[CR]Re: Loose Balls

(Example: Framebuilders:Chris Pauley)

From: "Steve Birmingham" <sbirmingham@mindspring.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: [CR]Re: Loose Balls
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2008 00:45:17 -0500
Thread-Index: AclNLqk7sycgats0RfOy4UfdXGRowQ==

I've had no trouble finding them in my area. The industrial supplier I've used for years had most sizes in stock, although not by the 1000ct box.

And another supplier I use has more sizes than I've seen, but they must be used somewhere. http://www1.mscdirect.com/CGI/GSDRVSM?PACACHE=000000076369067

And they aren't just used as bearings. They're also used as locking mechanisms in custom fixturing similar to a ratchet from a socket set, and as the "valves" in hydraulic pumps and jacks. (Think bikes are tough to restore? )And probably in a lot of places I haven't seen yet.

Oddly, industrial suppliers are on the high end of the price scale on these, places like J+B are cheaper.

Maybe I'm just spoiled, my regular supplier -F.B Harris in Lynn, Ma- stocks lots of useful stuff including flat belts which I needed for my lathe, and they could even get me 3/16 block chain in stainless steel. Scary price on the block chain, $400+ for 10ft, but good to know it's available if I really want it.

Steve Birmingham Lowell, Massachusetts USA

Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2008 17:08:46 -0800 From: Jan Heine <heine94@earthlink.net> To: RDF1249@aol.com, classicrendezvous@bikelist.org Subject: [CR]Re: Loose Balls Message: 14

At 7:57 PM -0500 11/22/08, RDF1249@aol.com wrote:
>(Of course, loose ball bearings
>are getting harder to find in high qualities.)
>Not so Jan - loose balls are readily available from several
>suppliers in grade 25 (Campy quality) and we stock all sizes.
>Wheels Mfg is one outfit that supplies the suppliers. You can also
>buy ceramic ball$ if you have enough money. They are grade 3 or 5.
> Now if I could just find 11-ball BB retainers like Campy or
>Shimano I would be a happy camper. Not to be found from anyone
>these days that I know of. Only 9 ball retainers.

I am sorry that my post was not clear. I did not mean "hard" (or "impossible) to find, but harder to find than in the past.

Ten years ago, every bearing supply store in Seattle had Grade 25 balls, in boxes of 1000 each. The prices were much lower than what you paid from bicycle suppliers. Today, none of the bearing supply stores carry them any longer. All the suppliers you list are bike-specific, because bikes are among the last to use cup-and-cone bearings... For the general public, high-quality loose ball bearings are becoming extinct.

Jan Heine
Bicycle Quarterly
140 Lakeside Ave #C
Seattle WA 98122