Pinkbike Poll: How Often Do You Replace Your Frame, Headset, & Bottom Bracket Bearings?

Dec 27, 2022 at 11:24
by Dario DiGiulio  
photo
With winter in full swing in much of the Northern Hemisphere, those of us in the colder and wetter parts of the world start to dread the wear and tear inflicted upon our bikes, but that may not be the case everywhere.

We often see claims made by manufacturers about how they've "prolonged bearing life by xx%, enhanced shielding technology, and made service easy as pie," but does that actually shake out in real life? Bearing life fluctuates drastically depending on where you live and how often you ride, so it can be hard to pin down the culprit when it comes to premature wear and tear. In my little world, when I was living on California's dry and dusty Central Coast, I'd often go a couple years without having to replace any main bearings. Now that my riding all takes place in and around Bellingham, Washington, those service cycles are a whole lot quicker, often occurring several times in one year. Wet, gritty, cold trails are hell on bearings, but boy are they fun to ride.

Big clean up job at the Norco tent with a dash of new bearings.
It's always good to show that frame some love.

So, given your climate, ride frequency, and number of bikes, how often do you end up having to service the main bearings on the frame? Choose the poll that's applicable to the climate where you live and vote accordingly.

Climate Zones

Dry and Arid (i.e. Southwest, California, etc)
Temperate, Average Seasons (Mountain West, Central Europe, etc.)
Very Wet (Pacific Northwest, UK, etc.)



Riding Frequency







Bottom Bracket Replacement

How often do you replace your bottom bracket bearings? (For riders in dry & arid climates)



How often do you replace your bottom bracket bearings? (For riders in temperate climates)



How often do you replace your bottom bracket bearings? (For riders in wet climates)




Lower Headset Bearing Replacement

How often do you replace your lower headset bearings? (For riders in dry & arid climates)



How often do you replace your lower headset bearings? (For riders in temperate climates)



How often do you replace your lower headset bearings? (For riders in very wet climates)




Upper Headset Bearing Replacement

How often do you replace your upper headset bearings? (For riders in dry & arid climates)



How often do you replace your upper headset bearings? (For riders in temperate climates)



How often do you replace your upper headset bearings? (For riders in wet climates)





Main Pivot Bearing Replacement

How often do you replace your main pivot bearings? (For riders in temperate climates)



How often do you replace your main pivot bearings? (For riders in dry & arid climates)



How often do you replace your main pivot bearings? (For riders in wet climates)



Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
168 articles

256 Comments
  • 644 16
 There's no "when they need it" option. Sometimes they'll go a couple years and be fine. Sometimes a couple super muddy days in the bikepark destroys bearings that are only a month old.
  • 20 4
 Beat me to writing this
  • 86 5
 I'm usually not one to gripe about these surveys, but it's kinda pointless if they don't have "when needed" as an option, which would likely account for 95% of responses
  • 140 10
 @Moonie2123: I think it would be pointless to HAVE the "when needed option" since this survey seems to be trying to determine the "when" in "when needed".

Your answer should be an average of "when" it is "needed"
  • 10 1
 EXACTLY!!! I thought the same thing. Living here in Arizona we don't often get a lot of mud and/or water in our bearings. You know when replace them? When they need replaced. Which is typically once every 3-5 years if ya ride an average of once a week.
  • 6 0
 Yep, read my mind. I'd amend your condition to include "when not working."
  • 26 0
 @tmwjr777: so once every couple of seasons then?
  • 12 0
 For headsets, maybe the better question is how often do you clean and regrease the headset? When you’re in there, you check the bearings for grittiness and replace when needed.
  • 3 0
 @Moonie2123: But how will manufacturers market a product unless they know by what percentage more time it needs to last then their competitors in order for us to buy it?!
  • 6 3
 Worst poll ever... I ride 2 bikes in every mentionned situations... what can I tell you?... except to be seriously aware of your gear depending on every context.... AND depending on the gear you use (quality or not?)
  • 7 1
 Because “when needed” wasn’t an option, I answered “I didn’t know those were replaceable” for all the questions.

I’ve found that most bearings last a very long time as long as they aren’t subject to excessive moisture. It’s rare for us to ride in the rain, as our dirt is such that the trails quickly become unrideable. So as long as I’m careful when washing my bikes, the bearings rarely need replacing.
  • 3 6
 Anyone in the comments saying they ride more than once a month……really
  • 5 0
 100% this.
Silly set of questions to direct an answer that they wanted.
Replace things when they need replaced. There are folk out there that religiously replace things, never been that guy, it's just a waste of money. Have the spares available and replace as required.
  • 2 0
 This is totally the right answer. One Dry Hill downhill race weekend a few years ago fried all my fairly new bearings
  • 3 0
 @Mac1987: A couple is two, Mine last many years, maybe because I clean and re-grease them occasionally.
  • 1 0
 @tmwjr777: unless you have an older bike with cheap pivot bearings and ride south mountain then it’s every 2 months.
  • 4 0
 @gnarlysipes: Yep agreed! I rarely actually replace bearings.... but I do clean and service them on average once or twice a year (depending on how much noise they make). So for me, my last headset I ran for 11years, and sold the bike it was in so never replaced.
.....the press fit BB on that bike was a completely different story.
  • 5 2
 Marketers (the ones who put this research survey together) can’t build graphs with “when needed”. You have to answer them with a specific date range. That way they can predict bearing revenue amounts.
  • 19 0
 Agreed, and there is no Chris King option.... so never..
  • 4 0
 Too many options. I replace it when it's fucked.
  • 1 0
 True. My current BB and headset has been running great for several years. There was a period where I had to replace a BB two times in one season because the company's BBs just were not good. Now I know what works.
  • 5 5
 I kinda feel like if you don't understand the point of the question, then maybe you shouldn't be answering.

Think about "your" normal. One year you went through 3 sets, one year you went through 1 set. BOTH times as needed. But on average, twice a year.

I know, math is hard. But we can do it together.

My complaint would be...how much are you riding? I rode over 1000 hours this year, which is my normal. According to Garmin data...I ride a lot more than the average.
  • 1 0
 @JSTootell: I did 36446m of vert. 812ks. 116hrs on recorded time. Small year. There's plenty of us out here.
  • 1 0
 Thank you, this is what i came to post. Why would you replace something that is working great... PB thinks we got money to burn??
  • 3 0
 Bad poll
  • 1 0
 Exactly. Thats the only sensible answer
  • 1 0
 Yup. Poll is flawed. I know that bearings are replaceable, I just only replace them when needed, and it's rarely ever needed where I live.
  • 7 0
 @jomacba: I had a King headset go twenty years with one service.
  • 6 0
 @Lookinforit: Ok I get that, if this survey is actually trying to determine when. Other option, it's a cleverly disguised trap to justify headset cable routing. TBH, I'm not sure at this point, so let's just blow the whole thing up
  • 2 0
 I don't replace the bearings I just replace the bottom bracket and headset
  • 2 0
 @gnarlysipes: I get notchiness in my headset after about a year, and it's not water or dirt. it's the constant pounding and huge forces exerted on them with the ball bearings in the exact same position in the race, never moving. After about a year, I can take them apart and see perfect indentations in the races and tiny flat spots on the bearings.

stainless steel bearings are even worse, as Ss is actually softer than carbon steel.
  • 4 0
 I live in CO and pretty much never ride in wet/muddy conditions, and I guess I don’t keep bikes long enough to ever replace bearings other than the occasional BB. I haven’t owned any of my bikes for more than 3-4 years and I’ve literally never replaced pivot bearings or headsets in 20+ years of riding. What answers should I choose in this poll?
  • 1 0
 @JSTootell: I think you're making a fair point - if they'd simply said "how often do you need to replace your bearings" or "how long does it take for your bearings to wear out" then it would have saved this whole chunk of comments. Does anyone swap out their bearings on a time schedule, or, like me, just do it when they're noticeably grumbly? Maybe that's the question, actually!
  • 1 0
 I've got 10,834.7 miles on my '13 Scott Scale 970 Octalink BB and whatever headset, still good. 970 is the lowest level of the Scale lineup too! Rear Deore der lasted 7,445.8 miles and it's death was only caused by failed jockey wheel bearings where the chain got caught in the cage and ripped the der right off.
  • 1 0
 The question should be "how often do they need to be replaced"
  • 1 0
 Yeah, but that s a hard poll for the masses. It is also bike dependant, my gravel/cx bike gets new bearings 4-5 times/year.
  • 2 0
 @topfuel564: I believe it. I generally will just do a grease top up once every season, but generally when I open the bearing up, it's as clean as the day I bought them. I run CK BB hubs, and headset. Worth every single penny I've paid, and I will never go back. Super bummed they discontinued the 6 bolt though.
  • 1 0
 @boopiejones: Yeah, I went with "I didn't know those were replaceable" too. Which is actually true for the "main pivot" question as my bike has a flex pivot (a/k/a "hardtail").
  • 2 0
 @Moonie2123: oh they are for sure trying to engineer the conclusion that "you only do it once every now and then so it's not that bad really". Personally I open up the headset bearings at the end of every season to check if they're still good, so I answered "at least once a season"

I detest headset cable routing, and will fight it whenever I can, so I understand that most people saw right through this poll and went straight to angry comments. In fact, I did the same down below
  • 1 0
 @tmwjr777: which would be every couple of seasons….
  • 2 0
 on top of that the survey is really hard to read lol. pinkbike makes enough money to pay someone to add a drop down for climates and have a better overall survey Wink Heck I'd do it for free just because it annoys me.

I suspect this skews the result a lot because ppl will answer in the wrong section anyway and the averages are .. well fairly average, making it harder to distinguish signal from noise in the survey results
  • 3 1
 What a weird poll! The two most obvious answers of "when they need it" and "never" aren't available. Instead, 'hey, let's make those who live in dry and arid climates feel like idiots by having the only available selection be something to indicate they are ignorant to the workings of a bike!'. I imagine this came from Winter jealousy.
  • 2 0
 @Rubberelli: Don't worry too much. Nearly every single PB poll has that. Some answers that lie closest to some very viable options have some nonsense added to it. It is their way to twist your words and maybe it counts as their substitute for humor. It is ok, we can always not answer these polls. The worrying thing of course is that some product managers might take these results seriously and it will show in the 2025 products.
  • 1 0
 It's amazing to me how Pinkbike always finds a way to mess up the answers to these surveys.
  • 1 0
 I regrease mine so they fail 3-5 yrs
  • 1 0
 @asmtb: On my first mtb, on wet rides my front tire would throw so much water and dirt at my lower headset bearing that it would wash out the grease and get stuck. It wasn't too hard to open that lower cup and regrease it but eventually I would also apply a big glob of vaseline to the back of that lower cup for the wetter rides. It would catch the water and dirt, basically worked as a seal. After the ride I would wipe it off. The headsets on subsequent bikes were a bit better and didn't need this treatment.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: "How often do you replace your knees and ankles" lol.
JK, I ride an HT too and its not nearly as rough on the body as most people seem to think.
  • 1 0
 @ripridesbikes: Yeah, I think the impact of just running and jumping (on your feet) is harder than what knees and ankles suffer from when just riding a HT.
  • 1 0
 Or a "when I'm not broke" option
  • 1 0
 @swedishfishmx: Pretty sure "every couple of seasons" would imply every other year (once every two years). I'm looking at an average life span of 4-5 years or more.
  • 1 0
 Agree, main pivot bearings - never in a few years, small pivot bearings and all others - yearly Bike park typically chews bearings quite hard
  • 1 0
 Agree the most relevant option is missing. Also, the survey order is not consistent; the last question is out of order so the data may be skewed.

This survey was created by an amateur. Levy? Is that you?
  • 1 0
 @BuckNasty44904: I bet you if you checked, you have at least one frozen bearing on your bike—probably a pivot bearing. I'll bet you a breakfast burrito.
  • 1 0
 My answer is just "when the LBS says they need changing" - i trust LBS judgement better than my own :-)
  • 244 10
 Stop trying to defend headset cable routing, it looks stupid even when implemented properly
  • 101 0
 Seriously, you're not fooling anybody with this shit Outside
  • 13 65
flag usedbikestuff (Dec 30, 2022 at 12:43) (Below Threshold)
 I like it. Don’t pretend like it’s the end of the world.
  • 15 0
 Damn, it was a Perry Mason question... "So then would you say that you rarely change your headset??"
  • 21 1
 This is our chance to band together and everyone select 2+ times per year.... we must change this terrible path we are on.
  • 1 0
 exactly
  • 24 0
 Where are the questions for how many times do you remove the fork, lube your bearings, change housing, replace a brake assembly, change stem or spacers, partially disassemble to chase down creaks, etc.?

For me that would be tens of times per year that fussing with headset cable routing would be an inconvenience
  • 3 19
flag kevinturner12 (Dec 30, 2022 at 14:09) (Below Threshold)
 @taprider: it's almost as if the survey has nothing to do with headset cable routing.
  • 7 0
 @usedbikestuff: Definitely not the end of the world but I don’t know what problem it’s solving other than giving Dangerholm cleaner-looking builds.
  • 6 0
 @maestroman21: Or everyone ignore the poll and don't answer.

Scott marketing dept: "Our research is suggesting no-one likes bikes, so for 2025 we think we should NOT release a bike, like at all. It's what people want."
  • 16 0
 I thought this article was unintentionally hilarious.

bikerumor.com/what-bike-mechanics-really-think-about-internal-cable-routing-headsets

One of the responses: “ Some bikes with fully internal and integrated cabling that are ridden in places in conditions that like to eat headset bearings regularly, like cyclocross or mountain bike, should be avoided if you’re asking this mechanic.”

And another: “ A lot of this stuff is just for manufacturers to tout marginal weight savings over last year’s model. If you do away with downtube cable ports or housing bosses, you move the port to the headset, and suddenly your frame is X amount of grams lighter. It’s all a scam, there is no legit reason outside of aerodynamics to move the routing to the headset. So, if you see this routing on anything but a pro level bike, and you think it’s rad, you’ve been had.”

Gave me a laugh. Even from a road biased perspective, mechanics generally don’t seem to be loving this trend.
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: the dude at revolution really is making that shop look great.
  • 2 0
 All the bikes in my house have had the stock headsets replaced with Works Components - 2° ones, can't fit cables/hoses through those.
  • 2 0
 After this poll we'll see frame bearing routing as an addition aka the latest and greatest
  • 8 0
 @ocnlogan: someone in that article mentions something I hadn't realized yet myself, and is that is another pita for traveling. When removing the handlebar cables give a degree of freedom to put it somewhere nice and safe, bye bye that with through the headset routing.
  • 81 4
 Too many questions, I'm out...
  • 38 1
 They switched the order (dry and temperate) for the last question, so those of us who were following a pattern of questions will skew the results.
  • 8 0
 Fortunately you can re answer the question and re save the results Wink
  • 6 0
 @lone-ranger: yeah, that works, but only if you recognize that the questions were reversed
  • 3 1
 I caught that. Reading helps.
  • 8 0
 Where’s the “never i just buy a new bike every year or two”
  • 1 0
 @BenLow2019: And only if you actually care.
  • 31 2
 There should be a 'never' option. Also, yeah, too many questions. Results aren't gonna mean much.
  • 9 0
 That's covered by the 'I didn't know they were replaceable ' option. Maybe there should be an option for 'when my riding buddies can hear me coming before they can see me'.
  • 8 2
 I know they are replaceable, but haven't replaced them. Not really good options to select here.
  • 6 1
 @SickEdit: I think you're being too literal.
  • 3 0
 @kevinturner12: "I didn't know they were replaceable" is quite literal.
  • 2 0
 @kevinturner12: basically forcing people to subscribe to sarcasm
  • 23 1
 Never need to replace them because I service them regularly. Chris King with serviceable bearings.
  • 2 0
 I came here to say this. At least for my headset.
  • 3 0
 Exactly, I have never replaced them, but I do open them up every year...
  • 3 6
 I bought Chris king headset being told they last forever, and mine died within a year. It's a brilliant marketing line that people like parroting
  • 3 0
 @sampo18: Nothing is immune to lack of maintenance. The biggest difference is that they’re designed to be maintained, not just replaced. I service mine once a year with just a dab of grease and pocket screwdriver. If your in wet climates then more frequently is good.
  • 3 0
 Yes : dismount at least once a year, clean, grease and change only when it's not smooth
  • 2 0
 @sampo18: 1 year?! how did it die? I ride a lot in the wet and had many headsets rot away but Chris king and the cane creek 110 are behaving like they’ll last forever.
  • 21 0
 Jesus Christ @pinkbike I had to touch my screen more times than a session at PornHub for that poll…
  • 4 1
 No kiddin, eh? I got totally bored after the second touch!
  • 11 0
 I bet if you don't ride in wet environments it really depends on if you are a bike washer or not. If you ride in the dry and you have good bearings they should really last for a crazy long time if you don't force water into them.
  • 1 0
 I have a frame that seems to kill the main pivot bearings pretty quickly but apart from that my experience matches what you've said. Headset bearings still going strong after 6 and a half years and around 11000km. BB and the other pivot bearings have all been replaced once or twice in that time i think.
  • 9 0
 Anecdotal-- but it almost completely depends on the component alignment and quality.
My Enduro frame came with an FSA headset that bled rusty goo and creaked like hell in about 3 months of winter riding.
Two years later the replacement wolftooth headset has never been touched.

Misaligned trunnion frame eats bearings in about 4-6 months, other bike ridden concurrently has never had the bearings replaced in 2.5 years.

DUB bbs accept crooked tapping much better and have lasted 2-3 times as long as bsa30 for me, usually about 18 months.

TLDR; Bike companies please stop trying to hide cables-- just align your frames better and use higher quality parts.
  • 2 0
 Yeah I have had the same experience with pivot bearings. One frame seemingly never needs service, another needs at least two every year due to poor alignment. I also had an FSA headset fail after only a couple of winter rides, the Cane Creek Hellbender that replaced it hasn't been touched in two years. Same story with the RaceFace BB, I would replace it yearly, then bought a quality BB and haven't had to touch it since.
  • 7 0
 A good headset and a simple periodic maintenance cleaning will prolong the life of most a headset's for years.

Simply remove the stem, drop the fork remove bearing cartridge from the cups and wipe clean using isopropyl- alcohol and clean rags/ paper towels to help removal of old grease and dirt....apply a thin layer of fresh waterproof bicycle grease to the the bearings and cups; reassemble, and go ride!
  • 15 3
 now, think of doing that with the handlebar in the way, and the cables as well, working your way around everything, isn't stupid af?
  • 4 4
 @NicolaZesty314: Are you defect in improvising using a simple rubber twisty tie or nylon strap, securing to the frame then to proceed with maintenance procedures ?
  • 9 0
 @likeittacky: I’d just love the bike industry to stop creating bullshit like that stupid cable routing that looks dumb and literally improves nothing,
They should focus on make things work better, not worse
  • 1 6
flag likeittacky (Dec 31, 2022 at 11:02) (Below Threshold)
 @NicolaZesty314: Oh, so you're referring to the notorious headset cable routing, rather than just the nest of cables with bar attached and dangling; while accessing the headset bearings. You failed to refer to that particular style headset Nobody in their right mind has on their bikes.
  • 9 0
 Rarely replace unless they fail but I do clean and grease a few times a year. Pivot bearings tend be a yearly thing for me.
  • 6 0
 Switching the order of Dry & Temperate near the end is a total UX fail. So is using "I didn't know those were replaceable!" as an option instead of "I've never replaced them", which is less condescending. I'd be surprised if you get any meaningful data out of this poll given these flaws.
  • 1 0
 The whole structure of the survey is a UX fail. In basically any other survey tool you could have people (1) select their climate, (2) answer the 5 questions, (3) display results for all climates. Oh well.
  • 8 3
 Everyone I know who roasts bearings also pressure washes their bike.

The only bearings I’ve replaced in the last 4 years were BB, and only because they were creaking in the shell. The bearing elements were fine. I never pressure wash bikes. Only use the garden hose as much as needed to get mud off.
  • 6 0
 Me: What's bike washing? (also coincides with never replacing bearings except a BB every year or 2 when I was using total garbage ones).
  • 2 0
 Are you answering in the dry/arid section?
  • 4 0
 Where are the questions for how many times do you remove the fork, lube your bearings, change housing, replace a brake assembly, change stem or spacers, partially disassemble to chase down creaks, etc.?
For me that would be tens of times per year that fussing with headset cable routing would be an inconvenience
  • 4 1
 Pinkbikes gotta set these polls up better lol

Real answer for 99% of people

-As needed.

I don't think I've ever replaced an upper headset bearing in my life.
Bottom headset bearings usually go 2-3 seasons before getting pitted and crunchy
Bottom brackets go 1-2 seasons depending on how abused it gets (im a big guy)
Frame bearings about 2-3 seasons.
Wheel bearings 2-3 seasons.
  • 3 0
 Uk rider here.
I change frame,headset(both),Bottom Bracket and wheel bearings start of dryish season(End of April/May) so I get a good Spring Summer Ride time then maybe lower headset and bb end of the season.
Bearings are cheap compared to oval linkages etc.
Now off into the rain for a ride!
  • 3 0
 Uh... Why replace when you can pack em full full of waterproof grease and they may last 3-10x longer.... Just a FYI cartridge bearings are woefully underfilled with non waterproof grease just about all the time.

They die early due to water intrusion and corrosion. Waterproof grease = no water & corrosion.

Just need a dental pick and some good stringy waterproof grease. Green Grease 101 is just about perfect.
  • 3 0
 A Google Form or Survey Monkey would be better than this shit survey implementation. You’d think Outside would’ve figured out how to build a better form for marketing data collection. This is some early 2000s web1.0 super reliable data collection PB, and sure I live in all three climate zones you list out.
  • 3 0
 This is possibly the stupidest poll ever on pinkbike. I ride in a wet country in all weathers. I’ve had cheap headsets and bottom brackets (SRAM especially) fail in a few months. I therefore buy expensive well-sealed items from the likes of Hope so they last years with no/minimal maintenance - and then only the bearings within need replacing. That’s why I still run cranks with a 24mm axle - more space for better bearings.

I also avoid washing my bikes (I clean chains and stanchions etc) and never use a pressure washer.
  • 2 0
 Ride in blighty, rain sun shit or snow, I don't really take that good care of my bike but I've got well over 1000 miles on my headset & bb, is this not the norm? If it feels wrong I'll replace the bearings, a well battered 26 that still runs fine
  • 2 0
 The cheap headset/BB that come on bikes usually need replacing within 6 months, but the higher quality replacements lasts for years.

I change pivot bearings every year, when the shock gets serviced, as it is cheap and a few minutes extra work - the joys of a single pivot Orange.
  • 2 0
 My first full Sus was an orange Mr xc (ask your parents) and I thought changing the bearings would be that easy on all bikes
  • 2 0
 I can tell you one thing- over the years, BB reliability has only become WORSE, despite all the marketing B.S about longevity of larger bearings!!! In the olden days of square internal bb, i wouldve replaced them every couple of years. Nowadays, im lucky if my shimanoGXP or seam DUB last a full year. In the past 3 years, I've had bottom brackets which lasted 2-3 months of mostly dry weekend riding!
  • 3 0
 Sounds like your frame has bad tolerances
  • 2 0
 @SickEdit: huh?!
A- im not talking about a single bike. I own several and its pretty much the same.
B- I work part time at a shop, and I've got over 20 years of experience working on bikes, so trust me when I say my sample size isn't a single crooked frame Smile Ask any mechanic with years of experience- stock bearings, especially from SRAM, aren't exactly well known for their reliability. Dont even get me started on GXP.
C- even if the poor reliability is caused by frame alignment, the fact that it's so common begs the question- who's to blame? The frame manufacturers for not meeting the tolerances for the bottom bracket, or those who designed bottom brackets without accounting for typical frame alignment variability? I'd argue the latter makes more sense, although it might be a moot argument snyway.
D- old cartridge sqaure/splined bb's had their issues, dont get me wrong. Bearings would get gritty and servicing was a PITA if even possible. However, from my experience, they didn't develop play as easily and usually lasted a couple of seasons before needing replacement. Maybe im romanticizing the past, but in any case, modern bb designs are a far cry from the huge gains in reliability which were promised by those touting the new standards.
  • 2 0
 based on pinkbike comment sections when new bikes come out etc, Id say most of the results are rubbish as clearly PB users replace their whole bike a few times a year...

Im guilty... Multiple bikes a year...between mid 2020 and 2021 i had been on 17 different Frames.(from trail to DH)
  • 2 0
 I were living in Ireland and now in France, haven't seen a dramatic difference in my bearing consumption. What I find has the biggest impact on the frequency of replacement is how screwed up is your frame alignment and how much the frame protects your bearings. My Nicolais were bombproof and never needed much attention, my GT which is made in China and badly aligned eats bearings for breakfast at an alarming rate.
  • 2 0
 Scottish rider here. Maybe 70% of my riding is in wet, claggy filth. If I want my bearings actually running smooth I have to clean an re-pack them every couple of months then replace every six. Lost count of the he times I've heard "oh I never have to replace my bearings my bike is bomber" only to watch them then proceed to ride off with their frame creaking and pivots wandering and flopping all over the shot. Problem with bearings is they degrade slowly enough that most average riders get used to the changing performance of the bike as it happens slowly and subtly each ride. I took apart a mate's bike the other day to find that the frame bearings had seized solid and the linkage bolts were acting as bushings. He told me the bike was running totally fine. Fresh bearings make a bike feel awesome.
  • 2 0
 Couldn't agree more with this, folk are riding around with perfect Chris king bearings that are grinding like fuck I swear. I'm on two bearing changes a year when riding all weather, surely people arent maintaining their bikes here haha
  • 2 0
 first thing i do is when new pop out the seals wash em out with petrol then pack them some finish line white teflon grease and they last nearly the whole time io have the bike! my current hope bottom bracket has been in all my dh bikes since i got it in 2010 still smooth and no play!
  • 2 0
 This survey is just another way to sway opinions on internal headset routing. They don't care about headset bearings, they are trying to convince you that they don't need to be changed often therefore the hassle of headset cable routing is a non issue.
  • 1 0
 Wait, these need replacing...
Honestly though, as others said, the poll lacks a "when necessary" option. I have gotten lucky on my current bike, but I also had the pleasure to deal with "self destructing bottom bracket" *courtesy of lackluster QC on Cube's manufacturing). That thing need replacements when you just thought about mud and grime.
  • 1 0
 There should be an answer I don’t replace bearings. I pop the seals wash bearings in diesel or just wipe and regrease if no time and keep all stock bearings. Sometimes you almost have to replace them when they stuck. But little hammer and screwdriver helps to get them spinning again, then same technique wash or wipe and regrease. It’s not an airplane it’s just a bicycle. Nothing moves too fast in it to even worry about it. If it has grease and it spins - it’s good!
  • 1 0
 Chris King, Cane Creek Hellbender/110 or other high quality bottom bracket or headset would make a huge difference!
You may not replace ever if you have high quality parts in the bike!
Usual OEM/low quality stuff is every season or 2 R&R in the midatlantic. Suspension bike pivot bearings every few seasons.
I do NOT blast my bearings with water.
I try to stay out of mud and water.
  • 1 0
 Need a poll for SRAM PF 92 DUB BB and X01 Crankset!

I have a year old PIVOT Trail 429 Enduro, so hopefully due to quality manufacturing and alignment not often.
Alignment/quality control and bearing quality make a huge difference.
I think keeping water of a bike makes a difference. Do not force water in and grease out!
Just say no to pressure washing bearing area.
  • 5 0
 Need to option for when it blows up
  • 5 0
 Let me suggest a couple more options then:
-A week before the bearings blow up.
-A month after the bearings blow up.
  • 1 0
 Also i believe there can be a huge timespan between "they blow up" and "you notice", especially for linkage bearings.
  • 2 0
 I live in what's supposed to be a desert (it hasn't felt that way for the last month). Dust is my enemy and trails are closed when its wet. Refreshing the grease is usually enough-so 2 or 3 years'ish?
  • 3 2
 I was going to replace headset bearings when I got a new fork last month then found out they aren't removeable. I'm going on three years and all the pivot bearings seem to be fine/smooth. I'm in a dry climate and don't rinse the bike down often. I do take the frame apart, clean away dirt from the pivots, and put on a small layer of grease for protection.
  • 5 0
 " and put on a small layer of grease for protection." You filthy bastard !
  • 3 0
 Your headset bearings aren’t removable? What kind of bike is this?
  • 2 0
 @RednBlack802: gotta be a Klein
  • 4 0
 WTF bike has fixed headset bearings? That genuinely sounds impossible.
  • 2 0
 @RednBlack802: it's an acros headset. Bike is a vitus mythique. I'd never heard of that before but someone on reddit told me and acros said they're pressfitted in and not removeable, and that's apparently supposed to last longer. Bearings are still ok but going cane creek in the future. It's a standard zero stack tapered headtube and cartridge bearings.
  • 1 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: it's a strange Acros headset design. I tried pretty hard to wack them out before learning of this and they didn't budge. No corrosion or anything either and they were actually really clean.
  • 2 0
 @DylanH93: That is indeed weird. If it's the outgoing (2020-22) Mythique it should be a standard ZS44/ZS56 headset, I've dealt with a few of them and it's always been a normal headset. It might be worth shooting Vitus an email.
  • 2 0
 Yes press fit in. They're still removable though - just tighter. Problem with acros is they aren't standard bearing sizes (the height measurement I think) that my lbs has in stock so I replaced mine with another brand
  • 2 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: yep normal ZS tapered headset. Acros's website said the bearings aren't replaceable but they last longer and any problems they'll replace the whole thing. They're going on three years and still smooth so I'm not too worried. Just going to replace with a cane creek headset later, or if anyone has a better brand recommendation for head sets.. I'll definitely ask Vitus, was just talking to them yesterday about a different question haha.
  • 2 0
 @DylanH93: ah yes! I know the one, but had completely forgotten about it. I suppose Chris King bearings are similar. Thanks for the info!
  • 2 0
 @DylanH93: what's great about Acros bearings is that you can service them for cheap. Hammer out the bearing when it's done after four weeks of mild use, go to your local grocery store (buy local, people!) and get some good quality butter. Fill the headset with it and enjoy bearings that perform and last like those from the factory.
Even better: it works for their hubs and BBs , too!
  • 5 0
 How often do I replace them or how often do they need replacing?
  • 4 0
 If you service your bearings then why would you need to replace them????????
  • 3 0
 If (that's one for the Spartans out there)
  • 1 0
 BC West coast rider. Average 3x a week. Headset Bearings once every 2 years Bottom Bracket every year Frame Bearings every 2 years. Was riding a 6 year old Giant reign before and just picked up a Spire. Curious to see how often I will need to replace bearings.
  • 5 0
 Where's the when crunchy option?
  • 2 1
 Your survey leaves out the possibility of not having been required to swap out bearings. My headset hasn't required a bearing replacement yet. I built up my bike with a CK headset 8 years ago, and all I every do is a clean and regrease twice a year.
  • 1 0
 What I am wondering: would every headest last that long of it gets the amount of love you provide? I have the feeling that one substantial part of why CK headsets last that long is, because people that buy them know how to service a bike and the initial big(er) investment serves as a motivation to actually put in the work and do the service once or twice a year, which leads to the extended longevity after all.
  • 1 0
 Replaced my BB bearings after 13 years, and cleaned up the headset after just as long. Bike is a DJ/FR bike but it has seen all sorts of weather and riding. Rear hub is going strong at, I believe, 15 years so far, good ole Formula E-Hub.
  • 1 0
 I feel like I’m constantly replacing pedal bearings. I went from Race Face Atlas pedals to One Up, and either way I’m lucky to get 6 months before the bearings are roasted and the pedals are clicking and squeaking.

Shimano pedal bearings last decades, but I don’t like the shape or thickness of their flat pedals, so I guess I just have to deal with replacing pedal bearings all the time.
  • 1 0
 Longer pins on front edge of saints helps the feel
  • 1 0
 I had a across headset last one season before it started getting gritty. I replaced it and over packed the bearings with grease. I know you're not suppose to overpack bearings. But I figure since headset bearings don't rotate much like pivot bearings, that they're better off with more grease than less. As top post says. I only replace when needed.
  • 4 0
 Dvmbest post in the history.The last option totally screwed up every other options.Who thought of that? So dvmb.
  • 4 0
 It’s sad to say I don’t keep a bike long enough to replace those hahaha
  • 1 0
 My evil headset is at the stage where it locks up when left in the garage. Quick spray of lube and a few x ups and she's good to go! Probably will change it just before the summer. The bottom bracket was done about a year ago as the last one disintegrated on me. It'll be okay for another year.
  • 1 0
 Super happy with ZTTO headsets so far, they are cheap and reliable. I had another chinese brand bb that lastest 1 ride in the mud, the bearings were rusted on one side, hard to replace them, but i might try now that i have some bearing press.
  • 1 0
 What exactly is Pinkbike trying to find out here. Or is it just do fill the slow news season with easy "engaging" content. From my own experience it's not that relevant what the climate in your riding zone is, but how you install, clean and service your bike/bearings. Even the quality of a frame (especially tolerances of bearing seats) has more effect on the length of the lifecycle than the climate you are riding in.
  • 1 0
 I rode a single speed for a few years and that was hard on bottom brackets and upper headset bearings. I was at least removing them a few times a season to clean and grease, if not replacing them. No longer single speeding, I still have issues with headsets and have to drop the fork once or twice a season to clean and grease. Bike brands are following European car makers, completely sacrificing serviceability and function, purely for looks and for making it complicated.
  • 1 0
 I just replace them as and when needed. The UK is generally savage on bearings and your bike in general so unless you keep on top of it bearings are at very least annual as they just don’t last. I’ve used all kinds from cheap to what is classed as high quality only to have the same result. Ultimately the UK muddy climate gives any bearing a run for their money and you need to keep on top of greasing them up.
  • 1 0
 Depends massively on the year and the bike. We do get some fairly dry years in the uk. Every other year would have been my answer to almost all of the questions. What does a season refer to in these questions? How many bikes do you ride is pointless without asking how many times do you ride. I usually like these poles, but this one is pointless.
  • 1 0
 Where is the headset option of "a lot more if there was an unnecessary hole through the top"?

Also, shouldn't these be based on number of rides? Time period tells us nothing without frequency of riding. Do we just assume 12 rides per year since we're on PB?
  • 2 0
 Whatever the standard deviation of this data is, it seems to confirm that in the vast majority of cases, Pinkbike commenters aren't actually riding or doing anything, they just want to see what everyone else is up to.
  • 1 0
 With the changing seasons throughout the year we get all the conditions, wet, dry, temperate, so all apply. Use a varity of bikes during the summer, wet winter its usually just the one, keep up on the maintenance and using various bikes, headsets can go a couple years depending.
  • 1 0
 Used to go through BBs in no time in the winter. Until switched to a ceramic bb and not had to replace it since. No way can keep the water out so best to make it so it doesn't matter when it does get in. That and marine grease in the hubs and pivots was a god send.
  • 2 0
 All of this had to be replaced after 6000 km/2 years here in northern France.

Time doesn't really mean anything - hours of use or distance traveled is way more important here
  • 3 0
 Bought my bike, second hand, with a Chris King headset, 5 years later in the UK, never even paid it any attention. Ride all seasons.
  • 1 0
 I live in the UK and ride year round in all weathers. Can usually get around two years use out of the bearings on a Hope Bottom Bracket, but they get checked fairly regularly. Coming up for three years riding on my Transition Patrol, the frame bearings have been changed once so far, after 18 months of usage. The main pivot bearings are the ones to keep an eye on.
  • 1 0
 Riding in the Midwest with our mineral rich soil, we close the trails when muddy. Without much mud, dirt ingress I have never needed to replace headset bearings on any bike I've owned. Full suspension frame bearings are lasting at least five years. Bottom brackets also last years and years for me. I know I don't get the miles a lot of you do; but I can't fathom riding enough to have to replace any of those bearings multiple times in one season.
  • 1 0
 As long as there isn't perceptible noise or play why bother replacing bearings. I changed my frame bearings because I had to take off some linkage for another reason. They were fairly gritty but no play in them and to be honest I felt no difference afterward. Also I always had unsealed headsets back in the day that felt marginally gritty when setting up the bike and never noticed it when riding. I'm not sure who see-saws their handlebars back and forth enough to notice, I sure don't!

The times I did notice on a bike that needed bearing replacements were:
-a friends bike that had play in the pivot bearings, you can definitely feel that.
-when a headset can't seem to be adjusted to get no play and still move freely
-noisy bottom bracket bearings

I've never been able to find a regular interval for any of that, it is really dependent on how often you ride, where you ride and what component you have. I've never had a set schedule for riding my bike so it's hard to create a maintenance schedule and I find it wasteful to replace parts 'just cuz'.
  • 1 0
 I generally wait until they need maintenance. If I have an event that is messy, like last year's Chequamegon 40 we're it was a total mud fest, I take my bike apart and clean it, including the bearings and only replace something if it's needed. I think it's wasteful to just replace stuff that is perfectly fine and because I ride multiple bikes I don't put as many miles on a single bike as someone who only owns one bike. Although I ride a lot so who knows...‍♂️ I say, only replace stuff if it's needed and don't just do it automatically on a regular schedule. There are bikes that have gone 10, 20 plus years on the same bearings and they still work fine.
  • 2 1
 When they need replacing. When they need replacing. When they need replacing. When they need replacing. When they need replacing. Oh and UK....very wet, that tickled me! The sun does come out once or trice a year.
  • 1 0
 We like to complain about the weather but we're nowhere near pnw for rain.
  • 1 0
 @kevinturner12: I just checked out of curiosity and Sheffield has roughly the same annual rainfall (32"/year) as Hood River, OR (30"/year)
  • 1 0
 @iiman: Hood River is relatively dry and a long way from the pacific. Although sheffield looks similar. Check out Vancouver or Squamish BC. Was always interested in this comparison too.
  • 1 0
 Checked some local numbers out of curiosity:
Vancouver - 146 cm / 57.5"
North Vancouver (just across the river!) - 252 cm / 99"
Chilliwack (100 km east) - 122cm / 48"
  • 1 0
 I clean and repack my bearings once a year. Twice if Im stuck at home for awhile. Suspension bearings are 5 years old and still spin like new. Bottom bracket should be replaced soon.
  • 2 0
 I clean and regrease what I can every year-ish. Also proper torque per manufacturer seems to increase the life of the bearings dramatically.
  • 2 0
 There’s no I run Chris King headsets and Bottom Brackets and they get moved to new frames every 2 years and still going strong
  • 1 0
 The bearings themselves are fully serviceable on all king stuff. So you can keep them in service almost indefinitely if you’re willing to open the bearings up and clean and lube them from time to time.
  • 1 0
 @grub14: Yep! I have a grease injection tool for the old 24 mm bottom brackets and you could service the bearings on the bike. Hope they make a 30mm one for the newer bottom brackets.
  • 3 0
 Need the option of I purchase high quality parts so don't need to replace before selling bike all together!
  • 1 0
 I bet most peoples headset buying research consists of what can I get that fits and isn’t expensive.

The actual numbers that do research Into which is sealed better or which bearings are best is going to be pretty low.
  • 1 0
 That's why there needs to be some independent test to determine the quality of the bearings/headsets/BBs available. If people knew they buy headset X, that costs double of headset Y but lasts 3 times longer than they would be willing to spend that kind of money. And it would not only be better economically but also ecologically.
  • 4 0
 I wish I rode enough to need to replace them more often
  • 2 0
 As for headsets, what if you have a King? I’ve never needed to replace a bearing in any I’ve owned……a few upper bearing preload collars……thats about it.
  • 3 0
 Climate does take a beating on bikes! But washing errors, destroy all the above!
  • 3 0
 What an awful baited article to end the year on. Lazy journalism at its best
  • 1 0
 Lol @ everyone here saying "when they need to be replaced". Of course you only replace them when they need to be replaced! But the poll is asking how often that is (on average)
  • 1 0
 Also "I didn't know they were replaceable" doesn't mean you literally had no idea a bearing could be replaced; it means that you've never had to replace them, so they may as well not be replaceable.
  • 3 0
 Chris King HS and BB so never. Yolo!
  • 1 0
 Shame the American North East isn’t even considered by Pink Bike.
Lots of great riding and great weather that’s easy on bikes.
  • 3 1
 All bearings every year (~150 riding days). If you don’t do it they will fail when it’s inconvenient.
  • 1 1
 Headset baseplates made out of aluminum are usually toast at the end of the season on the MTB. The lower headset bearing tends to go south if there is water ingress that ends up sitting on top of it.
  • 1 0
 That's my experience as well. That's probably why acros uses an additional sealing on top of the lower bearing to protect it to the inside. It was probably invented due to the rise of through headset cable routing, but is a nice upgrade for ever bike with international cables.
  • 4 1
 We won't have this problem if our bearings were externally routed
  • 1 0
 My experience has veried widely based on brand. Some pivot bearings only last a few rides on certain brands. My giant is 5 years in and still running smooth.
  • 1 0
 Praxis bb the only option for my Dmr cranks as one side is 28 mm the other 30mm. 3 years, 3 bb in the UK. Great crankset, shit bb
  • 1 1
 In 7 years riding my 2015 Specialized Enduro i replaced the linkage bearings and the bottom bracket once, when i noticed they were already stuck. And yeah i pressure washed it occasionally.
  • 3 0
 No bottom bracket on the ebike so I just pop a new motor in once a year.
  • 1 0
 Mouarf! Top answer! >
  • 1 0
 Clean and grease after any really wet ride (submersed) and service twice a season but get years before I replace any bearings.
  • 3 0
 I don't replace i ride Chis King.
  • 2 0
 Where's the option for "I have a Chris King headset and Bb so I don't need to replace bearings'
  • 2 0
 No option “My hard tail doesn’t have pivots”??
  • 1 0
 You don’t get it? As much as you can to keep business float and people work right?
  • 1 0
 Wheel hub/freehub bearings fail the most often on my bikes & they're not even listed?
  • 1 0
 It’s usually minimum of once a year for all of the above for me (BC west coast)
  • 3 0
 No hardtail option?
  • 1 0
 I guess the
I didn't know those were replace
options?
  • 3 0
 Hardtails don't live in this climate but still want answers
  • 2 0
 What are seasons asked every so cal rider.
  • 2 0
 Where’s the ”when totally knackered” option?
  • 2 0
 There's bearings in them things?
  • 1 0
 Does Pinkbike really think we’re this stupid?! Why is Pinkbike so much onboard with integrated headset cable routing?
  • 1 0
 Do you have a theory? I honestly can't think of one.
  • 1 0
 Anyone else looking at the first picture and thinking they've got another 6 months in them?
  • 3 1
 Outside magazine is a cancer on today's society
  • 2 0
 I didn’t read this article but want to read the comments
  • 1 0
 King Headset + Bottom Bracket = Replace when they don't fit in the new frame.
  • 1 0
 Unless you live in the UK
  • 2 0
 @sampo18: 5 seasons on and still never even opened it up.
  • 2 0
 Where’s the “just get a new frame” option?
  • 1 0
 Depends on the frame and bottom bracket Like of you have a shite frame like a cervelo and a cbear bb than every couple days
  • 1 0
 I'm from Belgium. Should be a wet climate, but the last 10 years I would say we have a dry climate.
  • 2 0
 you need to add in the BB and headset option, NEVER I AVE CHRIS KING
  • 1 0
 Yep, I run king stuff as well and the bearings are fully serviceable. I do it every year just cause I’m a tinkerer but definitely not absolutely necessary
  • 1 0
 I use ceramic speed. Never replace my bottom bracket... And this have garantie all live
  • 1 0
 I pry every seal and over pack every bicycle bearing on new bike or a bearing replacement. Bearings will go many years.
  • 1 0
 No option for "when they need replacing"?

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  • 1 0
 My 99 Sintesi Bazooka still has original main pivot and shock links needle bearings...
  • 1 0
 I don't replace my headset bearings, i just pick the seal and regrease them.
  • 2 0
 UK winter - every 2 weeks
  • 1 0
 Easy to just regrease headset and pivot bearings unless play no need to buy new ones, BB should get couple years out of
  • 1 0
 I never keep a bike long enough to worry about it.
  • 2 0
 Never?
  • 1 0
 When needed is my answer to the bearing questions..
  • 2 4
 @Bike shops: how often does a customer come in with an issue that could be fixed with a simple bearing replacement and you don't mention that and instead have them replace the whole part?
  • 1 0
 Because they don’t carry bearings mate! Too hard to measure and order it from QBP! Gotta replace the whole thing
  • 1 0
 This year I've used 3 different bbs
  • 1 0
 Well this article was obviously a better replacement for Friday Fails...
  • 2 0
 What, they come out?
  • 1 0
 Remove. Clean. Repack. Re-install. Seems to work for me.
  • 3 2
 Bearings, they are the next owners problem.
  • 2 0
 Before every ride
  • 1 0
 Wireless brakes. wireless shifters. No mas cable routing.
  • 1 0
 No. I don't change the bearings, I change the frame
  • 2 0
 This poll is too long
  • 2 0
 Another stupid poll...
  • 1 0
 Headset cable routing. Making the easy unnecessarily difficult.
  • 1 0
 No, Outside. We don't want headset cable routing. Just stop.
  • 1 0
 I replace the BB when it makes creaking noises.
  • 1 0
 till failure
  • 1 0
 Not often enough







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