Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wheel bearings

So, it's about three weeks until the bikes are loaded on the service truck and begins the journey down to Spain so its time to start doing bike preps. I've mentioned the steering dampers I will be using in an earlier post and today I  want to say a word about wheel bearings. Or actually two words: Change Them!

During the years I have made it a habit of changing the wheel bearings every year on all my bikes no matter if I got them brand new or used. I have had a rear wheel bearing fail on me once and it totally destroyed the entire hub. Costing me several hours of work to replace the hub. When it happened I had checked the bearings when I changed tires just a couple of riding hours before it happened and they all seemed fine. So I learned the hard way that when bearings fail they can fail so fast that you will not notice it until it's too late. And I might add that that particular bike was less than a year old and with me as the first and only owner.

Fill the gap with grease and your bearings will live longer
While I'm at it I might as well share a tip about wheel bearings. Once you fit the new ones on there will be a gap between the bearing and the sealing. Make sure you fill that gap up entirely with grease (also do this if your bike is brand new from the factory). The bearings themselves are sealed so the grease will not lube the bearings but it will act as a barrier and prevent water and dirt to get in and reach the bearings. And water and dirt is what will kill your wheel bearings. I've done this for a couple of years and it really does make a huge difference.

If we go back to fact that bearings can fail fast it should be obvious that I will never go to a rally without having brand new wheel bearings on. Most manufacturers have wheel repair kits that contains all bearings, seals and spacers that you'll need and they are relatively cheap and it's quite an easy operation to change them. So changing my wheel bearings is an easy insurance that my bike will take me through deserts and rivers for thousands of kilometers without any troubles.

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