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What are you doing to prolong bearing life?

July 30, 2022, 9:20 a.m.
Posts: 360
Joined: June 17, 2016

I also prefer the "Vik procedure" but when you live in an apartment and have to carry the bike through common areas in the building and into your apartment it's not always a viable method.

I think locale and type of dirt makes a lot of difference too. Here on the Shore we don't have that much dirt to begin. I see mostly duff and some coarse grained dirt stuck to my bike. I haven't had any issues with dirt killing bearings here. All issues with premature bearing wear I've had here had to do with poor tolerances, poor frame alignment, flexy linkages etc.

In some other places I've lived the dirt was very fine and would easily get into bearings and eat them up from inside. I once did an extremely wet 8h race in Northern California and almost every single bearing on the bike was toast afterwards. Pivot bearings, headset, bottom bracket. The only bearings that survived that day were the DT hub bearings! Used them for another 3 or 4 years and they were still good when I sold those wheels.


 Last edited by: niels@nsmb.com on July 30, 2022, 9:31 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
July 30, 2022, 1:05 p.m.
Posts: 126
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Posted by: Kenny

One way is to have small children. Once your ride frequency is reduced by 90% everything lasts way longer. :-D

I'm doing it the Kenny way too! Did not even take my full-suspension bike out yet this year so my bearings are still fresh as!

July 30, 2022, 2:57 p.m.
Posts: 272
Joined: Jan. 21, 2013

Posted by: craw

Posted by: niels@nsmb.com

Is it a recurring problem on the same hub? In that case it may be a tolerance issue with the hub. If the bearing's press fit is just a little too tight it will get cooked no matter how often you clean and repack it. I've had this happen with a Hope rear hub once (long time ago).

My personal strategy is to stick with DT hubs, I've literally never had to touch their bearings, they just keep spinning smoothly and without play for years and years in my experience.

I've had the I9 hubs in my WR1 wheels for a couple of years now and haven't need to do anything with the bearings. They still spin good as new. I did manage to break a rear axle which was promptly replaced.

My i9 hubs are in WR1 wheels too. Maybe 2400 km on the wheels and the most recent bearings (second replacement) went in last night. Fully assembled the wheel didn’t sound totally smooth spinning and if I turned the axle by hand I could feel a hint of a grumble. Once it was apart far enough to hopefully remove the seals and re grease, it was obvious I couldn’t re use them.

I don’t know if anyone can tolerate Hambini but he has good info on bearing fit and how it relates to an overall assembly. Im actually debating sourcing some rear hub bearings from him to see if a non enduro replacement will help.

In my case, both i9 hubs I had were a somewhat tighter fit on the outside bearing and a very loose fit on the one right beside the freehub. That loose fit can eliminate tolerance stack up (or so I’ve read) and I have to think once the axle is tight the slop in the bearing bore is taken up. That driveside hub shell bearing is the one I’m noticing most of the wear on but so far the other one isn’t quite good enough to reinstall either.

Given the OP had some questions about prolonging bearing life and has these particular hubs there’s at least a possibility that the hub design is playing into this apparently short bearing life. E.g. is this an enduro issue or an i9 issue?


 Last edited by: mrbrett on July 30, 2022, 2:58 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
July 30, 2022, 6:48 p.m.
Posts: 1668
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

Posted by: PKMzeta

Really getting frustrated with how often I'm having to do my wheel bearings. Most recent rear hub (I9 1/1) is developing play after 10 months of riding. I ride year round in all weather, hose to clean only, no pressure washing, and regularly remove endcaps and freehub for cleaning and relube (but haven't been taking the bearing seals off). 

What are you all doing to prolong bearing life? Looks like these are options: 

- More thorough cleaning regimen that includes prying off the seals regularly and regreasing

- Upgrading bearings (I9 uses Enduro bearings, looking at NTN and SKF) 

- Overfilling bearings with grease, my understanding is that they only come ~1/3 packed to reduce drag

If you are lazy af like me: Pry the seal off with a pick and repack with grease maybe two times a year. BB, suspension, hubs. Keeps them going for ages longer. Needs to be pretty horrendous before I'll do actual work and pop out the bearing for a new one. 

Be interested to hear where you find NTN or SKF bearings. Hambini is like our Cesar Millan.

July 30, 2022, 11:45 p.m.
Posts: 1731
Joined: July 11, 2014

Posted by: Kenny

One way is to have small children. Once your ride frequency is reduced by 90% everything lasts way longer. :-D

This is the way. Also more time to fart around with maintenance late at night while dreaming about riding more. 

Been pretty happy with DT Swiss, have 350's on my mountain bike (FS) and 180EXP on my road bike and they just work with no issues, to be fair only one year on the 350 and 2 on the 180's, have had issues with Hope (minor) and e13 (major) in the past.

Aug. 2, 2022, 10:13 a.m.
Posts: 9221
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

Chris King, same bearings for 8 years now...not one issue...and I have done zero maintenance on the bearings.

Aug. 2, 2022, 1:37 p.m.
Posts: 180
Joined: May 1, 2018

You can do this with Kings,  it’s remarkable and a good part of the case, except if you do need to replace those bearings it’s goi g to cost a lot. You can service them relatively easily, so it’s worth the effort every year or two…

Aug. 2, 2022, 9:32 p.m.
Posts: 1234
Joined: May 11, 2018

Posted by: pedalhound

Chris King, same bearings for 8 years now...not one issue...and I have done zero maintenance on the bearings.

Agree with Heinous above. Basic bearing service is dead easy and will ensure you don't have to do a costly bearing replacement.

Just get some picks and you can do the whole beating service in about 30mins. Videos on their website

Aug. 3, 2022, 4:31 a.m.
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb. 18, 2022

I replace the outboard freehub bearing yearly on my I9 1/1 hub.  When I was initially looking for a replacement for the stock Enduro bearing I had little success in finding one from a quality manufacturer.  I bought a four pack of cheap Chinese bearings from Amazon out of desperation, made my own bearing press with hardware store bin parts and what do you know - same lifespan as the Enduro bearing (1 year) with no coddling to help it along.  I may just pull the seal and throw some Slickoleum in now that the subject came up.  I can’t say that for the price of my wheelset I am disappointed in the 1/1s, but I am unlikely to go out of my way to purchase them for future wheels.  I can get Spank wheels with hexdrive hubs cheaper with no apparent downsides yet.

Aug. 3, 2022, 8:49 a.m.
Posts: 4
Joined: July 24, 2020

Posted by: mrbrett

I also have I9 1/1 hubs. Similar issue. I just did rear hub bearings again last night as well as a freehub cleaning and degreasing. Maybe 10 months on a set of bearings. I am 208 lbs and ride a hardtail. 

Still using Enduro bearings - but the aftermarket ABEC 5 ones. Not sure that’s what comes in the hubs or not, but they look visually different than the ones I took out. 

One side note: The bearing holes are fairly loose in all instances on my hubs and I have resorted to LocTite sleeve retainer to get a satisfactory fit. In fact my rear hub has been warrantied once for this issue before. The second hub also does the same thing so I believe they just run the holes loose down there at I9. I can just “press” bearings in by hand. 

Hubs I haven’t broken or had issues: hadley, CK, DT Swiss 240 and 350. 

Hubs I have had disappointing durability issues with: all the rest.

Wow, that could have been my story word for word. Bought my WR1 Unions with the 1/1 hubs last Sept - warrantied first hub shell after consulting with I9 and WR1. New hub shell that I got in Jan 2022 has just started exhibiting the same issue with a loose fit on the driveside hub shell bearing, with the freehub, axle, and bearing pulling out together... 

Really disappointed in the quality of these hubs, as it sounds like some in the thread have had similar experiences. With the cost of these, I was really hoping these would be forever wheels. When it's time for a rebuild I'll consider new hubs. 

My front wheel has also started popping spokes and I've replaced 5 spokes in the past 4 weeks. Also disappointing considering the wheelset is less than a year old, although it did run perfectly true and holding its tension basically without any maintenance until recently. All of the spokes have broken at the threads, so I'm suspecting the alloy nipples used in the build is the culprit.

Aug. 3, 2022, 9:21 a.m.
Posts: 66
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Posted by: Stihlgoin

I may just pull the seal and throw some Slickoleum in now that the subject came up. 

That's a really light grease for bearings. Something heavier will perform better and last substantially longer.

Aug. 3, 2022, 9:55 a.m.
Posts: 272
Joined: Jan. 21, 2013

Posted by: PKMzeta

Posted by: mrbrett

I also have I9 1/1 hubs. Similar issue. I just did rear hub bearings again last night as well as a freehub cleaning and degreasing. Maybe 10 months on a set of bearings. I am 208 lbs and ride a hardtail. 

Still using Enduro bearings - but the aftermarket ABEC 5 ones. Not sure that’s what comes in the hubs or not, but they look visually different than the ones I took out. 

One side note: The bearing holes are fairly loose in all instances on my hubs and I have resorted to LocTite sleeve retainer to get a satisfactory fit. In fact my rear hub has been warrantied once for this issue before. The second hub also does the same thing so I believe they just run the holes loose down there at I9. I can just “press” bearings in by hand. 

Hubs I haven’t broken or had issues: hadley, CK, DT Swiss 240 and 350. 

Hubs I have had disappointing durability issues with: all the rest.

Wow, that could have been my story word for word. Bought my WR1 Unions with the 1/1 hubs last Sept - warrantied first hub shell after consulting with I9 and WR1. New hub shell that I got in Jan 2022 has just started exhibiting the same issue with a loose fit on the driveside hub shell bearing, with the freehub, axle, and bearing pulling out together... 

Really disappointed in the quality of these hubs, as it sounds like some in the thread have had similar experiences. With the cost of these, I was really hoping these would be forever wheels. When it's time for a rebuild I'll consider new hubs. 

My front wheel has also started popping spokes and I've replaced 5 spokes in the past 4 weeks. Also disappointing considering the wheelset is less than a year old, although it did run perfectly true and holding its tension basically without any maintenance until recently. All of the spokes have broken at the threads, so I'm suspecting the alloy nipples used in the build is the culprit.

I'm looking out for a black or silver King/boost/6-bolt hub to come up for sale and then I will get this WR-1 rim re-laced to that hub. The rims are excellent, hubs have been a let down! In fact I am waiting for that "new" hub before replacing my drivetrain - i.e. if the King is XD, MS, or HG it might determine what I end up with for drivetrain components.

No broken spokes here yet, but I will remain on the lookout. Indeed we do have the same thing going on.

Aug. 3, 2022, 10:44 a.m.
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

My I9 1/1 hubs have been solid for almost 2 years now with quite a bit of riding, and I live in the PNW so not necessarily dry conditions either. I've pulled the hub apart and popped seals on the accessible bearings once or twice. I do know that the 1/1 hubs come with cheaper Enduro bearings than the Hydra (abec-3 vs. abec-5, I believe), but I'm assuming the issues have more to do with Enduro's less-than-great seals rather than the abec rating. 

More recently I've started popping seals on brand new bearings when I'm installing a given part just to make sure that they've used adequate (and high-quality) waterproof grease. Some bearings I've received have a pretty minimal grease fill, so it might be a question of Enduro's quality control in grease filling those things. I kind of think of it in the same way as Rockshox and Fox forks...sometimes you buy a new fork and it's built properly, other times it has virtually no grease or oil to be found...

Aug. 4, 2022, 10:55 a.m.
Posts: 449
Joined: April 15, 2017

Posted by: JVP

Posted by: Stihlgoin

I may just pull the seal and throw some Slickoleum in now that the subject came up. 

That's a really light grease for bearings. Something heavier will perform better and last substantially longer.

Any recommendations that can be easily picked up from Lordco/Canadian Tyre/Princess ? I usually use a red wheel bearing + chassis  grease

Aug. 4, 2022, 11 a.m.
Posts: 272
Joined: Jan. 21, 2013

Posted by: DanL

Posted by: JVP

Posted by: Stihlgoin

I may just pull the seal and throw some Slickoleum in now that the subject came up. 

That's a really light grease for bearings. Something heavier will perform better and last substantially longer.

Any recommendations that can be easily picked up from Lordco/Canadian Tyre/Princess ? I usually use a red wheel bearing + chassis  grease

Lucas Red N Tacky is a good all purpose "sticky" grease, in my opinion. Might even be what you have been using ...

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