Writing about wondering about the condition of the cartridge bearings in my rollers was the push I needed. After today’s session, I took the time to give the twelve sets of bearings a somewhat careful inspection. Of the six rollers, only one was turning a bit slowly. The others spun freely and audible bearing chatter (indicating dry bearings–bearings free of lubricant). With that, I decided they all needed attention. I started with the slow spinner.
This is tricky business. The seals are rubber on the outside with a paper-thin metal support on the inside. It is the thin metal (only a bit thicker than the wall of an aluminum beer can) which will easily be deformed. Even with care, I gave new shape to two of the twelve seals. I was able to press those back into something like the shape they had before meeting my screwdriver. Here is what was under the seal. Clean, dry bearing retainers.
Glad I had my grease gun. Not necessary, but the job went a lot quicker. After laying down a bead, I pressed the grease into the retainers to try to get some of the grease inside to the bearings. The seals pressed nicely back into place and I added a little blue (medium) Loctite to the threads of the bolts securing the rollers to the frame. Good to go?
I wish I could say the test ride went well, but that’d be a lie. You probably know that a well-greased bearing is harder to turn than a dry bearing. I had read that, but I didn’t really know. Back to back experience separated by only thirty minutes and now I really know.
Greasing twelve bearings on these already hard to turn rollers made them all but unridable. I rode them for less than thirty seconds and was spent. Smooth and quiet, yes, but remarkably more difficult to turn. I’ll try a different bike with easier gearing (and hope that the bearings loosen up a bit as the grease moves around), but I may end up redoing this project. That’ll be way less fun. I’ll have to clean out the Phil Wood grease, let the bearings dry and then add a light oil. Not the end of the world, but seriously. It is kind of disappointing to take the time to maintain a piece of equipment and end up with something worse. At least they still look innocent. Not innocent? The amount of salt they’ve laid down on our roads. I stood in the driveway for a few minutes yesterday and two passing cars kicked up enough residue that I could taste salt (if only it was salt) on my lips. How gross is that?
The white stuff on the left is a thin coating of snow, but the white stuff on the right is all ice melter. Maybe inside is the best place to be.
Hope you are well.