How can I Correctly Replace Bike Bearings?
Bearing is the crucial part of your bicycle that gives life to your bike. It may also produce wear in the internal sections of a bike if the bearing gets damaged. The bearing is made from stainless steel and ceramic that help the two different parts of the bicycle to turn.
These ball bearings are of different types like cartridge bearing, cup and cone-bearing, ceramic bearing, and needle bearing. These are placed in various parts like a headset, wheel hub, bottom bracket, and padel.
Maintenance of bearings is too easy and does not need expertise. For regular maintenance, you just need to lubricate the bearing with grease or oil. Regular cleaning of it increases the life of the ball bearing.
In this article, you will learn to replace the bike bearing through four easy steps.
Tools needed to reinstall the bearing
Here are the material and tools that are required to replace the old bearing:
- The wrench of different sizes to unlock the screwer and wheel
- Grease gun to apply lubricant in the exact place
- Rag or wipes to clean that inner and outer part
- Mineral spirit to clean the old grease
- Tweezer for placing the bearings at the right place
- Screwdriver and brush
Method of removing wheel ball bearing
Removing the old ball bearing
To remove the old bearing, you first have to remove the wheel from the bicycle. For this purpose, you just need an unscrewer and spanner. Unscrew all the nuts, and keep them in a safe place. Then push the wheel so it will get out from its position.
Some latest models of bikes are coming with a lever at the wheel. You can use this lever to remove the wheel.
After detaching the wheel, remove the axle by putting out the screwer. It is necessary to assemble all the accessories as it was arranged previously. Also, remove the cone to expose the ball bearings.
To take out all the bearings from the hub using the magnet. After removing ball bearings, count it to refill the same amount of balls.
Adding new ball bearing
To replace the new bearing with the older one, you should know the size of the previous ball. If you are unaware of the size of the balls, use a vernier caliper to measure the diameter.
After removing the old bearing balls, clean the opened parts with spirit to remove the grease. Apply grease on the hub through a grease gun or injector to avoid spillage. Insert the bearing on the hub opening and press it so that it sticks to the grease.
Assemble axle, screwer, and rare tire (if present) to its place by following the same steps as it was removed. During fixing the axle, take care that no ball bearing falls off. Put in the wheel and tighten all the screws.
Method of replacing cartridge bearing
Replacing cartridge bearing is a slightly different process. To do so, first, you have to pull off the end cap of the axle. To remove the endcap of the axle, you do not need to use any tool. It can easily be unscrewed using hands.
The part that covers the bearing is called freehub. After removing the end cap, pull off the freehub with your hands.
Then insert the axle protector in the hub and gently tap the axle using a hammer, the cartridge bearing pops out. After removing the bearing from one side, remove the cartridge bearing of the other side by following the same protocol.
Before inserting the new bearing, clean all parts you put out and the hub using spirit or alcohol. Then apply grease on the hub using grease injection.
For placing a new bearing in the hub, you have to tighten the drift straight on the vise (a machine). Grease the axle and bearing even, and place the bearing on it. Insert the axle on the drift, and put the wheel over the axle in such a way that the axle inserts on the hub. Insert another drift from the other side of the wheel. Tap the drift with a hammer to fit the bearing in the hub.
Install cartridge bearing and insert another one with the help of drift. Finally, assemble all the units as they were removed.
How often a wheel hub bearing needs to be changed?
The average life of the bearing depends on the quality. Using high-quality bearings, like SKF and NTN bearings, gives your wheel smooth spinning, and you don’t need to replace it frequently.
Hub bearing is the crucial part of a wheel. It allows the wheels to turn or spin easily by reducing friction. If there is some issue with the bearing, it produces play. If you ignore that issue, it will wear out the interior parts of the wheel.
To check the bearing condition, you need to perform a simple test. Hold the wheel gently, push and pull it and feel the movement. If it produces the play, this means it is time to replace the bearing. You can also feel the resonant sound on the frame if the bearing is not adjusted in place.
The bottom line
Bearing is a small metallic part of the bicycle that is hidden inside the bike body. Its function is to reduce friction and help the moveable part in spinning and turning. This part needs extra care and maintenance.
The bearing should be replaced right away if it gets damaged. You can determine the bearing condition by the rumbling sound produced by your bicycle.