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How many bearings ?

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by 4F, 15 May 2008.

  1. 4F

    4F Active member of Helmets Are Sh*t Lobby

    Location:
    Suffolk.
    OK replaced my front wheel bearings (700 wheel) but have a query as to the correct no of bearings.

    The bloke in my LBS said that 9 is the best / correct number each side however when I removed the older ones there were 10 each side !

    I went with the advice of 9 but now wondering if I should have replaced the same number as I took out, or will it really not make a difference ?

    :wacko::wacko:
     
  2. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig New Member

    Location:
    North Lanarkshire
    If ten fit comfortably I'd put ten in.
     
  3. llllllll

    llllllll New Member

    yeah, don't put any less in than they came with. There should be no gaps between the bearings.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    4F

    4F Active member of Helmets Are Sh*t Lobby

    Location:
    Suffolk.
    Thanks, another one it is then
     
  5. robbarker

    robbarker Well-Known Member

    The standard number is 10 3/16" balls in the front hub and 9 1/4" balls in the rear. So an extra one is a good idea!
     
  6. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman New Member

    It's been my understanding (and practice) for the past 50+ years of bike fettling that there must be a gap (full race of balls less one or two) for the bearing to function correctly.
     
  7. briank

    briank New Member

    Your front wheel only has two bearings - one on each side.:biggrin:

    (Are cycling and pedantry inherently linked?

    Ah, just me then.)
     
  8. threefingerjoe

    threefingerjoe Über Member

    Location:
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    In most cases, you put in the same number of balls that you took out. Yes, there must be at least a slight gap. If I were doing it, and had room for another ball, while still maintaining a gap, I'd put in another ball. As someone stated, Shimano usually has 10 3/16" balls on each side in the front, 9 1/4" balls on each side in the rear. I just replaced the bearings on my own bike last night (Bontrager wheels) and was surprised to find 12 balls on each side in the front.
     
  9. rustychisel

    rustychisel Well-Known Member

    As said, it used to be accepted practise to put one less than would fit firmly, so as to allow a little room for the balls to 'shrug' rather than squash up.
     
  10. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig New Member

    Location:
    North Lanarkshire
    I understand why there needs to be a gap, but do you know why it would be better to have as big a gap as over two bearing widths? I would have thought that provided there was 'a' gap, maybe half a bearing width or more, it would be better to have more balls in there to spead the load over. Any light you could shed on this would be interesting?
     
  11. robbarker

    robbarker Well-Known Member

    There should be no big gaps in a race loaded with ball bearings, but the balls need to be able to rotate freely.

    For further enlightenment on the wonderful life of ball bearings in bicycle hubs, read this fascinating collection of posts:

    http://yarchive.net/bike/ball_bearings.html
     
  12. llllllll

    llllllll New Member

    I'm surprised by that. My understanding is the more bearings you fit the better distributed the load is. Certainly all the hubs I've taken apart have had not gaps (mostly Shimano). By gaps I mean gaps big enough to fit a ball bearing in, they shouldn't be so tight that they can't rotate.
     
  13. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman New Member

    Crikey! It's over 50 years since this was explained to me :smile: I think the idea was that if the balls were too close (ie likely to be touching one another) they would grind/break bits off each other and cause the cups/cones to suffer. Also if the balls are too closely packed the cup/ball/cone interfaces don't 'settle' well (I think that the idea was to make allowance for very minor imperfections/differences between all three surfaces). I've just serviced both front and rear hubs (Shimano) as per the service instructions. The rear was fine so only got new balls (9 each race, but I could have got 10 in) and fresh grease (after cleaning the old stuff out). The front hub had knackered cones (due to me being a bit sloppy cone-tightening about a month ago - didn't take into account the extra bit of 'squeeze' due to the QR :sad:), so new cones and balls, again I'm sure I could have got one more in there without causing the balls to climb up one another. I think the 2 balls less than 'full' applied to bearings using smaller balls (and a lot more of them - 16 or more) as in some of the older headset bearings - in fact I just replaced the headset on my Trek 700 with a Shimano one (caged balls) and if loose balls were used I would have needed six or more balls to get the same 'fill'. The link supplied by robbarker above certainly makes interesting reading ;).
     
  14. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig New Member

    Location:
    North Lanarkshire
    That was an interesting read, thank you.

    Coincidently, today at work an operator had replaced a bearing on a printing machine three times, taking about an hour each time, before I was sent down to see what was going on. Each time a new bearing was fitted it was lasting about thirty minutes before it started screeching loudly and when the bearing was removed it was so rough you could hardly turn it.

    When I looked at the bag of bearings he was using they turned out to be unbranded ones made in the USSR! I had a root around and found a Japanese one, he fitted that and it's fine! I'm sure the Russians make perfectly good bearings, but not these ones.
     
  15. bobg

    bobg Über Member

    Location:
    Crosby Merseyside
    I'm with you Yorkshireman. My old Dad said the same - "you can get another one in but don't" Like you its not failed me in 50 years either :eek: