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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a recently purchased Epic (say 3 to 4 months, half a dozen rides a week)...and I just tore down the swingarm for check and maint. I found that three of the four top link bearing were shot, and the rest were on the way out. Granted, I'm an agressive decender, but this seems early for having to replace a bearing set on the rear triangle.

I'm wondering if others have had the same issue? Is there an upgrade or better bearing set available. I was thinking of switching to aerospace grade or roller/pin bearings if I could find them in the right size. Or, if that's been tried, should I just grit my teeth and bear a 60 dollar replacement every few months. I love the way the bike rides, but I fear its going to end up a garage queen or on ebay if the frame eats parts like this.

Ideas?
 

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Welcome to the club!

All four of my shock link and the four drop out sealed bearings froze after three months of riding my 04 SJ FSR. The rear suspension would not move when I unbolted the shock. The shop I purchased the bike from supplied a full bearing kit for my bike but did not include the labor to install them. Like my SJ's shock link, your Epic's link with four small sealed bearings and four aluminum bolts is designed to be lightweight and in my opinion not very durable. Removing the bearings from the link is the toughest part of the job, which is accomplished with sockets and a vice. After the bearings are removed, set the link back on the bike and press each bearing into its bore by installing the bearing bolt and slowly tighten until it bottoms out in the bore. Make sure that the bearing is aligned and square to its bore before you start to tighten the bolt otherwise the bolt can strip or worse the frame can strip and the link and bolt can bend.

Before you attempt any of this yourself, demand that your bike shop perform the service under warranty. If the shop resists then contact Specialized directly to clear up the matter because your bike has a one-year warranty on the bearings and performing the service yourself could void the one-year and the lifetime frame warranty. Luckily my replacement bearings lasted two years before I had to replace them again.

A quick stopgap measure would be to pop the seals and add grease to the races until you get new bearings.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just to respond to the two things. Given that "decents" are as much a part of cross country riding as "climbs"...I would expect that a dedicated and high-end cross country machine could do both to a reasonable degree. Its not like I'm dropping 6-footers here, I'm riding to the edge of my skill level as generated over almost 20 years of sustained mountain bike experiance. The frustrating thing here is that of the 15 of those years riding hard tails, I earned the right to go fast. Now I get on a ride that *should* let me go even faster (and costing more toboot)...and the f-ing thing can't hack it. Its making me testy. :madman:

Second. The installation approach noted *sounds* like it puts installation pressure (ie. pressing force) onto the inner race. I have to take things apart to see for sure though and reserve the right to change my mind on this. It sounds like an elegant way to get everything aligned and pressed without having to use a press on each cartridge however. Hopefully, if I can assure nothing will be pushing on the inner race, I'll end up doing it this way. Thanks for the tip.

Finally, as much as I would loooove to have Specialized pay for this, I am on a riding trip now, and I think I'm going to have to eat it and put them in myself. I have to say though...looking at the Enduro and other "all-mountain" bikes in their line...the basic design of this suspension approach seems to have been repeated. I'm a little skeptical about it. Has anyone had similar issues on the more "robust" bikes?
 
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