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Anyone running Ceramic bearings?

Old 11-22-11, 02:26 PM
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Daspydyr 
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Anyone running Ceramic bearings?

My BB is making a squeak so I am looking at replacements. I can replace as is XT BB for @$35. or I can go ceramic for $139+.......

Does anyone have any experience using ceramic? What's the thought?
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Old 11-22-11, 03:32 PM
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You can get a pair of yellow seal ceramic (well, hybrid anyway: cermaic balls, stainless races) for 82.95 from Bocca.

https://www.bocabearings.com/search.a...TTOM%20BRACKET
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Old 11-22-11, 04:14 PM
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Thanks for the link d. It looks specifically designed for what we do. But are they worth the extra cash? Any experience?
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Old 11-22-11, 04:17 PM
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From what I heard Ceramic BB's are next to useless, and wear out very fast.
I was sort of interested in them but in looking at the reviews I will pass.
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Old 11-22-11, 04:57 PM
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I've heard arguments all over board on this one - I think on a Tri (TT) bike if all the bearings were replaced (hubs, deraileur pulleys, pedal bearings etc.) you may see a small performance increase, because of overall efficiency - and the only thing you do is pedal. However, on a mountain bike, efficiency is more based on a riders style, holding speed in a corner, letting the brakes go on a DH or simply picking really good lines. So I don't think there would be any performance gain. As far as longevity - that all depends on the manufacturing process, if one tolerance is slightly out, then the bearing is probably worse than a steel unit.

There are a few machines at my work the have ceramic bearings - they have spindle speeds >10,000 RPM - all the lower speed machines use steel. I doubt a BB on a MTB will ever break 150 RPM.
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Old 11-22-11, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Daspydyr View Post
Thanks for the link d. It looks specifically designed for what we do. But are they worth the extra cash? Any experience?
I should have tried them when Bocca first introduced them - - price was only a 'thinkable' percentage over steel. With the popularity, they've gotten downright silly. I wouldn't spend the money, per sscyco's thoughts - - I'd worry about durability of the balls. Ball bearings, as they are used in bikes, are already often a poor fit for the application IMO - - small balls that are better-suited to light load/high RPM environments - - but are used because they are readily available and easier to seal that more suitable bearings. I think that ceramic is another better-suited-to-RPM applications. But that's probably just me.
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Old 11-22-11, 07:09 PM
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you have positively identified it as BB noise?
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Old 11-23-11, 04:20 PM
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A complaint I have heard it that when they fail, they fail catastrophically, rather than gradually like steel. So instead of having a squeaky sloppy steel bb for a while, one day a ceramic ball suddenly shatters, and you walk home. Have not seen it happen, but heard it from a solid guy.
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Old 11-23-11, 04:48 PM
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I put ceramic bearings in the "only use them if they're schwag" category.
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Old 11-23-11, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
. . . but heard it from a solid guy.
Solid guy . . . ?

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Old 11-23-11, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dminor View Post
Solid guy . . . ?

And then he asked me for gum...
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Old 11-23-11, 09:51 PM
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I have a buddy who has put a fair amount of personal money into this own cottage works ceramic bottom bracket store.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/BEARING-DURA...#ht_4022wt_907

in brief there are 2 types of ceramics that are great for bearings/races

Ceramic Zirconium
Ceramic Nitride

You want Zirconium for races
you want Nitride for balls

there is also something called a "peek" (not sure of spelling) retainer, which is the type of material/retainer to keep the balls proper spaced, and has little drag

also Kluber is the preferred lubricant


the problem with "Ceramic" bearings is that they are expensive to bring to market.
most bearings that are on the market are "hybrids" with things like cryogenically hardened races

so the hype about "ceramic" is kind of mis-lead. that is the majority of bearings out there are not to the best specs.

a very good bearing is amazing, and just like anything else requires care and maintenance.

in the example of an outboard BB i.e. GXP, ideally when it comes time to clean your bike, you'd never apply degreaser to the BB, but of course this rarely happens.

I myself, use a Park Chain scrubber, spin things up, and hose off the remains. However, on a regular basis I do R&R the BB push out the bearings, and totally clean and relube. Most people don't do this kind of stuff.

as far as all out plug and play, bang for the buck...
enduro cromo bearings are awesome: GXP example: https://www.enduroforkseals.com/id193.html
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Old 11-24-11, 01:23 PM
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Nearly five years on an Enduro Bearing RWC bb set with ceramics. On a bike that sees a lot of mileage, crappy conditions, and gets beaten on fairly roughly. No issues. Don't know if I'd buy again, since I've had no real trouble with non-ceramic. Is the slight bit of reistance worth the cost?

No idea. Maybe if you livelyhood depends on it. But it's something I don't even notice when pedaling. IMO, to make a noticable difference, you'd have to replace ALL the bearings on the bike.
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Old 11-25-11, 12:04 AM
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Maybe, depending on the dust and dirt in your area? I don't run them.
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