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Headset Bearings

A common mistake with identifying headset bearings is using the 1"1/8 or 1"1/2 measurement reference as used by the industry, the 1"1/8 or 1"1/2 refers to the steerer on the forks.

All headset bearings have metric dimensions and should be identified by using the included diagram.

The two important measurements are the outer diameter and height, its these two dimensions that allows the bearing to be seated in frame correctly.

The inner diameter is not imperative as different manufactures vary there're inner diameter by 0.1 - 0.3mm. The reason for this is that the forks do not actually touch the inner race, the bearings points of contact are the chamfered edges.

There are two common angles used for headset bearings 45/45 and 36/45:

  • 45/45 is the most common and is found with most headsets from recent years. Both races are either metal or black in colour.
  • 36/45 is not as common but still relatively popular. In most cases the manufacturer will blacken the inner race so as to indentify it as 36/45.
  • If you're having trouble identifying please contact us and we can help.

If you're having trouble identifying your bearings please contact us and we can help.

If you're a bike shop or bike mechanic and change headset bearings on a regular basis we would recommend a good quality vernier calliper (Oxford Instruments). If you choose a digital vernier don't choose a cheap one, they can give false readings and have you chasing a bearing that doesn't exist...we know from experience.

Max Complement/Swing Arm/Pivot Bearings

A standard bearing has balls seperated & arranged within a steel or plastic cage which allows for greater speeds. A max complement bearing has no cage seperating the balls and is instead packed with balls, this in turn allows the max complement bearing to withstand much greater loads at a reduced speed.

The rear swing arm is intended to pivot between two points so the bearing never does a full rotation, the extra balls and no cage means the bearing can handle greater loads and impact associated with full suspension MTB’s and keep you out riding for longer.

Hybrid Ceramic Bearings

Hybrid ceramic bearings are the most common type of ceramic bearing, constructed of stainless steel inner and outer races with ceramic Si3N4 balls in place of steel ones.

Hybrid & Full ceramic bearings have various advantages over all steel bearings, such as higher speed and acceleration capability, increased stiffness, higher accuracy, lower friction and low heat generation, low thermal expansion and extended operating life.

Compared to steel balls, ceramic balls are lighter, smoother, stiffer, harder and corrosion resistant. These fundamental characteristics allow for a wide range of performance enhancements within the bearing and its application. Silicone Nitride (Si3N4) ceramic balls do not have as high toughness or ductility as steel but due to their high strength, stiffness and micro-structural make-up, they are actually much more durable than steel balls with a 100% increase in rolling contact fatigue life in comparison to steel.

Generally speaking you can expect Hybrid ceramic bearings to last between 2 and 5 times longer than standard all steel bearings, however this is highly dependent on operating conditions & other factors.

Full Ceramic Bearings

We recommend our full ceramic bearings for track/velodrome riding, however if you consider yourself competitive and have a bike/wheelset set aside for racing then they could work very well for you.

The whole bearing, races and balls are made from ZrO2 (Zirconia) making the bearing a lot lighter, faster and energy efficient. The cage and seals are made in PTFE to maintain the low weight. Full ceramic bearings are considered self-lubricating so they do not come greased, however if you were intending on using them on the roads they would benefit from a light oiling with thin oil.