A while back, we posted a bit about bike hub bearings. We've also noted for a while that one of the relative liabilities of White Industries hubs is their bearing sealing. This is a bit of an overdue post with news on that front.
White has made a running switch on their hub bearings, and now uses a full contact (LLU) seal on the outboard-facing side of all of their bearings, and a semi-contact (LLB) seal on the inboard-facing side of all their bearings.
They've also gone with a higher grease fill content.
This is excellent news, and is exactly the kind of product awareness and continual improvement that we love to see from suppliers. We've mentioned this situation to them on several occasions, as I'm sure other customers have, and they've responded with a great solution.
I recently did what I will conservatively call the most disgusting (and yet awesome) ride I've ever done, which was 60 miles of what is best called "gravel racing" in REALLY muddy conditions (hubs submerged on several occasions) using a set of RCGs with CLD hubs. This is precisely the kind of conditions where WI hubs have been most vulnerable. Following the ride, I performed the profound maintenance of washing the bike down somewhat diligently (which for me means pointing a hose and suds in its general direction) and stored the bike. The hub bearings made it through this with absolute aplomb.
T11s, CLDs, and XMRs are all shipping with the new bearings. So nice.
We just fell in love with WI all over again.
The freehub bearings in Fulcrum wheelsets aren’t sealed at all on the interior side. :-o
Hambini Engineering in the U.K. sells name-brand industrial bearings, such as SKF, NSK, NTN, and FAG. It seems almost impossible to buy name-brand industrial bearings in the US via normal retail channels.
Rico – It’s nice to be able to do that, but you can really do it just as easily with the new seals. The magic is picking the seal off from the inside lip of the seal and not the outside. I’ll probably make a quick vid this morning.
AC – Yeah, it’s a good change. I’ll see if they want to have a swap thing but we’re not talking about $350 worth of CermicSpeed© bearings here.
Mike B – I just enjoy when people pay attention to their jobs. White does.
Scott – Nothing. If no problem, no problem. It’s far from an epidemic.
Sean – The “full seal one side/light seal the other” bearings aren’t readily commercially available. White may be stocked up on them, but full contact (LLU) seals on both sides with a high grease fill makes an awesome bearing. The advantage of the lower contact seal on one side is probably all of .005w. It’s an “if you can do it, it makes sense, so sure go ahead and do it” deal, but it’s nothing to lose sleep over. Full contact bearings are great.
Andrew – There must be 1000 YouTubes out there about how to replace bearings, but I haven’t seen one on how to service a bearing (because I haven’t really looked). Might slap one together today. But if you aren’t having a problem, there’s no problem. Bearings are rated for something like 14000 rpm, and the bearings on a bike going 30 mph are at like 375 rpm, so you really (really) aren’t taxing the bearings. It’s just when they get contaminated that there’s an issue.
Is there a good reference material for bearing maintenance, and place to get the parts req’d? I’ll admit I haven’t redone by T11’s since i got my rail’s 3 years ago.
I have an older White Industries ENO. Maybe it’s time for new bearings? Should I contact them directly?
What, if anything, should I be doing with my Nimbus Ti hubs? They are on a fair-weather bike, if that maters…