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Does your LBS carry loose ball bearings?

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Does your LBS carry loose ball bearings?

Old 07-25-17, 07:48 AM
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tjspiel
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Does your LBS carry loose ball bearings?

I was shocked to find that the one a few blocks from my house does not. It's a high end place and I'm sure none of the bikes they sell uses loose bearings but you'd think they'd do the occasional tuneup on an old bike.

I guess not. However, if you want a cup of espresso or a pastry they've got you covered.

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Old 07-25-17, 07:53 AM
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I think they still do, I bought some a couple of years ago. Maybe not as many bearings as a shop would have bitd though
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Old 07-25-17, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I was shocked to find that the one a few blocks from my house does not. It's a high end place and I'm sure none of the bikes they sell uses loose bearings but you'd think they'd do the occasional tuneup on an old bike.

I guess not. However, if you want a cup of expresso or a pastry they've got you covered.
I visited a "high-end" shop in MPLS a few months ago and my overall impression was that it was more concerned with being hip and carrying the latest instagram-famous bikes and products than it was with being a bike shop. Decent espresso though.

Also I could barely get the time of day from any of the employees, and one of them spouted some misinformation about gravel tires that I know through personal experience is decidedly false, which tells me he doesn't know jack about gravel.
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Old 07-25-17, 08:03 AM
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They do. Bought some 1/4" ball bearings two weeks ago to replace my wife's rear wheel hub bearings that were caged and starting to see some wear. They were cheap too, just 4 cents each.
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Old 07-25-17, 08:12 AM
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No, but they can order them for me at 12 times the price of Amazon, and they will be here within 3 to 5 weeks.
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Old 07-25-17, 08:28 AM
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luckily, the shop i frequent carries ball bearings - in addition to the PBR in the mini fridge behind the service counter. granted those guys are all younger and can come across as ******-ish but i've always been treated fair.
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Old 07-25-17, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
I visited a "high-end" shop in MPLS a few months ago and my overall impression was that it was more concerned with being hip and carrying the latest instagram-famous bikes and products than it was with being a bike shop. Decent espresso though.

Also I could barely get the time of day from any of the employees, and one of them spouted some misinformation about gravel tires that I know through personal experience is decidedly false, which tells me he doesn't know jack about gravel.
Might be the same place. Usually the employees are friendly enough, but if it weren't so close I'd probably never go there because the prices seem so high. I give them credit for morphing the traditional bike shop into something that apparently has a workable business model. They've successfully made it into a destination. People apparently like to hangout there, but if you want parts, it's not the best option.
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Old 07-25-17, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by SylvainG View Post
They do. Bought some 1/4" ball bearings two weeks ago to replace my wife's rear wheel hub bearings that were caged and starting to see some wear. They were cheap too, just 4 cents each.
Every now and I then I consider replacing the old cup and cone BB on my fixed gear bike with a cartridge but bearings are so cheap and I've got 3 tubes of Phil Wood's grease that came with some miscellaneous tools and parts I bought from a guy on craigslist.
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Old 07-25-17, 09:10 AM
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The one time I had to buy loose BB's the LBS did not have it. I ended up getting a caged unit.
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Old 07-25-17, 09:26 AM
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They had some the last time I needed some. Since then I tossed a couple bags of 100 in a mail order to meet the free shipping minimum, and I've been working through them. I still support the shop by asking them to do the stuff I don't want to mess with, although that list is slowly shrinking.
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Old 07-25-17, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I was shocked to find that the one a few blocks from my house does not. It's a high end place and I'm sure none of the bikes they sell uses loose bearings but you'd think they'd do the occasional tuneup on an old bike.

I guess not. However, if you want a cup of espresso or a pastry they've got you covered.
Shimano hubs still use loose balls.
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Old 07-25-17, 09:38 AM
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The last three LBS I've been in in my area have had both loose balls and caged bearings.
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Old 07-25-17, 09:54 AM
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I wonder if they have them but won't sell them, - not big enough for bar codes.
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Old 07-25-17, 10:16 AM
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I'm hoping to find out when I get around to taking my front wheel down there so we can find out just which size bearings are in there.
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Old 07-25-17, 10:48 AM
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How the heck can they even work on bikes if they don't have loose bearings? Are they so high end that they never touch a bike that doesn't have 100% sealed cartridge bearings?

Just go to Amazon or eBay.
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Old 07-25-17, 11:17 AM
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I recently picked up 500 BB's in 5 sizes from Amazon for $10-$12 maybe. Aside from wheels, pedals often use loose bearings, even some of the higher end models. I replaced the bearings in the wheel of my son's tag-a-long bike, and also regreased its 1-piece crank and bottom bracket. HUGE difference there! I also replaced bearings in another wheelset I have, and rebuilt 3 sets of pedals. Everything is like new, now!
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Old 07-25-17, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
How the heck can they even work on bikes if they don't have loose bearings? Are they so high end that they never touch a bike that doesn't have 100% sealed cartridge bearings?

Just go to Amazon or eBay.
It turned out that I didn't need them, I had enough left. That morning I was a block away from the shop and remembered that I needed a tube for my son's bike so I stopped by. It's a fun place to look around.

My BB had started to creak and I figured it was due for bearing replacement anyway so I thought I pick up some bearings in case I was short.

My guess is that they do have them, but they buy them in bulk and don't sell to the public cause they don't know how to sell something they can't scan. I bet if the right person would have been behind the counter they would have given me a fist full and charged a couple of bucks.

The two people that were behind the counter just looked at me like I was nuts and tried to be helpful by selling me a $12 bearing replacement kit for a 1 piece crank.

Last edited by tjspiel; 07-25-17 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 07-25-17, 12:51 PM
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Is it possible to use loose BB's instead of caged on 1-piece cranks? If so is it significantly better? Or do you replace the individual BB's inside the cage?
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Old 07-25-17, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
Is it possible to use loose BB's instead of caged on 1-piece cranks? If so is it significantly better? Or do you replace the individual BB's inside the cage?
My bike doesn't have a one piece crank, maybe that's what they thought. Anyway, I know that for most (any?) BB that uses bearings in cages you can use loose BB's but you'll need more since they are spaced farther apart in a cage.

And because you are using more bearings, it is better. Cages are used because they make assembly cheaper.

That's one reason I didn't buy the replacement kit. It would have fewer bearings. The other reason is that I didn't want to spend $12 when what I needed should cost a fraction of that.
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Old 07-25-17, 01:53 PM
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Is it really common to call ball bearings "BBs"?

BB is a specific size of round ammo, specifically 0.177 inches. Also they're copper coated steel, you really wouldn't want to put them in a bearing.
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Old 07-25-17, 02:03 PM
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The shop that I go to does have them, and they sold me some at a decent price a while back. MTB shop, and primarily service and repairs. You need to drive past those latte swilling roadie hangouts and find a shop where they like to work on bikes!
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Old 07-25-17, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
I recently picked up 500 BB's in 5 sizes from Amazon for $10-$12 maybe. Aside from wheels, pedals often use loose bearings, even some of the higher end models. I replaced the bearings in the wheel of my son's tag-a-long bike, and also regreased its 1-piece crank and bottom bracket. HUGE difference there! I also replaced bearings in another wheelset I have, and rebuilt 3 sets of pedals. Everything is like new, now!
What did you order? I want to replace the front wheel bearings but don't know what size I need. The shop says to bring the wheel in so they can take it apart at home and skip the trip to the shop. The wheel in question is a low end Shimano I bought at Performance within the past few years.
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Old 07-25-17, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
Is it possible to use loose BB's instead of caged on 1-piece cranks? If so is it significantly better? Or do you replace the individual BB's inside the cage?
I've never seen it done. I imagine you would want sticky grease to hold the balls on while you assemble everything.
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Old 07-25-17, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I wonder if they have them but won't sell them, - not big enough for bar codes.
If they can bar code diamonds....
I don't see why they can't do it on bearings.

Perhaps the store decided to separate sale items from repair items. It might be a bit of a hassle to count out bearings individually.

But, it also turns away customers. Internet? Elsewhere?

Our local building supply store has loose bearings. Also local bearing supply stores.
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Old 07-25-17, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I've never seen it done. I imagine you would want sticky grease to hold the balls on while you assemble everything.
I honestly don't remember if the BB on this bike ever had cages. It's possible it did and I got rid of them. I've had it for awhile and I got it during a period when I was purchasing and selling used bikes pretty frequently. Anyway, with this bike I depend on the fact that the grease will hold the bearings in place while I assemble the BB.

Here's Sheldon Brown's page for BB maintenance including the recommendation to ditch the cages:

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/bbadj.html

However, I've seen an article on the same site from Jobst Brandt recommending that you keep the cages.

Edit: I guess they agree. Sheldon says to ditch the cage if it contains less than 11 balls.

Last edited by tjspiel; 07-25-17 at 05:03 PM.
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