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  1. #1
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    BOLU Bearings? Bummer.

    I was under the impression that these bikes came spec'ed with Enduro Max bearings, but I went through the rear suspension this afternoon and found all BOLU (chinese) bearings.

    2017 model with about 600 miles and a few of the seals have already let dirt in... And grease out. The balls are loose and appear to be lubed with some white lithium or similar. Really cheap.

    Just a little disappointing. I would have been happy to pay an extra few bucks for the frame to get some quality bearings in there.

    They're all 6902's (x8) so there are plenty of quality options available.
    Last edited by Porch; 11-15-2017 at 09:08 PM.

  2. #2
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    My bearings seem to have held up ok for two seasons, but I'm thinking it is time to replace them. Any recommendations for what to use? Is there something better than Enduro Max? ... I like to hose my bike down on the regular

  3. #3
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    Is there a good guide on how to do it? Is it worth the time to do it yourself and not just pay the lbs?

  4. #4
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    I don't know if they've gotten better, but I've had some quality issues with Enduro before. There aren't a whole lot of other choices. I'm a bit of an SKF fanboy, but they're about $10/each versus $6 each for the Enduro Max.

    There's a kit on RWC: CANFIELD Suspension Pivot Bearing Kits from RWC

    Probably need a bearing puller/press too.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by madamfunk View Post
    Is there a good guide on how to do it? Is it worth the time to do it yourself and not just pay the lbs?
    Depends on whether you have a good LBS that you trust vs. your mechanical skills. I haven't seen a guide specifically on the Canfield frames (haven't looked either).

    The low tech DIY method if you don't have a bearing press is to tap out the old bearings evenly with a punch, then use the back side of an appropriately sized socket and a rubber/plastic mallet to gently/evenly tap the new bearings in.

    But, if you aren't patient and try to force things you can damage the new bearings or if you're really ham fisted even mess up a frame or suspension link.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porch View Post
    I don't know if they've gotten better, but I've had some quality issues with Enduro before. There aren't a whole lot of other choices. I'm a bit of an SKF fanboy, but they're about $10/each versus $6 each for the Enduro Max.

    There's a kit on RWC: CANFIELD Suspension Pivot Bearing Kits from RWC

    Probably need a bearing puller/press too.
    I was doing some research about Enduro Max alternatives last night. It doesn't seem like SKF makes anything that is rated for high loads like the Enduro Max. Am I missing something?

  7. #7
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    Interesting, the older frames used to use Enduro Maxx. At least my '13 the One did. Has me interested in pulling my '17 balance apart to check on the bearings.

    I don't remember ever running across cartridge bearings with loose balls without a retainer. Sounds sketchy. If the bearings aren't running too rough I'll usually pry the seals, flush the grit with solvent, blow clean with the air compressor, and repack with thicker waterproof grease.

    Not sure I wan't to mess with that if I pry the seals and loose ball bearings start falling out, or worse yet blasting with an air compressor and launching the bearings across my garage floor.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    Interesting, the older frames used to use Enduro Maxx. At least my '13 the One did. Has me interested in pulling my '17 balance apart to check on the bearings.

    I don't remember ever running across cartridge bearings with loose balls without a retainer. Sounds sketchy. If the bearings aren't running too rough I'll usually pry the seals, flush the grit with solvent, blow clean with the air compressor, and repack with thicker waterproof grease.

    Not sure I wan't to mess with that if I pry the seals and loose ball bearings start falling out, or worse yet blasting with an air compressor and launching the bearings across my garage floor.
    The bearings are still held in there with a groove in both races, so they can't just fall out. But they are free to rub up on each other, unlike a bearing with a separator between the balls.

    These are 6902VRS bearings. I did some quick searching on the VRS, and it doesn't even seem like a good fit for the application. The "V" series seals are not very good at keeping out dirt and water, so they're usually used in higher-speed applications where less friction is important.

    I took mine apart intending to just inspect and re-grease, but honestly with the seals they have, i'm just going to end up having to do it again every year. I just ordered some Enduro Maxx bearings so I don't have to take them apart again next year. Just disappointed that I am doing this on a nearly-new bike!

  9. #9
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    My 2016 Balance has Enduro Max bearings. Odd the new models dont have them.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottieM8 View Post
    My 2016 Balance has Enduro Max bearings. Odd the new models dont have them.
    Can you take a picture of them on your frame? I think there is an angle you can take a photo of the ones by the linkage. I'm curious if mine are the same.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by madamfunk View Post
    Can you take a picture of them on your frame? I think there is an angle you can take a photo of the ones by the linkage. I'm curious if mine are the same.
    My frame is currently in pieces, but here's what I've got and next to it is the new Enduro Max with the black oxide treatment.

  12. #12
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    Thanks dude - looks like what I have :/ Do you have a legit bearing press to do this?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by madamfunk View Post
    Can you take a picture of them on your frame? I think there is an angle you can take a photo of the ones by the linkage. I'm curious if mine are the same.
    I do an annual tear down at spring and that's when I noticed mine had Enduro bearings. Sorry don't have pics as I don't feel like tearing apart until next spring. I do have one of the earlier 2016 models.

    As far as removing bearings, I use a punch or an extender from my socket kit and hammer out slowly. To install, i have a long bolt, couple on nuts and appropriate sized washers and there's your press. It will cost a couple of bucks from Lowes. Heard people use the old bearings in place of the washers to guide in the new one. You can use a vise for that method.

  14. #14
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    I bought a Wheels Manufacturing 6902 bearing extractor for $20 (see image below), but normally I've used a punch and a hammer. I'll just use a vice and the old bearings for re-assembly. You can also buy a "cheap" threaded bearing press for another $35 or so.

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  15. #15
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    Finally got my bearings replaced. What a pain in the ass.

    The bearing replacement is easy, but getting the lower link into the rear swing arm is a major pain. It has two little washers on each side that easily deform, and the whole thing is a press fit.

    I froze the link and warmed the swing arm but it still wasn't easy. You have to align 7 pieces pretty well to get the bolt through. Not fun at all. The washers should probably be replaced by a bearing with a 1.5mm wider inner race... But I could only find bearings with a 2.5mm wider inner race.

    Overall, thumbs down for these cheap $hit Chinese bearings.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porch View Post
    Finally got my bearings replaced. What a pain in the ass.

    The bearing replacement is easy, but getting the lower link into the rear swing arm is a major pain. It has two little washers on each side that easily deform, and the whole thing is a press fit.

    I froze the link and warmed the swing arm but it still wasn't easy. You have to align 7 pieces pretty well to get the bolt through. Not fun at all. The washers should probably be replaced by a bearing with a 1.5mm wider inner race... But I could only find bearings with a 2.5mm wider inner race.

    Overall, thumbs down for these cheap $hit Chinese bearings.
    damn... that's unfortunate. Haven't checked mine, but they are due for full rebuild soon.
    Thanks for all the info.

  17. #17
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    I think that what I should have done is buy a cheap 15mm thru axle, then cut it to the exact width of the bearings + shims. That way I could keep all the bearings/shims in line while I tapped the link into the rear swingarm with a rubber mallet. Once it's all lined up, pull the cut-up thru axle out and put the bolt through. Hindsight!

  18. #18
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    I was able to do the bearing replacement with a screw driver, hammer, socket and bench vise during my lunch break. This is a pretty easy frame to work on. the little washers in the rear lower link are always the most PITA thing to reinstall.

    My originals were enduro max and the front lower link started to get play last week. I replaced all and she's as tight as a drum now.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porch View Post
    I bought a Wheels Manufacturing 6902 bearing extractor for $20 (see image below), but normally I've used a punch and a hammer. I'll just use a vice and the old bearings for re-assembly. You can also buy a "cheap" threaded bearing press for another $35 or so.

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    Looks like a great tool - will buy. What did you use to put new 6902s in? I'm wondering if there are any awkward angles a table vise couldn't get to.

  20. #20
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    I just used a vice, nothing fancy!

  21. #21
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    2016 Canfield Balance installing the lower link to rear triangle

    My 2016 Balance also had the Bolu bearings, i was just doing a bit of spring maitenance and found that a couple of them had already started to get crunchy and dodgy. Easy job to remove and install them but im now stuck trying to put the lower link into the rear triangle.

    Anyone got any tips on this?

    i can get the spacers in and close but feel like i will do damage if i force it more.
    Any advice appreciated.

    Cheers

  22. #22
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    That was a huge PITA for me on my balance, but on my riot they all just slid right in. Be careful because those spacers are soft and will deform if you force them.

    I would find a bolt that is the right size and cut it down to the length of the dog bone + the spacers so you can push them all in at once. Then stick the dog bone in the freezer overnight to shrink it a little before the big push. Good luck!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbywag View Post
    My 2016 Balance also had the Bolu bearings, i was just doing a bit of spring maitenance and found that a couple of them had already started to get crunchy and dodgy. Easy job to remove and install them but im now stuck trying to put the lower link into the rear triangle.

    Anyone got any tips on this?

    i can get the spacers in and close but feel like i will do damage if i force it more.
    Any advice appreciated.

    Cheers
    The one tip that really helped me is to install the rear axle before you try and get the lower link back in the rear triangle. I helps to flex the link side of the triangle open a bit.

    But mostly itís a huge pain in the ass.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jminus View Post
    The one tip that really helped me is to install the rear axle before you try and get the lower link back in the rear triangle. I helps to flex the link side of the triangle open a bit.

    But mostly itís a huge pain in the ass.

    Thanks for the tip, finally got everything lined up. It took a lot of swearing, hair pulling and required several calming ales to recover.

    But bike is running smooth !

    I will speak to a friend who can machine me a cylinder thats exactly the width of the dogbone link plus spacers, and put it all in together for next year.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbywag View Post
    I will speak to a friend who can machine me a cylinder thats exactly the width of the dogbone link plus spacers, and put it all in together for next year.
    If you end up doing that and it isn't expensive, I might be interested in one too. I was planning to pick up a bolt and just cut/grind it, but finding a 15mm bolt might be a little hard in my area.


    Glad you got it!

  26. #26
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    If your friend can make a few of those cylinders, I'll be interested also. Maybe you can sell them on Pinkbike or eBay. Pretty sure you'll have a few sales.

  27. #27
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    I checked again on ebay and found this guy: https://www.ebay.com/itm/SLEEVE-15MM...53.m2749.l2649

    I ended up just buying one, it's going to be hard to find a machinist to make something similar for less than $10. It will need to be cut to length, but hopefully will be helpful next time I need to do bearings...which is soon, on my Riot.

  28. #28
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    For getting the lower link back together, I ended up just sanding down the washers from 1.5mm to 1.4mm, being careful to keep them square. That way the assembly still had a bit of an interference fit, but with much less wedging and prying and swearing.

  29. #29
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    About 10 rides on my bikes and it's creaking. Taken pivots apart to discover bolu bearings. Most feel gritty/crunchy already.

    Enduro max on order.
    • 2015 Kona Explosif Ti
    • 2015 Kona Process 111
    • 2018 Canfield Riot

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjw View Post
    About 10 rides on my bikes and it's creaking. Taken pivots apart to discover bolu bearings. Most feel gritty/crunchy already.

    Enduro max on order.
    Yeah same here.. pretty bummed about it. I'd have like to get close to a year before having to pull everything and replace. Cost cutting when things got tough? Anyone have any insights there?

    Just ordered a set of Enduro's.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancy View Post
    Yeah same here.. pretty bummed about it. I'd have like to get close to a year before having to pull everything and replace. Cost cutting when things got tough? Anyone have any insights there?

    Just ordered a set of Enduro's.
    I bought my bike in early June 2016 and it had Bolu bearings, so I don't think it was a matter of getting through the tough times.

    FWIW, my bolu bearings lasted two years (2000 miles) of serious abuse and lots of hosing down the bike all winter long.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jminus View Post
    I bought my bike in early June 2016 and it had Bolu bearings, so I don't think it was a matter of getting through the tough times.

    FWIW, my bolu bearings lasted two years (2000 miles) of serious abuse and lots of hosing down the bike all winter long.
    Lucky you. Mine lasted maybe 10 rides before feeling rough, and leading to creak. And I am pretty discriminate about how I washing and cleaning my bike.
    • 2015 Kona Explosif Ti
    • 2015 Kona Process 111
    • 2018 Canfield Riot

  33. #33
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    Links to Enduro Maxx bearing kits for the Riot and the Balance?

    The previous link/url in this thread is giving some kind of error.

    I'd like to order a couple sets in advance before I really need them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jminus View Post
    I bought my bike in early June 2016 and it had Bolu bearings, so I don't think it was a matter of getting through the tough times.

    FWIW, my bolu bearings lasted two years (2000 miles) of serious abuse and lots of hosing down the bike all winter long.
    To be fair, I ordered and then tore the linkage apart and cleaned and regreased the bearings and it corrected all my noise issues. I think the design can just lead to a bunch of dirt build up in the wishbone(?). Everything is smooth now so I'll just hold onto my Enduros until they're needed.

    On a positive note, it couldn't be easier to service the linkage. Took me all of 15 minutes.

  36. #36
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    I greased up and installed new bearings yesterday. Everything went fine except I had I spent quite some time getting the bottom link back into the rear triangle.

    Some of you have reported that you had spacers on both sides of the bottom link. Mine had two spacers on the drive side of the link and none on the other side. After I had reinstalled it didnít move as freely as it should, a tiny bit of power has to be used to move it.

    Should I try to uninstall it and put one spacers on each side of the link instead?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by edvin View Post
    I greased up and installed new bearings yesterday. Everything went fine except I had I spent quite some time getting the bottom link back into the rear triangle.

    Some of you have reported that you had spacers on both sides of the bottom link. Mine had two spacers on the drive side of the link and none on the other side. After I had reinstalled it didnít move as freely as it should, a tiny bit of power has to be used to move it.

    Should I try to uninstall it and put one spacers on each side of the link instead?
    I definitely would.
    I found those spacers to be fairly easy to deal with.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by edvin View Post
    I greased up and installed new bearings yesterday. Everything went fine except I had I spent quite some time getting the bottom link back into the rear triangle.

    Some of you have reported that you had spacers on both sides of the bottom link. Mine had two spacers on the drive side of the link and none on the other side. After I had reinstalled it didnít move as freely as it should, a tiny bit of power has to be used to move it.

    Should I try to uninstall it and put one spacers on each side of the link instead?
    There is definitely supposed to be one washer on each side. A tip for getting them in place: put the rear axle back in (without the wheel) and tighten it down a bit to flex the back sides of the triangle inwards. This causes the front of the triangle to flare out a bit where the wishbone needs to go.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by edvin View Post
    Awesome. Thanks!

  40. #40
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    Thanks guys for you help and input here. Now my suspension is supersmooth again!

    My Balance 2016 came with Bolu bearings as well, these where replaced with Enduros

    This is how I ended up doing it:
    Changing the bearings was a simple task; I removed the old bearings using a mallet, a flat screwdriver and held it all in place using my vise. I put some gaffer tape on the vise's grips to avoid damage. Then cleaned the dogbone and the front link, greased it all up and pressed the new bearings carefully in using the vise.

    When installing the dogbone into the rear triangle I ended up doing it like jminus sugested. One spacer at each side of the doggybone, greased this up and also put some grease on the contact zones on the triangle. Tigtened the wheel axle without a wheel in there to open up the triangle. Then inserted the dogbone using my hand and a mallet. To get the spacers to line up properly I used the flat screwdriver and mallet and carefully knocked them into place from the side. This actually took me about 5 minutes

    The rest of it is straight forward.

  41. #41
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    Wow guys! I just redid my bearings with a friend over the weekend. I question his rubber mallet insertion technique - but we had no difficulties removing or reinstalling the linkages or bearings. I had 28 months and 2000mi of PNW riding on the original blue BOLU bearings. This includes trips to bike parks in whistler and colorado, and 15k feet of descending a day for a week in the alps.

    Most of the bearings felt okay, in fact 2 of the upper ones felt perfect, but the lower 2 near the rear were completely frozen, I couldn't move them by hand. I could not believe I had been riding around like that for god knows how long! Anyways I went out for a big day of riding the next day and WOW did this thing feel like a completely different bike, all my constant fidgeting with the X2, was really just necessitated by result the bearing wear. The top of the stroke is so sensitive and smooth and more importantly the bike is completely silent!

    A tip for those of you having a hard time getting everything back in. Have a buddy help you by squeezing the rear triangle closed. I felt this worked better than having the rear axle in.

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