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1/8th Inch Freewheel Bearings Chrome or Stainless?

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1/8th Inch Freewheel Bearings Chrome or Stainless?

Old 08-06-21, 04:41 PM
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zandoval 
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1/8th Inch Freewheel Bearings Chrome or Stainless?

I have about eight funky MF TZ30 Shimano freewheels that are kinda in between worn out. That's when your putting on a new chain and your feewwheel has a little life but not much left in it. So you get a new freewheel for the new chain. The TZ30s from the road bikes have the small gears worn out and from the touring/gravel bike its the large gears. So so out of eight I got five complete freewheels. I used up my little pill bottle of 1/8" bearings and went to order more on amazon and found they are also made in stainless steel. Never seen those before. Anyway... I ordered the regular CroMo steel balls not trusting the stainless steels hardness.

So what are your thoughts on stainless steel 1/8" bearings for freewheels?

BC Precision Balls-SS1073 1/8" Inch Stainless Steel Bearing Balls G25
Material - Stainless Steel 420

PGN - 1/8" Inch (0.125") Precision Chrome Steel Bearing Balls G25
Material - Chrome Steel AISI 52100

I think I know your answer...Ha
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Old 08-06-21, 06:00 PM
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SS has shown to be a poor bearing material, or at least the cost to make a good SS bearing seems to be greater then what manufacturers think their bike customers want to spend. Just look at the millions of carbon steeled bearings and the VERY few SS ones.

I'll add that the only viable reason to consider SS as a bearing material is the corrosion resistance compared to a carbon steel ball (and other surfaces), IMO. So as long as one keeps the carbon steel bearings coated with a corrosion inhibitor, like lube, they won't rust. Once again proper maintenance counts. Andy
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Old 08-06-21, 10:11 PM
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The bearings in a freewheel are only doing anything while you are coasting. While you are pedaling, those bearings are stationary, not moving.
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Old 08-07-21, 08:01 AM
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420 grade stainless steel is not a particularly good choice for bearings as it isn't hardenable to very high levels. It has decent corrosion resistance but that's not a real concern for most bike bearings which are (or should be) always coated with oil or grease. There are better grades of stainless steel that make more durable bearings but they cost more. "Chrome steel" bearings are a better choice at less cost. As Andrew noted, it is by far the material of choice for the vast majority of bicycle bearings.
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Old 08-07-21, 03:52 PM
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Ceramic bearings of course...LOL.

Trying to repair old tourney freewheels is kinda of silly but throwing stuff away is also kinda silly. Glad you are making it work.
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Old 08-08-21, 05:42 PM
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Even on the waterfront I avoid stainless. Stainless is cool for tanks or decorative pretty stuff.

Avoiding corrosion only to have a material that galls and I canít easily drill out? No thanks.

So my answer in CroMo.

Iíd even avoid it for bike applications like cage mounts. Who cares if the head has a little rust on it as long as I put grease or anti seize on the threads?
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Old 08-08-21, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
Avoiding corrosion only to have a material that galls and I canít easily drill out? No thanks.
The grades of stainless steel (400-series) used for bearings are not subject to galling like the more corrosion resistant but less strong 300-series. That said, they aren't needed for bike bearings. BTW, when did you have to drill out a bearing ball?
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Old 08-08-21, 07:25 PM
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After rusty broken bearings from winter commuting I started using stainless bearings. Overall they aren't too expensive when bought in bulk. I still have to analyze the wear, but so far I haven't noted any problems.
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Old 08-08-21, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
The grades of stainless steel (400-series) used for bearings are not subject to galling like the more corrosion resistant but less strong 300-series. That said, they aren't needed for bike bearings. BTW, when did you have to drill out a bearing ball?
I drilled out 10 bearings today? How the heck do you get the grease in otherwise?
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