Couple of road bike basic maintenance questions
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  1. #1
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    Couple of road bike basic maintenance questions

    I've bot a 2003 Litespeed Tuscany with ultegra triple. On my old Giant hybrid I would repack the bottom bracket and wheel bearings at least once a year. I started into maintenance on the Litespeed last night and have 2 questions:

    1) Sealed BB's - How long do they last? Miles? time? Do you all replace them when they show signs of play or noise or before then?

    2) I have Kysrium elite wheels. Are these bearings packable? I assume not and then I have the same questions as 1) above.

    Thanks!
    Tom

  2. #2
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    For the bottom bracket, how long they last depends on the model really. For both the hubs and the BB, for the most part you ride them until they start getting rough, and then replace them. If they get loose it is often possible to adjust them, depending on the model.

  3. #3
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    Bottom brackets last almost forever. Of course if you are putting 10,000 miles on a year they do have a limited life expectancy. If they are making noise, they probably lack lubrication and the bearings will soon go and you are working harder at pedaling and they need to be replaced unless you are getting rid of the bike. If there is play, the bearings or race are worn and going to get worse and needs to be replaced. If they is play, then the crank is not sitting straight would is going to accelerate the wear.

    You said who makes the wheels but not who makes the hubs? My hubs are repackable and I do this depending upon the mileage and whether or not they've been in water. Periodically when the wheels are off, I turn the hub very slowly and with sensitivity to feel for any resistance or rough spots, if so, I either clean them or just grease them and then retighten the cone bearings.

  4. #4
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    answers...

    The life of a BB can vary tremendously depending on the rider weight and riding conditions. A heavy rider, riding in the rain a lot will trash a BB pretty fast. As others noted, pay attention to bearing roughness and excessive play.

    Your wheels have replaceable cartridge bearings. While it's possible to remove the outer bearing seals, degrease the bearings with a special spray degreaser and repack with new grease, it's not worth the effort, IMO. Sealed cartridge bearings are intended to be lubed for life. I've had Mavic bearings still going strong after 8000 miles (when I sold the wheels) and others crap out after only 4000 (never ridden in the rain either). There are 5 bearing to be replaced and the total cost is around $25, depending on where you get the bearings and whether you choose the cheaper ABEC-3 or the more precise ABEC-5. Replacing them is not difficult, if you've got fair mechanical skills.

    http://www.enduroforkseals.com/id138.html

  5. #5
    ARP
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    Who said this?

    "We have nothing to lube but our chains" Very true with the modern bike.

  6. #6
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    I've got an Ultegra 6500 double BB, over 40,000 miles, and I haven't done a thing to it. I have some Mavic cosmos with cartrigde bearings, over 20,000 miles and I think I just needed to adjust the cones once on them.

    I have on old hybid I use on the trainer with a cheapo cup and cone loose bearing hub on the rear. No seals on it. I had to repack with minimal use just because the grease dried out. I could feel it while holding it my hand.

    as others have said, replace them if/when they go bad

  7. #7
    wim
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    Who said this? "We have nothing to lube but our chains" Very true with the modern bike.
    It's generally attributed to Eddy Marx, Karl Marx's younger brother.
    Last edited by wim; 06-23-2007 at 02:06 PM.

  8. #8
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    Nothing to add to the wheel bearing discussion, other than the observation that most shimano hubs have loose ball bearings that you can clean and re-pack every year or two depending on use and weather/road conditions, while most others use sealed cartridge bearings. On wheels, these will become rough at some point (perhaps after many years). Simply spin the wheel in a stand (or out of the bike),with your hands holding/touching the outer bearing/axle area, feeling for roughness.

    Unlike wheel bearings, sealed bottom brackets can fail pretty suddenly. Had this happen with a Campy Record bottom bracket last January, while trying to do a century in 20 degrees F. LBS did not have a spare. I now know how to rebuild these bottom brackets, and keep a spare handy. A big issue is water coming down the seat tube (or past the crank seals), working its way into the cartridge bearings, and destroying the lubrication over time. Not sure if Shimano's are as vulnerable to this as Campy, but they definitely fail, too.

    The thing to look for is creaking or looseness in the bottom bracket/crank. If you start to get this, attend to the bottom bracket right away, or risk being stranded on a long ride . . .

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