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Full Ceramic bearing on Alloy Hub

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Full Ceramic bearing on Alloy Hub

Old 07-17-16, 11:23 AM
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hythamfekry
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Full Ceramic bearing on Alloy Hub

HI ,
i'm looking to upgrade a Novatec Alloy hub "F482SB-SL , A291SB-SL" with a Full ceramic Si3N4 bearings ..
The Full bearing set is around 75$ which is a good deal compared to performance gain ..
My question , most of hubs i seen are using Hybrid Bearings "Steel rings/Ceramic balls" , is there's any compatibility/reliability issues in Full ceramic bearings with alloy hubs ...
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Old 07-17-16, 11:53 AM
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I doubt the actual races (where the bearings contact the hub) on your hub are alloy even if the hub body is. They are almost always steel. Aluminum is too soft for a bearing surface. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 07-17-16, 12:04 PM
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I guess bearing are steel race with steel balls and the body is Aluminum ...
I'm referring to the replacements hubs , I know the hybrid "steel race+ceramic balls" works ... but does FULL Si3N4 bearing "ceramic race+ceramic ball" are durable enough ..
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Old 07-17-16, 12:33 PM
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Oh, so your question has nothing to do with alloy, but rather what the difference is between full ceramic sealed bearings (ceramic race + ceramic balls) and hybrid ceramic sealed bearings (steel race + ceramic balls).

Full ceramic is lighter and more durable than hybrid ceramic.

There should be no difference in wear on the hub body between full ceramic and hybrid.

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Old 07-17-16, 12:37 PM
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I was recently educated on bearing materials and how they actually affect performance for cycling applications. The results surprised me, I was told by a leading bearing manufacturer that ceramic bearings are overkill for cycling applications and that you would have to spin 10x faster than the bike is capable of spinning before you even begin to see any real benefits from the use of ceramic. The best performer is an angular contact steel bearing which costs a quarter of the price compared to ceramic. Do what you want but after learning this I chose to save some cash.
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Old 07-17-16, 12:41 PM
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Nice , So i can install FULL ceramic bearing "Si3N4" on the Novatec hub model above "F482SB/A291SB-SL"
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Old 07-17-16, 01:19 PM
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I don't have a Novatec hub apart, but I think they used sealed cartridge bearings.

So, you will have to remove the cartridge, and replace with the cartridge bearing of your choice. Steel, Ceramic, etc.


As far as replacement of the sealed cartridges, there shouldn't be any problems with your hubs as long as you find a good match for the bearing size.

If it was me, I'd probably ride the stock bearings until they show signs of wear, then replace.
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Old 07-17-16, 01:25 PM
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OP, there is essentially universal agreement that you are wasting your money. There are not too many things in cycling that everyone agrees on, but the lack of performance advantage from ceramic bearings is one of them. Your best bang for the buck is stainless steel.
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Old 07-17-16, 02:19 PM
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Thanks all ..
The Hub is actually NEW , i was looking for a performance upgrade with FULL ceramic hub "ceramic ring&balls" ..
I tested a Full ceramic wheel myself at a bike shop , it spins for multiple minutes with a slight push ..
I know it won't boost me for a higher max speed , but i assume it will need less effort to maintain high speeds due to less friction ..
Appreciate your input ..
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Old 07-17-16, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by hythamfekry View Post
Thanks all ..
The Hub is actually NEW , i was looking for a performance upgrade with FULL ceramic hub "ceramic ring&balls" ..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4Tc1U1Tg34
I tested a Full ceramic wheel myself at a bike shop , it spins for multiple minutes with a slight push ..
I know it won't boost me for a higher max speed , but i assume it will need less effort to maintain high speeds due to less friction ..
Appreciate your input ..
It is negligible. The dfference between a wheel spinning for 15 seconds and 5 minutes is so little drag that you could never feel it.
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Old 07-17-16, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by dvdslw View Post
I was recently educated on bearing materials and how they actually affect performance for cycling applications. The results surprised me, I was told by a leading bearing manufacturer that ceramic bearings are overkill for cycling applications and that you would have to spin 10x faster than the bike is capable of spinning before you even begin to see any real benefits from the use of ceramic. The best performer is an angular contact steel bearing which costs a quarter of the price compared to ceramic. Do what you want but after learning this I chose to save some cash.
one of my clients has a titaniun Enigma road bike, that was bespoke built for his measurements. He upgraded the hubs to ones that have ceramic bearings (with the same wheels and tyres), and he says he cycles more than 2 mph faster with the same effort (he has a powermeter)
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Old 07-17-16, 03:19 PM
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Okey , so what i see so far is that ceramic looks theoretically superior in general applications , but things maybe different when applied to bikes .. Free spinning wheels on a bike maybe different in real life with body load and road condition .
IMO , only sharing real life experience would be beneficial in this case ... any other real life experience besides DIM
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Old 07-17-16, 03:40 PM
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Disclaimer: I've been experimenting with generic Ceramic Si3N4 loose bearings with steel cones/races. They're not too expensive, and so far I've been happy with them. Probably less than 5000 miles on any single hub so no super-long-term tests yet. Perhaps it is time to regrease some hubs.

Is that $75 for a complete set of bearings, 2 front, 4 rear? How much for plain steel?

I'm seeing some notes of complaints about water and Novatec hubs, so perhaps there would be a benefit of bearing upgrades... at least eventually.

As far as rolling resistance. It doesn't take much effort to take one's hand and spin a wheel. But, perhaps it is different when one adds weight to it.

Speeds on bike components are fairly low, considering everything. Maybe 50 to 100 RPM at the cranks, and 2x to 5x that at the wheels, so maybe a max of 500 RPM or so at the wheels. Not that fast. It would be different for a high speed motor driven application at 5000 RPM.

Nonetheless, bikes have moderate speeds, weight, vibration, dirt, grime, and water, and a goal of the lowest possible resistance.

Are a few watts noticeable when cranking out 100W? 200W? 300W?
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Old 07-17-16, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by hythamfekry View Post
any other real life experience besides DIM
Both my Bolide and my Dogma have ceramic bearings - wheels, BB, derailleur pulley wheels, even headset bearings(they also are all carbon, aero, have electronic drivetrains, elliptical chainrings, and tubular tires, all the things BF luddites have to hate ). My E-118 and my Oltre have all steel bearings. The two ceramic-equipped bikes just roll easier and the cranks turn smoother. I couldn't tell you if this is due the bearing materials or just higher quality bearings, but the difference is noticable. For most people it probably doesn't matter, but since I'm racing TTs I will take any advantage I can get. I won a TT by one second a few weeks ago, so seconds do count in my case.
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Old 07-17-16, 03:55 PM
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@ CliffordK .. Well 75$ is the cost of 6 Bearings "2 for front hub , 4 for rear hub & cassette body" which are Full Si3N4 ceramic "race&balls" , compared to 40$ for hybrid bearings "steel race , ceramic balls" ..
just to be sure we are on the same page ... free balls=loose bearings , sealed bearing=cartridge bearing , right ?
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Old 07-17-16, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by K.Katso View Post
Both my Bolide and my Dogma have ceramic bearings - wheels, BB, derailleur pulley wheels, even headset bearings(they also are all carbon, aero, have electronic drivetrains, elliptical chainrings, and tubular tires, all the things BF luddites have to hate ). My E-118 and my Oltre have all steel bearings. The two ceramic-equipped bikes just roll easier and the cranks turn smoother. I couldn't tell you if this is due the bearing materials or just higher quality bearings, but the difference is noticable. For most people it probably doesn't matter, but since I'm racing TTs I will take any advantage I can get. I won a TT by one second a few weeks ago, so seconds do count in my case.
well i'm not a professional racer , but if i can feel a better quality ride , i'd go for it .. Of course ultimate performance is important specially if you are a racer , but ride quality DOES matter too
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Old 07-17-16, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by hythamfekry View Post
well i'm not a professional racer , but if i can feel a better quality ride , i'd go for it .. Of course ultimate performance is important specially if you are a racer , but ride quality DOES matter too
I'm not a pro by any stretch of the imagination, but my bikes do roll really nice (even when I'm losing )
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Old 07-17-16, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by hythamfekry View Post
free balls=loose bearings , sealed bearing=cartridge bearing , right ?
That is how I would define/use it.

Some companies will call hubs with cones and loose balls but labyrinth seals as being "sealed bearings"... which just confuses everything.

Anyway, I think your Novatec hubs have the cartridge bearings. The complete front, rear, and freehub rebuild for $75 doesn't sound that bad. And you can always keep the old bearings as spares, or in case you choose to go back for some reason.

One can easily spend $5 to $10 each for Shimano style cones, plus bearings... and one quickly spends at least half that for a complete rebuild with traditional parts.
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Old 07-17-16, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by hythamfekry View Post
Okey , so what i see so far is that ceramic looks theoretically superior in general applications , but things maybe different when applied to bikes .. Free spinning wheels on a bike maybe different in real life with body load and road condition .
IMO , only sharing real life experience would be beneficial in this case ... any other real life experience besides DIM
Wind drag with you on the bike is so much higher than wheel bearing drag, it isn't even worth talking about.
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Old 07-17-16, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by dim View Post
one of my clients has a titaniun Enigma road bike, that was bespoke built for his measurements. He upgraded the hubs to ones that have ceramic bearings (with the same wheels and tyres), and he says he cycles more than 2 mph faster with the same effort (he has a powermeter)
Someone is BSing or maybe just leg pulling. No way for me to tell whether it is you or him. Unfortunately OP is disposed to believe this stuff.
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Old 07-17-16, 05:57 PM
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Ceramic bearings: the pros and cons | road.cc

This is an article based on the opinions of Alan Weatherill of Hope and Paul Lew of Reynolds Wheels which mentions that any ceramic advantage is nullified by the grease used to lubricate the bearings. You would have to run them dry or with only light oil to realize even the minor differences. That wouldn't be a very good idea considering the bicycling environment.
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Old 07-17-16, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Wind drag with you on the bike is so much higher than wheel bearing drag, it isn't even worth talking about.
Many of the watt measurements I'm seeing are somewhat inflated. Measuring watts at 30 MPH or some such thing. beyond what the ordinary riders are attaining.

Nonetheless, say one adds 5W for bearings. 5W for spokes, 5W for tires, 5W for rim profile, 5W for frame profile... etc. It all adds up to something rather significant. Adding 25W to one's effort can be hard.

Actual loaded tests would help determine if the difference is something like 1/4W, or much larger.

I suppose it is similar the whole weight weenie thing. No sense in saving 100 grams on any one component. But, as one adds up all the components on the bike, a little weight savings here and there, and it can add up to a rather large difference. Still, it may or may not be important, but mid-level bikes are almost 10 pounds lighter than they were a couple of decades ago... and don't ask about the low-end bikes. There used to be a lot of discussion about rotating weight. Today I'm not hearing about it as much.
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Old 07-17-16, 07:03 PM
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Well as per that article.. It's up to 9 watt when having ceramic jockey, bb, and hubs.. So IMO it's up to every individual needs and taste if paying certain amount of dollars is worth it for a 9 watt gain..
Although it's not clear if that gain is calculated for Full or hybrid Hubs.. I guess Full ceramic have similar additional power gain over hybrid.
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Old 07-17-16, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by hythamfekry View Post
Well as per that article.. It's up to 9 watt when having ceramic jockey, bb, and hubs.. So IMO it's up to every individual needs and taste if paying certain amount of dollars is worth it for a 9 watt gain..
Although it's not clear if that gain is calculated for Full or hybrid Hubs.. I guess Full ceramic have similar additional power gain over hybrid.
Two problems with that observation. First is the number comes from the bearing maker. Second it is "UP TO 9 watts". What does that even mean?
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Old 07-17-16, 07:33 PM
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That's quoted from the article.. I guess they mean gain depend on if u are changing to ceramic in hubs only for instance or other components(jockey,bb) as well or maybe the ceramic grade.. I'm not commenting how accurate no. are or test criteria.. But it least it makes us know very rough estimates for gains that can be done.
Article also commenting on Full ceramic.. It have better performance theoretically but durability of ceramic race is a concern..
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