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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Once, when I was in a bike store, a customer came up to me, and said, you're still using ball bearing hubs? So I was wondering, are these outdated, since cartridges are easier to replace?

Although Duraace and Record are ball bearing, maybe these are best for pros with professional mechanics, the rest of us should use cartridges?
 

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monkey with flamethrower
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That mechanic is an idiot. The Dura-Ace and Record hubs are quite possibly the finest hubs on the market and they use loose ball bearings.
Loose ball hubs aren't really any heavier and are far far easier to service than any cartridge bearing hub. A few simple tools and half a brain are all thats needed to service a loose ball hub. Sealed Cartridge bearing hubs often require specialized tools that cost lots of money to replace the bearings. And if the hub has a small amount of play in it, the play can be easily adjusted out of the hub with the loose ball design, whereas cartridge bearing hubs generally require new bearings.
Its a lot cheaper to produce a high quality cartridge bearing hub than a high quality loose ball hub and thats why nearly everyone makes sealed bearing hubs.
 

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So the ball bearing hub is outdated says your bike shop guy (who is either an idiot, or is a hack salesman who has zero mechanical ability what so ever). I guess that is why the two of the largest bicycle component makers (Shimano and Campagnolo) still use them!

When done right (Dura-Ace, Ultegra, Record, Chorus) a ball bearing hub can be set up to have substantially less drag (thus faster) than any cartridge bearing hub (with all seals intact). They are super easy to service with standard bike tools, and replacement parts are in stock in most bike shops.

I spent eight years as a bicycle mechanic and when I pick hubs for my own bikes...I choose Shimano for their durability, affordability, and serviceability. My current Ultegra hubs have many thousands of miles on them over the last seven years and are still going strong with yearly service (original bearings as well!).
 

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steel515 said:
Once, when I was in a bike store, a guy came up to me, and said, you're still using ball bearing hubs? So I was wondering, are these outdated, since cartridges are easier to replace?

Although Duraace and Record are ball bearing, maybe these are best for pros with professional mechanics, the rest of us should use cartridges?
Meh. Bearings is bearings. There are good and bad examples of both types.

In a theoretical sense, cartridge bearings are better than cup-and-cones for wheels, because the forces the wheels normally encounter are better aligned with the contact points of the bearings. This allows the balls to roll rather than spin, reducing drag.

There are very, very many morons who insist that because a well adjusted cup-and-cone 'spins' better under finger pressure, it must necessarily be better under load and over time. Nonsense. Bearing seals (decent ones, that is) offer a tiny amount of drag, and nothing at all in comparison to that offered by the tiniest bit of grit allowed past a non-sealed 'free' bearing. (That is, when the bearing is under load, not just a floating axle or wheel in a workstand,)

Cartridge bearings do not require expensive, single-use tools to replace, though like most things they can make the job easier. More importantly, they need replacement very rarely if at all, and then usually only if mistreated. Of course, there are plenty of bad hub, crank, etc. designs that make mistreatment easy (or even cause it, like those awful FSA SL-K cranks of a few seasons back.}

Suggesting that loose-balls are 'right' because Campy and Shimano use them is goofy. Nearly everywhere else in the bearing universe, loose balls are a piece of history. And that is as it should be. After all, go count the number of Record or DA hubs in the pro peloton, then support the argument for their clear superiority.

That's not to say that there's anything inherently bad about them - I use them on half my bikes, and like 'em just fine. But they do require more care, work, and attention, for no real gain of any sort. Alas, traditions exist for lots of reasons.
 

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Polka Power
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Rubber Lizard said:
And if the hub has a small amount of play in it, the play can be easily adjusted out of the hub with the loose ball design, whereas cartridge bearing hubs generally require new bearings.
Not true for most cartridge hubs. Most adjust in pretty much the same way as the loose ball, some easier. For example I have one cartridge hub set that I can adjust the bearings on the bike, without removing the wheel. I do have one hub that uses shims for adjustment, but I'd say that's rare (for hubs).

A plus side to cartridges is that you can change the quality (or material) of bearing and seal with simple replacement. You can repack them and service them if they need it by popping the seal out and cleaning/repacking.

Nothing wrong with loose ball though. Shimano hubs last forever.
 

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Bad argument on your part

danl1 said:
Suggesting that loose-balls are 'right' because Campy and Shimano use them is goofy. Nearly everywhere else in the bearing universe, loose balls are a piece of history. And that is as it should be. After all, go count the number of Record or DA hubs in the pro peloton, then support the argument for their clear superiority.
You mean other than Team Columbia (Shimano...5 stage wins!), Silence-Lotto (Campagnolo Wheels) with that Evans guy, Gerosteiner (Shimano wheels) with some guy in a Polka Dot jersey, Euskatel-Euskadi (Shimano wheels), Credit Agricole (Shimano wheels), Bouyges Telecom (Campagnolo), and Caisse D'Epargne (Campagnolo) who all use wheels with cup and cone ball bearings so YOUR argument is pretty goofy :idea:
 

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monkey with flamethrower
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ChuckUni said:
Not true for most cartridge hubs. Most adjust in pretty much the same way as the loose ball, some easier. For example I have one cartridge hub set that I can adjust the bearings on the bike, without removing the wheel. I do have one hub that uses shims for adjustment, but I'd say that's rare (for hubs).

A plus side to cartridges is that you can change the quality (or material) of bearing and seal with simple replacement. You can repack them and service them if they need it by popping the seal out and cleaning/repacking.

Nothing wrong with loose ball though. Shimano hubs last forever.
I hate to say 'hey you're wrong' but the majority of cartridge bearing hubs out there have no way to adjust preload on the bearing hubs. Some do, such as Mavic,some Easton hubs, Chris King and White Industries fronts. But if you want to remove the play that will eventually develop in your DT Swiss hubs you need a fancy tool that costs a pretty penny to press new bearings in. And I've seen plenty of people muck up their hubs over the years by trying to press new bearings into hubs of all brands.
Not trying to harsh on cartridge bearings, they work just fine, just harder to service when the time comes to be serviced.
 

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Both types of hubs work fine. Both roll just the same, but I like the loose bearings personally.

Older tech is not always inferior. Heck, I like square taper cranks and BBs over the modern fancy versions.

I think that this bike shoppe staffee was just trying to make a sale here. Don't let them blow smoke up your ass unless you like that sort of thing. :D
 

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Cartridge bearings are an easy sell to people who are inclined to assume that newer is by definition better. Hence you bike shop guy. They also tend to feel smoother when new -- they don't spin faster, but they have a "buttery" feel right out of the box, whereas loose-ball hubs often require some (pretty basic) adjustment. Once again, easier sell for the bike shop guy.

Both can be good and both can be bad. Would I turn my nose up at DA or Record because they are loose ball hubs? Heck no. Bearing type doesn't even figure into my hub buying decisions.
 

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Polka Power
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Rubber Lizard said:
Some do, such as Mavic,some Easton hubs, Chris King and White Industries fronts.
As well as pretty much any traditional threaded axle cartridge hub. Like Surly, Dimension, ones made by Formula (store branded, unbranded, etc)...TONS of these out there. Paul Components, etc.....

Ones that don't...I don't think Hope hubs are, similar to DT. Who else? Some White rear hubs, but they will send shims to adjust if need be, although it's not really easy to do.

Most times you won't need the special tool set to replace bearings, especially if the old ones are bad and you don't have to care for them getting them out. Rubber mallet and a socket the size of the OD of the bearing can work fine in most cases to press in new ones.

Still dumb not to be adjustable, I'm not gonna argue that.
 

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hayduke1972 said:
You mean other than Team Columbia (Shimano...5 stage wins!), Silence-Lotto (Campagnolo Wheels) with that Evans guy, Gerosteiner (Shimano wheels) with some guy in a Polka Dot jersey, Euskatel-Euskadi (Shimano wheels), Credit Agricole (Shimano wheels), Bouyges Telecom (Campagnolo), and Caisse D'Epargne (Campagnolo) who all use wheels with cup and cone ball bearings so YOUR argument is pretty goofy :idea:
You've rightly listed five stage wins - out of 21. Hmmm. Add up a few more if you'd like - the point is still made perfectly that cup-and-cones are not providing any demonstrated advantage. And cycling lore and anecdotal evidence completely aside, the uncomfortable fact remains that it's an inferior design.

I'm not arguing that cartridge bearings beget wins. But it's apparent that the same thing is equally untrue for cup-and-cones. And that is the real issue here - they require considerably more maintenance, and provide no gain.
 

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danl1 said:
And that is the real issue here - they require considerably more maintenance, and provide no gain.
Not sure what you are doing with your bikes, but I have XTR hubs on my MTB and DA hubs on my CX bike, and they certainly do not require a considerable amount of maintenance. Meanwhile, I have replaced several sealed bearings on WI hubs used on the same bikes in the same conditions.

Don't <strike>believe</strike> repeat the hype.
 

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I think you need to learn to count!

danl1 said:
You've rightly listed five stage wins - out of 21. Hm
Columbia=5 stages
Gerolsteiner=2 stages
Credit Agricole=2 stages
Caisse D'Epargne=3 stages (*once Ricco is disqualified officially)

That's 12 out of 21 stages on old antiquated cup and cone bearing technology. Got any more bogus arguments?:idea:
 
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