How often should I service my bearings?

At Kogel Bearings we get a lot questions about the service interval of our bearings. The official answer is  that you should service your bearings once per year. It is not difficult to see that this is a very generic, almost randomly chosen time period. It does not take the mileage, weather conditions, bicycle type or overall maintenance of the bicycle into consideration.

In order to give a more detailed answer to the questions about bearing service, let’s have a look at what causes the need for service.

Bearing Contamination

This one is very obvious: just like mud on your chain, water and sand make an excellent paste to grind the internal parts of your precious bearings to pieces. In our production facilities we spend an unbelievable amount of time to polish the balls and races that are used for our bearings. After that, we consider the process to be finished. You are probably not going to improve the polish quality during your ride.

When your bearings are contaminated, you can easily feel this by removing the cranks or wheel axle, sticking your finger inside the bearing and spinning it. Smooth spinning is good, the slightest hint of gritty feeling is due to stuff inside your bearing that should not be there.

The picture of the left is a generic bottom bracket after three muddy  rides. The PF30-24 on the right is boxfresh and ready for action.
This is what our competitors bearings looked like after three muddy rides. Some TLC is due. The PF30-24 on the right is boxfresh and ready for action.

Being not much of a scientist and a lot of a common sense guy myself, being honest with yourself brings a lot of answers. Did your last mountain bike adventures involve river crossings? Have you been out riding in the rain? Did you take your bike to the carwash and not tell anyone about this horrible offense? In all cases it is good to give your bearings (and complete bike while you’re at it) a quick check.

Bearing Lubrication

Our high quality hybrid ceramic bearings require very little lubrication. During production we usually fill them a bit more than necessary, since we feel that your bearings should be for everyday use and not a race day or velodrome only product. While the road bearings feel very smooth rolling out of the box, they usually feel better after a couple hundred miles. This is due to the grease being pushed to the sides of the bearings, leaving only a thin film on the raceways and balls.

Nothing looks better than some freshly cleaned and repacked bearings

Since the bearings are made to run with minimal amounts of our Secret Grease Mix, I consider it not so much of a factor for the service interval. A light swishy swishy sound (as opposed to scraping and grinding sound to stay fully scientific) coming from your bottom bracket while spinning the crank is not necessarily a bad thing. Most of our bearings sound like that after break in.

The 1 year interval is probably a good indication here, unless you are lucky enough to find time to ride over 10.000 miles per year of course. Remember common sense!

Have a look at this video, which was shot while preparing some sample bearings for the UnitedHealthcare team time trial camp. These bearings are running completely dry. The riders were given bearings that had only a drop of oil with the intention to give them a top level performance that lasts for about 50 miles.

kogel bearings spin test

dry running bearings spin faster than anything, but it can cause heat build up and affects durability

Wear and tear of the bearing seals

The bearing seals are one of the few parts on your bike where a non-moving part is pressed against a moving part. By definition this causes friction and friction causes wear. Compare it to skidding your rear tire on the road or trail.

Bearing seals wear out over time, changing the quality from ‘fully sealed’ to ‘fully unprotected’. They are also cheap and easy to install. For anyone that has ever tried to remove a bearing seal without damaging it, you know it’s a gamble. I have tried it once or twice myself and consider it a 50/50 chance of success. Let us take the frustration out of it for you, it really feels good to be able to yank those seals out without caring if you bend or break them. It will save you some time too. Do this with every bearing service and you will live a happier life, promise!


In conclusion to all the above: Officially we recommend to service Kogel Bearings once per year, but this does not mean you can ignore these hard workers that sit at the center of every rotating part of your  bicyle. Keep an eye out for contamination, at least minimal lubrication and replace those seals with every service.


In a next blog post we will show a step by step of how to perform a bearing service.

Wookie approved: Kogel Bearings durability test

How did Kogel Bearings survive the winter?

With he temperatures rising and the CX season well behind us, it is time to reflect on Chandler Snyder’s test, which put our bottom brackets through a hard season of Chicago CX.

This is an edited version of the full article presented here on The Embrocation Cycling Journal.


Seeing what a season of riding can take out of both riders, and their bikes, can also take it out of the mechanic…that’s me. At this point in the year I usually see things at their worst. People get lazy towards the end of the season with a lot of “it’ll get me through” mentality running around. Bearings are usually seized and pretty much only worth an obligatory social media post to show “how hard CX is”, before they are tossed in the garbage and replaced with the exact same thing…garbage.

The picture of the left is a generic bottom bracket after three muddy  rides. The PF30-24 on the right is boxfresh and ready for action.
The picture of the left is of a generic bottom bracket after three muddy rides. The PF30-24 on the right is boxfresh and ready for action.

Kogel Bearings has come through the end of the season in flying colors. The 3 riders who took them back and forth across the country for a season have weighed in with their thoughts and impressions.

Would I recommend Kogel Bearings? Yes. What about them do you like more than other brands on the market? I wouldn’t say there’s a “more” to such a generalized question. There are pros and cons to everything. From a price standpoint, Kogel is pretty affordable for what you are getting. Comparing Warranties to other brands is something to think about. Kogel is 2 years,  1 “few questions asked”, and 1 more after a bearing service, whereas others ranges from 4-6 years depending on the product you buy. These are usually “against manufacturer’s defects only”, which at times can be difficult to actually prove.

I can also say the feedback from non-testing riders has been overwhelmingly positive. The interest generated from the first 2 articles got some people interested, and I was fortunate enough to have been called upon locally to install them.

Chandler put our bearings through a hard test and they came out in mint condition. We're officially Wookie approved now.
Chandler put our bearings through a hard test and they came out in mint condition. We’re officially Wookie approved now.

Mechanically speaking with all the press fit craziness going on in The Industry today, Kogel makes great sense. Not having to use Loctites and retaining compounds was nothing short of “smarter not harder” put into practice. Simple application of a waterproof grease before pressing in was all that was needed.  One of the largest draws to Kogel for myself is the range of bottom brackets for all the various frame options on the market today. Only a couple other manufacturers offer a complete range of No-adapter-needed bottom brackets.

Currently Kogel is doing a great job of responding to customer feedback and inquires. Should Ard Kessels and the operation grow any larger, I’m thinking he’ll need to add some inside reps to keep that high level of responsiveness going. Even clients mentioned how accessible Kessels was, and quickly emails, phone calls were returned. That’s a rare thing in this day and age of “Hurry up and wait”. I’ll keep an eye on that as the Kogel grows.

I must say I’m pretty impressed with the results I’ve seen from Kogel Bearings. They’re worth the price to performance ratio compared to other brands. I’d recommend them to all my clients who are looking to experience true ceramic quality and performance. In other words, they’re #WookieApproved.

You can follow Kogel Bearings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram I look forward to seeing what the future holds for them, as well as following the United Health Care Team as take them through the road circuit this season. As always you can follow Wookie on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter