Suspension bearing maintenance- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Suspension bearing maintenance

    I have an iron horse azure (dw link) I have been riding once a week for about two years. What do I need to do for bearing maintenance? I do not get any creaking and the suspension appears to move through the travel with little effort with the shock removed. Do I just re grease the bearings or do I need to replace the bearings. Enduro sells a suspension pivot kit. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by wraydp View Post
    I have an iron horse azure (dw link) I have been riding once a week for about two years. What do I need to do for bearing maintenance? I do not get any creaking and the suspension appears to move through the travel with little effort with the shock removed. Do I just re grease the bearings or do I need to replace the bearings. Enduro sells a suspension pivot kit. Thanks.
    I always pop the dust seals and lube bearings. It would be a good idea to tear down your suspension and inspect the bearings. Roll them by hand and if they feel gritty, notchy etc. I'd replace. If they feel smooth pack them tight w/ grease. They can be packed tight because the range of motion is so small. Factory roller bearing are minimally lubed to lessen rotational resistance.

  3. #3
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    I broke the bike down and the bearings did feel notchy, so I ordered new ones. They almost felt like there was grit in the bearings. I have removed the old bearings from the frame and after removal the bearings feel very smooth. I also removed the seals and no rust was found. These are the original bearings from the bike which is a few years old but only has approximately 1000 miles on it. Why would the bearings feel notch in the bike but brand new after they have been removed? Just curious as I am replacing them anyways. Thanks.

  4. #4
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    when they are pressed in to the frame the outer race will be compressed ever so slightly as compared to when they are out of the frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FullMonty View Post
    when they are pressed in to the frame the outer race will be compressed ever so slightly as compared to when they are out of the frame.
    Great. So my brand new bearings will also feel notchy after I get them installed. I love doing work that did not need to be done.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by FullMonty View Post
    when they are pressed in to the frame the outer race will be compressed ever so slightly as compared to when they are out of the frame.
    My frame does the same for one or two of its bearing. I'm hesitating between leaving it as is or slightly sanding the bearing retention slot in the frame.

  7. #7
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    the ball bearings on your suspension pivots never get yo make a full rotation,the same balls will sit and wear the same spot on the races and so you get uneven wear in your bearings and the suspension feels notchy.
    if you spin the inner race you will also spin the balls and the worn spots on the races will no longer be in alignment with the worn balls.
    it is a good idea once in a while to dissemble your bike and spin the inner races,no need to replace the bearings all the time.but then again bearings arent that expensive so if you want to replace.
    do not sand the inside of where the bearing is mounted you will destroy your bike

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsintov View Post
    the ball bearings on your suspension pivots never get yo make a full rotation,the same balls will sit and wear the same spot on the races and so you get uneven wear in your bearings and the suspension feels notchy.
    if you spin the inner race you will also spin the balls and the worn spots on the races will no longer be in alignment with the worn balls.
    it is a good idea once in a while to dissemble your bike and spin the inner races,no need to replace the bearings all the time.but then again bearings arent that expensive so if you want to replace.
    do not sand the inside of where the bearing is mounted you will destroy your bike
    Yep I rotate and regrease my bearings about twice a season. As for sanding, I'll take your advice and will not do it.

  9. #9
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    Yeah, some frames have poorly manufactured too tight bearing housings that cause notchy feel (because outer race compresses too much). If that is the case it also happens with new bearings after installation (assuming that bearings are installed properly and not by pressing inner race). It could be quite difficult to resize too tight housing. Using sand paper it it possible to end up with slightly coned or otherwise uneven housing.

    Some frames also have too loose bearing housings that can cause the outer race of the bearing to move inside the housing possibly ovalizing housing over time. But that can be fixed quite easily with bearing retainer adhesive if noticed soon enough.

    Usually a problem with the ball bearings is that they don't move much in rear suspension and this causes the grease to pack away from the balls that will increase wear. Usually ball bearings have only small amount of grease in factory condition that will make things even worse for this kind of application. I always open new ball bearings and pack in as much high quality water resistant grease as possible before assembling bearings (for suspension pivot applications). Rotating inner race every now and then is also a good routine and causes the grease to move to right places reducing wear.

    It is a bit risky opening installed bearings after some use because it is very easy to get some contaminants (usually sand/dust) inside the bearing that can increase wear. It is very hard to really get bearings and bearing side seals properly cleaned. But still repacking bearings with grease can reduce wear depending on the bearing condition (wear, grease amount and so on) and how much contaminants gets inside the bearing.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsintov View Post
    the ball bearings on your suspension pivots never get yo make a full rotation,the same balls will sit and wear the same spot on the races and so you get uneven wear in your bearings and the suspension feels notchy.
    if you spin the inner race you will also spin the balls and the worn spots on the races will no longer be in alignment with the worn balls.
    it is a good idea once in a while to dissemble your bike and spin the inner races,no need to replace the bearings all the time.but then again bearings arent that expensive so if you want to replace.
    do not sand the inside of where the bearing is mounted you will destroy your bike
    That makes sense. When I installed the new bearings I do not get the "notchy feeling", so my old bearing were worn in one spot. From now on I will dissemble my bike and spin the inner bearings. Thanks.

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