Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,725 Posts
I just got a new rear hub with 4 sealed bearing inside.. it spin pretty well just wish it was longer. Is there break in period?
Bearings do not "break in" but if you have contact-sealed hubs then the seals will wear in and friction will drop a tiny bit. Likewise the grease will break down (not chemically - just the emulsion will break a little) and reduce friction a tiny bit. This will show up as the wheels spinning longer but it will be insignificant in the big picture.

This assumes that the bearings are either independent of pre-load or are properly pre-loaded.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,103 Posts
I think what Kerry meant was basically "don't worry about it". IME the resistance drops a lot after you've ridden a few miles. Both the grease and the seals "break-in". If they are stiff (but smooth!) when new, then that means you have aggressive seals and a high grease fill... which is a really good thing if you want them to last.

That is why all these ceramic bearings that have no resistance when new are just a marketing ploy. You can take the seals off your steel bearing cartridges and lube them with oil and achieve the same thing.

BTW if the bearings *aren't* smooth you probably have a misalignment or preload issue that you should get fixed.
 

·
A wheelist
Joined
·
11,324 Posts
You can take the seals off your steel bearing cartridges and lube them with oil and achieve the same thing.
That reminds me of a story. Back many years ago (1960's) when I went to watch international track (cycling) in the UK, the top guys would, for the special occasion events, trick out their Campagnolo and Airlite hubs - they would remove the dust shields (there were no rubber seals back then), remove one ball, adjust the hubs to be a bit slack and replace the grease with a bit of thin oil. You could hear them rolling past with the hubs doing a click-click-click noise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,103 Posts
I understand using oil... but with no rubber seals, the dust shields weren't hurting anything, and I don't understand taking a ball out either.

Seems like a clicking noise would indicate that something isn't optimal...
 

·
A wheelist
Joined
·
11,324 Posts
I understand using oil... but with no rubber seals, the dust shields weren't hurting anything, and I don't understand taking a ball out either. Seems like a clicking noise would indicate that something isn't optimal...
I think we have to put it into context of the era. Hindsight is great stuff and club riders now know more useful bike science than pro riders did 40-50 years ago. Back then, time-trialers drilled their bike parts out to look like tin whistles. Now we know bike weight means almost nothing and aerodynamics of the body are everything.

You must remember too I said they did this hub mod for top international track races. On the following Tuesday night track league their hubs would be silent (full of grease). Clicking was because there was no grease and much movement between their balls :rolleyes: They, I assume, which doesn't take much of my imagination, were going for minimal friction in their hubs. Even *I* know that less balls = more pressure per ball = same drag.

Plus I would think that there was a big mental boost of special bike mods for special events - which all of us do even now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,103 Posts
Back then, time-trialers drilled their bike parts out to look like tin whistles. Now we know bike weight means almost nothing and aerodynamics of the body are everything.
I was looking at some old (80s I think) Columbus tubing catalogs and noticed that they made some very light tubesets "for TTs".

The lack of reason is baffling. The basic physics is as old as Newton, and subsonic aerodynamics was very well developed by WW2. And yet the best pros in the world made equipment choices based on nonsense.... and they still do... just not so much.
 

·
A wheelist
Joined
·
11,324 Posts
I was looking at some old (80s I think) Columbus tubing catalogs and noticed that they made some very light tubesets "for TTs".
I remember the Excel tubing on a frame made in Italy (that I almost bought in Toronto) in the early '90s and I could flex the TT with my thumb - like a coke can. Scary. The Masi that I did buy is still going strong.

The lack of reason is baffling. The basic physics is as old as Newton, and subsonic aerodynamics was very well developed by WW2. And yet the best pros in the world made equipment choices based on nonsense.... and they still do... just not so much.
Old wives' tales still abound in cycling. We are getting slowly better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Almost all hubs will break-in and get faster. When I get a new wheelset in, I take a look at the manufacture date (usually on the wheel, under the rim tape). If it's more than a year old, I completely re-pack the hub. I do it because I'm obsessive, you don't really need to do this. You can just ride the wheel a few hundred miles, then push left-right on the rim to feel if there's any play. If there is, increase the side-load a little bit. If you don't know how to do this, follow the instructions in the manual or take it to a good shop. Hubs that are too loose or too tight will break-down, so don't MacGyver this. In fact, you should check your hubs for play every thousand miles or so. It's an easy check and will drastically increase the life of your wheelset.

Like has been said, bearings shouldn't "break-in" (wear down) for at least a few years on good hubs. This holds true for steel and ceramic. Use grease, not oil, unless you have a staff bike tech who will be doing weekly wheel maintenance for you. Use good grease. I like Phil Wood only because it's really easy to tell when water's getting through the seals.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top