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"Sealed" bearing vs "cartridge" bearing

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"Sealed" bearing vs "cartridge" bearing

Old 04-24-13, 06:21 PM
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OneLessFixie
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"Sealed" bearing vs "cartridge" bearing

I know this is mainly a question of semantics, but here goes.

Check out this photo of the upper headset bearing on my new bike:



When I got my new bike, I posted that it had a "sealed" bearing headset. I was later corrected and told that this is not a "sealed" bearing but a "cartridge" bearing. I understood that a "sealed" bearing means a cartridge bearing like what you see here as opposed to loose (or cup-and-cone) bearings. If this is not a "sealed" bearing, then what is?
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Old 04-24-13, 07:37 PM
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rydabent
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Cartridge and sealed bearing are basically the same thing. Sealed isnt quite right tho. The seal has to weep a little to keep it sealed up.
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Old 04-24-13, 07:57 PM
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I think there is a difference. Cartridge bearings are sealed but not all sealed bearings are cartridge.

Shimano hubs, for example are sometimes referred to as sealed mechanisms. The lower priced hubs have some kind of wiper seal, higher end hubs have double labyrinth seals. Many headsets, which don't have drop in cartridge bearings have some kind of wiper or O-ring seals.
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Old 04-24-13, 10:06 PM
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In the bearing world you'll rarely, if ever see "cartridge" bearings.

They're all (almost) cartridge bearings as we use the term in the bike world. So the bearing folks just call them bearings or ball, needle or roller bearings, etc. then add a descriptive such as sealed (on one or both sides) or shielded, or whatever describes the feature that sets them apart.

So when speaking to bike people, you can feel free to call bearings sealed or cartridge, because your listener will know you mean those that aren't the old cup/cone bearings that were fixtures in bikes throughout the last century.
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Old 04-24-13, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by OneLessFixie View Post
I understood that a "sealed" bearing means a cartridge bearing like what you see here as opposed to loose (or cup-and-cone) bearings.
That's the problem with the word sealed in the biking world. Many people use it to refer to cartridge bearings, but that's not correct use of the word. Most bicycle bearings are sealed to some extent. I've seen the word sealed on tons of cup and cone bearings.

Cartridge bearings are available without seals, but I wouldn't recommend putting them on your bike!

So to answer your main question, you have a sealed cartridge bearing headset.
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Old 04-24-13, 11:07 PM
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there are cartridge BB assemblies, .. too .. the Shimano UN xx, an example.. if good they're good,
if no, you toss the whole thing.
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Old 04-25-13, 05:00 AM
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And not to be confused with caged bearings, which are unsealed bearing held together with a cage and are sometimes used instead of loose bearings in a cup/cone assembly.
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Old 04-25-13, 10:22 AM
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Hi,

Generally that type of headset is described as "threadless" and
most will know what it means compared to the older type.

rgds, sreten.
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Old 04-25-13, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by sreten View Post
Hi,

Generally that type of headset is described as "threadless" and
most will know what it means compared to the older type.

rgds, sreten.
True, but both threaded and threadless headsets are available in both cartridge bearing and cup-and-cone bearing forms.
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