New posts

What are you doing to prolong bearing life?

July 29, 2022, 11:07 a.m.
Posts: 4
Joined: July 24, 2020

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

July 29, 2022, 12:06 p.m.
Posts: 374
Joined: June 17, 2016

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 or too loose 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.


 Last edited by: niels@nsmb.com on Aug. 3, 2022, 9:59 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
July 29, 2022, 1:07 p.m.
Posts: 1310
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

I don't do anything to extend bearing life other than not using a hose at all on my bikes. I tend to brush them when they are dry. If I occasionally wash them it's with a bucket of soapy water a rag. I get years of use out of a set wheel or suspension bearings. I get new bearings from the manufacturer when it is time for some replacements...so nothing $$$.

July 29, 2022, 1:24 p.m.
Posts: 1441
Joined: Sept. 30, 2006

Buy CK hubs. /end thread

July 29, 2022, 1:28 p.m.
Posts: 4
Joined: July 24, 2020

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.

No, this is the first time on these hubs, but the cheap Formula stock hubs on the bike gave up after about 8 months. Had Hopes on a previous bike that I barely touched, but I was riding much less back then (1 ride every week vs 4-5 now).


 Last edited by: PKMzeta on July 29, 2022, 1:31 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
July 29, 2022, 1:29 p.m.
Posts: 4
Joined: July 24, 2020

Posted by: Vikb

I don't do anything to extend bearing life other than not using a hose at all on my bikes. I tend to brush them when they are dry. If I occasionally wash them it's with a bucket of soapy water a rag. I get years of use out of a set wheel or suspension bearings. I get new bearings from the manufacturer when it is time for some replacements...so nothing $$$.

So, if it's wet and the bike is super muddy you would wait until the mud dries and then brush it off?

July 29, 2022, 1:36 p.m.
Posts: 316
Joined: Feb. 16, 2013

I don't usually need to do it to hub bearings, but for frame bearings I try to re-lube as often as I can stand (a couple times per season). Like you say, remove seals, shoot some grease in there, and press the seals back on. Also I find it's best to do this from new, again, you mentioned they could usually fit more in there from stock.

July 29, 2022, 2:04 p.m.
Posts: 374
Joined: June 17, 2016

FWIW I hose off my bike all the time (normal garden hose, spray head in 'shower' mode). The DTs don't seem to care ;-)

July 29, 2022, 2:17 p.m.
Posts: 272
Joined: Jan. 21, 2013

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.

July 29, 2022, 2:19 p.m.
Posts: 66
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Yeah, I agree with Niels that something sounds off in the tolerances. But beyond that, put more grease in when new, and use the heaviest grease you're comfortable with. Pop seals from time to time and repack. This goes for bearings, but NOT pawls/ratchet - definitely stick with MFR recommended grease for that bit.

Hub bearings really shouldn't be getting sloppy that fast. I find they usually get gritty and horrible well before they get sloppy, though I've never run I9. 

Are you on OEM bearings? I've had bad luck with putting Enduros in Hope hubs. The tolerances are off between the two - Enduro runs just a teeeny bit small, and Hope runs just a teeeeny bit big, so you get slop.  Took forever to figure this out, but it's a known thing, not just a one-off experience or bad luck.

July 29, 2022, 2:20 p.m.
Posts: 1310
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: PKMzeta

So, if it's wet and the bike is super muddy you would wait until the mud dries and then brush it off?

Yes. I may not even bother with a lot of the dirt since it does no harm sitting on the frame. Just depends how I am feeling. 

My routine for maintenance each winter ride is:

  1. Wipe down chain and lube.
  2. Wipe down fork stanchions. I use a large RRP front fender so they stay pretty clean.
  3. Wipe down dropper stanchion. I use a MH rear fender so mud isn't crazy on dropper.
  4. If I was riding FS I'd wipe down the shock stanchion.

If I am going to wrench on the bike I'll clean it with a brush or with soapy water/rag.

July 29, 2022, 3:35 p.m.
Posts: 1240
Joined: May 11, 2018

^this

Dirt on surfaces does not cause any wear issues. Moving dirt into bearings with water does. The odd splash really doesn't move dirt into spinning spaces but a good wash after each ride does. 

I always try not to end these discussions by bringing up chris king, but seriously, why are people spending so much on hydras and other i9 stuff? I am over 200lbs and ride often and am hard on things and have yet to replace a ck bearing. I have one rear hub that has seen 5 different bikes and has been in regular use since 2010. I bought a used set of ck road hubs off pinkbike last year and when they arrived the bearings were crunchy! They were used in Texas and I think the lube had literally baked out of them as they were bone dry. Initially I was pissed as the replacement ck bearings were going to cost a furtune. I cleaned and repacked them with ck grease and they are running smooth as new with mo play. I couldn't believe it.

I should clean and repack them all once a year, but I don't. Maybe once every 2-3. My hope hubs seem to do well too but I do clean and relube the freehubs on my hope hubs once a year. I haven't bothered cleaning and lubing the hope bearings as I figure they are cheap and disposable. I bought some picks this year so maybe I'll start doing the hope bearings too.

As for i9, I have never had anyone tell me that their i9 product has surpassed their expectations with regards to longevity. Sorry to hear about uour shit luck with the i9 bearings. At least they are cheap to replace?

July 30, 2022, 7:25 a.m.
Posts: 914
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

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.

July 30, 2022, 8:50 a.m.
Posts: 281
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I have been running I9 Hydra hubs for 4 years and the bearings are still fine. Not sure if they are the same spec as the 1/1s. I did have a failure of the drive ring but that was promptly replaced and they've been great since then. I follow Vik's procedure for (not) cleaning my bike.

July 30, 2022, 9:10 a.m.
Posts: 551
Joined: Jan. 2, 2018

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

Forum jump: