Cartridge Bearing Hubs

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by dhk, Nov 7, 2004.

  1. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    I've got Velomax Circuit Comps, with about 5000 miles on them this season.

    Was recently surprised to find the front bearings felt very rough when turning the axle by hand. Today I pulled off the hub end caps and lifted the seals on the bearings to find that one had some rust.

    Did a good flushout with WD-40, repacked with grease and re-installed the old bearing. The smooth feel is back now. Will see how long the "overhaul" lasts before I need to get replacement bearings.

    Although I've ridden in the rain about 3 times this year, I've never had any problems like this with my 12 year old Ultegra hubs. They apparently are sealed a lot better than these. The cartridge bearings aren't too expensive, or too difficult to replace, but I like hubs that feel smooth for a long time without any maintenance.

    Anyone else had these problems with cartridge bearing hubs?
     
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  2. Mansmind

    Mansmind New Member

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    No, but I just put on a set of Circuits, we'll see how mine hold up. You ever make you way into Northern GA to ride?

    John
     
  3. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Believe you'll like these wheels a lot. The lack of good seals to stop water intrusion is a bit disappointing though. I did ride through a real downpour for 20 miles about a month ago; had no choice as we were coming home from a camping trip.

    At least the replacement bearings are cheap....$11 each from Velomax. They are a standard "R6" size, so I'm going to look for them locally.

    Don't get to N GA too often, but I'm planning to do the 3 State 3 Mountain again next year. #3 is Lookout Mtn GA, with that memorable climb up Burkhalter Gap which was complete with the devil and angel of death.
     
  4. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    Fairly common situation.
    There are "better" 'sealed' cartridge bearings with stainless balls and plastic retainers... and higher grades of precision and grease, but they are not water tight seals, nor do they have double seals, labyrinth, etc. See an article about these type bearings on Sheldon Brown's site:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/sealed-bearings.html

    Most bicycle hubs that use cartridge bearings expect quite a bit from the seals. Your 20 mile ride in the rain is sufficient to show the weakness of the seals.
     
  5. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    David: Interesting link, thanks for your helpful answer. I want to keep running the Circuit Comps until the rims or spokes fail. Then will likely switch back to regular 32 spoke wheels since I like the hubs with real seals better.

    Speaking of Shimano hubs, are there any significant differences in DA vs Ultegra hubs? Do DA hubs feel smoother, run longer, or make a longer-lasting wheel?
     
  6. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    DURA ACE uses stainless steel balls while Ultegra doesn't.
    Most of the other DURA ACE to Ultegra comparisons of 7700 to 6500 are in weight saving alloys or metals used such as the titanium Vs steel freehub body.
    I think that both would result in smooth feeling, long running, and long lasting wheels.... as would many of the Campagnolo models from Record down at least 3 levels.
    No hub is service free, but the labyrinth + contact seals on Shimano models make them considerably less prone to water invasion from rain. Some of the weight savings measures taken in the HB-7800 and FH-7800 (10 speed DURA ACE) makes servicing them more difficult and quite expensive if you strip threads. I am speaking from a single bad experience where I stripped a front axle assembly on a HB-7800 DURA ACE Front hub.
    Competitive pressures and the "weight weenie" mentality has market driven companies that way.
     
  7. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Thanks for info. Agree with you that "weight weenie" marketing tends to drive designs away from durability and ease of maintenance. Of course, Shimano is catering to the race-fantasy market because light weight sells, and is a lot easier to compare than durability/longetvity.

    Just got a helpful email from Velomax support. They suggest avoiding a hose when cleaning the hubs, and pulling the end caps and using a WDC to displace any water trapped inside after riding in rain. Good advice that I'd certainly follow in future for these hubs.
     
  8. jasong

    jasong New Member

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    How does one accurately and objectively compare the smoothness of a wheel, everything else the same, when setting the variable to be the hub? And in this test, how does DA compare with the Ultegra? One can cheaply replace the Ultegra BBs for grade 25 stainless BBs for less than $5. Weight at the hub makes the same difference as water in a bottle.

    Would there even be a 1% difference? And what conditions would introduce that difference (high speed, higher load, etc.?).
     
  9. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    I'd don't think you could measure any difference in rolling resistance between any of the high-quality hubs as long as the bearings are in good condition, and properly adjusted and lubed. To me, it's just the subjective feeling of having no play in the axle, and a silky smooth feel with very light drag when spinning the axle with your fingers. Before I cleaned and relubed the cartridge bearings, the hub felt pretty rough and sticky turning with my fingers. But as bad as they felt, I never heard noise or noticed any drag when the wheel was on the bike.

    The Circuit Comp hub now feel super-smooth, and the wheel seems to have very low drag judging by how the wheel comes to a stop. Now that I know how easy it is to pull off the end caps after rain, check for water intrusion and relube, I'm hoping to run these wheels a long time.
     
  10. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    Durability and serviceability would likely be more easily measured over the course of the life of the hub.
    Any rust hastens degredation of the bearings and cup/cone surfaces.
    Grade 25 Stainless Steel bearings certainly can lengthen the life of the bearing surfaces and the balls themselves under real world conditions.
    It is important to keep water and other contaminents out even when you have nothing that can rust/corrode because the contaminents increase wear.
    There is a practical point at which measuring or attaining slightly lower rolling resistance doesn't meet with real world applications. You can lower rolling resistance by using a small amount of oil instead of grease, but it isn't durable or would require frenquent flushing, cleaning, and re-lubing. The over all efficiency gained would only be measurable in a contolled environment laboratory ~ 0.0025% in a measurement I saw at Cal Tech, Pasadena, CA.
    They compared a factory Record hub Vs. one with the best lubrication scenario and most precision ball bearings available.
    You could easily feel the difference when holding the wheels in your hands, but when you add all the other factors in, wheel bearing resistance is close to insignificant.
     
  11. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Interesting data from that experiment. I've used light oil to relube dried out inline skate bearings, but as you said, it doesn't last long.

    Speaking of lubes, Velomax recommended a synthetic grease for the bearings. I used a light automotive wheel bearing grease I had on the shelf. The drag feels very low now, but suppose a special bike grease would be even better, particularly on those cold winter rides.
     
  12. gubaguba

    gubaguba New Member

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    This past winter I replaced the sealed bearings on some American Classic Hubs. I have to say that it was perhaps the easiest hub work I have ever done. Front and rear took all of 40 minutes if that. I probably had about 8000 miles on that set of wheels. It was the only time I felt I needed to work on them. Actually only one bearing was bad but I figured it best to replace all of them. I like practical things. I would rather have something easy to work on than a couple grams lighter. Thats just me. I cringe when I here of new things being better yet impossible to service.
     
  13. jasong

    jasong New Member

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    I looked at their hub data sheet awhile back and they definitely looked more complicated than you're describing. DOn't they suggest needing to let them rest over night or something, implying that you couldn't really do a quick job. I didn't get this impression at all-- I was looking at the hubs that are included in the Sprint 350 set.

     
  14. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Agree ease of servicing is important to me too....I'd much rather repair a wheel hub than have to throw a wheel away with plenty of life left in it. Velomax Circuit Comps are also quick to clean and relube, or change out. You use a mallet or hammer to tap out the bearings, and the QR skewer and a nylon drift (or a 5/8 socket) to press them back in. Probably a 5 minute job.

    You can pull off the end caps with your fingers to check for any water intrusion after riding in rain, so that's not a big deal either.
     
  15. gubaguba

    gubaguba New Member

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    I'm liking the sound of that.
     
  16. gubaguba

    gubaguba New Member

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    I dare say that I don't have the most modern version of their hubs or anything else for that matter. Not even sure what model but they had parts for sale.
     
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