Creek crossings effect on bearings- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Creek crossings effect on bearings

    Hello, I am somewhat new to MTB'ing, I have been riding for about almost 2 months. I ride around WNC, Bent Creek is one of my common trail systems, and there are quite a few creek/stream crossings along many of the trails.
    My question/concern is will the water splashing from the creek crossings take the grease out of my BB and other bearings or am I worrying too much? BTW, my ride is a GF Wahoo Disc. How can I check my bearings(I am a noob and learning how to work on my own bike so I do not have to rely on a LBS to tune my bike up everytime I have an issue) and how can I maintain a correct level of proper lubrication in the bearings?

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
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    This gets talked about during almost every group ride. Let me explain. If a part's life expectancy is one year, then it's life expectancy in Pisgah is six months. If you ride with someone who lives locally and their bike doesn't creak, then they're not riding or just moved up from Florida. If you want an expert opinion about bearing life and advanced wear associated with stream crossings, consult Driftwood. Although he has new hubs apparently and rumor has it that he now walks with his bike held over his head during all stream crossings. Yes, water and grit will wear your moving parts more quickly.
    "You can make some of the people happy some of the time, but you can't make all of the people happy all of the time."

  3. #3
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    Are you just 'splashing' or submerging the hubs? Cup and-cone-hub seals seem to do well letting in water, but not letting it out. Also, the lube that comes from the factory sometimes doesn't hold-up to water well, in addition to being less-than-liberally used.

    Highdelll did a photo write-up on here for servicing cup-and-cone hubs.

  4. #4
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    I regrease all bearings on my nomad every 2 months. This includes all bearings in my bb, front hub, derailleur, and rear hub. It is super easy and if I can do it anyone can.

  5. #5
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    According to my chief mechanic, BrouSSard, rotating bearings combined with full submersion equals disaster. It makes sense. Those seals really won't work while turning through water. As such I no longer try and see how many of the South Mills River crossings I can ride (I already know the answer anyway, four).

    But you are talking about Bent Creek. I didn't realize there were any wet crossings there. Don't worry about your bottom bracket - it wills survive!
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  6. #6
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    Lemme think a sec... my bike came with a set of simple hubs and wheels built from some lame dude in Colorado. I snagged a stick awhile back, so the rear one may need a slight spoke adjustment.

    The bottom bracket (squared) came off my previous bike. Unsure the brand.

    I've been though water a few times since we put it all together. No issues. Someone remind me - 2003?



    Keeping you parts clean/lubricated will go a long way. Are stream crossing/rain minimal? I think so - just don't hit the "naughty bits" with high water pressure.
    Now you're cast of steel and cast aside. Broken dreams maybe, but you haven't died

  7. #7
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    the dust seals on bearings are just that, for dust. You need to pull the dust seals and pack the bearings with some type of grease. Prefer lithium grease on my bearings and slick honey in my industry nine hubs.

  8. #8
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    seized bearings

    I ride a Trek Fuel. For about two years, I blazed through all streams without regard for my "sealed" bearings. As my bike set dormant over the winter months with all the sloppy conditions, my bearings seized and all looked like this:


    On my first ride this Feb., it was very evident that the water in the bearings had done it's damage. I ended up replacing every bearing in the suspension links to bring it back to life. I have to agree with all the comments. It's easy to re-grease your bearings by popping off the caps with a knife; a habit I'll probably perform every couple of months now. Surprisingly, my bottom bracket was in "ok" shape. If you're riding through streams, then it's just a matter of time before your bearings will surrender.
    "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
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  9. #9
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    anyone want to give instructions on how to grease the different parts...pics would be bonus
    thanks

  10. #10
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    Trek instructions, but will be similar for just about all suspension linkages. gotta love mtbr:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=571669

    To remove bearings, you can be crafty with some sockets, washers, and bolts, but it's helpful if you get a bearing puller/press from your manufacturer. That made the job a lot easier for me.

    If you are just re-greasing the bearings, then all you have to do is disassemble your suspension and expose the bearings. Removing the seal is the tricky part. A sharp knife is the key. I used a box cutter to pry it up and pop it out. Keep in mind that most suspension bolts require tightening to a specific torque setting, so if you don't know how to do that, or aren't comfortable doing that, then leave it to the experts.
    "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
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  11. #11
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    "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
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  12. #12
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    Do take the time to at least knock the dirt and mud off of the component you're working on before servicing it or your efforts may be for naught.

  13. #13
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    thanks everyone! I am just splashing my bike when I cross these creeks, nothing submerged. From now on I will dismount and carry my bike over. As far as greasing up my bearings what grease do you guys suggest using?

  14. #14
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    i use lithium grease on everything but my rear hub and shock components.

  15. #15
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    I never service my bearings, I never worry about creek crossings. I wash my bike with a garden hose. I've never had any problems. I have never serviced the pivot bearings on my full suspension bike going on 4+ years! They are still very smooth. No problems with wheels, BB, headset, etc... But all my stuff has high quality sealed cartridge style bearings.

    However, the DU bushing on my rear shock is a constant problem. I have to replace that for wear every 6-10 months.

  16. #16
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    How do you know if your bike has high quality sealed cartridge style bearings or not?

  17. #17
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    All suspension bearings are "sealed", but not all are created equal. Experiences will vary. Follow Maida's advice, just don't worry about it and go ride. If you are still worried about it, inspect every six months or 4 years. I suggest a trip up Bradley Creek trail for some field testing.
    "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsxunv04
    How do you know if your bike has high quality sealed cartridge style bearings or not?
    If they rust up and seize then they were not high quality.

    If you need replacements, Phil Wood and/or Enduro make some good ones.

  19. #19
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    Are the replacements fairly universal or do they vary?

    I believe this is my BB:
    http://store.icyclesusa.com/fsa-bott...loy-p5258.aspx

    And these are the bearings in it, they look good to me...but this site no longer sells them.
    http://www.icyclesusa.com/catalog/ce...o-fsa-each.htm

    Could I get a replacement BB and bearings at any LBS or is it a special order type of product?

    Thanks
    Last edited by gsxunv04; 06-14-2010 at 06:47 PM.

  20. #20
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    What Maida said.

    My bottom bracket is from 2001 and was reinstalled 2003. I have no idea what it is.
    I've been trough a lot of water and continue doing so on a weekly basis. Maybe the embedded gunk has provided an additional seal and allowed it to remain spinning. Could also be a quality installer.



    Can't even guess how old my cranks are. If you look hard enough, you can almost make out the letters XT.
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  21. #21
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    There should be some numbers on the cartridge that indicate the size. Most are standard sized.

    Some have unique sets. My Cane Creek headset has some odd looking cartridges. But they have held up very well.

  22. #22
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    sometimes when I cross a creek, I lose my bearings. If that happens, I usually stop, take out a map and figure out where I am...

  23. #23
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    BB bearings are *sorta* universal but not really. Truvativ has a weird taper, but Shimano and RF are the same. Not sure about FSA and others tho.
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  24. #24
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    For botttom brackets Chris king makes one that has a tool that allows you flush out the old grease/crap with fresh grease. One of the best bike upgrades for only 130 bucks.

  25. #25
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    at 15-20.00 a pop I think you could rust up a whole lot of BBs before you spend 130.00.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjanes
    sometimes when I cross a creek, I lose my bearings. If that happens, I usually stop, take out a map and figure out where I am...
    Ever have problems with the map?? Ran into a group at DSF who reported that their "...map doesn't work."!!
    Geriatric mountain biker and trail maintainer... ...with digital braking!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokeONE
    For botttom brackets Chris king makes one that has a tool that allows you flush out the old grease/crap with fresh grease. One of the best bike upgrades for only 130 bucks.
    Exactly how is that an upgrade?

  28. #28
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    It lets you keep your bb running smooth without creaks and you can also run different weight grease.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailZen
    Ever have problems with the map?? Ran into a group at DSF who reported that their "...map doesn't work."!!
    The map I have I got at a discount, it's printed upside down, but If I turn it around it seems for work well...

  30. #30
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    you can also have your lbs remove old bearings from bb cups and replace them with enduro bearings for around $20. You can also buy the tool from enduro but it is expensive.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sugar_Brad
    you can also have your lbs remove old bearings from bb cups and replace them with enduro bearings for around $20. You can also buy the tool from enduro but it is expensive.

    I replaced mine with a big screwdriver, a hammer and a block of wood.

  32. #32
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    I will talk to my LBS next time I am in the shop and see if I can get some replacement enduro's. Thanks for the tips

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsxunv04
    I will talk to my LBS next time I am in the shop and see if I can get some replacement enduro's. Thanks for the tips
    You only need to replace them if you have a problem. Don't fix what ain't broke

  34. #34
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    David- the King bottom bracket works better. That's how it's an upgrade. I was amazed. Spins as freely as my old XTR square taper, with no noticeable drag. This is not the case with other sealed BB brackets.
    I have to replace Shimano sealed BB bearings every 4-6 months. They don't bear my lateral loads past that point- nothing to do with moisture. It's a total PITA when you have to do it that often.
    My hope is that the King was last years, like the headsets.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    David- the King bottom bracket works better. That's how it's an upgrade. I was amazed. Spins as freely as my old XTR square taper, with no noticeable drag. This is not the case with other sealed BB brackets.
    I have to replace Shimano sealed BB bearings every 4-6 months. They don't bear my lateral loads past that point- nothing to do with moisture. It's a total PITA when you have to do it that often.
    My hope is that the King was last years, like the headsets.
    The race face bearings I had were absolute garbage. They lasted 2-3 months before I replaced them with enduros. The enduros are still going strong but I moved that crankset to a bike I rarely ride.

    My main ride has a Shimano crankset and the bearings have been great for over a year. I expect to need new chain rings before the bearings go. I change my chain regularly but the XTR rings are starting to chainsuck a bit. And those are some freaking expensive Chainrings!

    But I probably do 1/2 (or less) the mileage that you do.

    I did purchase a XT level BB just in case. It cost me 70.00 at the bike shop.

  36. #36
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    I got pretty good service out of the RF bottom bracket. I trashed two but the second one was due to installation error. I like the Truvativ setup better than the RF interface. I like the pinch bolt style of the FSA (Maybe Shimano uses this as well?) for ease of setup and install/removal, although Truvativ is good too. As long as it's serviceable with standard parts I really don't care too much. It's easy enough to order some bearings and replace them yourself.
    Ocala Mountain Bike Association - www.omba.org

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    David- the King bottom bracket works better. That's how it's an upgrade. I was amazed. Spins as freely as my old XTR square taper, with no noticeable drag. This is not the case with other sealed BB brackets.
    I have to replace Shimano sealed BB bearings every 4-6 months. They don't bear my lateral loads past that point- nothing to do with moisture. It's a total PITA when you have to do it that often.
    My hope is that the King was last years, like the headsets.
    Mike, agreed on the Shimano BB's. When doing any amount of riding, they need replaced every 3 or so months. I've not yet tried the King BB, but the headsets and hubs I've had from them have been bulletproof.

  38. #38
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    Awe, just Tri-Flow everything.

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