hubs that DT Swiss sell can be classified as “cheap”. In my experience, cartridge bearings of just about any kind last far longer with less maintenance than any other hub I’ve used. They even spin far better.
Cheapo in my post was referring to Novatec etc, not DT. Novatecs are known for underwhelming bearing life. They just are not sealed well.
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