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wheelset bearings.

Old 01-27-17, 02:01 PM
milton banana
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wheelset bearings.

Thinking about a new wheelset. A friend recommended whatever set you end up with make sure you get "good bearing." What's the difference? What is good, and what is not so good. The two finalists are two killer sales going on with the Mavic Kysrium Pro Exalith, and the Shimano 9000 C24's. Thanks.
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Old 01-27-17, 03:01 PM
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So much more goes into a wheel than just bearings. Basing the decision on "good bearings' seems very narrow and "good bearings" is ambiguous enough to be almost meaningless. Nevertheless...

Bearings are rated by ABEC grades - 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9. Higher numbers represent tighter tolerances and higher quality. Most agree that ABEC-5 are fine for cycling. I used ABEC 5 bearings when I rebuilt my wheels.

Very high end wheels might have, or might be rebuilt with ceramic bearings - very high quality and very expensive.

I own Shimano DA 9000 C24 clinchers. They are loose bearings - not a cartridge that gets pressed in but you remove the parts and loose ball bearings sit inside. These are high quality bearings if maintained regularly.

Mavic Pro Exalith use cartridge bearings. Bearings sit inside a cartridge which gets pressed into the hub. I would be surprised if Mavic did not use at least ABEC 5 bearings in these wheels. They should last many years with no maintenance. Bearings in my 2006 Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels had no problems when I replaced them last summer after ten years of riding. Cost for the ABEC 5 cartridges was maybe $20 for both wheels.

Shimano DA 9000 C24 clincher is about 1360 grams. 3 year warranty. I see these wheels often on group rides.

Mavic claims 1475 grams for the Pro Exalith with a 2 year warranty.

The Shimano wheels are very light - accelerate and climb really well especially with a very light tire. I am 195lb and can feel them flexing under hard cornering. They are not as stiff as my 2006 Ksyrium SL which I really enjoyed.

If wider tires fit between my chainstays then I'd run HED Ardennes Plus SL.


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Old 01-28-17, 01:21 AM
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Bearings usually last longer than the rest of the wheal assembly. I got about 30,000 miles out of the bearings in my last set of Mavics. At about 10k miles, I began to get a clicking noise from the front wheel, and traced it to the cartridge bearings. The lubricant had become dried out and contaminated. I cleaned them, squeezed a little Phil Wood grease into them, and got another 20k miles before the rims became worn. Rather than replace the rims, I finally broke down and got a new wheel set. (The bearings in the original rear wheel were never cleaned or relubed.)

Loose bearings are easily cleaned and lubricated, though the process is a little messy, and adjusting the bearing cones takes a bit of skill. Cartridge bearings are not expensive, and it is probably easier just to pop in a new set every 5 years or so.
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Old 01-28-17, 08:47 PM
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GCN had a ask an expert deal about bearings and they too said don't worry about bearings. Spend your money on wheel compnants (deep dish rims ect) but never bearings. Very minimal gains
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Old 01-29-17, 12:51 AM
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I don't like cup and cone. They require maintenance too regularly, and setting the tension is just irritating. The wheels on my bike are cartridge bearing, and the set before that was cartridge-- at ~15k miles, I didn't even bother servicing/cleaning them-- replacement ABEC-5 bearings are $3 each. I just put in new bearings and called it a day. I never touched the factory bearings even once in 15k miles.

On the other hand, my wife's bike has cup and cone hubs, and I hate them. I keep trying to talk her into getting new wheels, and she resists, saying "these work just fine." But she's not the one who maintains them. At least twice a year I have that damn rear hub apart.
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