Pinkbike Poll: Do You Struggle With Replacing Frame Bearings?

Mar 26, 2021
by Seb Stott  
Big clean up job at the Norco tent with a dash of new bearings.

When replacing pivot bearings I'm often staggered by how hard it is. I mean, this isn't a one-off, unforeseen event like gluing together a cracked carbon frame: it's routine maintenance. If you live somewhere muddy and you ride a lot you might have to do it once or twice a year. That puts it in the same category as a proper suspension service. But suspension manufacturers design their products to be relatively easy to service. It usually requires nothing more sophisticated than a pair of snap ring pliers, and they provide comprehensive and detailed instructions with lists of required tools, plus service centers for those who'd rather pay someone else to do it. Frame pivot servicing isn't so simple.

Instructions are hard to find at best, but usually non-existent. Even working out which bearings you need can be tricky. Proper tools like bearing-pullers, presses and rocket tools are expensive, hard to find, and they often don't fit into the devilishly recessed nook you're trying pull a bearing from anyway. Many bike shops won't replace them for you at any price because they know how frustrating and unpredictable the job can be.

It seems to me suspension pivots are not typically designed with ease of servicing in mind. I often end up resorting to great leaps of forced ingenuity with sockets, hammers, drifts, vices, threaded bars, heat guns and penetrating oil. Although I've done it dozens of times now, I still have trouble getting the bearings out or pressing the new ones in square. And while it sometimes goes smoothly, and I always get the job done somehow, it seems unreasonably difficult for such a common task.

Is it just me?

How hard do you find replacing pivot bearings?



2020 Specialized Enduro
More pivots, more problems?

Does the number of pivots and the difficulty of replacing bearings affect which bike you'll buy?




341 Comments

  • 489 2
 wait you have to replace frame bearings?
  • 295 1
 It's propaganda from the big-bearing industry.
  • 57 2
 @brodoyouevenbike: The Enduro Industrial Complex would have you believe you have a chance at winning an EWS stage with fresh bearings.
  • 40 2
 Not if you ride a Banshee.
  • 16 1
 I’ve found that it depends on the quality of the bearings. I had one single pivot bike with non sealed $2 bearings blow apart in a few months. In contrast I’ve been now riding a dw link branded bike with better bearings and frame alignment. Yes there are more complicated pivot bearings to replace, but the life span is much longer. It’s like comparing an American made car from years past to a Honda. Yeah the American car was easier to work on but you were always doing it.
  • 11 8
 Had my Coiler for 16 years and never had to replace bearings.
  • 8 5
 no you do not
  • 32 1
 @davemays: have you ever checked your bearings? lol
  • 55 2
 nope - you never have to replace bearings or service suspension - just sell it at the end of the season. "ridden lightly, and only on weekends"
  • 5 1
 Wait, what?
  • 7 2
 another huge factor is the weather conditions where you ride. one of the positive outcomes from severe drought across the western USA has been the reduction of wear and tear on bike parts... maintenance drops to about 10% of what is normally required when you are only riding in dry conditions
  • 3 1
 It's not a bad idea to change frame bearings. I changed the ones on my 10yr old bike and it feels great.
  • 13 1
 Having the right tools makes the job easy. Bearing puller and bearing press. Otherwise changing bearings can be hard.
  • 13 0
 @shredddr: Wrong. Ridden lightly by an elderly lady. Only sometimes with the fair weather on weekends. Tyres never went off the tarmac.
You know. An unicorn. Like the one in my bike room.

My neighbour lady wanted a light bike (we have 7, 8 steps from our bike room to the street level) that is also comfortable so in the bike shop they sold her a carbon xtr equipped Scott Spark
  • 2 0
 @davemays: That's because they're all cheap bushings! Guess you didn't grease those either Big Grin
  • 5 4
 Im not sure Im madder at the suggestion I have to even look at my bearings OR that this is such stupid clickbait Ive involved myself with ... either way it's Pinkbike's fault and is just a waste of an article. Mr Smurthwaite mountain boarding here I come. I'm pretty sure those guys just ride down hills for fun and have none of this bullshit.
  • 3 0
 @unrooted: I’m about to install my third set on my Banshee Prime v2. The PNW is hard on those things, even with the slight protection they have.
  • 3 0
 No, but the rear triangle might levitate when you pull the rear shock out...
  • 3 1
 @gafoto: I guess the dry-ass desert has some upsides... amazing riding isn’t one though.
  • 1 0
 @unrooted:
The biking is amazing up there but I gladly moved back to the desert. All that loam and greenery comes from somewhere!
  • 3 1
 Bro OG WD-40 keeps them going foreeeeever!
  • 1 0
 @jonathanreid9: if it works on forks then it should be great for bearings!
  • 3 2
 If you don't hose or pressurewash the grease out of them bearings will last year's. My main pivots are in over 10 and are still smooth. The shock linkages lasted 8. Bike is in Alps every year and loads of uplift days..
  • 1 0
 @shredddr:

Used a few times before lockdown.
  • 3 0
 @bat-fastard: just curious, do they have downlifts in Europe???
  • 4 0
 @unrooted: Sure. But on the opposite side of the mountain only.
It is strictly prohibited to build the uplifts and the downlifts at the same side of the mountain.
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: uplift days is what we call shuttle runs in the uk... Only couple of chairlifts in Scotland over summer, rest is sitting in back of landys with bikes on trailers..
  • 2 0
 @suspended-flesh: Weirdly enough Minnaar runs his bearings on a drill until they're good and broken in because they roll faster when worn to a certain point.
  • 2 0
 @mtbmaniatv: Not only Minaar, but it's pretty standard procedures for a lot of WC mechanics. Especially for World Champs. They even go as far as to remove the seals on all bearings to reduce friction for the race run as it's only one run.
  • 1 0
 @megatryn: Makes sense, good info.
  • 2 0
 @jdendy: Replacing the bearing with a high quality bearing should help with longevity. I'm finding out the hard way. Just ordered 10mm 19mm 5mm from SKF for 32 dollars a piece.
  • 1 0
 @megatryn: I thought they remove the seals to save some weight Wink Big Grin
  • 155 3
 Grabbing popcorn waiting for Evil owners to show up
  • 10 2
 Live in Scandinavia. Three seasons in on my Offering. Bearings still running smooth.
  • 23 5
 3 weeks and my bearings creak when I'm going slow, which is usually never.
  • 3 0
 @DOAFT: Same here! Season three on my Offering and no bearing issues Smile
  • 4 1
 Yup. I live near Seattle and could not stomach the thought of that many pivots in line with from wheel spray. It must work, as the company is based here.
  • 7 10
 @abueno Literally why I never even consider an Evil...
  • 6 0
 @barathpapi: I can offer some advise.
Clean every metal to metal contact in the entire linkage system thoroughly. Grease lightly each contact and under all bolt heads. Check threads for lock tight , Reassemble- torque to spec, go ride creek free.

Its a pain is the ass but should solve the issue
  • 6 1
 @barathpapi: somehow I imagine you shotgunning a can of natty light, crushing the empty can against your helmet with your mullet and mustache flapping gloriously in the wind as you send road gaps into the sunset.
  • 7 0
 I don't get it. What's wrong with Evil bearings?
  • 15 10
 @Loche: there’s a billion
  • 3 0
 Haha I had an undead a few years back and had to replace the spherical bearings pretty much straight away. On the plus side evil just sent some sort of upgraded replacements to England free of charge in just over a week.
  • 4 2
 @Loche: the total number of them
  • 38 0
 @CircusMaximus: Wait, what? Evils have four pair of bearings (+ shock mounts)... This is literally the minimum amount of bearings to have a working linkage (if you ignore flex stays design). Four bar linkages are the simplest form of closed linkage. DW-Link, VPP, Horst link, Split-pivots are all variation of the four bar linkage and thus have the same number of pivots. Delta/Evil is no exception, except the four-bar linkage is on the shock side instead of driving the wheel movement. Only a handful of bikes have more bearings, like Knolly and Spesh Enduro.

The biggest factor in bearing life is big balls, good seals and frame alignment. I believe the new Commencal uses double-row bearings on the main pivot, which is real smart if you ask me.

EDIT: And then there is Orange bikes...
  • 9 1
 @Loche: touché.

Guess I have to retract my smart ass ignorant remark now.
Smile
  • 1 6
flag mybaben (Mar 26, 2021 at 16:18) (Below Threshold)
 @Loche: Nothing, there are just a ton of them, so lots of maintenance!!
  • 8 0
 @Loche: Thanks for saving me the trouble! He's right: there are no more bearings in a DELTA design than typical swingarms with linkage-actuated shocks or four-bar designs.
  • 4 1
 @CircusMaximus: um, what? There’s not though? There are the same number of bearings as every other frame I’ve ever had. You goofballs must be thinking that the flip chip bolts you can see from the side are actually bearings...
  • 1 0
 Some dingbats on here suggesting the bearings are the culprit to creaking! It's the hardware that's causes the creaking; due to either lack of improper maintenance usually, over torquing or dry hardware. Another thing to consider is NEVER trust that all hardware and bearings are properly greased from the factory on a new bike.
  • 3 0
 @Loche: Nothing, its just people with lack of diligence to attempt to identify the true source of creaking and thus start a bogus rumor like such as if its a particular brand.
  • 1 1
 Say it were the bearings, should the bearing company be the one to catch heat and not the bike company. Misguided information is not good to bring to the table that may affect the companies sales with possible customers.

If the fist punches the face its not the foots fault is it?
  • 1 5
flag Gruta (Mar 26, 2021 at 19:15) (Below Threshold)
 I actually wrote about it inthe comments of a new Evil bike release some years ago, how the number of bearings on the frame was putting me off from their bikes, that they ( EVIL) actually replied to me in the comments section in a very PR way. I didn`t buy it though.
  • 4 0
 @Loche: the biggest factor in a lot of things MTB is big balls
  • 1 0
 @taythecoug: My 2017 calling is still quieter than my Santa Cruz 5010 ever was...
  • 2 0
 Evils don't have more bearings than other 4-bars, but the bearings pressed into the dog bones in my v1 following were so crooked when new it was embarrassing. Plus those bolts made from cheese disguised as aluminum... I needed to buy a linkage hardware kit about once per year for that bike.
  • 2 0
 @mybaben: Evil used to have a lot of issues with their bearings/tolerances, but have in later years been adressed and is rarely a problem any more.
  • 1 0
 ive owned evil following mb for 4 years, i strip the bike every year to check the bearings, only had to replace 2 bearings in the 4 year period. all others were smooth.
  • 2 0
 @Loche: Diamondback has been double rowing some of their bearings since around 2008. IDK how many models, but the Scapegoat had them on all 4 seatstay locations.
  • 92 0
 A mechanic mate of mine told me to put new bearings in the freezer for an hour before fitting them, definitely makes them easier to press in.
  • 12 0
 Solid advice
  • 34 0
 Making mental note that I will probably forget.
  • 7 11
flag Richt2000 (Mar 26, 2021 at 13:07) (Below Threshold)
 I’d probably put a slightly too big bearing in, and when it expanded it would crack the frame lol
  • 4 2
 @Richt2000: you would only do that if you happen to use liquid nitrogen to shrink the bearing, which is actually a thing in manufacturing.
  • 3 4
 Tried it, no difference.
  • 4 1
 @IMeasureStuff:
I was joking :-)
  • 54 0
 It's important to also put your frame in the microwave to heat it up.
  • 5 0
 related: a can of plumbers freeze spray on super tight bearings will make them much easier it get out. I have hit bearings with 5-7 sec of spray and then pushed them out with finger strength(use a tool to push. dont touch the metal. lol).
  • 7 4
 @L0rdTom: Microwave is too small and only heats up water molecules. Try an oven or a BBQ.
  • 15 0
 pressing bearings is like bowling - best done after having consumed between 2 and 4 beer. before 2, you're too tense and after 4 you're too sloppy.
ETA: in Covid times, up those to 3 and 6 respectively.
  • 4 0
 Works with pressfit bb’s and headset cups also. Good trick to have in the arsenal
  • 3 0
 pressing the new ones in is rarely an issue, its getting the old ones out that can be a bugger...
  • 9 0
 And then there‘s me, who has to do all his bikework in the garden ... ever searched an avid bleed screw in the grass?
  • 80 1
 It's not pressing the bearings in and out, it's lining up the ****ing washers that need to sit on either side of the captive lower link inside the frame....
  • 190 1
 That feeling when you hear one hit the ground and then see it immediately roll into the deepest, darkest recess of your shop...
  • 35 0
 @mikekazimer: yeah chasing parts that roll away feels like the story of my life.

I'm also a part time watchmaker and trust me finding a missing bike part is a walk in the park compared to finding that 2mm long screw or impossiblly small spring that has pinged of the work bench and onto the floor.
  • 31 0
 worse scenario is when you dont hear it and dont know where it dropped and then you spend 30 minutes crawlig around your bike with no luck, then for next 30 minutes you start solving its trajectory where it could possible drop and how far it could roll.
  • 36 0
 That's why I work over rodent glue-traps
  • 23 0
 I usually out a little bit of grease on the washer so they stick and don't fall on the ground every time you try to align everything. Helps a lot.
  • 37 0
 @mikekazimer: You can see yours roll away? All the small metal parts in my shop bounce twice and simply cease to exist.
  • 6 0
 @pockets-the-coyote: They break the laws of physics on me all the time....Just serviced my family fleet of bikes....have a few parts I found under the workbench when doing a clean up....I am sure it will be fine and that they likely aren't that important....maybe I dropped them last year and hopefully from one of my buddies bikes I worked on...
  • 1 1
 @mikekazimer: i go to grab my magnet then pause.......their aluminum...dang it. Still looking..
  • 4 0
 Or when yourself on the back for finishing the main pivot bearing install really quickly and then see the center sleeve that is supposed to be between the bearings sitting on your work bench..
  • 5 0
 Along with a dab of grease, using a dummy shaft (can be a screw driver, allen, dowel) to hold one side together while you line up and jiggle the pivot axle through the other side.
  • 2 0
 @IMeasureStuff: "carpet monster"
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Use “rubber ring mats” under your stand. It’ll grab stuff and also very comfy.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: like dropping half your spare master link in the long grass as you try to salvage a broken chain and get out with out the walk of shame.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: that sounds like the voice of experience and associated trauma ????
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Lierally did that today. Took me 30 minutes to find this little fella...
  • 1 0
 @IMeasureStuff: Ah, the old ping-fukit.

Top tip I use for removing circlips from brushless motor shafts - do it inside a freezer bag for easy retrieval.
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: jinxed it by commenting, in the past day have now spent at least 30 mintutes looking for:

1. brake caliper spacer
2. brake lever bleed plug
3. hex key I put down when looking for said plug
4. steerer tube spacer....wait a minute why is one missing....shit remove stem, remoce fork, catch all spacers and bearing .....
5. fork lowers whiper spring thingy ( how the hell it came off and not be on the stansion I will never know...only noticed after filling with oil obviously....
6. gasket on the damper knob on a RS Revelation...just put the old one back on....who knows when I will find that one....

That is like a month of dropping things in a day....thanks PB I am blaming you...
  • 75 3
 I just sell it and let someone else worry about it
  • 2 0
 Best strategy. Sell after the season, less hassle!
  • 36 4
 I just clean and re pack my bearings while they are still in the frame. Can get many years out of them if you do this once or twice a season and not washing your bike with a hose helps too!
  • 36 0
 What is “washing your bike”???
  • 39 8
 Mmmm
No.
Or rather he'll and f*ck no.
Age 12-18 I used to press bearings out and carefully remove the shields, clean them with gasoline and brake cleaner and repack wheel and suspension bearings. Doing them in situ will never ever get all the old dirty gritty grease out. But pressing them out via the inner race is also less than ideal.

Age 18-22 I nerded about types of greases, using aluminum complex ep greases for suspension pivots and low temp lithium greases with light base oils for wheel bearings.

22-30 I nerded out on bearing designs. Enduro is China trash. Prying on shields now matter how careful is not ideal, unless you've got snap ring shields.

For 8 or 10 bucks I knock out a wheel hearing toss it in the trash and put in a nice japanese NTN with LLB shields marvelously low friction jobs.

Suspension pivots are truly no place for bearings, bushings belong here. Bearings while touted as superior are actually a shortcut, and the partial rotation simply trenches the races, no reason to grease a bearing with wrecked races. Straight in the trash with them after 6 or 8 months.....

And unfortunately enduro are the only game in town for some of the small full compliment (all balls no cage) bearings selected for mtb suspension.
  • 4 0
 This. I've had friends go through two sets of bearings and mine were still running sweet and I just repacked then with grease every few months. If you DO need to replace them, the right tools for the job make all the difference though, without good tools it's a ball ache.
  • 1 0
 @englertracing: I don't know... Rocky recently moved away from bushings and I don't think any high end company is using them. I agree on the quality of bearings.
  • 2 1
 @jaydawg69: Ibis used them for the lower link. I wish that they didn’t.
  • 2 1
 @DHhack: Devinci did back in the day and for some reason now they aren't. I asked a Specialized engineer if they will ever use bushings... he said Specialized will never use bushings.
  • 2 0
 @englertracing: The last gen GT fury would like a word with you...
  • 4 1
 @jaydawg69: The thing with bushings is they're cheap and simple. However, if the contacts inside the bushing becomes dry, there's a lot of friction. Then, the bushing surface contacts wear out. With the pressed bearings, at least if they're not maintained, they'll still move OK. So, when the bearings fail, it doesn't wreck the linkages in the frame and the bearings can be replaced.

I think Rocky started using bushings in their newer model Altitudes to provide automated grease injection. It's only on the top linkages. Otherwise, all the other linkages are bearings. Kind of gimmicky since if the grease gets contaminated with grit, it will destroy the bushings. Then, you're left with loose linkages over time.
  • 5 0
 @CSharp: Rocky discontinued using bushings two generations ago on the Altitude (2016-ish), and all models have followed suit. Bushings theoretically make a lot of sense, but in reality it makes for awful small bump compliance on the trail, and frequent, overly complicated maintenance.Bearings are better in the real world.

If you are riding a bike hard enough and often enough, its a great idea to occasionally clean your pivots and spin the bearings a few rotations so at least you are roaching a different area of the race diameter.
  • 1 0
 Do you use stainless steel bearings? If so repacking seems like a good plan.
  • 1 0
 @englertracing: Agreed - if you're going to the trouble of pressing them out you may as well press in some new ones. Do you have any experience with stainless steel bearings? They're pricy but probably don't corrode like steel bearings.
  • 3 0
 @knarrr: bushing assemblies also require a narrower tolerance band to account for compression vs a ball bearing assembly. So its also easier to mess up as a process.
  • 1 0
 @jaydawg69:
Don’t trust Specialized back in the 90s they said their steerer tubes “didn’t need to be lager than one inch, and will not be changing.” Back then everyone except Cannondale had moved to 1 1/8” and Cannondale was using 1 1/4” and look where we are now.
  • 1 0
 @JJJclimber: and, they used to use bushings. I had a 2000 fsr that was all bushings except for the main pivot.
  • 1 0
 @englertracing: Can't help but think a sealed bearing with the grease dried up or contaminated is going to work better if you take off the seal and force new grease in with a grease gun. I also over pack the bearing . More resistance to movement, but also exelent water resistance.
Yes bearings perhaps move 10 degrees on pivots. So if you rotate the bearing 90 degrees the bearings sit on the fresh non worn race.
What is this article about? Bearings being an absolute pain in the ass to remove from some frames. In that circumstance ripped off the seal push in fresh grease . Slap the seal back on and have the pleasure of riding your bike.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: stainless steel bearings are actually softer than standard bearings and more prone to race brinelling.
  • 1 1
 @Sshredder: so
Adding grease to a contaminated bearing is just makes a contaminated bearing with more grease and a compromised seal.....
  • 1 1
 @englertracing: for a bearing spinning at thousands of rpm, sure. In the application of a pivot point of a bicycle suspension, it doesn’t really matter. You could throw the seal in the trash and add grease before every ride and get a decent life out of it.
  • 1 0
 @DHhack: right, because abrasive material, and moisture won't get in there
Oh wait it will
And
What happens when it does.
Oh it gets crunchy and rusts.

Why would you think the bearings speed has anything to do with moisture ingress?

Ps your wheel bearings spin hundreds of rpm not thousands and water and grit does number on them.

I've had plenty of enduro pivot bearings that lasted less than 6 month and can not be turned by hand. Not even a few degrees.
This is with an unmolested shield on bikes that I don't really wash with a hose because water ruins shit. Yep adding grease will fix a locked solid bearing....
Uhmmm nope.

Maybe if you could add grease in a Manner that flushes the bearing from one side to the other, what you say would hold true, but with most any bearing that's controlling any axial movement one shield is blocked, so all your gonna do is pile lube on top of trash.
  • 1 2
 @englertracing: you don’t know what you are talking about. Follow along or just go somewhere else.
  • 1 0
 @DHhack: LOL, you have no idea... I'll design machine and fab circles around your ass, Dick. Now saunter off.
  • 1 0
 @DHhack: put your money where your mouth is, go pry the shields off all your bearings. Run them all year like that.
  • 1 0
 @englertracing: You're a bit obnoxious today aren't you?

As I said above, I regularly put fresh grease into my bearings, as @DHhack says I also 'overpack' them, because that helps prevent ingress of water (which as you said, results in rust). Regular repacking keeps them fresh, I consider it essential preventative maintenance.

I've brought seized bearings 'back to life' by flushing them out with brake cleaner and forcing them to spin until they move freely, blowing all the rusty crud out with compressed air and then repacking with grease. It's not perfect and I am well aware that the bearings and races are still worn, but at least they rotate smoothly and it's a good short term fix.
  • 1 0
 still hasn't answered why all the high end manufacturers are using bearings? Surely all the engineers know something?
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: it's easier to design around, is more forgiving to misalignment of frames compared to a bushing, and is fairly easy to "service" (replace) and is usually COTS parts. The axles aren't the bearing themselves and require looser tolerances as well comparatively. It's a different industry than most in many regards and believe it or not many "rules" are disregarded for sake of convenience, ease to manufacture, or cost savings.
  • 31 0
 santa cruz is the best for this. Not only do they give you free bearings, they've designed the pivots and bits to be very easy to work on. Replacement on a tallboy took about an hour and was essentially frustration free
  • 10 0
 I agree with this, when done regularly they’re super easy to do (plus you get free bearings so you might as well do it regularly). But when people let the bearings get too far gone, it’s a nightmare. Trying to pull blind bearings after the inner race and balls have separated from the outer race is miserable.
  • 9 0
 The best would be shielding the bearings so they don’t require replacement. #Nicolai
  • 3 0
 They send me every pivot item every time something is worn for free including bearings. on my third Nomad and the bearing install is quick and easy.
  • 14 2
 "Free bearings" - I think you paid for those with the extra 2k you spent to get a Santa Cruz
  • 1 0
 @erikkellison: Races still can get trenched if a bearing doesn't go through a full rotation, which suspension bearings don't.
  • 2 0
 My old Heckler - four screws, done.
  • 1 0
 @erikkellison: Horst link bearing is still as prone to wearing out as anything else out there, there is next to no rotation whatsoever. I don´t know why they went from bushings in this location, but my guess would be a always, lack of understanding from customers how to pre load them resulted in faster wear or play in the system. On the other hand, if you do it right, they will last forever.
  • 2 0
 Every time one of my riding buddies tells me how great it is that SC cover bearing replacement on his frame for life (usually straight after he's said "sorry, can't ride this weekend because my bike is in the shop for a bearing replacement), I remind him that he's had to have them replaced five times in 6 years, and that I only needed to replace the bearings once when my Trance was more than 6 years old.
  • 24 0
 Main problem is that the average lifetime of a frame bearing marginally exceeds the lifetime of my short term memory. So I say 'hey it wasn't that bad last time' and I spend the next two days reliving former trauma. Something about old dogs and new tricks...
  • 20 1
 When replacing and installing bearings having the right tools helps alot. They don't even have to be the best quality, just the right kind of extractor that fit, like a bearing slide extractor (hammer) for blind bearings you can't push out. For installing a decent bearing press also goes a long way.

I do like a bike with as few different bearing sizes as possible. My Trek seems to have a different bearing for every freaking position. On my Norco Optic it's the one bearing for everything. This makes buying bearings sooo much easier.
  • 9 0
 Get tools. Job easy.
  • 2 0
 yes to a certain degree. i dont mind 2 or 3 sizes if that means my main pivots are nice and big like in a madonna Raaw.
  • 2 0
 @Mntneer: Know how to use tools. Job easier
  • 2 0
 tip: if you have bearings that are not accessible from the back you can use a metal wall plug (those with a cone shaped wedge for dry walls) thats a couple mm narrower than the bearing axle, screw the wedge in and voilà.
  • 4 0
 A length of threaded rod and a tool-chest drawer full of different size sockets will do most anything. A puller/slide-hammer is likely a good idea but I haven't needed one yet.
  • 1 0
 @vr6ix: threaded bar is the way i fit all mine. Hope make a really nice little bb tool with 12.5mm bar. Luckily ive got a lathe to turn up the required size parts to press in and out the bearings. Also i have a pivot and the geniuses there decided to just use 10 of the same size bearing, none of which are blind. Specialized however.... complete nightmare to work on.
  • 1 0
 Maybe I've been lucky with the bike's I've owned. They've always been easy to tap out with a long handled screwdriver or something. Then carefully tap back in using a socket and a plastic mallet - easier to feel if it's off kilter then using a press. Maybe I'm just an animal...
  • 1 0
 @vr6ix: yes to threaded rod! No to sockets though, a PTFE tube and friendly machine shop owner FTW!

My Giant Reign bearing kit came with new hardware as well, the old shaft and spacers were excellent removal and installation tools.
  • 11 0
 Seems like we're missing a few options, no?

"Popping seals on bearings without removing, cleaning and re-greasing in place the best you can, and hoping that buys you some more time/fixes that weird noise"

"Uneasily awaiting signs that the inevitable first pivot bearing replacement is finally needed"?

"Pivot bearings need to be replaced, its time for a new frame"
  • 1 0
 The first one describes me more than I'd like. Tapping out bearings is a shitty job!
  • 1 0
 Pivot bearings are seized- you will be buying a new frame soon anyway!
  • 9 0
 What gets me is the difficulty in sourcing frame pivot bearings. More often than not I'm having to buy pivot bearings from the UK and then pay extra in fees and more for shipping. And this is for 3 and 4 year old Treks!
  • 9 1
 That makes no sense. Bearings are bearings: ID, OD, width. Then the options are seal/shield styles. Go to McMaster-Carr and see your $20 "specialty" bearings selling for $2.50 lol
  • 1 0
 @vr6ix: I wouldn't go as fas as "bearings are bearings" there are obviously different grades. I will agree that getting a 688 bearing for $14 from a bike manufacturer is robbery though. And you can source cheaper bearings at somewhere like McMaster or even better yet an industrial bearing supplier.
  • 1 1
 @vr6ix: thats all well and good if you know the sizes but without removing all your bearings and measuring them its kinda hard to know. Just delays the process and increases time off the bike.
  • 1 0
 @drfunsocks: aren't you removing them if you're replacing them?
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: yeah its just nice to have bearings to put straight in once you have removed them.
  • 2 0
 @drfunsocks: I think you are overstating the difficulty and time. It would take me quite a while to get specific bearings from my LBS in stock, its also further and more expensive than the nearest industrial bearing supplier.

Like literally, right now at 5am I could go and buy bearings and have them on my bike before the sun is up. Bike shop isn't even open for 5 more hours. Bearing suppliers have stock on hand. You could walk in with a handful of bearings, and drop them on the counter and they can measure for you if you don't have measuring tools. And it will be cheaper.
  • 3 0
 @drfunsocks: Google... or the manufacturers website... shouldn't be too hard to find what's needed, no? Even without pulling the bearings out, if you remove the hardware you should be able to measure ID/OD/width and see that it follows an industry-standard trend. I'm just saying: it's not black magic, it's basic mechanics.
  • 2 1
 Trek doesn't use proprietary bearings? That seems highly unlikely.
  • 3 0
 @muscogeemasher: Not likely no. Trek is a bike company, not a bearing manufacturer. They aren't going to spend the time to develop a proprietary bearing. It would be expensive to develop, very expensive to make, and probably have no discernible benefit over something available off the shelf.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: Most of bearing stores won´t have full complement bearings, especially in small sizes most frames use. So while they will fit as outer dimensions are the same, they are not right bearings for the job.
  • 10 2
 One more thing to consider. Even the most expensive bikes press those bearing directly into aluminum parts (links).

But.
Pressing and extracting steel bearings into aluminum sockets, gradually deforms the aluminum part. Even if you use a proper tool, there will came the time were the bearing will start “working” the socket surface…

For that price range, I would like to see some steel sleeves into the aluminum parts. The weight penalty would be… almost nothing and the part will live up to more bearing changes.

This might sound like a generalization, but consider this: High end bikes, seem to be more expensive every year. At the same time ‘these” bikes seem to last less & less.

We seem to forget that good engineering also means that your machine will work flawlessly for a longer period than a “cheaper” one. It will be easy to service.

In other words, less time with the wrench, more in the trail!
  • 5 0
 Or just never replace the bearings and see how it goes
  • 7 1
 Loctite already solved that problem: bearing retainer compound.
  • 8 0
 MTB online and print publications are notoriously vacant on asking these important questions when reviewing bikes. Like, how much does a full compliment of replacement bearings cost, and how involved is the replacement process likely to be? If the trend towards ever more complex suspension designs continue, perhaps if this issue comes up frequently in media publications/internet, manufacturers might take this into deeper consideration.
  • 9 1
 I'm a toolmaker so I just make whatever tools I need to make the job easier and to do it correctly. I think most people struggle with it because they're using whatever tool they have that looks like it might work.
  • 2 0
 Im with you on this. Having a lathe makes things infinitely easier. Especially when your frame has no blind bearings.
  • 7 0
 Is there a reason why bikes can not have pivot bearings with snap rings? My ujoints on my truck work this way and they never come out and see way more stuff... they are needle bearings and not roller bearings but still. I feel like bikes could have slightly looser fitting bearings and have the slack taken up by precise snap rings. Then when you remove them, you just pop off the snap rings with snap ring spreader pliers and then take the bearings out without a puller tool.
  • 3 1
 I'm guessing the thin wall aluminium on bikes frames would really not like a loose bearing, which would rapidly become a very loose bearing. Your truck probably has hefty steel bearing housings that could see off a tactical nuke...
  • 1 0
 @mountainsofsussex: That makes sense. Most of the snap fit bearings that are slightly less tight than full on press fit are in steel bearing races that are pressed into cast steel. I just think that if the frames would bave pressed races with like cone bearings it would make swapping frame bearings a breeze, however they are not sealed. Its just a big game of pros and cons haha
  • 6 0
 I can get the job done with a mallet, sockets, and some allen wrenches typically. Just try not to drink too much during these jobs
  • 4 0
 After trying to MacGuyer a bearing puller with washers and spacers to sucess, i actually ended up forking over the coin for the Rapid Racer Products dies to minimise damage- using my own threaded rod but eventually caved and bought their $90 threaded rod as well (it'll be a lifetime tool after all)

It made the job incredibly easy and actually therapeutic but then what grinds my gears is when frame manufacturers have two different types of bearing seats.

My 2020 Sight i was able to use the RRP puller for all but two bearings (Upper swingarm linkage) which need to be pulled out, rather than push (like the RRP can do) and now had to fork out another few $$ for the expanding style puller as there are two bearing, back to back but have a back-to-back double bearing setup, separated by a machined lip -so you cant push either bearing..

The Axle pivot has a double bearing setup also but has an inner seat so both can be pressed out...
Why not just use the same setup here too..
  • 5 0
 Missing entry in your poll:
"I tried once to replace my bearings but never succeeded to remove the old ones so I gave up and felt into shameful procrastination".

Meanwhile, I love to ride my faithfull hardtail Smile
  • 6 0
 It was annoying until I got tools. Now it only gets put off for more legit reasons like I don't feel like doing it.
  • 3 0
 username not checking out
  • 4 0
 Makes you appreciate mechanic friendly hardware and linkage design when you replace your own! Santa Cruz is probably the best setup having all the bearing in easily removable and replaceable links if you f something up!
  • 3 0
 This is part of why I went to Nicolai. Better design. I heard that their bearings still require replacement at some point, but I haven’t had to. They just don’t degrade. Most bikes (every other one I’ve owned or worked on) are not designed to shield bearings like this. Yes, a little more friction due to all the sealing, but totally worth it, goes unnoticed when riding. I wish more manufacturers actually did this, but I bet it costs money that they (or their buyers) don’t want to spend.
  • 2 0
 For sure. Nicolai has their system dialed in. The bearings last and they are easy to service and replenish. They use the correct bearing type for the loads as well. A ball bearing is a joke for the application.
  • 2 0
 @atrokz: I think it ultimately boils down to target demographic: if your customer wants every new version of a bike you make, you’re not going to make that bike last, and won’t waste resources on longevity, because your customer doesn’t care. Giant comes to mind. Nicolai, in stark contrast, advertises longevity, including spare parts availability x10 years, bearings that last, and designs that are smarter, so that a stripped fitting can be replaced, instead of the whole rear triangle. Cheaper in the long run, but more up front. At least Nicolai is forward thinking enough to have been making bikes with the geometry and tech/modularity of the future for over half a decade now. I for one am really enjoying being out of the annual frame replacement game, while still having the bike I want.
  • 3 0
 Thank you intense/sc for putting grease ports on the links, super easy to grease and bearings last entire year;

Vpp/ks link etc are superior designs since no bearings on the chainstay/seatstays, and bearings could be larger, etc
  • 3 0
 If your LBS is thrustworthy, pay for the service !
If on the other hand, you don`t thrust anyone to wrench on your bikes or, you happen to live on remote island, with no LBS but still found a way to justify yourself a FS bike instead of the far more logical choice of a HT, prepare to spend money on the right tools for the job, otherwise you will certainly regret not going for the HT.
  • 3 0
 I've replaced tons of bearings and I don't think it gets too much easier after the first few times. With the right tools it doesn't often feel frustrating, but it's still a fairly time consuming job. For some reason people in Squamish seem to let their bearings grow into the frame and I've dealt with more seized bearings here than ever before, which often takes some creativity to extract. That being said, I hardly put any weight on bearing maintenance when choosing a bike, unless it's brand specific tools or some gimmicks which just wouldn't be worth it. Bike has to perform well first and foremost, and if it doesn't mean bearing service every two months of hard riding I really don't care what it takes to keep it running.
  • 2 0
 After proper reading the article though, I do agree that finding out what bearings each frame needs should be trivial and officially listed on the manufacturer's website. Same goes for torque specs.
Just earlier today I was servicing an 08 Kona Dawg and looking up the details brought me to pretty much the same discussion from 13 years ago. The consensus I think was that Kona stopped providing such information for liability reasons, I wonder what's behind that. Honestly that sounds outrageous to me, but I'm not from north america and I'm learning that "liability" is now running this place Frown
  • 3 1
 Real World Cycling has some nice tools for this and while not tremendously expensive, I still resort to clamps, hammers, and sockets

Living in the PNW I have to replace my bearings twice a season. Most of my previous bikes just developed a little play to let you know, but for some reason my Scott Ransom likes to start creaking the minute any one of the 8 bearings is loose.

My biggest annoyance is there is a bearing crush sleeve in the main pivot that I'm not clear on what the proper procedure is for it becaue its ID is bigger than what fits through the bearings, so you cannot index it while pressing the bearings in. I have to reach up and hold with one hand while trying to do the final press and its always a cluster fuzz getting it lined up.

I've been meaning to try those new gel impregnated bearings (www.skf-mtrx.de/en/product-details) that were featured on PinkBIke last year, but I can only find them from an international supplier and by the time they get here I'd be out $80 so I haven't given them a shot yet.
  • 1 0
 Those skf bearings look interesting.
  • 3 0
 Those SKF MTRX bearings are utter garbage. I tried the Cane Creek bottom bracket using those bearings and the non-drive side seized hard within 6 months (in Northern California). In the mean time CC has quietly discontinued that product, but when I contacted them they sent me a pair of new SKF sealed bearings (made in Japan).
  • 1 0
 @andeh23: Thanks for the input. Good to know.
  • 6 0
 My mechanic says it sucks.
  • 3 0
 Destroyed an intense tracer aluminum rear triangle the first time I tried removing pivot bearings. Never again, would rather have a shop do it for not much more money and be responsible.
  • 2 0
 It's all about the tools. if you can afford the bearing puller, press, and the different drifts, most of the bearing maintenance is quite straight forward. I can't belief how expensive it is to get a set of bearing tools since they're just machined plates and screw rods. The blind pullers are actually inexpensive and necessary if you have double bearing like in the older Specialized rear stay pivots. Without it, you're SOL since those bearing get a lot of water and dirt going into them.
  • 4 2
 If you think Santa Cruz bikes are overpriced, it's only because you don't replace your bearings.

I spend ~$100 a year on frame bearings for one bike (not a SC). On top of that, the first time I needed to replace them, I spent at least an hour nailing down the list of the bearings I needed and then an additional hour or so figuring out where I could order them from without paying shipping to three different suppliers (nobody ever seems to have all of them).

When I replace bearings on one of my girlfriend's Julianas, the process is much different. I just say "I'm going to tear down your bike. Order bearings in case I need to replace any of them." About five minutes later, they're on order (for free) and I tell myself I need a SC.
  • 3 1
 I bought a proper giant kit for my reign and that was fairly easy, but every other bike has been a siding sodding nightmare. The chainstays bearings in a horst link bike deserve particular mention for being horrific. I'm hoping my Banshee Titan proves better in this regard
  • 2 0
 Horst link bearings on the original Demo 8. Christ... I thought I had buried that memory....
  • 1 0
 I've yet to need to on my Titan, but it looks like it should be pretty easy.
  • 1 0
 Just got my new titan. Hope is not too bad lol
  • 2 0
 It depends on the bearing and how its held into the frame ones that are pressed in are either easy or complete nightmare but if your lucky and there held in by either a pinch bolt or some sort of grub screw your generally laughing all the way to a quick bearing change
  • 6 1
 So based on these polls, Pinkbikers don't break frames, don't replace bearings, DO care about how a bike looks. Wankers.
  • 2 0
 If the bikeindustry would finally understand that there is a reason why bearings need the preload that the manufacturer tells and the tolerances are tight for a reason, it wouldn't be a talking point, unless they didn't fit the right bearings for their load.
  • 2 0
 I'll do it myself pretty pain free, but only because I work at a shop so I have access to the tools, I can't imagine anyone doing it themselves otherwise, drift/punch sets are incredibly expensive and not at all practical for any average joe to own...
  • 2 0
 No excuse for designing an item that can’t be easily maintained. Bikes are by no means unique in this failure. This is a problem with many OEM’s across the board. Spent the early part of my career redesigning industrial manufacturing equipment of ease of maintenance.
  • 3 0
 We paint a variety of FS bike frames in our paint shop and it is never fun for the painters to remove bearings, thank you to the local bike shop mechanics that assist on the installation of bearings.
  • 2 0
 As a bike shop mechanic, even with proper tools it can often be a chore. Not usually because of the actual process (although sometimes that), more often it’s because bike customers are a*sholes (you should have this done more than once every 10 years, folks... also clean your bike please).

Bike companies and designers are also responsible. If you don’t list the bearings required right there on your website, then I hate you. It’s not hard to do - look at Orbea’s blue papers. Also designs with a hundred different bearing sizes - I recently had a Lapierre and a Rose through the workshop that were a chore, whereas for example Evil have lots of bearings but they’re literally all the same size other than the main pivot. I shouldn’t have to pull your bike apart and remove the old bearings in order to size them up and order replacements to finish the job.
  • 1 0
 I agree with a lot of what you said here! Honestly, it should be a requirement for bike companies to clearly list the bearing types needed for their models.
  • 4 0
 I ride an Orange, finding the tools in my toolbox is the longest part of the job.
  • 11 0
 Is it easy to peel out the bearings?
  • 1 0
 I like the idea of a single pivot bike for the ease of bearing replacement, however most single pivot bikes seem to be significantly more expensive than a very good multi pivot design so I buy the cheaper frame and figure the saving will pay for quite a few new bearings.
  • 1 0
 When I had my SC Nomad, I'd just buy new links although extracting the bearings would have been relatively easy to do with the right tools. All about having the right tools, and if all bikes used the same extractor and install too then it would be a breeze but as of now not only are the bearing sizes not the size but the same bike can have multiple bearing sizes. For my Pivot I bought a small arbor press at Harbor Freight and some of the bearings where a breeze with the correct size drift and some ingenuity.
  • 1 0
 Where are people buying their bearings?

Mine look like they might need replacing at the end of the season/sometime this year. And the only place I know to check is the manufacturers "bearing kit". Which, I'm sure that would work, but what are other good places to look for them?

Would be open to both better quality bearings... or the same quality as the Kona kit, but cheaper Big Grin .
  • 3 0
 I don't know where you live, but in germany we have sites like kugellagerexpress. You simply need to find out which bearings you need (look at the number on the seals) and then you can go ahead and buy them on any site. There should be plenty for industrial applications.
  • 2 0
 LBS, I could've gotten them cheaper, but didn't trust online stores with how good they are with the ball bearing polishes. The bearing were quite expensive but my LBS gave me a 20% discount. However, I actually haven't used them as they're now bought as backups. The originals are put back into the bike total degreasing and re-greased. You can tell if bearings are totally gone by spinning them after you have totally washed and degreased each bearing. Spin each one with your fingers. Replace the bearing that don't spin well or is rough. Also, he bearings for the suspension is not like those on the hubs or the bottom bracket where they're always spinning and needs to be absolutely smooth. You can get away with a bit of roughness but fresh grease will provide enough smooth operation for the linkage joints.
  • 2 0
 If you can get them out they should have number on them, 6800, 6000 etc. search for bearings on the internet but I normally get mine from a local industrial estate, there is a bearing shop there thats much cheaper, they can also measure the ones that the numbers have rubbed off
  • 2 0
 @bashhard: Thanks for the website on bearings. Will keep that in mind for future bearing replacements. They're definitely super affordable even if the shipping cost is 4 times the amount. It's still 3x cheaper than what the LBS is charging even at 20% discount!
  • 1 0
 @CSharp/@bashhard/@timccoll

Thanks for the feedback team.

I'm in the US, and I just noticed last week that I was getting some noise when compressing/pumping the bike (that I can finally hear because of the new hub... yay onyx?).

I popped the seals and cleaned/re-greased the bearings the best I could while they were in place. Most of the of the pivot bearings were somewhere between "maybe a touch gritty" and "ok, that one was definitely notchy". After the re-grease they're a bit better across the board, but maybe not back to 100%.

So a replacement is coming sooner rather than later.

However, I forgot to take down the part numbers when it was apart. So looks like I'll have to take notes next time I get the pivots apart.
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: Best if the bike you have will have the parts labeled in an exploded parts diagram like from Specialized. Seek out your bike's specs - go to their website and see if they have full specs and parts layout diagram. If not, try and get that from the bike manufacturer or from the service reps. Those diagrams are quite useful. Some bearing and parts will not have any printed numbers or they're worn out. So, with the parts diagrams and the part numbers labeled, you can search for the parts easily. Otherwise, you'll have to measure or search for the year and model, which is a PITA. For bearings, if you know the bearing numbers, they're universal for most manufacturers.
  • 2 0
 Working on this very task today. Main pivots and linkage bearings have been relatively easy and quite satisfying. The Horst link bearing however are ‘blind’ and I’ve not got them out yet!
  • 1 0
 Santa Cruz one here ,if you keep them regularly well maintain their warranty are almost useless,and it is really easy to do that ,even I that don’t know very much about bike maintenance can do that with some time consuming (yea),but Santa Cruz used to have better bolts on their frames (pivots and shock ones )why are they cutting on them ?
  • 1 0
 Funny, I'm doing my 2016 Process 134 bearings right now. 4 seasons on the bike, the drive side main pivot bearing had tons of play/movement (like in the lots of mm's). The rear rotor was squeaking with me on the bike which was a sign that the whole rear triangle was twisting under sag. The linkage bearings are a PITA since you can only press them out with the center bearing race and not the outer pressed in race. So, that makes them one time use bearings, as well. But, they lasted me 4 seasons, or about 1000mi, so could be worse.
  • 3 0
 You DEFINITELY want to have the right tools, presses/pullers etc., then it's not that bad. The real problem is those damn things are crazy expensive!!! Frown
  • 5 4
 unless your suspension is loose because the bearings are falling apart or a bearing is so seized it wont turn: don't replace them. you're wasting you time. you wont notice the difference. you may think you do, but a slightly rough suspension linkage is not what is causing you to go slow.. its still you thats doing that Wink just ride. and if you think you notice, just open up the compression on your shock 1 click. done.
  • 3 0
 You might not notice while riding it, but bearings on the way out will put more stress on your frame and pivots. Not to mentioned sometimes they'll start to squeak and moan.
  • 3 0
 I wouldn't recommend waiting for the bearings themselves to develop play. If you do they’re way more likely to come apart when extracting and then you have the outer race to extract by itself, no good. If you’re paying for the labor or value your own time.
  • 2 0
 First full suspension bike I had I was unaware of the need to maintain bearings. Around 18 months in I realised you did. Every bearing was locked solid. Replaced them and had to add more air to the shock as the suspension was moving so much easier.
  • 1 0
 I think replacing bearings in general is pretty easy.

It can be frustrating when there are uneven lips or surfaces immediately surrounding the bearing orifices'. That makes it a pain.

And other than a bearing puller for blind holes, you can usually get by with some threadrod/long bolt and some good washers, nuts and sockets of the appropriate size.
  • 1 0
 I had to re do the bearings in the rear Stans hub, and ordered the tools to do my frame at the same time. The hub was a pain but I got it done. Then I took the shock off my bike and moved it through the travel a few times and since it still felt smooth, I decided it was not worth the trouble yet.
  • 1 1
 if you used the same leverage as the rear triangle gives you on the hub bearings, I´m sure they would feel smooth as well.
  • 1 0
 @Mondbiker: good point. I checked them and they were muddy and nearly stuck. Now I can say I'm trying and it's a pain. The tool I got from bearing pro tools didn't seat straight and even left a little mark to sand off in the bearing cup, so now I'm ordering a wheels manufacturing kit.
  • 1 0
 Having worked on cars for many years, I appreciate the simplicity and small size of bike parts. That said, some bearings can be a real bugger to re&re. I've done a bunch of bearing replacements, and combined with securing the proper size bearings, it's a pain.
  • 1 0
 All about having the right tools and prep. Give it a good spray of a decent penetrating fluid the night before, freeze your bearings. If its really stuck on an alloy frame warm it up with a heat gun, aluminium expands at a lower temp than steel.
  • 2 0
 I love maintaining my bike, even servicing my suspension myself. Saves time and money and I can do it on my calendar and at my convenience. I find servicing my bike therapeutic
  • 1 0
 I’ve only ever replaced bearings once and that was more then 5 years ago in an old Iron Horse Sunday. Getting the old bearings out and new ones in was the biggest PITA!! I used a couple different sockets and a good hammer. Since then I’ve ridden many other bikes and have always sold them off before needing to do any real maintenance like bearings, suspension rebuilds and complete disassembly!!!
  • 1 0
 It is not the changing that is enoying. Rather the size of the bearings these days. Tiny bearings that maybe last a year in my climate. Never powerwashed a bike ever. Have serviced lots of customer bikes where they regularly do. And have shorter lifespan without a doubt. But as mentioned. The size of the bearings have gotten so small that they will not last long. I would rather have a 100-300grams heavier frame if the bearings where much larger.
  • 1 0
 Santacruz send free bearings as needed to all original owners. And it’s even free shipping to my door. So i change them at least once a year. Made my self a simple bearing press with a large bolt, it’s a one beer project to change them all ????
  • 2 0
 C-clamp and two sockets, mount in a workbench and it's a snap to press out and press replacements back in, at least on a Knolly; cheaper then sourcing and buying the full set of bearing press/drift tools.
  • 1 0
 I've never done it before, but recently I replaced a pivot bolt on my 2 year old Intense Primer. I was fully expecting the bearings to be caked with mud and debris...but they looked brand news. The grease was perfectly white and clean.
  • 1 0
 I'm happy to replace bearings anytime someone wants that service, but frankly, very few people in my area seem to care. I think it's mostly because we're more dry and dusty than muddy. I get a Bronson bearing job a couple times a year, but that's about it. Bearings live forever around here. Wheels, not so much.
  • 1 0
 One thing I tense does right is their stock of replacement linages and bearings. It was about the same price to buy a new lower link for my carbine. It came with enduro Max bearings. The upper link wasn't to bad.
  • 5 0
 Nicolai/geometron is great for this. They have decades of parts for everything they've ever made. Nicolai is a machine shop so they'll just whip up more if they need something. Can't imagine that will be true if you need to replace a 6 year old carbon linkage.
  • 3 0
 I never replace my bearings cause I have a hardtail unless... you count headsets bearings.
  • 3 0
 there are bearings in the wheels too. hardtail maintenance ftw.
  • 2 0
 @imnotdanny: and bottom bracket.
  • 1 0
 @erikkellison: yes, true. Technically also in the pedals (unless your have bushings) and the derailleur pulley wheels.
  • 1 0
 I've never had to replace frame bearings, but have done wheel bearings on cars and they're significantly more complex.

I voted "I never find it too hard [hopefully that's the case when performing in future]."
  • 1 0
 Easy when using a block of wood, screw driver, rubber mallet and ratchet heads. really easy when actually using a proper bearing press. Most frames these days have designed them to be quite serviceable.
  • 1 0
 just replaced the bearings in my 2014 Norco Range C last season. cost 50$ for a whole bearing kit and now the frame rear swing arm movement is smooth as butter. Should be good for another 6 years now lol
  • 4 0
 @seb-stott: any chance there could be a hardtail option?
  • 2 0
 I've pressed enough wheel bearings on vehicles to be ok with it, though it's definitely something I avoid unless they *really* need it.
  • 1 1
 When I get a bike new, out the box, I immediately disassemble the entire frame. Pop every bearing cover and inject high quality grease. Reassemble being super careful to lightly coat any spacers, external seals, etc. Torque to exact specs. Then never use even the high pressure setting on a regular hose when I clean it. Natural bristle brushes and shower setting, bike stays literally brand new. Then repeat every winter. Bearings will last you years. Or pressure wash your shit and see what happens.
  • 1 0
 What grease do you inject and how much? And do you flush out the factory grease first or just add the extra grease on top of that?
  • 1 0
 @iadorjan23: I use Pedros and just displace as much stock grease by jetting it in with a grease gun head. Same once the grease is used, so like when I do it every winter. Never flushed as I’d be concerned either with solvent residue still in bearing or potential damage to frame and paint. Oh yea, I do it to headset, BB, and hubs too.
  • 1 0
 @Chuckolicious: Thanks! I'm tempted to do the same with the Enduro Max complement bearings I've been using as replacements for the pivots. They are purposely designed for pivots but I'm not sure there's enough factory grease in them. In fact, I wonder if packing them really full with extra grease might be ok (since they don't really rotate much, unlike, say, hub bearings)? I've experimented with Motorex 2000 yellow grease and SRAM red military grease (PM600), but I think I will try the Mobil XHP 222 (which is the one recommended by Hope) blue next time.
  • 2 0
 I would say BB bearings by far superior factor when you chose frame or plan to service;

Sram definitely need to come with idea of universal bearings size such as 19,98 or so
  • 1 1
 use a small Park flathead screwdriver to pry out the bearing seal, then use WD-40 to clean the bearing race & cage/balls themselves (unless you're anal retentive & like to soak them in Simple Green instead). then, repack everything w/Phil Wood grease, crack open a beer & call it a day...
  • 2 0
 Don't use wd40 or simple green, both are good degreasers, and both leave film. Acetone or isopropanol is the way to go. They make bearing cleaners that are basically shaker cups with a bolt and spacers. Blast them dry with a compressor and regrease, your bearings will last forever.
  • 1 0
 well, obviously you'd rinse the bearings off w/water after soaking them, then wipe dry w/a clean rag before repacking. Simple Green can be corrosive to aluminum, so WD-40 actually works just fine for the balls/cage inside the race if still installed in your pivot sleeve (when the linkage is alloy). to each their own...
  • 2 0
 @jcwmtb: simple green is corrosive to steel and will pit and rust it. You can't fully rinse wd40 off with water by design, and you can't really rinse a bearing without spinning it. You are giving bad advice. Simple green and wd40 are noted as 2 things you should never clean a bearing with.
  • 1 0
 @jcwmtb: WD40 is water displacer, flushing it out with water...Good luck with that.
  • 1 1
 i decided to research the topic further for proper verification. Google reveals that WD-40 fights corrosion & also cleans metal surfaces. however, since it's technically a penetrant & leaves behind some harmful residue, WD-40 isn't ideal for extended cleaning use on moving steel parts like gears & ball bearings.

thus, i stand corrected. ironically, i never actually used any on my own bike. just heard f/a friend that it works well for the purpose - turns out he was wrong. next time i'll fact check so conjecture doesn't lead to such gross misinformation in this hallowed platform of truth.

and, for the record, i already knew WD-40 displaces water, so never mentioned rinsing any cartridge bearing surfaces after using it. also, based on my experience, Simple Green works just fine for cleaning bike chains & other parts made w/steel. once again, YMMV...

that is all.
  • 2 0
 whoever wrote this sounds retarded. Get a bolt, a nut, an appropriate socket, some washers and voila you have a bearing puller
  • 1 0
 Well....as a career mechanic and shop manager, I just watched the evolution of suspension from none to B1 bikes to S-Works Enduro and things got better, easier and more challenging to do well.
  • 1 0
 im probably not doing it as manufacturers recommend but usually pound them out with a big allen key and hammer and put new ones in with two big washers and nuts on a bolt, never struggled with it
  • 1 0
 When I purchased my bike last year after riding FS for the past 15 or so years i went back to a hardtail. My decision to go Hardtail was influenced heavily by having to do way less maintenance.
  • 1 0
 The first time was tough as I had to design my own tools and machine it on my CNC. Subsequent bearings change were a breeze! Otherwise it would be a painful task each time!
  • 1 0
 Depends on the frame manufacturer. Transition's are about as easy as it gets. For my Kona, I was ready to put a bearing through my wall.
  • 4 1
 Santa Cruz for the win! Lifetime bearings warranty replacement
  • 11 2
 You only pay $1k more for the bike to start with...
  • 1 0
 @HB208: Don´t be cruel!
  • 1 0
 The SC distributor in Norway ignored my e-mail regarding new bearings for my frame. Don't take that warranty for granted.
  • 2 0
 To replace frame or pivot bearings you just have to have the proper tools. I use drifts and it’s absolutely no problem
  • 2 0
 Child's play, a punch, a couple washers, a couple bolts and some ready rod.
  • 2 0
 A little skill, and alot of patience.
  • 1 0
 Certain bikes are a right pain in the butt, but most bikes are no big deal to me anymore. Having the correct tools is a must with most of them though
  • 1 0
 2018 Ripley owner here. DW Link b earings are holding up well... no replacement required as yet. But those bushings in the yoke are a whole other matter....
  • 2 0
 oh yeah, lets desingn a frame with a kinky leverage, where u cant put on a bearing press on it!!
  • 4 0
 BUYING A HARDTAIL
  • 1 0
 I do all except frame bearings. Not saying i would, as i'm pretty competent mechanically, but on the off chance of having a bad day, it could be a expensive mistake.
  • 1 0
 Anyone have a kit recommendation for doing suspension? I never loved the one in the shop I worked in, but can't seem to find something nice.
  • 2 0
 There should be an option "I don't keep frames long enough to replace the bearings"
  • 1 0
 No issues at all but then I ride a single pivot so...yeah. the washers in between can be a pain in the ass but a small dab of grease keeps them in place.
  • 2 3
 If you dont leave your bike covered in mud or wet and cold, dont pressure wash; instead use a brush and compressed air blower, and ideally store your bike in warm place bearings will last a very long time.

If you pull your frame apart before bearings are totally thrashed and seized, use a razor blade to gently pop off outer cartridge bearing cover, apply wd40 or liquid wrench, rotate, scrub and blow out with air hose, then pack full of fresh grease, reinstall bearinf cover and reassemble frame you can achieve same result as new bearings with less effort and no cost.
  • 2 0
 Jumping in late but Transistion has you covered! www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DAmHyqzJOo
  • 1 0
 Been looking for a video like this for awhile. Best one I’ve come across. Thanks.
  • 1 0
 If I'm spending 10grand on a bike I want a bike mechanic who actually knows the proper way to fit bearings. High Time for mountain bike mechanics to become a red seal trade.
  • 2 1
 It's not exactly rocket science. Anyone with reasonable mechanical skills can easily do it. Do you think your local shop Grom is red seal certified?
  • 1 2
 @Skooks: it is if you want it done properly. Example...tell me how to properly press in a bearing.
  • 1 0
 @Hotwheels09: Nah, I have replaced loads of bearings and it's simple. Lots of different ways to do it depending on what tools you have, but they all work if you are careful.
  • 1 1
 @Skooks: Well you clearly are missing the point here ya wingnut. Keep on truckin kiddo.
  • 1 0
 @Hotwheels09: OK. If you aren't comfortable replacing your frame bearings then that's cool. I have the skills and confidence to do it properly, and I trust myself far more than any shop mechanic.
  • 1 0
 Thankfully I have A hardtail so no bearings to worry about. Which is good as I have enough trouble trying to keep my drivetrain from sounding like A bag of spanners.
  • 3 1
 Bike manufactures put the cheapest and the leased properly sealed bearings into our frames!! No wonder they do not last...
  • 1 0
 Yeah was pretty disappointed to see the type of bearings that came in my 2018 Norco Sight. Seemed like the cheapest they could get their hands on, no name and not even full complement. They did not last well at all.
  • 1 0
 I’ve got an Orange Alpine, and I’ve got to say it was harder to change my rear wheel hubs, than my pivot bearings last time I needed to do them both.
  • 1 0
 Santa Cruz Blur LTC bearings are easy to replace. A little worried about the new Vitus Escarpe however.
  • 2 1
 I only buy bikes with good, sturdy bearing designs and find if it is properly done, they last quite some time.
  • 2 0
 Not if you have a Santa Cruz.
  • 1 0
 PVC pipe, some all thread and a few sockets seem to do the trick for my 2020 ebduro. Trick is getting them started straight.
  • 2 1
 Your Lbs won't put new bearings in.... some of you don't bring your mechanic bottles of good whiskey and it shows
  • 3 2
 I mean...you shouldn't have to bribe a mechanic to get them to do their job. You have to do alot more than be paid to do a simple service to get a bottle of nice whiskey from me. If I'm bringing whiskey that work better be free.
  • 2 3
 @RonSauce: umm it was a joke the article says

"Many bike shops won't replace them for you at any price because they know how frustrating and unpredictable the job can be."

I bring my mechanic whiskey because he is a friend and i like to drink with him. I take it you don't have friends
  • 3 0
 @Kylemayfield89: I have friends, I just don't expect them to work for me.
  • 1 2
 @RonSauce: so you wouldn't Support your friend if he owned a lbs?
  • 1 0
 @Kylemayfield89: I love whiskey, but I wouldn't call it "support".
  • 1 0
 I use a hammer and an old steel axle to get them out and a vice to push them in. never had an issue.
  • 1 0
 This is one of the reasons I love Santa Cruz. Super easy to maintain, everything is well thought.
  • 3 0
 Hardtail baby!!!!!
  • 1 0
 Carbon frames & rockers on a lot of frames aren't thick enough good rule of thumb is double the size of aluminium
  • 1 0
 They just kinda fall out of my Commencal, shitty for longevity, easy for replacement!
  • 2 0
 Knolly bearings hold up really well, not too tricky to replace.
  • 1 0
 anyone have advice on a cheap bearing puller/press set? I hate this task, but love a bike with fresh bearings.
  • 1 0
 Once a year. Not too bad if you got decent tools. On my old old stumpumper it was mucho hard.
  • 1 0
 Where's the "why would you need to replace them, bearings last forever" option
  • 1 0
 Own an Orange; less than £20 in bearings and no more than half an hours work. Easy.
  • 1 0
 This is funny I just did my frame bearings yesterday. Had them ready for the last 6 months but I hate doing it.
  • 1 0
 Never done it, but I guess I'd get the right tools to make it easy. I hate bodging with the wrong tools.
  • 1 0
 Does anyone still just take the seal off and re-pack the bearing??? Guess that is a lost art...
  • 1 1
 If by number of pivots and difficulty, you mean bike availability, then yes, I do consider it when buying a new bike.
  • 2 0
 Orange bikes 4 the win.
  • 3 0
 my yeti is orange, not sure what you're on at ;p
  • 1 1
 Why deal with the hassle. When the bearings wear out, just buy a new bike.????
  • 1 0
 i just powerwash my bike and its quiet for another month.
  • 1 0
 @trekbikes thanks for all those weeks lost doing ABP bearings...
  • 1 0
 It's all ball bearings nowadays!
  • 1 0
 I can’t believe somebody else besides me and my best friend in HS actually also saw Big Trouble in Little China...!

Major props for the Uber- obscure reference! ; )
  • 1 0
 @eric32-20:
Uhhh... Who told you you were watching Big Trouble in Little China?
That is, in fact, a ‘Fletch’ reference.

Personally, I charge all my fresh bearings to Mr. Underhill’s AmEx card... Want the number?
  • 1 1
 @Jive-O: And if we're not back by dawn, call the President.
  • 2 0
 @Chuckolicious:
It’s all in the reflexes.
  • 1 0
 Such a simple concept. Such a massive fucking pain in the arse
  • 1 0
 they need to just come with grease nipples on the outside
  • 1 0
 The Santa Cruz Pivot bearings are pretty easy with the right tools
  • 1 0
 This is why I ride a Santa Cruz
  • 1 0
 I have a Santa Cruz. The bearings are just fine.
  • 1 0
 Thank you Pinkbike for bringing this (underrated) topic to the table!
  • 1 0
 I prefer sloppy rear ends...
  • 1 0
 Lifetime replacement bearings from SC, and just pay shop to pop em in.
  • 1 0
 Whyte bikes, free lifetime bearings. Problem sokved
  • 1 0
 On my hardtail? No, not usually.
  • 1 0
 Hammer time!
  • 1 1
 I just buy a new bike before is needed.
  • 1 0
 Missing tools
  • 1 0
 standardize tools
  • 1 1
 RIP paint job
  • 2 0
 put masking tape on all tool contact points of frame and you wont have a problem.
  • 1 0
 @deepstrut: nice thanks I will try that. Although its been more a problem when pulling the bearings. I find the paint application isn't as even deep in the settings for the bearings so when they pop out they tend to take a little flake of paint out with it. Its on an alu Transition frame and people complain about their paint being brittle. Doesn't bother me much but trying to keep that paint chip from popping out ends up being the toughest thing about the job. Gonna tape around each bearing next time though
  • 1 2
 Nope because I have a Santa Cruz and they aren’t dum dums
  • 1 3
 OMG replacing bearings is fuckin easy hahahaha
  • 1 3
 What?
  • 2 5
 Buy a metal bike
  • 2 0
 there are still bearings on metal bikes...
  • 2 0
 @imnotdanny: probably on average more even. Flex stays are a mostly carbon thing. Although maybe that is cancelled out by steel single pivots.

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2021. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.028265
Mobile Version of Website