Enduro Bearings' New Maxhit Headset Has a Lifetime Guarantee - Sea Otter 2021

Oct 8, 2021
by Mike Kazimer  

Enduro Bearings may have built a better mousetrap with their new Maxhit headset and bottom bracket design. The Maxhit components are essentially oversized stainless steel cartridge bearings that are pressed directly into a frame, no aluminum cups required. In a typical zero stack headset an aluminum cup is pressed into a frame, and then a sealed cartridge bearing is seated into that cup. It's a design that's become very common over the last decade – the days of fully external headsets are fading fast in the rearview mirror.

With the Maxhit headsets, that aluminum cup is removed, creating room for bigger ball bearings – ones with 8 times more mass in this case – which Enduro says doubles the load rating and increases the lifespan substantially.


A side view of the new Maxhit headset.
The bearings have a mass that's 8 times greater than what's typically used in a zero stack headset.

Needing to pound out and press in a new headset whenever it's time for new bearings seems like it'd be sort of a pain, but the good news is that all of the Maxhit headsets and bottom brackets are guaranteed for life, which means that replaing them shouldn't be a common occurrence. That coverage includes corrosion, good news for riders in wet, salty climates. If a Maxhit headset or BB stops functioning like it should, Enduro Bearings will take care of it.

The zero stack headsets will be available in January 2022, with a retail price of $119 USD.

The bottom brackets will be available in the second quarter of 2022 for the following bottom bracket types: BSA 24 (Shimano), BSA 29 (SRAM DUB), BSA 30, and BB 86/92. A T-47 model is in the works for the end of 2022. MSRP: $159 USD.

Enduro Bearings Maxhit
The silver bearings are an oversized illustration of the size difference between a typical bottom bracket bearing and the ones used in a Maxhit bottom bracket.









108 Comments

  • 78 1
 As someone who used to be a retailer for enduro, I'd imagine that they're going to be replacing a ton of bearings through their 'guarantee. Even the top of the line XD-15 (ceramic) or Abec-5 Angular Contact (steel) bearings only typically lasted 1-2 years. Ingress of dirt and moisture through the seals was the #1 killer and it didn't matter how nice the bearing was.

For those considering these, I would recommend a replaceable bearing headset and bb (for example a wheels mfg bb and a hope/chis king/cane creek (110) headset). Then buy the cheaper abec 3 bearings and just have a stockpile of them. A clean, fresh bearing is way better than a blown-out expensive ceramic bearing. The lifetime cost will be about the same, but you will always be riding on fresh bearings.

I am no longer affiliated with enduro (due to career change) so feel free to ask any questions about enduro or wheels mfg or the headset manufacturers and I will give you down to earth experience and opinions.
  • 5 0
 What do you think of the solid lubricant bearings that Cane Creek is marketing?
  • 41 3
 By clapped-out-46, age 5
  • 15 1
 I agree. I have a hard time believing the issue with bearing life in a mountain bike headset or bottom bracket is because current offerings fail as a result of not being robust enough to handle the loading. Sure oversizing the bearings can probably help with that but like you said it is much more to do with the sealing of the bearing(s) and maintaining adequate lubrication.
As soon as a bearing is contaminated it’s days are numbered no matter how big or high end the balls inside are.
I’d be curious to see if a manufacturer could utilize a low friction lipseal design (at least on a bb) in combination with a sealed bearing containing a marine grade grease (not sure if most standard sealed bearings have a water resistant grease). We constantly see different types of bearings used in an attempt to increase longevity but seldom see the addition of other sealing methods in addition to the bearing(s) themselves.
  • 11 0
 @f*ckingsteve: Those bearings are made by SKF. They are the MTRX bearing. You can purchase these at a fraction of the cost of the BB cane creek produces. I have run them for a season in my BB as well as the outboard eylet bearing on my DHX2, and I will say these bearings are actually running smoother and better than when I first installed them. They have seen a whole season of riding in extreme dry and extreme wet. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and spend a great deal of time at Whistler. I popped them into a race face BB she’ll and they work flawlessly.
  • 8 0
 @f*ckingsteve: I think they do exactly as they claim -- which is to extend the life of the bearing. For normal containment ingress, they are great. However, under pressure washing or extreme use, they have the same problem where the dirt becomes sandpaper in your bearings. I would expect to see a much longer life, but again, not infinite. They are also produced by SKF, which in my experience from rebuilding truck axles is a top manufacture.

To summarize - the problem in bearings is always the sealing ability - these greatly improve that which is always a plus.
  • 2 1
 @brycepiwek: Exactly! Most of the greases are relatively waterproof, the hardest part is having low friction AND a good way to prevent dirt ingress Most of the manufacturers have a dust cover, but often they end up creating a shelf for dirt to pack into (and then into the seal)
The balls themselves are VERY strong and it is very rare to see an impact-related failure of the balls.
  • 2 0
 I had bad luck with Wheels Mfg bottom brackets. Went through two them in a few months. Haven't had any problems with Sram bottom brackets.
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: The Wheel bb's use Enduro bearings. Depends on the type of bb and the failure. Have seen a couple of shells fail, but if far more common for the (replaceable) bearing to have a problem. Plenty of people have success with the Sram bb's and it sounds like you are one of them. I just never liked the plastic shell.
Hope also makes a bb comparable to wheels for certain applications.
  • 18 1
 Bring back fsa pig dh
  • 12 0
 Once a year I pull my headset and BB, wipe everything down, then pop the seals off and inject\purge with Pedro’s. Finishing season 5 on my Enduro and season 4 on my Release 3. No play, all smooth as butter. Plenty of Northeast miles as well as shipped to west coast trips. Never let a pressure washer or even pressure setting on a regular hose near my bikes. Shower setting only with long natural bristle brushes and cheap carnuba car wash soap. Same for all my links. Thing is, I’m not alone. My buddies who adopted my approach experience the same longevity.
  • 3 1
 @brycepiwek: bigger balls means bigger spaces for grease
  • 16 0
 @DHhack: that’s what she said
  • 16 3
 Cris king answers to all bearings question with head set and bb;
Instal once - ride entire frame life
  • 1 0
 @brycepiwek: I have a headset from acros that has pretty smart looking seals. Too little hours in wet or dust to know if it actually works or not. I did notice a lot more drag (than the old one from stronglight) installing the thing but cant notive it while riding. Then again im not doing any barspins.
  • 6 0
 @f*ckingsteve @jomacba: Cane Creek no longer does the SKF MTRX bearings. I believe they now use Enduro XD-15 Ceramic on their high end BB. From what I hear some did what they were meant to do, and a few didn't seam to hold up to expectations. Cane Creek is pretty focused on 100% quality, and I think having some come back with issues put them off. I have a BB as well though with the SKF MTRX and so far so good. I have read they are self lubricating, but need to reach higher speeds to warm up to actually lubricate themselves - not sure how accurate that is mind you.

Cane Creek 110 headsets, and Hellbender 70 headsets are fantastic because they not only use good bearings (that I think are full contact sealed?), but the cup/cover system up top has an additional o-ring gasket, and the crown race has a double lip seal, so water and dirt have a hard time even reaching the bearings in the first place. Awesome products.
  • 14 0
 @Chuckolicious: hey don’t stop describing that bike shower dude I’m so close!
  • 2 0
 @privateer-wheels: Yeah I noticed that they stopped using them. In regards to the 110 and hellbender bearings, they are a full contact labyrinth seal.
  • 4 1
 @owl-X: Several natural bristle brushes… conical ….paddle…fan…bottle… and then a lengthy wipe down. Mmmmmmm….
  • 2 0
 @jomacba: The bearings are full contact, yes. The labyrinth seal has more to do with the design of the cups/caps/crown race, I believe.

Just like hubs where the labyrinth is designed into the axle ends, freehub, and hub shell components - all the bits before you reach the bearings - the labyrinth in a headset would normally be designed into the cup/cap interface. The point of the labyrinth is to make the bearings harder to reach for dirt/water
  • 3 0
 If my Cane Creek 40 ever breaks, doubtful, I'll look you guys up.
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: Did you go through the BBs, or the bearings? When the bearings on my Wheels MFG eventually gave out, I replaced them with NSK or SKF high quality bearings. Runs great.
  • 2 0
 Absolutely agree. Enduro are so focused on max load. For the longest time they didn't offer stainless bearings, always talking about the 20% lower load rating. Who cares, if the bearing has way more than 20% to spare? Here in the Mid Atlantic, it's always contamination and corrosion that kills bearings. Seeing this new built in bottom bracket bearing still only have the bearing seal for protection, and then no longer having a dust shield over it, screams failure.
  • 1 0
 @DHhack: if the sealing system is comprised and the grease is contaminated it doesn’t matter how much of it there is. If bearings in mtbs ran at high temperatures due to higher loading and rpm’s more grease could help short term.
Fun fact: an over greased bearing will actually run at a higher temperature and get to that temperature quicker before levelling out once the access grease has worked in or been purged out of the bearing during operation at which point the bearing temps will stabilize.
  • 1 0
 @f*ckingsteve: they're not doing that anymore. I just spoke with them at Sea Otter
  • 2 0
 Personally I had nothing but bad experiences with enduro bearings. They have tons of different types but non of them is as good as a standard "normal" bearing from other famous (in motorsport and industry) brands.
  • 1 0
 @privateer-wheels: You are correct. Essentially a small groove is machines into the inner race, where the lip of the dust shield would sit into, essentially creating a labyrinth
  • 1 0
 @jomacba: Yes. Which is why I say the bearings are full contact, but the bearings do not have a labyrinth seal themselves. The headset does however. I'm just being not picky Wink

I believe the upper actually has a labyrinth, then an o-ring seal/gasket, and then the full contact seal. Bottom has a double lip contact seal on the race, and then again on the bearing. Hard to beat the 110 and Hellbender headsets!
  • 1 0
 @brycepiwek: I think you missed the joke Wink
  • 1 0
 @rm7freerider: Torched the bearings twice in a short time. As @clapped-out-46 said they are Enduro bearings. I vaguely remember that too but it was so long ago. I gave up on that aluminum shell BB. The Sram BBs work great for me so no reason to change.
  • 1 0
 @jomacba: *nit picky*

Just rereading your comments.

I think you mean the bearing shield itself and the race is a labyrinth? I don't think that's quite What labrinth is meant to mean. Most sealed cartridge bearing have a groves machined in them that the seal sits in. Some are full contact, some light contact, some non contact. Not really what is refered to as a labyrinth seal. Labrinth seals are generally manipulation in the pathway to the bearing to help keep water and dust caught up closer to the outside. Many headsets machine a Labrinth between the upper cap and the upper cup. If you google "Labrinth seal headset" you'll see an image of a Wolftooth with Labrinth seal noted, with lines going to both cup and cap. Some hubs use them, as well - Onyx for example, machines them between hubshell and freehub, if you are familiar with these. Has nothing to do with the bearing itself. Same for most headsets - Labrinth is the pathway to the bearing, between the cap and cup - nothing to do with the bearing it self.

But I suppose you could argue a non contact seal on a cartridge bearing is a Labrinth of sorts.
  • 2 0
 @clapped-out-46: Speak for yourself, there are countless stories out there with ball impact!

www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/testicle-injuries-and-conditions
  • 1 0
 @makripper: ive got a pig on my old dirt jumper. Its 15 years old and still rolling perfectly (we proper service intervals of course)
  • 1 0
 @makripper: As of last year they still made it. IDK if they stopped
  • 1 1
 Any thoughts or experience with Wolftooth Components "Premium" lifetime warrantied headsets?
  • 2 0
 @NateMob: they are great.
  • 3 0
 i can't understand how the bike industry stuck with such a mediocre bearing producer, and forcing us the riders spacial size bearings that could be replaced only by another low quality bearing. It is about time bike manufacture to chose bearings by quality and sizing availability, for the good of the rider and life span of the product. greasing points should be integrated in to the frames too.
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: flew right over my head hahaha
  • 1 0
 @clapped-out-46: I just had a BSA30 shell fail, the angular contact bearing in it is still smooth though...
  • 18 0
 It's official, innovation in mountain biking has completely stagnated. . . I have a Chris King headset that is over 12 years old and has never been serviced. Also I have a commuter bike that has a sealed no name headset that is even older, no issues. . .
  • 13 0
 what a big heaping pile of steaming hot shit new bearings are. Relative to any other application they have hardly any load and barely spin at all but they are so shit in longevity. Every other machine on the planet uses them but cycling just wears them out so fast. As if cycling is the only thing exposed to dirt and moisture. Ya right.
  • 9 0
 I have a Chris King NoThreadSet that predates the laser etching of logos...so, 20+ yrs? Never serviced, used on a Klein Pinnacle for approx 200k kms, including some touring. Still silky smooth.
  • 10 0
 Buy quality once and not worry about lifetime warranties or replacing bearings. Seems to be a concept lost today. @thomasjkenney1024:
  • 6 0
 @stainerdome: I was thinking that too. The whee bearings on my motorbike have done 32,000 miles. The ones in my car have done 37,000 miles. Why do bottom bracket and headset bearings only last 2-3 years?
  • 3 1
 My mum has a Dutch bike that is over 60 years old and the headset still spins like brand new.
  • 16 2
 @lauwe-pokoe: There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Dutch.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: Because they are properly engineered, the bearings spin fast is stay lubricated, factories have improved their designs, weight doesn't matter,....and thus through the hundreds of iterations over the 120yrs of cars there are whole factories dedicated to making car/motorcycle wheel bearings.

In the cycle industry is limited by the weight we want our parts, there seems to be little sharing and improving of tech, but there is....a little but not much.

Or just buy a Chris King
  • 2 0
 I mean it's just the weight and friction. That's literally it. Shit bearings exist in all walks of life though, like if you buy Chinese automation machines, you factor in the price of replacing all the bearings and guide rails etc.
  • 1 0
 In my opinion, the integrated headset holds more moisture (which evaporates poorly) than the classic ones. I ouldn't even want it for free Smile
  • 1 0
 I had a King headset that was serviced once in a 20 year span. I won't use anything else.
  • 1 0
 @jomacba: This gave me a chuckle at work, I watched it the other day
  • 1 0
 @starkle: Great movie!
  • 17 0
 I've got big balls
And they're such big balls
And their fancy big balls
And he's got big balls
And she's got big balls
(But we've got the biggest balls of them all
  • 9 0
 My balls are always bouncing, from the left and to the right It is my belief that my big balls should be held every night
  • 3 0
 Just realized - those lyrics might be partial inspiration for spinal tap’s big bottoms
  • 7 0
 8 times bigger?

TIL, a sphere's geometric volume increases 8-fold from only doubling the sphere's diameter.

That and I learned that I'm weird enough to try and imagine a ball bearing that has 8 times the diameter of a normal one fitting in a bike's head tube... thinking that can't be correct, then fearing that the balls in my headset are actually smaller than I thought, having not checked under the cartridges' seals.
  • 2 1
 Uranium
  • 8 0
 @kylar: Uranus
  • 4 0
 Sphere volume is 4/3 pi r^3
So yes. Double the radius and the volume increases 8 fold. It’s math n stuff.
  • 22 0
 Other fun sphere volume facts
The optimal packing factor of spheres is about 74%, which is to say a uniform pile of spheres is about 74% spheres and 26% space between spheres by volume
The packing factor of 4D hyperspheres is around 61%
The packing factor of 8D hyperspheres is around 25% and the empty spaces between the spheres are big enough to fit more spheres, which is upsetting if you think about it too long
And it keeps getting worse the more dimensions you add
Sorry
  • 5 0
 @ryetoast: you warned me, but now I'm upset
  • 1 0
 @vectorforces: Holy crap, those some big nut sacks!
  • 7 0
 What problem does this actually solve? The only actual problem with modern headsets is the outrageous number of different standards...

Once your zero stack headset cups are installed you can just drop new bearings into the cups whenever the old ones wear out... With this product you've gotta pound out the whole bearing assembly when it inevitably fails (and it will fail).
  • 2 0
 It's the same with Acros headsets. Bearings can only be replaced together with cups.... stupid design.
  • 3 0
 @Ferisko: I have a commencal and it came spec'd with Acros.

Literally the biggest piece of shit in history
  • 2 0
 Too many standards. BBs are getting there, with the growing popularity of threaded bbs. I'll be happy when replacing headsets becomes as straightforward as swapping threaded bbs.
  • 10 1
 Big ballz
  • 3 1
 Bigger ballz for sure
  • 4 0
 Hmm I seem to remember back in my BMX days headsets like the FSA pig (so called cos it was an absolute pig to fit...) an others with bigger balls not lasting very long. Somebody found out that a higher quantity of smaller balls gave more load bearing with less bearing on each individual ball making them last way longer....
  • 2 0
 Oh an didn't Crank Bros allready try something like this an fail?
  • 1 0
 Thank you. A single ball touches the cup in one spot and the cone in one spot. Headsets and BBs are low rpm high load. More balls = better load distribution, surely less pitting over time. Not an engineer but it makes sense to me.
  • 3 0
 I’d be all over these...but I just can’t quit my Work’s -2 on my current bike. Headset with Cane Creek Hellbender bearings is the only setup I’ve ever ran that stayed silent with zero maintenance.

I wonder how much the bearing clearance on these is affected by the interference fit with the head tube vs. bearing-in-cup style? The best part may actually be deletion of the “self-adjusting” cup to outside of outer race interface because that’s where the creaking usually ends up eventually coming from.
  • 3 0
 its alost as if a clever idea would be to press in a cup then replace the bearing in the cup with a standard off the shelf bearing instead of filling peoples dreams with marketing shite

the bearings have a mass 8 times that??? so its 8 times heavier then
  • 5 0
 Well if they are half as good as their fork seals they should last like AT LEAST a week or so
  • 4 2
 I blow through a Shimano or RF BB roughly annually. I get two years on CC40 headsets... I use them on everything, they're cheap, work fine and when the crap out easy to pop in new bearings.
  • 15 0
 It kinda seems like this would be a good product for you, to be honest.
  • 14 1
 Jeezum crow! Do you ride at the bottom of the ocean? Inside of a sandstorm? In a vat of sulphuric acid? How do you go through all those bearingz?!?
  • 9 0
 @aks21: Too much pre-load...
  • 8 4
 Sounds like a lot of waste for the landfill - not to mention the energy needed to make those disposable products overseas and ship them across an ocean every year
  • 4 0
 i feel like the cane creek hellbender is a better solution,given the design to isolate the bearings from contaminants?
  • 2 1
 Hellbender 70 is the way to go. In my experience the 40 and 10 series cannot hold up to anything with a 150+ fork. Too much load. I think the Hellbender has better seals as well.
  • 3 0
 @aks21: I go through 2 DUB BB86 bottom brackets a year riding in the PNW. Granted, the BB86 is a stupid BB that doesn't leave room enough for bearings for anything but a shimano 24mm spindle, but since I've had 2 pairs of XT cranks in there that wouldn't stop creaking even with a bolt together Wheels Mfg BB, I'll put up with it along with the extra 150g of running a GX crank. I dont' think that's an unusual wear rate if you ride in the mud.
  • 3 0
 @aks21: I'm getting similar wear rates in VT which, between the road salt, acid rain, and mud, is basically what you described but a little more picturesque.
  • 3 0
 The only headset bearing I've ever had fail was a CC40. Not great.
  • 1 0
 Similar to you, I got 3 months out of Race Face BB then about a year out of each Shimano for a bit. Went to Hope and got about 3 years. Good thing about Hope is the bearings are replaceable so your not throwing the whole thing in the bin.
  • 1 0
 @kiksy: I am just over two years on a Race Face BB that was “creaking” about a year and a half ago. Replaced with a CC Hellbender neo with the SKF bearings. No issues with either BB still. Turns out it was the chainring mount on the RF Turbine cranks. So, long story short, every 6 months or sooner, I take off the cranks, pop the BB bearing seals, flush with WD or Ballistol and pack with Slickoleum grease. Personally, I can’t believe it’s still going, but I can’t complain for the $ and little time spent.
  • 1 0
 @kiksy: not saying your issue is/was your chainring, just anecdotal newb screw up on my and my son’s part
  • 3 0
 @polarflux: Was it the original CC40 "black oxide" bearing (blue seals) or the newer ZN40 version (with green seals)? The old black oxide ones were pretty good for the money. The new zinc coated bearings are garbage. Often rough right out of the box. They were introduced right around the time when they added Hellbender 70 to their line up... almost feels like they degraded the CC40 quality on purpose to make hellbender more appealing...
  • 1 0
 @Ferisko: I believe it was the bearings with the blue seals. The headset was on my Turner 5 Spot, so this was like 2014.
  • 6 0
 How do they sit down?
  • 1 0
 I use 5 dollars bearings from Napa on my dt wheels. I beat the shit out of them in the whistla park and they last as long as the "high quality" bike bearings....You can also use 30$ steel chain rings instead of butter alu ones.
  • 2 0
 This is an important point. I use standard engineering bearings on my bikes where possible, because I can add them to orders at work. I find they last A LOT longer than any apparent “mtb specific” bearings. I try to avoid enduro bearings these days as I simply have not seen any benefit to justify their cost, quite the opposite in fact.
  • 4 0
 - Mr. Hambini and his hairdresser entered the chat
  • 3 0
 I just went right to the comments on this one........... Did not even look at the spec's.
  • 4 0
 Maxhit meet Scotland. Goodluck.
  • 3 0
 Does enduro make any bearings for other applications? Like xc, trials, dh or recumbent e-biking?
  • 2 0
 Make a headset and BB with a fitting for a grease gun and hole with a set screw for purging out old grease. Then it will actually last a life time Smile
  • 1 0
 That’s bold of them to do a lifetime guarantee for this headset considering that their pivot bearings aren’t guaranteed to last more than 3 months.
  • 3 0
 I will never voluntarily pay money for an Enduro bearing.
  • 1 0
 my mates triumph has a tapered roller bearing in it thats 1" x 1-1/2" and its been in there since the 50s you want longevity you pay the weight piper his dues
  • 2 0
 I don't want to press a headset out and in every time the bearings fail, whether or not the replacement is free. Pass.
  • 1 0
 Mobil grease XHP 222. Now can we see more durable bike frames and longer shelf life of spare frame parts to go with this durable headset.
  • 3 0
 Hope they come in black.
  • 1 0
 Nice to see a company trying to show up Chris King headsets, but only time will tell how good it will be.
  • 1 0
 Bold claims and reasonable prices if it's all true.
  • 1 0
 All my headsets live in a wet salty environment
  • 1 0
 Nerdy stuff. Never knew a bb could get worn
  • 2 1
 Uh huh

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