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Exploring The Vital Role Of Bearing And Housing Components On Bicycles

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Jul 14,2023


Many bcycle owners don’t think much about how the machine works. The roles of main parts, like the steering, handlebars, and pedals, are clear. However, small components usually go unnoticed. Bearings are examples. Do you know where the bearings are on a bicycle or what they do? These bicycle parts are some of the most important because they facilitate movement, such as rolling, steering, and pedaling. Therefore, any problem with the bearings affects your bicycle’s functionality. The components are typically on the bottom bracket, hubs, suspension pivots, headset, and pedals. If you own a bike, you should learn a few basics about bearings.

 Types of Bicycle Bearings

Since the bearings used on bicycles perform different roles, they don’t have the same design. A quick look at gives you an idea of the various bearings and housing options available for bikes. Knowing about the primary types used makes it easy to tell when something is wrong. This section explains how different bearing systems work.

Loose Ball Bearings

Also called cup and cone, this bearing design is the most popular because it is simple and easily serviceable. The system comprises bearing balls fitted into a cone with a cup on top. Both the cup and cone have a smooth finish to match the balls. Many manufacturers are slowly moving away from loose bearings, especially for high-end bicycles. Due to the low cost of this bearing design, a majority of companies use them for entry-level bikes. With proper adjustments, loose bearings perform exceptionally well, which is why they are still in use despite being the oldest design. Cup and cone bearings also last long with adequate maintenance. However, without proper care, this system tends to cause significant damage.

Cartridge Bearings

As the name suggests, this system consists of a cartridge that houses the ball bearings. The cartridge has an inner and outer race, a cage to hold the bearings, and two seals on either face. Due to the sealing, this design requires less maintenance than a loose bearing system. Additionally, hiding the balls reduces wear. However, the seals don’t keep out dirt and dust completely. For this reason, the bearings still require cleaning and lubrication to function optimally. You cannot disassemble or adjust cartridge bearings. The systems have become increasingly common and are used in almost all bicycles.

Needle Bearings

Roller or needle bearings are old and rarely used now, thanks to technological advances. You can find them in pedals and headsets. This design uses cylindrical bearings as opposed to ball bearings. Their shape affords them a higher rolling resistance than balls. Also, the bearings have a bigger contact area races allowing them to handle big loads. Since they deliver smooth rolling, the bearings provide good stability. However, the cost and complexity of needle bearings outweigh their advantage, explaining why they are not very common.

Your bicycle runs smoothly because its bearings are in good condition. Hence, watch out for wear and tear in these components if you are to continue using your bike. Get regular servicing, including cleaning and oiling the bearings for maximum functionality and safety. Learn about sizes and how to check for quality when shopping for bicycle bearings.

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