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  1. #1
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    Which is more durable? SSteel CK or Ceramic CK BB?

    I finally killed the bearings in my XT BB in just under a year. I'd like to replace it with a Chris King, though I am only concerned about durability of the bearings between the Stainless Steel bearings vs the Ceramic bearings. The amount of drag is of no concern to me. So which will last longer everything else being equal.

  2. #2
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    Durability = Steel ... Ceramic bearings are not intended to deal with the impact loading a BB must endure.
    HSC Ceramics - Ceramic Balls and Ceramic Bearings

  3. #3
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    If you don't have any real world experience with either product, your advice is going to be ignored.

    Also, the CK ceramic bearings use steel races, and ceramic balls are stronger than steel bearings. Put one on an anvil and hit it with all of your might with a sledge hammer and all you'll do is dent the anvil and the sledge hammer as the ceramic ball shoots off with enough velocity to damn near escape the gravitational pull of the earth.

  4. #4
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    What ceramic has to deal with is the wear of all the other parts that they touch. Its usually the races that die in ceramic BB's, whereas the balls die in others.
    Rimmer - "There's an old human saying - if you talk garbage, expect pain"

  5. #5
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    The load bearing of a bottom bracket is pretty much moot. Virtually any bottom bracket on the market has bearings sufficient to last for years for anyone that isn't an ogre trying 10ft drops on a rigid. What kills bottom brackets is water/dirt intrusion. The stainless bearings will offer you some protection against water intrusion since they won't immediately pit like a plain steel. In terms of load bearing design however, stainless steel is a pretty poor choice of material. The big plus for ceramic bearings is actually the reduction in density. When you're designing for high shaft speeds (100,000 rpm) you have to account for the weight of the balls and bearing slip (skidding on the race vs rolling). You're still up against a SS race, so the weakest link in the chain is still SS.

    Anecdotal evidence of one lasting longer than another isn't going to help you much since it will depend entirely on how the user has treated it. If you spray it down with soap on a regular basis, it won't last long regardless of the bearing type. I've had no problems getting three years out of Shimano BB's, but that obviously doesn't relate to your experience. I'd say go with the SS version and check the lube at 6 months. If things look good, you can expand your interval from there.

  6. #6
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    if its made from good stainless it can be very durable, such as timken latrobe bg42, the only good stainless steel for ball bearings.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    if its made from good stainless it can be very durable, such as timken latrobe bg42, the only good stainless steel for ball bearings.
    And it won't beat the crap out of the bearing race, and cause it to crack, or develop rough spots, over an extended period of time.

  8. #8
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    If you regrease the CK bb with the grease gun tip they have, the SS will probably out last your frame......................

    I've had mine running 3+ yrs. I just regrease 2 times in the winter and once late summer. It takes me about 15 min or so because you have to take the cranks off.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  9. #9
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    Called CK today, they said if your more concerned about durability over freespinning go with the Stainless Steel. Considering I've got a 14 year old rear hub and headset of similar vintage from em where the bearings are still good, I'll continue on with Stainless Steel. I doubt it can have any more drag than the stock XT bb I just wore out. I'll let someone else be the guinea pig on ceramic bearings.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlienRFX View Post
    Called CK today, they said if your more concerned about durability over freespinning go with the Stainless Steel. Considering I've got a 14 year old rear hub and headset of similar vintage from em where the bearings are still good, I'll continue on with Stainless Steel. I doubt it can have any more drag than the stock XT bb I just wore out. I'll let someone else be the guinea pig on ceramic bearings.
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