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ceramic bottom bracket or RDR jockey wheels?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

ceramic bottom bracket or RDR jockey wheels?

Old 05-15-15, 10:22 AM
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goose70
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ceramic bottom bracket or RDR jockey wheels?

I need to replace worn jockey wheels on my rear DR and it's also about time to replace my BB. My mechanic is touting some new, ceramic ball bearing jockey wheels and bottom bracket. Both seem impressively smooth on the 'ol spin test. But they're expensive, so I'd like to choose one or the other, not both.

To those who have tried this upgrade, if you had to choose one, would you upgrade your RDR jockey wheels or BB? Or does it not make sense to do only one, since the leaving the other as standard will negate the benefit? My inclination right now is to just do the BB since it supposedly lasts three-times longer than a standard BB, which would negate the cost.
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Old 05-15-15, 10:32 AM
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Hawk Racing makes non ceramic bottom brackets and jockey wheels that have virtually the same friction characteristics as ceramic ones according to Friction Facts. The price is much cheaper - at that rate, you could probably afford both the jockey wheel and BB replacement and have it be at top level performance. You don't need ceramic.

J.
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Old 05-15-15, 10:35 AM
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Ceramic ball bearings offer absolutely no advantage over stainless steel in bicycle applications. They are a rip off. Besides that the prices have been dropping like a stone in recent months. Even if you chose to use them, they shouldn't cost more than a couple times the steel ones anymore. Don't be a sucker. Stay with steel, stainless preferably.
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Old 05-15-15, 10:47 AM
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I saw a report, maybe on Friction Facts, that ceramic jockey wheels will save you about 10 seconds over the course of a century ride. I doubt that a ceramic BB would help very much more than that.
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Old 05-15-15, 10:57 AM
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Find a new mechanic. The one you have now cannot be trusted
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Old 05-15-15, 11:13 AM
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I just checked the Friction Facts report from 2013 and the difference between the most efficient and least efficient set of pulleys is 1.337 watts.

The least efficient were Shimano Acera pulleys at 1.37 watts. The CeraminSpeed Gr3 pulleys were 0.033 watts. The worse ceramic pulleys were the FSA Ceramic at 0.285 watts.

For comparison, Shimano DA used 0.181 watts. SRAM Force/Rival at 0.146 watts. Shimano Ultegra 0.607 watts.

The average difference between ceramic and steel bearings was trivial. The steel used 0.013 more watts.

Sleeve bushing pulleys were the worse at an average of 0.577 watts.

Home page Friction Facts
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Old 05-15-15, 01:06 PM
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Or you go ahead and buy very very good steel bearings with high grade bearing balls. I did not find ceramic BB to feel any better if compared to BB bearings with high quality steel balls.
There are good quality ceramic and steel, go for steel!

Btw, did that mech also tell yo that ceramic bearings need more maintenance? You also need to check if the races are a good quality with treatment so the ceramic balls will not wear the races. The ceramic bearings is more fragile if you get them dirty. So again, i would rather buy the better version steel bearings.

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Old 05-15-15, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by BoSoxYacht View Post
Find a new mechanic. The one you have now cannot be trusted
This
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Old 05-15-15, 06:43 PM
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I don't know which ones you're looking at but for SRAM, they recommend cleaning your (ceramic) BB at some ludicrous interval (every 100 miles? I did say ludicrous) which is just never going to be part of my bike maintenance strategy.

Save your money.
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Old 05-15-15, 06:51 PM
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placebo bearings...
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Old 05-15-15, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
Hawk Racing makes non ceramic bottom brackets and jockey wheels that have virtually the same friction characteristics as ceramic ones according to Friction Facts. The price is much cheaper - at that rate, you could probably afford both the jockey wheel and BB replacement and have it be at top level performance. You don't need ceramic.

J.
+1 Ceramic makes no difference. I replaced the bearings in a Campy UT crankset a few years ago. Perceived difference: Zero.
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Old 05-16-15, 08:42 AM
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Just light some of your money on fire. The reduced weight of the ash compared to intact paper money will provide more benefit than ceramic bearings.
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Old 05-16-15, 02:40 PM
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Yet another "solution" in searchj of a problem that doesn't exist.

Time to learn to do your own work and ditch the idiot mechanic.
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Old 05-18-15, 12:33 PM
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Thanks. Very useful information. After doing some poking around of my own, I came to a similar conclusion. I also noticed in my initial post that I tossed my mechanic under the bus a bit. It's more that the LBS has been touting these while the mechanic is more agnostic about it. I'm just going to replace with stock SRAM wheels on the RDR, but I'll probably go with the Kogel BB since I need to replace the BB, anyway, and it comes with a two-year warranty and includes scheduled maintenance. Since I typically go through two BBs in a year (it's not much more $$ to replace a standard, press-fit BB as it is to service it), that upgrade makes more sense to me irrespective of friction savings.
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Old 05-18-15, 01:57 PM
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2 BBs a year seems excessive to me, but I use Shimano Hollowtech II BBs, and live in a dry area. 40-50k miles is easy to get out them in my experience(but I weigh 170-180#s).

Maybe someday a better BB will be designed, but it doesn't sound like there's anything better available at this time.
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Old 05-18-15, 02:39 PM
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Having to change the bearings so often would not be acceptable to me. You don't even have to do that on a Walmart BSO, why should you have to do it on a real bike?
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Old 05-18-15, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by BoSoxYacht View Post
2 BBs a year seems excessive to me, but I use Shimano Hollowtech II BBs, and live in a dry area. 40-50k miles is easy to get out them in my experience(but I weigh 170-180#s)
What am I missing in knowing how to use up bike parts? I removed my Hollowtech II BB for the first time after 15,000+ miles and replaced with a new one I'd already bought. But I don't think the old one showed more wear than the brand new one. I was fishing to a solution to an occasional noise during rides. It wasn't the BB. So I don't expect to wear out two BBs in a year until I'm far exceeding 30,000 mpy.
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Old 05-18-15, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Athens80 View Post
What am I missing in knowing how to use up bike parts? I removed my Hollowtech II BB for the first time after 15,000+ miles and replaced with a new one I'd already bought. But I don't think the old one showed more wear than the brand new one. I was fishing to a solution to an occasional noise during rides. It wasn't the BB. So I don't expect to wear out two BBs in a year until I'm far exceeding 30,000 mpy.
I'm right there with you. I replaced a Hollowtech II BB after over 60k miles to eliminate a creak, but it was actually a headset bearing that was causing the problem.

I've never seen a better BB in my 35+ years of road cycling.
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Old 05-18-15, 11:28 PM
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As many sources say - the races in which the bearings live are usually not as smooth as the bearings themselves. Park Tool's website for one says this, and I'm inclined to agree with Park Tool as they aren't in the bearing business and seem to have a few knowledgeable mechs employed.
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Old 05-19-15, 08:24 PM
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+1 on the Hawk BB. There a number of videos on You Tube, including mine, that show how easy it turns over. I also have the Hawk jockey wheels. Not just for the time savings - that would never matter to me, I am the limiting factor to my bike, but just because they are just beautiful bike jewelry - they just look so good when you are cleaning / looking over your bike. I will be doing another spin test video on the BB before I take it off my Bianchi Infinito frame after about a thousand miles. I bought a Serotta frame and the BB is going to be part of that build. Andy
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