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good son , bad man
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149 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I installed some Enduro ceramic hybrid bearings form superflycycles.com in both my '08 Campy Record UT crankset and my '05 Record freehub body. BOTH SETS FAILED !

The crankset bearings were originally smooth and quiet with no problems. Then, after about 1000 mi. they began to make a weird rattling noise. I switched back to the stock Campy bearings and the problem disappeared immediately.

Now for the freehub body. I was within a mile from home and had just raised out of the saddle for a short, steep climb when I heard a loud "SNAP" come from the rear of my bike. The next pedal strokes sounded as if there was gravel in my drivetrain. I limped home sounding like a cement mixer. Upon disassembly of my freehub, I found that some of the ceramic balls from the inside bearing had shattered to pieces.

So, let's see ,

1. I noticed no performance gains.
2. They were expensive.
3. They blew up.

Cereamic bearings certainly have their place. They have shown to be more durable than steel in high RPM applications. However, for bikes my opinion of them has changed.

I say, THEY SUCK !
 

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monkey with flamethrower
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821 Posts
Ceramic bearings aren't more durable than standard steel bearings. Sure the material is harder but its not in any way ductile so they tend to shatter under load instead of deforming like a steel ball. The ceramic bearing marketing hype machine tends to ignore that part.
Replace your broken ceramic bearings with some Phil Wood bearings. Most people will agree that they are the finest bearings available for bicycles.
 

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Registered
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1,509 Posts
uncle said:
I installed some Enduro ceramic hybrid bearings form superflycycles.com in both my '08 Campy Record UT crankset and my '05 Record freehub body. BOTH SETS FAILED !

The crankset bearings were originally smooth and quiet with no problems. Then, after about 1000 mi. they began to make a weird rattling noise. I switched back to the stock Campy bearings and the problem disappeared immediately.

Now for the freehub body. I was within a mile from home and had just raised out of the saddle for a short, steep climb when I heard a loud "SNAP" come from the rear of my bike. The next pedal strokes sounded as if there was gravel in my drivetrain. I limped home sounding like a cement mixer. Upon disassembly of my freehub, I found that some of the ceramic balls from the inside bearing had shattered to pieces.

So, let's see ,

1. I noticed no performance gains.
2. They were expensive.
3. They blew up.

Cereamic bearings certainly have their place. They have shown to be more durable than steel in high RPM applications. However, for bikes my opinion of them has changed.

I say, THEY SUCK !
Did you call Superfly for a fix or are you just going to trash them in a public forum?
I had issues with my first BB from them as well. One email and I had a new BB sent to me via Priority Mail. Chuck is a standup guy and stands behind his product.
Where they professionally installed or did you beat them in with a hammer?
There are a lot of variables here that you aren't telling us...
Sounds hinky to me....:rolleyes:
 

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good son , bad man
Joined
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149 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Gimme' a break,backinthesaddle !

backinthesaddle said:
Did you call Superfly for a fix or are you just going to trash them in a public forum?
I had issues with my first BB from them as well. One email and I had a new BB sent to me via Priority Mail. Chuck is a standup guy and stands behind his product.
Where they professionally installed or did you beat them in with a hammer?
There are a lot of variables here that you aren't telling us...
Sounds hinky to me....:rolleyes:

Sorry to have touched a nerve. I'm not trying to trash superfycycles.com in any way. In fact I almost didn't mention them. You're right about one thing (and one thing only), their customer service was excellent. The fact of the matter is that two different sets of bearings failed.
After 30 years of bicycle mechanical experience, I know the importance of installing bearings with care. Especially ceramics. They were not "beat in with a hammer" as you apparantly assume. Just because a componet isn't "professionally installed" doesn't mean it wasn't done right.
Sure, I could probably have the bearings replaced. But being a 185-190 lb.aggressive rider, I personally don't trust them to not fail in the middle of a century ride somewhere.

Show some respect and don't make idiotic assumptions.
Use your brain before you flame.
 

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Cat 6 rider
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3,119 Posts
uncle said:
Show some respect and don't make idiotic assumptions.
Use your brain before you flame.
Where's the fun in that?

And while ceramic bearings are cool, I think I'll stick to steel. From everything I've read Ceramic's lower rolling resistance doesn't translate into any real performance gain- besides, I weigh 200 lbs. and have no desire to find my bearings replaced by gravel :)
 

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good son , bad man
Joined
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149 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As stated earlier, ceramic bearings have a place. Because of their heat dissapating abilities and truer roundness of the balls, they are said to have slightly less rolling resistance and last longer, especially with high rpms. Is this "less rolling resistance" something you can feel while riding the bike ? I couldn't . Although I wanted to.

In my OP, I probably shouldn't have been so quick to imply that they have no place on a bike. They might have some small benefit in higher rpm situations such as a R. Der. pully.
I'm just leary about their ability to handle the crushing loads incurred in crank spindles and pedals. (and in hub bodys)

Maybe they're OK for wheel bearing use, I don't know. I do know that my Campy Record hubs are smooth as butter and there's no need to mess with them.

An above post mentioned Bocabearings. After some research, I opted for the Enduros because of them having hardened chrome steel races as opposed to Boca's stainless steel races. Possibly someone can shed some light on which material is better for different bearing applications.
 

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Registered
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uncle said:
Sorry to have touched a nerve. I'm not trying to trash superfycycles.com in any way. In fact I almost didn't mention them. You're right about one thing (and one thing only), their customer service was excellent. The fact of the matter is that two different sets of bearings failed.
After 30 years of bicycle mechanical experience, I know the importance of installing bearings with care. Especially ceramics. They were not "beat in with a hammer" as you apparantly assume. Just because a componet isn't "professionally installed" doesn't mean it wasn't done right.
Sure, I could probably have the bearings replaced. But being a 185-190 lb.aggressive rider, I personally don't trust them to not fail in the middle of a century ride somewhere.

Show some respect and don't make idiotic assumptions.
Use your brain before you flame.
I didn't assume anything, it was an honest question. The "pro" shop around here was beating a bearing with a hammer one day when I was in there. It's a logical question as incorrect installation leads to premature bearing failure, be they ceramic or steel.
Good for you and your 30 years of experience...whoop de f*cking doo. You do know that you have to take care of ceramics right? You just don't install them and ride forever. They need lube, just like steel bearings.
I weigh 180, produce pretty serious watts and haven't had a lick of trouble with my ceramics. BB, hubs or pulleys...
Oh, and respect is earned. Chuck at Superfly has earned mine...you, not so much...
 

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Cat 6 rider
Joined
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3,119 Posts
uncle said:
As stated earlier, ceramic bearings have a place. Because of their heat dissapating abilities and truer roundness of the balls, they are said to have slightly less rolling resistance and last longer, especially with high rpms. Is this "less rolling resistance" something you can feel while riding the bike ? I couldn't . Although I wanted to.

In my OP, I probably shouldn't have been so quick to imply that they have no place on a bike. They might have some small benefit in higher rpm situations such as a R. Der. pully.
I'm just leary about their ability to handle the crushing loads incurred in crank spindles and pedals. (and in hub bodys)

Maybe they're OK for wheel bearing use, I don't know. I do know that my Campy Record hubs are smooth as butter and there's no need to mess with them.

An above post mentioned Bocabearings. After some research, I opted for the Enduros because of them having hardened chrome steel races as opposed to Boca's stainless steel races. Possibly someone can shed some light on which material is better for different bearing applications.
Maybe ceramic bearings would be suitable for rear dérailleurs, or other applications as well; my point is that the actual energy savings is negligible. The classic "gee whiz" test is with wheel bearings- you spin two wheels, one with regular and one with ceramic bearings and the ceramic bearing wheel just seems to spin forever. It makes you want to rush out and get those bearings, until you find out that the actual energy savings, in terms of wattage, is pretty meaningless in the real world.
 
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