When it comes to your bike bearings, at Airevelo we believe that prevention is better than a cure. Our team has a wealth of experience when it comes to bikes and bike wheel bearings, so should you not, don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Bearings are a very important part of your wheels, headset and bottom bracket, preventing them from becoming worn and corroded is required to ensure that your bicycle runs how it should. By not taking care of your bike, you’re increasing the risk of problems occurring at some of the worst times.
Considering when to replace sealed units can be difficult, a few simple checks can help you though, by assessing the condition of the bottom bracket bearings, this may involve unshipping the chain and spinning the crack, you should then be able to hear it or feel it in the frame. Hold the seal-stay whilst the crank is spinning, if you can hear the worn bearings, then it should also be felt in the feel of the frame. When it comes to the replacement, this will involve which of the numerous BB standards your frame will use, it’s also important to remove the chainset.
Another way to assess the condition of wheel bearings includes suspending the bike and taking a look at how quick the spin-up speed is, lifting up the cam lever on the brake caliper will ensure the pad rub doesn’t inform your judgment. Should you want to investigate further, then when examining the wheel bearings, if your wheels use cartridge bearings that require more than a little removing of the wheel, then look out for if the quick release skewer and in the case of the rear wheel and cassette. Next, prise off the seal and if your wheels use a cup-and-cone system, then unscrewing the cone will also be required.
Wearing in the headset bearings will usually be easily accessed through play, roughness or you’ll see a brown fluid that will run from the lower bearing down the back of the fork. If you’d like to delve deeper and make a more visual check then remove the front wheel and front brake. Unscrew the stem top cap and clamp bolts and once the expander bolt has been slackened off, lift the stem clear of the fork steerer tube. If the bike is suspended, place one hand beneath the fork crown to prevent it from falling off.
Once you have access to the headset bearings, you can decide how best to carryout out a bike bearing repair or replace them. Plain steel bearings tend to rust quickly, so at Airevelo, this is something we do not recommend. Stainless bearings tend to be a better option and you don’t have to worry about headset bearings being expensive.
If you want to do a full and efficient bike bearing replacement then remove the seals and degrease the bearings, removing any debris with an airline is also a great idea, an airline will help to get rid of grime in those hard to reach places. Once the cleaning has taken place, degrease the bearings, replace the deals and return the fork and stem-handlebar unit to the position.
Many cyclists believe that just because their bike is clean, their bearings are also in good condition. A regular cleaning regime will create water ingress, which means, if the bike is used regularly, it will be free from seizing up. If you feel stiffness in the bike that occasionally suddenly loosens, then it’s time to replace this bearing. Experiences of riders who washed their bikes prior to winter storage then rebuilding them in the springtime have resulted in things seizing up.
Frequently Asked Questions About Changing your Bike Bearings
How Often Do I Need to Change Wheel Bearings?
Wheel bearings are designed to keep your bike wheel spinning smoothly, with small ball bearings reducing friction. If you find that your bike wheel has become wobbly or isn’t spinning correctly, then your wheel bearings may be causing the problem.
Bearings are an essential part of your wheels, headset, and bottom bracket, as well as NTN bearings and preventing them from becoming worn and corroded will do much to keep your bicycle running smoothly. Judging when to replace bearings in sealed units can be difficult, but a few simple checks can put you on the right track.
You can generally hear or feel in the frame when your bike bearings need to change. If the rumble of the bearings is barely audible, it can still be felt in the vibrations transmitted in the frame.
If there is any wear in the headset bearings, this is usually revealed itself in play, roughness or an unsightly brown fluid that typically runs from the lower bearing down to the back of the fork.
How to Replace Rear Wheel Bearings on a BMX Bike?
Simply give your wheel hub a good clean with a bearing degreaser and check the inside of wear and tear. If everything looks ok coat the inside of the hub in grease, the more you apply the more it helps the bearing to stay in place.
Next lay your new bearings in place one at a time, spacing them out evenly with your fingers. When in place, replace the axle and dust caps and replace the cone nut, spacer then locking nut. At this point, pick up the wheel by the locking nut and give it a wiggle, making sure it rotates freely. Replace your wheel and give it a spin, if it slows down or doesn’t run straight, you will need to take another look at your bearings if it spins freely, then you’re good to go.
How to Install Headset Bearings?
A headset is basically the piece that holds the fork to the frame of the bike, thereby allowing for steering. A sealed bearing headset normally has a plastic or rubber gasket to protect the insides from dirt.
To install a sealed bearing headset, you are going to place the bearings first, both top and bottom, on the opening where the fork is supposed to enter. There are integrated bearings in some frames as well, so you don’t have to worry about them falling out from the bottom. Put on the spacers, the headset, and the dust cap and screw it all down.