Campagnolo Cassette Bearing replacement

Steve the AME

New Member
Jul 20, 2014
I am currently rebuilding a 2000 - 2002 vintage Bianchi Donna and have had to pull the cassette appart for repairs. The splines on the cassette and the pawl mechanism itself are satisfactory - nearly new in appearance... however the bearings in the cassette were shot.

This bike has a 9 speed "Veloce" rear hub (FH-09VL) weighing 457 grams including the quick release. [other 9 speeed hub styles used by Bianchi around the late 90's early 2000's are the 288g "Record" FH-19RE, 438g "Chorus" FH-19CH and 457g "Athena" FH-09VL]

Some of these hubs were manufactured with either a "dual bearing inner / single bearing outer" or a "single bearing inner / single bearing outer" design for the casette.

The Veloce cassette on this particular bike is a single/single.

The part numbers of the bearings used in the cassette are easy to identify! Use a curved hook pick or a long needle to pry the rubber bearing seal out of the outer bearing. Insert the needle thru the ratchet pawl end of the cassette and remove the rubber bearing seal from that bearing as well.

Clean any grease off the rubber seals and, using a magnifying glass, inspect the seals for any molded in numbers.

If the rubber seals have the exact same part number then the cassette is of the "Single / Single" bearing type.

If the rubber seals have different part numbers then the cassette is of the "Double / Single" bearing type.

BOTH styles of cassette use a retaining ring to hold the inner bearings in place. This ring may be a common "internal snap-ring" that you can use long nose snap ring pliers to remove or it may be a spiral ring.

In either case you MUST remove the outer bearing first before you can access the inner bearing.

To remove the outer bearing:

1 - Place the cassette outer end (spline end) down on a flat metal surface (so you do not marr the face of the cassette splines)

2 - Locate a deep socket that will "Just Fit" (but not jam tight) into the inner end (pawl end) of the cassette and engage the inside race of the inner bearing.

3 - Using a flat faced hammer, strike the socket hard enough to "just dislodge" the inner bearing race of the inner bearing.

4 - By dislodging the inner race of the inner bearing you will force it outwards and apply pressure on the outer bearing, and allowing the spacer between the two bearings to have some room to move.

5 - take the deep socket out and replace it with a long â…›" diameter chisel point punch.

6 - Use the chisel point punch to find the outer bearing's inner race and then tap gently around that race using the chisel point punch and a hammer until the bearing pops free. Do not just hammer on one side of the bearing or you can crack the cassettte.

7 - once the outer bearing and the spacer have been removed, look into the cassette and see what kind of snap ring is present. ALL styles of snap ring are removeable, you need to have the right tool and understand how the ring works. snap rings using reglar snap ring pliers are easy. circular spiral rings will need the end coaxed out with a fine point standard screwdriver. a circular split ring will need a fine point flat screwdriver with a slicght hook on the blade to get under the end of the ring.

8 - Once the snap ring is out, use the â…›" diameter chisel point punch and a hammer to gently tap around the circumference of the inner bearing's outer race and gradually work it out of the cassette.

9 - To install new bearings you need to insert them one at a time from the open end of the cassette. use a large diameter socket that will "just enter" the cassette to install them. If you haven't got a bearing press handy, sandwiching the cassette / bearing / socket in the jaws of a large vise (remember to pad the vice jaws so they dont marr the cassette surfaces!) and then slowly tightening the vise to apply even pressure works very well. Just use care and be attentive that you don't bottom out the bearings and damage them as you insert them.

10 - The cassette build up is the reverse of the removal - dont forget the snap ring! and if you want, you can remove the rubber seals and clean/ re-lube the bearings with a grease of your choice BEFORE you install them. Do not over lube, and just pop the seals back on once you are done OR you can leave the seals off all together and have a cassette that you can clean, inspect and repack from time to time for extended life.

If you want to go the route of having unsealed bearings, leave the rubber seals off the bearing faces that you cannot get at once the cassette is assembled. You can remove the "visible" seals and replace them any time you want once the cassette is re-assembled and this option gives a water / dirt seal and allows for cleaning and repacking.

Use a water proof, high tack - high temp grease to lube the bearings. Water proof high temp greases won't wash out or run out when they get warm / hot from heavy use. A small tube of waterproof marine grease used in outboard motors will work just fine.

The bearings I need for the repair that I am doing are both P/n 61901 - SP as indicated on the seal (the bearing seal also had "CQL/SP" embossed on it, this was the manufacturer of these particular bearings) these are 24 mm OD, 12mm ID and 6mm thick bearings. I google searched for the bearing by using only the "61901".

These bearings are available in a whole range of styles.. everything from regular steel, stainless steel to ceramic.. prices from 12$ for a pack of ten ( really cheap ones) to abt 7$ each for regular type bearings all the way to almost 100$ each for ceramic bearings.

Good luck and happy riding,

Much better instructions than Campy generally supplies in their tech documents!

"A small tube of waterproof marine grease used in outboard motors will work just fine."

Agreed. Excellent grease type for hubs, headsets and BB's.
CampyBob, I write my own process instructions and create my own cut-away drawings - drawings that are not found anywhere else.

Info was added re: the 8 speed "Exa-Drive Cassette. The Exa-Drive came in two types, the 261 gram FH-20MI "Mirage" and the 268g FH-20AV "Avanti"

Also, when the original Single / Single cassettes were manufactured, the ratchet pawl holder (made of steel) was not attached to the splined sprocket carrier until after the bearings were installed in the sprocket carrier. This allowed the snap ring to be inserted first and then the bearings were installed from their respective ends BEFORE the pawl holder was screwed to the sprocket carrier.

There would have been a torque value for this assy and the pawl holder and sprocket carrier may have been "locktighted" together.

Either way, to disassemble the cassette and replace the bearings in a manner similar to the original assembly requires two special (and probably expensive) wrenches - one to fit the lobes of the pawl holder and one to fit the splines of the sprocket carrier - plus a little heat from a propane torch to release the locktite bond (or "swell release" the aluminium sprocket carrier from the steel pawl holder if they were only torqued together) and some penetrating fluid to be used to do the job the "right way".

My comlete and updated post ( since I am now unable to edit my original post here once a reply has been made) and also cut-away diagrams of the 8 speed and 9 speed hubs can be found @

Happy riding,