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Better Steel Balls for Bearing

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Better Steel Balls for Bearing

Old 03-15-18, 01:35 AM
  #1  
huka
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Better Steel Balls for Bearing

Hi there,

Does anyone know how to differentiate a better ball bearing from lesser one.? If you dont mind I prefer also the brand.
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Old 03-15-18, 02:32 AM
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The balls used in bearings conform to very precisely defined standards. Search for steel ball grade system or a similar phrase for information.

Grade 25 balls are better than you need, but the cost difference is low enough that they're a cheap indulgence.
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Old 03-15-18, 05:15 AM
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Ceramic balls offer many advantages; nearly all are inapplicable to bicycle service, so save yourself some money, get grade 25 chrome steel balls and enjoy your ride.
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Old 03-15-18, 07:01 AM
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Bearing balls use a numerical grading system that indicated roundness and tolerances. The lower the grade number, the better the roundness, etc. For example Grade 25 balls are "better" than Grade 100. For bicycle use, Grade 200 or better is perfectly satisfactory but, as FBinNY noted, the cost difference is so small so most mechanics will use Grade 25 balls.

All the big bearing manufactures (SKF, Timken, etc.) make bearing balls but finding a specific brand name is difficult since they are only sold directly in very large quantities. So the ones you find in reasonable numbers (packages of 25 or 100) in bike shops or on-line dealers are repackaged by distributors under either a generic on distributor brand name.
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Old 03-15-18, 08:05 PM
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You can get bearings just about anywhere, but I had good buys from these guys. Check out the cycle bearing section, some ok info and reviews for various grades.

search.. simplybearings . co . uk

Sorry, I don't have enough post before I can post links
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Old 03-15-18, 08:25 PM
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I got tired of chrome pealing off of steel bearings.

The last batch of bearings I bought were 440 Stainless bearings from BC Precision.

https://www.bcprecision.com/collecti...-bearing-balls

Bulk prices seemed fairly reasonable. I haven't been riding on them long enough to get a long term report yet, but they built up nicely.

I have tried a few Chinese import Si3N4 ceramic bearings off of E-Bay. Not too bad for buying enough for one or two wheels. So far so good, although it is time to tear down and inspect a few wheels.
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Old 03-15-18, 11:02 PM
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huka- Are you having problems with your current bearings? Andy
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Old 03-16-18, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I got tired of chrome pealing off of steel bearings.

The last batch of bearings I bought were 440 Stainless bearings from BC Precision.
I've never had chrome plating peel off any bearing ball and what are called "chrome steel" bearing balls are a chromium containing steel alloy such as AISI 52100, not plated. If you have chipped or spalled bearing balls it's a adjustment problem, not the material itself, or you bought truly inferior bearing balls.

Stainless steel bearing balls are typically purchased for their corrosion resistance, not for improved wear. The 400-series stainless steels can be hardened but not to the extent that "chrome steel" balls can be.
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Old 03-16-18, 10:32 AM
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They put a sticker on the bag of a thousand, when I bough some at an industrial bearing store , in Eugene..
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Old 03-16-18, 12:09 PM
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Chrome Steel

Grade 25 Chrome steel bearing balls are widely used in precision ball bearings as well as most aerospace, transportation and industrial applications. Chromium (Cr) has a tendency to increase hardness, toughness and wear resistance of steel. Chrome steel is a chrome alloy carbon steel, not a chrome plated steel. Chrome steel balls have excellent surface quality, high hardness and high load bearing capacity as a result of through hardening (Rockwell C 60-67).Chrome steel is approximately 96% iron and capable of being attracted by a magnet



440c Stainless Steel

Grade 25 AISI type 440-C stainless steel balls afford the advantage of maximum hardness (58-65 Rockwell C ) combined with corrosion-resisting properties making them especially useful for bearing applications in severe environmental condition. 440-C stainless steel is a high carbon martensitic stainless steel with moderate corrosion resistance and high strength and the ability to keep excellent hardness in heavy service.

https://bearingballstore.com/
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Old 03-16-18, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
Grade 25 AISI type 440-C stainless steel balls afford the advantage of maximum hardness (58-65 Rockwell C ) combined with corrosion-resisting properties...
True but chrome steel bearings can be hardened to Rc 60-66 or so without becoming brittle and cost less. Their hardness benefit isn't major but unless the corrosion resistance is needed, chrome steel is more than adequate.
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Old 03-16-18, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I got tired of chrome pealing off of steel bearings.

The last batch of bearings I bought were 440 Stainless bearings from BC Precision.

https://www.bcprecision.com/collecti...-bearing-balls

Bulk prices seemed fairly reasonable. I haven't been riding on them long enough to get a long term report yet, but they built up nicely.

I have tried a few Chinese import Si3N4 ceramic bearings off of E-Bay. Not too bad for buying enough for one or two wheels. So far so good, although it is time to tear down and inspect a few wheels.
not sure what you bought, but they typically are a chrome-alloy (like steel is an iron-carbon alloy and other elements like chrome also are added). I've never seen chrome peeling off, and balls typically get replaced at time of hub service anyway. I'm 99% sure there is no chrome plating added (like on an old type car or bike exterior for looks).

Stainless steel is softer, at least the affordable type.

Normal Grade 25 off Amazon is fine. No need to make this more expensive.
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Old 03-16-18, 02:33 PM
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We could get by with high quality sintered bronze bushings. Nothing on a bike is high speed or high load.
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Old 03-16-18, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
We could get by with high quality sintered bronze bushings. Nothing on a bike is high speed or high load.


But our bearings do see both axial and radial loads. Bushings don't handle axial forces well as really cheap kids' bikes show after a bit of abuse.


I do agree that we tend to be too anal WRT the bearings we think we are using. Andy
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Old 03-16-18, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
.....we tend to be too anal WRT the bearings we think we are using. Andy
You're kidding, right? JUST the bearings?
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Old 03-16-18, 09:41 PM
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Keep in mind that the grade of the ball bearing should match the grade of the races. If you go with super hard balls, that may cause wear to the races. And replace all bearings, not just singles, and always replace with bearings from the same batch.


Not that I answered the OP's question, but I thought worth mentioning.
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Old 03-17-18, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Rogerogeroge View Post
Keep in mind that the grade of the ball bearing should match the grade of the races. If you go with super hard balls, that may cause wear to the races. And replace all bearings, not just singles, and always replace with bearings from the same batch.


Not that I answered the OP's question, but I thought worth mentioning.
The grade (e.g. Grade 25) refers to how exact roundness and size is. Not how hard the material is. As long as all balls are the "approximate ame size" it is good. Grade 10 would be "rounder and more same size".
Some say Grade 100 is good enough (we have a bicycle only, not a gas turbine etc.), so Grade 25 is good enough and still cheap.

Dirt has 100000 more impact than the slight size differences.
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Old 03-17-18, 09:37 AM
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About 30 years ago before the internet and at a time when I had just picked up a used bike (full campy), I thought I'd become an "expert" and research and find bearings that would decrease any resistance and make me a great rider. After calling several manufacturers and told them the grade of the campy bearings (I believe 25) they ALL asked me why would I want anything better than that. From that day on, bearings have never been a concern.
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Old 03-17-18, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Rogerogeroge View Post
Keep in mind that the grade of the ball bearing should match the grade of the races. If you go with super hard balls, that may cause wear to the races. And replace all bearings, not just singles, and always replace with bearings from the same batch.


Not that I answered the OP's question, but I thought worth mentioning.
You are kidding about the same batch superstition, right?
oger (who?) writes:

> Did you know you should only ever use ball bearings from the same
> batch in one side of a race? They're not exactly the same size
> between batches. Never simply replace that naughty one that bounced
> into the corner of the garage - replace the other 10 (or whatever)
> too!

You are making this up. The tolerance between bearing balls is so
small as to be below a small fraction of the elastic compliance of the
steel bearing. Besides, the races of bicycle bearings are so rough
that a tight bearing feels lumpy. In high precision bearings used on
computer disk storage devices, preload causes a smooth viscous drag.
Even for these bearings the balls are not identical but are made to a
prescribed tolerance. I don't believe I understand what you mean by
the same batch. Each bearing is not made in the same finishing
process as the others in a shipment of balls.

Jobst Brandt <jbrandt@hpl.hp.com>
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Old 03-17-18, 10:14 AM
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FWIW, i have a Wheels manufacturing bottom bracket coming in. It has angular bearings so it cost a little more. Maybe this means it`s better? I aim to find out

https://www.bikerumor.com/2013/04/24...-install-tool/
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Old 03-17-18, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
About 30 years ago before the internet and at a time when I had just picked up a used bike (full campy), I thought I'd become an "expert" and research and find bearings that would decrease any resistance and make me a great rider. After calling several manufacturers and told them the grade of the campy bearings (I believe 25) they ALL asked me why would I want anything better than that. From that day on, bearings have never been a concern.
About the same 30 years ago, a couple of years after I started riding and was just getting into doing my own bike mechanical work, I used to read the Campyphile mythology about how Campy bearing balls were all Grade 5 (or Grade 3 or Grade 10, depending on who was writing the article) and how they were sold in hand-selected matched sets that HAD to be used together. It was a while later it finally came out that Campy used Grade 25 balls, just like us mortals.
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Old 03-17-18, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
True but chrome steel bearings can be hardened to Rc 60-66 or so without becoming brittle and cost less. Their hardness benefit isn't major but unless the corrosion resistance is needed, chrome steel is more than adequate.
That's why I posted that. Chrome steel is what I use.
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Old 03-17-18, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
But our bearings do see both axial and radial loads. Bushings don't handle axial forces well as really cheap kids' bikes show after a bit of abuse.


I do agree that we tend to be too anal WRT the bearings we think we are using. Andy
Kids bikes use plastic bushings. Flanged bronze bushings would handle the minor side loads.
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Old 03-17-18, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
You are kidding about the same batch superstition, right?
oger (who?) writes:

> Did you know you should only ever use ball bearings from the same
> batch in one side of a race? They're not exactly the same size
> between batches. Never simply replace that naughty one that bounced
> into the corner of the garage - replace the other 10 (or whatever)
> too!

You are making this up. The tolerance between bearing balls is so
small as to be below a small fraction of the elastic compliance of the
steel bearing. Besides, the races of bicycle bearings are so rough
that a tight bearing feels lumpy. In high precision bearings used on
computer disk storage devices, preload causes a smooth viscous drag.
Even for these bearings the balls are not identical but are made to a
prescribed tolerance. I don't believe I understand what you mean by
the same batch. Each bearing is not made in the same finishing
process as the others in a shipment of balls.

Jobst Brandt <jbrandt@hpl.hp.com>
What I'm saying is if you have to replace 18 bearings in your rear hub, and you have a year old bag with five bearings left, don't combine them with a bag you just bought. The old bearings might be 0.12504 inch plus or minus .00001 inch, and the new batch is 0.12506 inch but still plus or minus .00001 inch. So you could end up matching a 0.12503 ball from the old batch with a 0.12507 bearings from the new batch, which could be a significant variation. I'm pulling numbers out of my head trying to illustrate the point, but I've read something to this effect.
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Old 03-17-18, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Rogerogeroge View Post
What I'm saying is if you have to replace 18 bearings in your rear hub, and you have a year old bag with five bearings left, don't combine them with a bag you just bought. The old bearings might be 0.12504 inch plus or minus .00001 inch, and the new batch is 0.12506 inch but still plus or minus .00001 inch. So you could end up matching a 0.12503 ball from the old batch with a 0.12507 bearings from the new batch, which could be a significant variation. I'm pulling numbers out of my head trying to illustrate the point, but I've read something to this effect.

On a grade 25 ball, the entire range of +/- is not wide enough to matter in a bicycle application.
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