Tag Archives: chris king

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!

Conclusion

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.

Presents for the cyclist that has everything

With the holiday season fast approaching, lots of family members of avid cyclists will have an easy job deciding what to buy for their spandex clad friend: something for the bike. BOOM! That was easy. Reality sets in when said family member walks into a bike shop. Picking only one or two of the shiny bits and knowing you get the right thing is about as easy as getting an engineering job at NASA.

For all family members and friends of cyclists, Kogel’s Ball Bearing adventures have made a list of six things that any cyclist will be happy to find under the Christmas tree. We tried to represent all price levels.

Power bars, gels, nutrition: Price level $2 and up.

This sounds like a totally boring thing to buy, but believe us: almost every cyclist uses these and the purchases get expensive over time. It’s a sure shot, every cyclist will love a bag of Skratch or some Hammer.

 

Skratch Labs hydration mix is a popular choice for cyclists

Clothing hangers made of bicycle rims: Price level $25.

Some wheel companies make products from their rejected parts in production. Reynolds cycling makes clothing hangers out of their faulty rims. We have not seen these in many cyclist’s closets yet.

Lightweight also makes hangers out of faulty rims, but since their wheels typically run $6000 per set, expect these hangers to cost top dollar.

Lightweight carbon garment hanger, ca 100 Euros

 

Chris King coffee tamper: Price level $85 – $125.

Most cyclists love their coffee, so don’t be surprised if your shaved legged friend owns a manual espresso machine. This tamper from Chris King is again made out of production parts that were not good enough to sell for their intended purpose. They still make great eye candy for any cyclist’s kitchen.

These espresso tampers are made of rejected headset parts.

Wooden Bike Shelf: Price level $150.

Cyclists love to show off their rides and some bikes look good enough to be displayed as art. There are several companies offering bike shelves made out of wood, our favorite is Urban City Bike shelves, although their Facebook page recently announced a hiatus in the production. Bri+Co also gives some good shelf recommendations.

Urban City Bike Shelves makes beautiful bike racks in their Queens, NY workshop.

Casual Clothing by Pavé, Upright Cyclist and Panache: Price level $22 – $250.

There are quite a few companies that make casual clothing for cyclists. These can be jeans with a little extra room in the thighs for cycling legs, plaid shirts with technical fabrics or little cycling features to look smart off the bike. Here are some of our favorites:

Upright Cyclist is a Colorado company and is on a mission to design functional apparel that performs like bike clothing, but looks like every day clothes.

Upright Cyclist Fishtail Parka $229 and riding denim $119

 

Panache Cycle Wear is mostly known for its racing kits but they have a great casual collection.

Pavé is another favorite. The brand is not officially launched yet, but has been generating a lot of media attention with their pre-Kickstarter campaign. US Pro cyclists Alex Howes and Kiel Reijnen have been endorsing the brand.

 

Gravel bike: Price level somewhere between $800 and being in need of a new mortgage

This is only if your significant other has been a VERY good boy or girl this year. There is literally nothing on the planet that makes a cyclist happier than a brand new bike.
Gravel riding and racing is a segment that has been growing explosively in the last year. It is basically taking road bikes and riding them on a combination of asphalt and gravel roads. For this new segment a new bike is an absolute necessity (cyclists refer to this as the ‘n+1 rule’). Just go to a bike shop, say ‘I am looking for a gravel bike for my husband/daughter/friend/aunt’, swipe the Visa and prepare to never have to get up out  of your chair to get anything from the kitchen come Christmas time.

 

The GT grade is a fantastic go-anywhere-bike, prices range from $800 to $3600

 

 

If you are really a family member of a cyclist and read this article all the way down to here (we expect 95% of readers to be cyclists, asking themselves how to bring this article to the attention of their significant other), we have another piece of advice. Take a trip to your friend/partner/parent’s local bike shop and talk to the employees. There is a good chance they know your receiving friend by name and know what he/she owns and likes. If anything, they have kept a record of previous purchases and can advise you what to buy.

From us at Kogel Bearings, we wish you happy shopping and an amazing holiday season.

 

**If you have any questions about Kogel Bearings, ball bearings in general or our Ball Bearing Adventures, please ask them either in the comments section below, one of our social media channels or by email via info@kogel.cc. We will answer them in a highly professional, but not always scientific way. We do not shy away from many subjects. Please ask, we are here to answer.