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aka Taprider
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On my bushing equipped Rocky Mtn Elements, bushings lasted about 120 hours before I would hear noises from the pivots. On my new 2004 Rocky Mtn Element with bearings, it took only about 80 hours before I heard noises from the bottom bracket pivot, I then took the swingarm off and felt that the bearings were rough, regreasing the bearings only helped temporarily. It cost me $32 at a wholesale bearing supplier for the 4 new bearings (only replaces the BB pivot), whereas it used to cost $75 (at a bike shop with full mark up) for all the bushings and axles for the complete older bushing type bikes.

It also looks like I will enlarge the hole in the frame each time I push in/out bearings, whereas on the bushing bikes any wear could be easily shimmed (not necessary if bushings replaced frequently).

As well it takes a lot more time to replace bearings than bushings.
 

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that's a poor generalization

bearings are better, but the trouble is that most companies do not take the time to engineer-into their design, the right kind of bearings that would work well, provide rigidity, and long term durablility. Bushings on the other hand can work very well when they are engineered correctly, but they are nearly always going to be lighter than bearings. If you want to make a good bearing OR bushing system, you need to spec the correct kinds and do it right, which is something that some manufacturers really do not care to do.
 

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(enter witty phrase here)
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ccm said:
On my bushing equipped Rocky Mtn Elements, bushings lasted about 120 hours before I would hear noises from the pivots. On my new 2004 Rocky Mtn Element with bearings, it took only about 80 hours before I heard noises from the bottom bracket pivot, I then took the swingarm off and felt that the bearings were rough, regreasing the bearings only helped temporarily. It cost me $32 at a wholesale bearing supplier for the 4 new bearings (only replaces the BB pivot), whereas it used to cost $75 (at a bike shop with full mark up) for all the bushings and axles for the complete older bushing type bikes.

It also looks like I will enlarge the hole in the frame each time I push in/out bearings, whereas on the bushing bikes any wear could be easily shimmed (not necessary if bushings replaced frequently).

As well it takes a lot more time to replace bearings than bushings.
Use sealed bearings.
 

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aka Taprider
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
so maybe the older elements were engineered better?

Jm. said:
that's a poor generalization

bearings are better, but the trouble is that most companies do not take the time to engineer-into their design, the right kind of bearings that would work well, provide rigidity, and long term durablility. Bushings on the other hand can work very well when they are engineered correctly, but they are nearly always going to be lighter than bearings. If you want to make a good bearing OR bushing system, you need to spec the correct kinds and do it right, which is something that some manufacturers really do not care to do.
so maybe the older elements were engineered better? the original engineers of the Element have left Rocky. I notice a few things on the 2004 frames that are not as elegant as the older frames, such as the forged bridge at the top of the seat stays, the rear drop outs, and the lack of external tapering on some tubes
 

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ccm said:
so maybe the older elements were engineered better? the original engineers of the Element have left Rocky. I notice a few things on the 2004 frames that are not as elegant as the older frames, such as the forged bridge at the top of the seat stays, the rear drop outs, and the lack of external tapering on some tubes
definitely not...RM in general makes some "ok" bikes, but at times they've been severely lacking, such as the RM series, I had a 1998 DH-race and it was a decent bike, but I wished for a much stiffer rear end and that never came to be. I was excited by the slayer at the time, because the slayer sounded like it would start where the DH race left off, but it wasn't anything better. Same flexy-small diameter tubes, same pivots, less travel, etc. They've had good bikes, and they've had some poor ones, it seems to span across the years fairly evenly.

You won't find many companies that actually take the time to do "bearings" or "bushing" right, turner, ventana, some others do, but when you buy a mass-produced bike, this is often one of the areas where it just doesn't compare very well.
 

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noMAD man
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I'd like to see needle bearings.

Jm. said:
definitely not...RM in general makes some "ok" bikes, but at times they've been severely lacking, such as the RM series, I had a 1998 DH-race and it was a decent bike, but I wished for a much stiffer rear end and that never came to be. I was excited by the slayer at the time, because the slayer sounded like it would start where the DH race left off, but it wasn't anything better. Same flexy-small diameter tubes, same pivots, less travel, etc. They've had good bikes, and they've had some poor ones, it seems to span across the years fairly evenly.

You won't find many companies that actually take the time to do "bearings" or "bushing" right, turner, ventana, some others do, but when you buy a mass-produced bike, this is often one of the areas where it just doesn't compare very well.
On at least the main pivot, I wish they'd install quality caged needle bearing pairs. Just about all my dirt motorcycle swingarms were equipped this way, and they were very durable and serviceable. The actual contact area on sealed ball bearing cassettes is generally too small for an assignment like a swingarm pivot. I even had one sport motorcycle aftermarket swingarm that used Timken tapered bearings (like automotive wheel bearings). Man that thing was sweet and had a load of lateral rigidity. I'm fairly impressed with the caged needle bearings that came with my FSR MRP kit. An infrequent cleaning and relubing is all they've needed.
 

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TNC said:
On at least the main pivot, I wish they'd install quality caged needle bearing pairs. Just about all my dirt motorcycle swingarms were equipped this way, and they were very durable and serviceable. The actual contact area on sealed ball bearing cassettes is generally too small for an assignment like a swingarm pivot. I even had one sport motorcycle aftermarket swingarm that used Timken tapered bearings (like automotive wheel bearings). Man that thing was sweet and had a load of lateral rigidity. I'm fairly impressed with the caged needle bearings that came with my FSR MRP kit. An infrequent cleaning and relubing is all they've needed.
a fair amount of single pivot bikes have needle-bearing main pivots. My K2 did. My cheeta did. I don't know if my foes does.

The thing about ball bearings is there's a huge variety, there's literally hundreds of different kinds, and some that are very good at providing lateral rigidity, but they drive the price up and they aren't light. Needles can be done pretty light usually, but when you are using them for fairly small pivots (like the rear pivots on an FSR) they get harder to work with.
 

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Sounds more like poorly spec'd bushings from RM. Had the bearings on my Loco for 4 years now and not a peep. Titus says I ought to get about 10 years or so out of them. Think I'll believe that since I should be getting the same out of my ChrisKing headset too.

There are cheap bearings and good bearings. I'd say RM might have used some cheap ones.
 

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fred³ said:
Sounds more like poorly spec'd bushings from RM. Had the bearings on my Loco for 4 years now and not a peep. Titus says I ought to get about 10 years or so out of them. Think I'll believe that since I should be getting the same out of my ChrisKing headset too.

There are cheap bearings and good bearings. I'd say RM might have used some cheap ones.
yeah, the sad part is that cheap bearings vs expensive bearings are like .25 cents vs $3.00 dollars, sure 3 dollars is like 12x more expensive, but I know I'd pay to have better bearings on my bike :D
 

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"El Whatever"
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As someone said....

Needle should be OK for larger pivot points but for the smaller ones bushings get the edge.

Ball bearings are sweet but the small angle rotation makes more harm to them than to a bushing.

Someone else is right... there are bad bearings and good bearings and find it hard to think why bike makers are not getting Timken, German SKF's, Japanese NSK's or any other fine bearing. Well... there's the price but bought by the millions, the price would drop a lot and I will gladly pay 200 bucks more on a bike with a reputated brand bearings. Hey!! They can even sell later the bearings as repair kits and get more profit out of it!!

As I've said before... any good engineered part is good enough.
 
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