How many ball bearings in a bottom bracket?



D

DaveB

Guest
I was doing some maintenance on the bottom bracket on my old MTB and
failed to stick a towel under the bike when I removed it (that's what
happens when you're in a hurry). Of course then I heard the pinging
sound of ball bearings bouncing around the workshop, with me madly
trying to hold the rest in while tryign to see where the bouncing ones
were going ( and you know none of them are going to go in the same
direction). So now I've found 18 ball bearings and I'm wondering if
that's all of them (doesn't look like it) or how many more I need to
look for, or else buy new ones which means I'll be without the bike for
a few days.

DaveB
 
On Sat, 09 Oct 2004 14:20:58 +1000, DaveB
<[email protected]> wrote:

>I was doing some maintenance on the bottom bracket on my old MTB and
>failed to stick a towel under the bike when I removed it (that's what
>happens when you're in a hurry). Of course then I heard the pinging
>sound of ball bearings bouncing around the workshop, with me madly
>trying to hold the rest in while tryign to see where the bouncing ones
>were going ( and you know none of them are going to go in the same
>direction). So now I've found 18 ball bearings and I'm wondering if
>that's all of them (doesn't look like it) or how many more I need to
>look for, or else buy new ones which means I'll be without the bike for
>a few days.
>
>DaveB


Dear Dave,

Ah, another Dave to add to my list!

If you're new, you'll find dozens of friendly Daves here,
all eager to give you the secret Dave handshake and the real
answers in private emails.

Nine balls on a side is a common figure, though some bottom
brackets have more and others have fewer.

As you can see by browsing from the top of this thread,
Sheldon Brown has offered us the comforting explanation that
it's the size of the ball that determines the fit, not the
number of bearings (as long as there are enough to fill more
than half the circle):

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=...B.8404F0E1%40research.dfci.harvard.edu&rnum=1

or

http://tinyurl.com/6c5wb

Another comforting thought is that the next step up is
usually eleven balls per side, 22 total, so you'd have to
have lost four balls, which is less likely than losing one,
two, or three. And even then, nine balls will work fine.

The chief thing to learn from this sort of fiasco is that
there is no substitute for having stupid little parts handy,
since even the best local bike shop is going to be closed
just when you need it most (unless you own it).

Good luck,

Carl Fogel
 
DaveB wrote:

> I was doing some maintenance on the bottom bracket on my old MTB and
> failed to stick a towel under the bike when I removed it (that's what
> happens when you're in a hurry). Of course then I heard the pinging
> sound of ball bearings bouncing around the workshop, with me madly
> trying to hold the rest in while tryign to see where the bouncing ones
> were going ( and you know none of them are going to go in the same
> direction). So now I've found 18 ball bearings and I'm wondering if
> that's all of them (doesn't look like it) or how many more I need to
> look for, or else buy new ones which means I'll be without the bike for
> a few days.


You only lost four of them. (11 x 11)

Bearings are sold in matched sets and are dirt cheap. One
thing to avoid is adding a new ball or a few to a set of
worn ones.

http://www.yellowjersey.org/hardware.html
--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971
 
Put grease into the cup, add balls until they touch and then take one out. If
1/4 inch balls, then it will probably be 11 per side.

Peter Chisholm
Vecchio's Bicicletteria
1833 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO, 80302
(303)440-3535
http://www.vecchios.com
"Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
 
There is a mnemonic called the "Rule of TEN." Going from front to back::
- Front hub has 10 balls (T)
- Loose-ball BB has 11 balls (E)
- Rear hub has 9 balls (N)
.... these are per side, of course.


Mike Yankee

(Address is munged to thwart spammers.
To reply, delete everything after "com".)
 
On Sat, 09 Oct 2004 14:20:58 +1000 DaveB
<[email protected]> wrote:

>I was doing some maintenance on the bottom bracket on my old MTB and
>failed to stick a towel under the bike when I removed it (that's what
>happens when you're in a hurry). Of course then I heard the pinging
>sound of ball bearings bouncing around the workshop, with me madly
>trying to hold the rest in while tryign to see where the bouncing ones
>were going ( and you know none of them are going to go in the same
>direction). So now I've found 18 ball bearings and I'm wondering if
>that's all of them (doesn't look like it) or how many more I need to
>look for, or else buy new ones which means I'll be without the bike for
>a few days.


For a BB with loose balls, 11 on each side is the norm.

-
-----------------------------------------------
Jim Adney [email protected]
Madison, WI 53711 USA
-----------------------------------------------
 
when no more balls will fit in take one out. that's the right number,
so i'm told as the balls need moveing room. too many cause ball bounce
and friction. looser balls are faster than caged balls. loose balls
run in a somewhat new race than the as supplied assembly line speed
caged setup sometimes faciltating the rehab of an old worn setup
either BB or headset or...
yeah, watch the Muzi!! don't mix one side with the other. if you do go
buy new ones.
 
Dear Dave,

The word from far more knowledgeable people is that 11 balls
per side is expected, so I must be wrong and you must have
lost 4 balls out of 22 through sheer bad luck.

Or so I'd bet.

Ruefully,

Carl Fogel
 
Bottom brackets generally have only two ball bearings, though I have
seen some old Edco units with three.

Oh, you mean bearing balls! 11 on each side.

Sheldon "Occasionally Pedantic" Brown
Santa Cruz, California
+--------------------------------------------------+
| What's not worth doing is not worth doing well. |
| --Don Hebb |
+--------------------------------------------------+
Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041
http://harriscyclery.com
Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
 
Sheldon Brown wrote:
> Bottom brackets generally have only two ball bearings, though I have
> seen some old Edco units with three.
>
> Oh, you mean bearing balls! 11 on each side.
>
> Sheldon "Occasionally Pedantic" Brown
> Santa Cruz, California


That was almost as bad as what I was going to suggest: get a magnet, and a
$20 bill. Throw away the magnet, and go buy a new bottom bracket.

Bill "what the heck are ya doing in Santa Cruz*, anyway?" S.

*that where Interbike is?
 
"Bill Sornson" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> Sheldon Brown wrote:
> > Bottom brackets generally have only two ball bearings, though I have
> > seen some old Edco units with three.
> >
> > Oh, you mean bearing balls! 11 on each side.
> >
> > Sheldon "Occasionally Pedantic" Brown
> > Santa Cruz, California

>
> That was almost as bad as what I was going to suggest: get a magnet, and a
> $20 bill. Throw away the magnet, and go buy a new bottom bracket.
>
> Bill "what the heck are ya doing in Santa Cruz*, anyway?" S.
>
> *that where Interbike is?


Probably relaxing after Interbike Las Vegas. Or, as Gary Fisher said
to me at the McLaren (sp?) airport, "Escaping Las Vegas?"

Robin Hubert
 

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