[CR]Re: no bearing on the matter? (long, with quote)

(Example: Framebuilders:Richard Moon)

In-Reply-To: <MONKEYFOODvIC0RoeNI00000bc5@monkeyfood.nt.phred.org>
From: "Richard Risemberg" <rickrise@earthlink.net>
Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2007 20:46:00 -0700
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Re: no bearing on the matter? (long, with quote)

On Aug 3, 2007, at 7:09 PM, classicrendezvous-request@bikelist.org wrote:
> On Aug 3, 2007, at 4:01 PM, Donald Gillies wrote:
>> Actually, most people are COMPLETELY WRONG about the drivetrain
>> losses. Today's $600 drivetrain can be built ONLY because they are
>> using high-friction sealed bearings in the hubs and the bottom
>> bracket, and usually, in the headset and pedals. The cup-and-cone
>> stuff from the 70's has lower friction when properly adjusted (even
>> vs. ceramic sealed bearings.) So there is reason to believe that if
>> you don't miss a shift, you will be FASTER on a vintage bike,
>> especially on the flats.
> I believe you are COMPLETELY WRONG about bearings, aerodynamics and
> wheels Don.

Funny, Chuck and I were talking about this very matter yesterday.

Cup-and-cone bearings must be preloaded significantly to work at all. This preload increases the effective weight borne by the bearing, resulting in INCREASED friction over a cartridge bearing. Even when you add the friction of the seals (assuming a sealed cartridge bearing), you come out ahead with the cartridge bearing system. And most cup-and-cone bearings for bicycles (wheel bearings at least) also include seals.

Sealed cartridge bearings are also rebuildable. I used to repack and even rebuild sealed cartridge bearings routinely when I was a motorcycle mechanic by trade. Simpler than dealing with cup-and-cone bearings, as they are pre-adjusted. I had sealed cartridge bearings last 90,000 miles on my 45-horsepower, 475-pound BMW motorcycle with NO maintenance, though. Even though I used the BMW in rain and on dirt roads, just as I use my bicycles (The ones I repacked at work were on the Italian m/c line we carried; German and Swiss cartridge bearings may outlast the sun.)

I remember once, while visiting an LBS owned by a friend of mine, seeing the 12.5 lb. Calfee one of his customers brought in for a tire. Its wheels had Mavic sealed cartridge bearings. As the mechanic worked on it, his sleeve brushed the edge of the tire. That wheel rotated for nearly two minutes from that touch!

I've worked on plenty of cup-and-cone and sealed cartridge bearing hubs. I've switched bikes from one to the other. Repeated (albeit primitive) spin-and-watch tests gave the race to the sealed cartridge bearings every time.

On the Easton Bike website, they make this comment: "At one time, we thought about using angular contact sealed cartridge bearings, which are specialty cartridge bearings that do give better lateral control. One downside - more friction. So there's always that trade off." "Angular contact" describes cup-and-cone units as well; this was apparently a cartridge c&c they were considering.

The worst cartridge bearings are better than the worst C&C bearings, I'd say, and the best cartridge bearings are better than the best C&C bearings. Cartridge bearings need to be made very precisely, but since the manufacturers make millions of them, often for use in extremely adverse environments, it's quite easy (in an industrial sense) to do so. They are also easy to replace in a decently- designed hub. Famously, you can change the bearings in a Phil Wood hub in five minutes using an allen wrench. But we all know what awful hubs those old thing are!

Some posters I read while looking up info on this matter complained about "extra friction" in cartridge bearings because there are four contact points as opposed to two in a C&C bearing. What they ignored was that a C&C bearing must be preloaded to work properly, thus increasing its friction, while a cartridge bearing can run without preload. (A well-made cartridge bearing will have a barely- discernible bit of slop in it--which will be far less than the slop you get from normal flexing of a wire wheel.) And of course those extra contact points mean longer use life!

I am not a vintage-for-its-own-sake guy. I use lugged steel frames not only because they're prettier but because the lugs distribute stresses better than other joining systems. I use aluminum rather than steel handlebars because aluminum is plenty strong enough for that application and weight does matter to us inner-city transportational riders, for whom most trips are a series of sprints. I use modern tires because I remember fixing a flat a week instead of two a year back in the day. I use wire wheels because they are extremely light for their strength and easy to correct and fix, and most of my riding is under 25mph. I buy bikes with horizontal dropouts because then I can make them fixed or geared as I choose. I use threaded headsets because I may want different stem heights for different handlebars or different assignments on the same bike, and because they look nice.

If you're a restorer, as many of you are on this list, then it makes sense to use the equipment a particular bike was spec'd with when it was first sold. That is proper. But it doesn't make it better equipment, or worse, for that matter. It's just what it is.

I am here inserting a quote from cyclingforums.com on this very matter:
> > You should have used something better than this. Correctly designed
> > cartridge hubs have a weight penalty to bear due to the
> requirement of a
> > stiffer axle and hubshell than cup &cone.
> Tell me then why _all_ of the lightest hubs ever made available have
> used cartridge bearings (e.g. Tune, TNT, Hershey, etc.)
> > They also require a special
> > removal tool at greater frequencies than it is required to
> disassemble
> > cup&cone.
> So to you, a mallet is a "special tool"? My oldest wheel has its
> original bearing cartridges in it. At about 35,000 miles it is
> beginning to exhibit wear and a bit of roughness in the bearing
> surfaces, but no more so than the average _brand new_ cup & cone hub.
> > Again the hubshell
> > has to be stiffer, so heavier. The use of a larger diameter axle
> not only
> > increases weight but reduces the available bearing space and so
> small > balls and greater rolling resistance.
> You seem to be oblivious to the trend of the last 20 years in bicycle
> equipment, where adoption of larger component diameters has allowed
> lighter weights than ever before, with superior stiffness than was
> possible before.
> Of course, that is adequately illustrated by the cartridge bearing
> hubs that use larger axles and fatter hub centers than cup & cone
> hubs, but weigh a fraction as much.
> > It is not possible to prevent axle bending
> > within reasonable sizes it is only possible to reduce it.
> Yet somehow over the course of many years I have never seen an
> externally smooth cartridge bearing hub axle that was bent. During
> the same span of time I've seen literally hundreds of bent threaded
> axles. Coincidence?
> > Cartridge bearings generally used in bicycles need accurate, to the
> > extreme, alignment because of the four point contact ball.
> There are such bearing cartridges as you describe, but they are not
> generally used in bicycles. The usual kind are "double sealed deep
> groove radial contact" bearings, with two contact points per ball.
> > industrial cartridge bearings of the sealed type are found on
> electric
> > motors hopefully without water splashing over their armatures.
> --And machine tool spindles with chip-laden coolant spraying
> everywhere, and motorcycle wheels, and skateboard wheels, and boat
> propellor shafts, etc., etc., etc. Everywhere but bicycle wheel
> bearings. Maybe bicycle manufacturers know something the rest don't?
> If so, they forgot to tell their folks who make the cartridge bearing
> bottom brackets and headsets.
> > A peculiarity of cartridge bearings is that they are designed for
> a much
> > higher speed than that involved in a bicycle wheel. The stop,
> start and
> > slow conditions encountered are not catered for by the lubricant
> in a
> > standard sealed cartridge bearing.
> Funny, but when I'm, say, tapping a hole pattern on a vertical mill,
> there is a lot of starting, stopping, and reversing, under heavy load,
> at low rotational speed. The cartridge bearings in the spindle seem
> to cope with this as well as they do with high RPM. They require
> replacement only every few years and few billion rotations under load.
> > If one of the seals was broken and the
> > grease replenished with something more suitable for the slow
> > nature of a bicycle wheel then a longer service life would ensue.
> WTB Grease Guard hubs, also licensed by Suntour, allowed just this:
> They had single-sealed cartridge bearings with a grease fitting behind
> them so that they could be flushed and replenished as often as desired
> with no disassembly. They proved to offer no significant improvement
> for most users; that is, a few years of maintenance-free use followed
> by new bearings was as satisfactory as periodic regreasing in return
> for slightly longer bearing life. Either one sure beats throwing
> otherwise good wheels away after lots of fettling and cleaning, as is
> the practice with cup & cone hubs.


Rick Risemberg
Los Angeles, CA
Richard Risemberg