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Are bigger bearings always better? Is there some relationship between size and wear? ie. in external bottom bracket, will 22mm bb last xxx miles longer if 2mm larger? Or is quality more important than quantity?
(larger cartridge bearing has more balls)
 

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I think that in general they will last longer from wear; larger cartridges will probably have bigger bearings and even though the outside diameter being larger will be moving a greater distance with each rotation than the smaller diameter cartridges; the bearings will be disproportionately larger than the rotational distance increase relative to the center compared to smaller cartridges.

I might be wrong but that is how i visualized it; maybe a math guy can step in here with some authoritative answer.

<[edit]> this is also assuming that the quality of the parts of each size are the same
 

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Many factors

samh said:
Are bigger bearings always better? Is there some relationship between size and wear? ie. in external bottom bracket, will 22mm bb last xxx miles longer if 2mm larger? Or is quality more important than quantity? (larger cartridge bearing has more balls)
If all else is equal, then a larger diameter bearing track with larger bearings is better. However, there are a number of factors in the design of real world bearing systems, which include the quality of the bearings and races, how well things line up, seal system and quality, how the preload is done, etc.
 

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Good seal system is the most important issue modern bb systems haven't. I don't remember such frequent bearing failures in old cartridges. Besides that, outboard bb bearings system relies on a perfect frame bb alignment, which almost never happens.
 
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