Taking Care

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.

cbEverything seemed fine on the outside, but that is no test at all.  Time to gently pry off the exposed seal.

ocbThis 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.

bThere was gold grease residue on the inside of the seals, but no measurable grease to be seen.  I added Phil Wood grease.

gGlad 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.  drAt 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.



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