What You Should Know About Bicycle Bearings
1. Know when your bicycle bearings need to be replaced.
You will be able to hear when a bearing is loose, or feel it in the chain. When holding the seal-stay spin the crank, this way you will be able to hear if the bearings are worn. You can listen to your bike by pressing your ear up to the front of the seat. It will act as a speaker, amplifying the bike’s internal noises.
By spinning each of your components and listening to the sound, you will hear a noise. In general it should sound smooth and even, if it sounds loud and/or uneven, it is likely dry or worn out, and your bearings will need either an overhaul or complete replacement.
2. Know how to wash your bike without damaging the bearings (avoid corrosion!).
There are many factors that come into play when caring for your bicycle bearings such as the type of riding your bike is exposed to, and also your geo location. In warm climates you may only need a pat down with a cloth every few weeks, in wet climates you may want to make use of a bucket, some soapy water and a large sponge to restore your bike to mint condition. After a good wash it is advised to take your bike apart in order to remove any stagnant water from the frame, hubs and headset. Please be advised that water is not the best thing to clean your bike wit, if you can avoid using it you should. Spraying the outside of your bearings with a water resistant grease would be the best way to go. Grease your bearings with SKF lubricant
3. How often should you replace your bearings?
Through proper application of grease and lubricant your parts will last longer, however, they will eventually need replacement. Typically you should check and replace your bicycle wheel bearings every 40 000 to 45 000 km. There is no exact time frame on replacing bearings as many factors come into play, such as how often you ride, in what terrain you ride and also how you store your bicycle.
4. What to look for when buying or replacing bearings.
- Don’t buy cheap, cheap bearings are constructed from low quality steel with poor heat treating and tend to fail prematurely, these “cheap bearings” will cost you much more in the long run as they need to be replaced often.
- Cheaper hub assemblies might include bearings that are smaller than OEM (original equipment manufacturer) which can also lead to early part failure if possible avoid these options.
- Always consult your owner’s manual, follow the manufacturers recommendations to make sure you don’t void any warranties.
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