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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok here is the scoop: ~6,000 miles and NDS BB bearing is toast. I guess all those winter miles and cleaning finally infiltrated the bearing seal enough to get to it.

Couple days ago started to hear a noticeable click under load. Check it, and I could feel a slight bit of movement in the crank assembly. Very slight that even my legs couldn't pick it up.

Disassembled crank/BB what do I find? The non-drive side bearing is gone. Very grainy turning and some lateral looseness. The drive-side bearing on the other hand was in good shape.

I had a spare set of bearings so I put those on and all is good again, not a big deal. I wanted to show the LBS the two bearings for reference. They were also interested, as they know I am a higher mileage rider, and the chief mechanic and owner both saw this as a first impression, will be providing feedback to their Trek rep.

For information the bearing is the stock o.e.m. (Enduro) steel cartridge bearing. My replacement set was also ordered directly from Trek (I had a spare set) and are likewise the Enduro steel cartridge bearings.

Anyway I am going to pull the bad bearing apart to see what happened. My guess is there is some corrosion on the inner race surfaces and possibly the bearings themselves. I guess the lesson to be learned here is to keep, at least the NDS bearing in close check, inspect frequently and pull and lube as necessary. I do not mean lubing the bearing itself, just outer seal and assembly to keep water/road salt/energy drinks/cleaning soap free of this area.

Now the $64,000 question: Has anyone used ceramics in their new Madones, and how did they hold up? I am thinking of using the Enduro Zerø bearings ( http://www.enduroforkseals.com/id202.html ) as they are marketed as anti corrosive. My alternative is to just buy a couple sets of standard bearings (standard bearings = $20/set, ceramics = $120/set) and change them twice a year. I can rotate the DS bearings into the mix or split ceramic on NDS and steel on DS, whatever. I am asking because I am re-ording replacements (I like to keep a complete set of replacements on hand to eliminate downtime) and may consider the ceramics over the steel. Note, I don't care about the proclaimed smoother rolling of the ceramics, I was thinking along the lines that ceramics all by themselves resist corrosion, then I happened to find that there is specifically a corrosive resistant bearing marketed for the Trek Madone.

Anyway, whether cartridge bearings should last longer than 6,000 hard miles, at least I think they should, is neither here nor there. I am thinking that with them being more exposed in the 08 Madone than in the external cupped bottom brackets, that they will suffer more than what we have seen in the past. Let me know your experiences, if any, both as to bearing longevity and ceramics.

Thanks
zac
 

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Zac,

What's up? I have ceramic bearings in my Bottom bracket. I got them from superfly cycles and i believe we are looking at the same exact ones.
http://www.superflycycles.com/servlet/-strse-320/Enduro-Zero/Detail

Performance wise, the bearings are super smooth, I haven't had any problems with them. And I have done 2 centuries on the bike. I have Ridden my bike through the rain and different road conditions and these bearing are awesome! I noticed that the perspiration from the waterbottles seems to finds it's way to the bottom bracket and I would have figured that the bearings would have to be re-greased or something. But not a squeek or sound. I Love them and the guys at superfly are very responsive. I spoke to Chuck Panaccione [[email protected]]. Installation is very easy as well.
 

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One of the bearings cracked in my bottom bracket. Trek replaced both bearings under warranty in less than a week. I would make a warranty claim if I was you Zac. If this is happening enough, they may want the damaged bearings returned to see if the damage is consistent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
vboy, Thanks for the feedback. I am still on the fence about the ceramic Enduro zerø's. I am thinking just see how this set holds up, if it is similar, then I will try some ceramics.

Tom, As to a waranty claim, I understand what you are saying, but I don't really care. The bearings are a wear & tear item. I just would have expected more than 6k. I usually get a full season, and since bearings are so cheap, I usually just replace them on the annual end of season tear-down. (as opposed to cleaning them up and regreasing them.)

On a side issue, I get my new frame this week. The swap over is Wednesday. I am actually kind of anxious to see how the new frame feels over this one.

thanks again,
zac
 

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Very interesting, my 08 started making a noise under load on steep climbs.

Have not found the problem, but will check the bb.

Rode alot during the winter. Sometimes the tires would be white from the road salt. Always washed the bike after those rides..........
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The forensic report on the bearing is that it died in the line of duty. I pulled the seals and noted a fair amount of rust like sludge inside. So obviously the seals infiltrated with water, which is never good, because that will not drain. So then I flushed it out and noted that the balls and retainer looked okay, but that the inner race channels looked terrible. There was ~1mm of lateral (along the axis) play between the two races: this is not good.
For fun: I regreased it and put it back together: while the grainy feel was reduced, the lateral play was still evident, as expected.

I am thinking that higher quality seals are in order. The OEM Enduro's I think use just a simple single channel "V" seal, whereas some of their higher end bearings use a double channel "W" seal. I am going to take a look at what Phil Wood has to offer too.

zac
 

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Hey Zac-
Thanks for keeping us informed of your experiences.
I have limited my riding and racing time on my 6.5 to very little wet-weather riding, so I'm sure that my bearings will last longer. (Yeah, I know that the bike is just a tool, but that's why I have a rain/crit bike!)
Keep us updated on any ride differences you notice in your new frame!
Thanks,
Epicxt
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
zac said:
...blah blah blah...

I am thinking that higher quality seals are in order. The OEM Enduro's I think use just a simple single channel "V" seal, whereas some of their higher end bearings use a double channel "W" seal. I am going to take a look at what Phil Wood has to offer too.

zac
Now I am really confused.

I have done a detailed check of the Enduro's and this is what i find: Note that not all of these bearings are for bottom brackets, but are used for comparison purposes.

At least that Zerø > ABEC 5 = grade 5 ceramics > ABEC 3 steel = Max at least as far as bearings go.
Zero ceramic = grade 3
ABEC 5 steel & Grade 5 ceramics = both grade 5
ABEC 3 steel & Max = grade 10

However the seals are all over the place.
It seems that the Enduro "Max" cartridges (with the loose balls) and the ABEC 5 steel cartridges have the better sealing systems, although each is different. Next seems to be the ABEC 3 steel and the Grade 5 ceramics with their "W" recessed rubber seals. Lastly the Zero seem to have the worst sealing with a the same "W" seal, but in silicon and one that doesn't actually come in contact with the inner race! Is the purpose of this to allow draining? (My guess is that is how it get's it's exceptionally smooth feel when not under load...ie no seal interference.)

Now the races:
the Steel (Max, ABEC 5 and ABEC 3) cartridges use Rockwell hardness C-62 races and the ceramic cartridges use races with a hardness of C-64 with additional coatings and cryo treating to establish the crystalline lattice. So the ceramics get the "better" races. Also probably more brittle, but should be more resistant to corrosion too. I wonder how the hardness differential between the balls and races between the two types of cartridges effects longevity?


This is giving me a headache.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
epicxt said:
Hey Zac-
Thanks for keeping us informed of your experiences.
I have limited my riding and racing time on my 6.5 to very little wet-weather riding, so I'm sure that my bearings will last longer. (Yeah, I know that the bike is just a tool, but that's why I have a rain/crit bike!)
Keep us updated on any ride differences you notice in your new frame!
Thanks,
Epicxt
Epic, I wouldn't race my 6.5 either, not until my cost outlay for them is real low, or they give 'em to me. ;) But then again I don't race anymore, so that is not a worry.

I may end up just sticking with the standard Enduros. They are cheap and easy to replace. So it's not really worth pulling the seals and cleaning them out at semi regular intervals. At set is $15-20 and I can rotate the other good bearing into the mix.

The only real light at the end of this tunnel, is that with Trek's precision fit sockets, I don't need to use loctite to hold the bearing, and consequently don't need to let it cure. Strip, clean, re-grease and reinstall, and I am good to go in 5 minutes. Hell it is easier to swap out the bearings than it is to change a flat.

good luck with the rest of your season
zac
 

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Thanks! Yeah, I've only raced it in (mostly) dry road and tt stages of maybe 5 stage races, and then some assorted single-day events. Probably about 1000 race miles total, and maybe a little more than that training miles. No crits.

Tearing down my cross bike to convert back from commuter to cx racer. Only 29(?) more days 'till 'cross! Woot!

Thanks for the research on the bearings. I love being able to tear everything apart and reassemble all with only an allen wrench! Let me know what bearings you end up choosing.:)
 

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67fb said:
Very interesting, my 08 started making a noise under load on steep climbs.

Have not found the problem, but will check the bb.

Rode alot during the winter. Sometimes the tires would be white from the road salt. Always washed the bike after those rides..........
please let me know if you find the reason for this......mine is making a noise under load also. I can see 2 paint cracks about 3cm long behind the chainrings, one about 1cm above the other. .....would cracked paint = cracked frame.....?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
gormleyflyer2002 said:
please let me know if you find the reason for this......mine is making a noise under load also. I can see 2 paint cracks about 3cm long behind the chainrings, one about 1cm above the other. .....would cracked paint = cracked frame.....?
Those cracks are pretty common. You will probably also find them on the underside where the chain stays meet the BB shell lug. Also on the "head tube" sides between the top tube and down tube. They are just clear coat cracks or sometimes paint cracks that develop at or near the tube/lug interchange. To keep weight down, the Madone has minimal paint coverage, and that contributes to this too.

For assurances you may want to have your LBS inspect it.

zac
 

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zac said:
Epic, I wouldn't race my 6.5 either, not until my cost outlay for them is real low, or they give 'em to me. ;) But then again I don't race anymore, so that is not a worry.

I may end up just sticking with the standard Enduros. They are cheap and easy to replace. So it's not really worth pulling the seals and cleaning them out at semi regular intervals. At set is $15-20 and I can rotate the other good bearing into the mix.

The only real light at the end of this tunnel, is that with Trek's precision fit sockets, I don't need to use loctite to hold the bearing, and consequently don't need to let it cure. Strip, clean, re-grease and reinstall, and I am good to go in 5 minutes. Hell it is easier to swap out the bearings than it is to change a flat.

good luck with the rest of your season
zac
Hi, I have a 6.5 as well, and have only done about 3500km. But when I cleaned by bike last week, I noticed lateral movement on the NDS. When I pulled the out the bearings, the bearing on the NDS was a very loose fit in the so called "precision fit sockets", compared to the DS, which was a very firm fit.

So, off to the LBS and they tried a new bearing in the NDS and it was just the same, so they called the TREK rep, who has taken photos and filed a report to TREK to see what they want to do. Worse case scenario, would be a new frame, as the scoket is part of the frame as you know.

Has anyone had a problem like this?

Thanks
Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Michael did your Enduro bearings have blue seals or black seals? I have heard that Trek has had some issues, (my LBS owner came back from TW with a heads up about the blue seal Enduros). FWIW mine were the black seals and the NDS bearing just wore out after the seal infiltrated with water.
 

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zac said:
Michael did your Enduro bearings have blue seals or black seals? I have heard that Trek has had some issues, (my LBS owner came back from TW with a heads up about the blue seal Enduros). FWIW mine were the black seals and the NDS bearing just wore out after the seal infiltrated with water.

My Seals were black. Just heard back from bike shop, and the TREK rep is looking into a new frame for me, as the socket is worn/loose.

BUT... I will be without a bike for about a month or more as they source a frame from USA and send it to Australia. (As there are none in Aust)

TREK also said that they have had "issues" with the bearings and have now "sorted it out" with new bearings, and they will be sending a spare set of bearings with the frame.

I guess this means that the bottom bracket bearings will be a regularly checked item from now on and may need changing as often as my chain.

The sad part will be when they saw up my old frame with a hack saw,if they decide on sending a new frame!!!

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just resurrecting this post with some updates, due in part to another thread that mentions ceramics in the BB.

Well it is mid December here again in NE, and for the most part the Madone (version 2) is still on the road. I am well into mile 13k for the year and about 7 on this 09.

The the replacement bearings that I did at end of July, early August and still in the BB and are still silky smooth. Mostly likely just a bad bearing, or one whose seal was infiltrated.

Ultimately I decided to reorder steel replacement bearings. They are cheap and easy to stock.

HTH
zac
 

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another update.

I pulled my bearing after getting noise under very hard climbs. Noise is gone.

OE bearings were enduro brand, did not look that bad. So I thru them in the tool box.

Then a few months later my MTB started making terrible noise under load, decided to open up the bearings to see what the insides looked like. The drive side was dirty colored grease, I flushed it out and you could feel the rough spots. The other side was clean and had no rust or dirt coloration.

Made me think about pulling the seals on the OE Madone bearings, and when I did they both had brown dirty grease.

I'm not sure if its simple as brown dirty grease == bad bearing.
 

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zac said:
Epic, I wouldn't race my 6.5 either, not until my cost outlay for them is real low, or they give 'em to me. ;) But then again I don't race anymore, so that is not a worry.

I may end up just sticking with the standard Enduros. They are cheap and easy to replace. So it's not really worth pulling the seals and cleaning them out at semi regular intervals. At set is $15-20 and I can rotate the other good bearing into the mix.

The only real light at the end of this tunnel, is that with Trek's precision fit sockets, I don't need to use loctite to hold the bearing, and consequently don't need to let it cure. Strip, clean, re-grease and reinstall, and I am good to go in 5 minutes. Hell it is easier to swap out the bearings than it is to change a flat.

good luck with the rest of your season
zac
Zac, The Madone's BB system is the best as it relates to ease of maintenance. When you "strip, clean, regrease and reinstall" do you use any specific type of grease? I undertand from other forums that Trek is recommending locktite when using Campy cranks but that loctite is not needed with the standard Enduro bearings. Any grease recommendation though? Vlad
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Vlad hey!

One, I hadn't heard about Loctite with the Campag install. My guess is it is probably due to the flange that is needed to seat the bearing. Not familiar with the setup, otherwise.

Two, as to grease, use whatever you like. I use either Phil Wood water proof or some generic synthetic white lithium grease I have. Just make sure you clean everything well, and use a small acid brush to apply a thin layer of grease to the socket.

One thing I have found that seems to be reoccurring is that the cranks will loosen shortly after the reinstall. So after you torque everything down, go for a ride or two. Then retorque your cranks on the spindle.

HTH
zac
 
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