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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2020 Marin Rift Zone. Recently I've noticed some creaking and after some troubleshooting I think I've narrowed it down to one of the MultiTrac linkage bearings. Marin sells the bearing kit for $25 (6 bearings) but they don't indicate the quality/brand/etc. The bearing size is 69012RS 12x24x6. Looking at a local bearing supplier, they have the following brands: Koyo, Peer, Rit, Bearings Ltd, and EBC. These are about $10-20 per bearing. And then what I think is the equivalent SKF (it has a different model number, 61901-2RS1, is $53/bearing. Enduro doesn't seem to have one this size (or I can't find it at least).

I haven't ridden this bike thousands of miles and I'm a little surprised that the bearings would be going bad already. But it has been dusty this year and I also had an issue with my BB bearings recently that was caused by that.

So are any of the above bearings worthwhile? My gut tells me that the Marin bearings are probably cheap, but does cost = quality for the others?
 

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6901 is a very common bearing size. 2RS just refers to “2 rubber seals”.

i would go with full compliment or “MAX” bearings for the linkage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys! Searching by 6901 without 2RS yields a huge amount more results.
 

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Of the brands listed in the OP, SKF is top tier. Koyo and RIT are reputable. I'm unfamiliar with the others. Opinion based on 20 years buying bearings for industrial equipment.

Regarding seals, if you need seal on just outboard side, the RS suffix gets you that. As stated above, 2RS gets you the seal on both sides.
 

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You need full complement bearings. Almost twice as many balls as normal caged bearings Codes used to denote Full Complement include VRS, FS and MAX.

You can also pack more grease into them to make them last longer. Flick off one seal, load it with grease and put the seal back on. It'll push grease through to the other side.
 

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6901 is the same as 61901. I would always go with 2RS when water can get to the bearings.
Max for linkage bearings.
Bearings are really cheap, from 1€ if you buy 2rs chinese, 10€ for Max.
Better buy the good ones from SKF, INA or japanese. But even there you have different quality, like abec3 or abec5, or stainless steel.

I would stick to the original kit from Marin.
 

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“Real” bearing manufacturers rarely use the ABEC grading system which seems to have been introduced for consumers. A company like SKF or *** will have their own internal standards + ISO/DIN equivalents and likely only make one “quality level” but sometimes different internal clearances like CN, C3, etc.
 

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I’ve increased the life of the bearings on my 5 by making a mud-flap from motorbike innertube zip-tied to the downtube to shield them from everything thrown from the front.Popping the seals, and packing with EP type grease also helps, as does avoiding any sort of pressure washing(though experience working as a mechanic tells me nobody EVER uses a jetwash on their bikes, especially not those dry and rusty bearings that you know were packed with grease only a couple of weeks ago) 🙂
 

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69XX series bearings are a decent size for handling large loads so you should be able to get a full complement bearing from SKF that will work very well. I don't think I've used the other brands much if at all.

So many suspension pivot bearings are 68XX or smaller which are terrible and Enduro are about the only place to buy MAX-style bearings in that series as the larger industrial brands would never dream of using a bearing like that in this application. In those cases you are going to chew through bearings regardless of what brand you use
 

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69XX series bearings are a decent size for handling large loads so you should be able to get a full complement bearing from SKF that will work very well. I don't think I've used the other brands much if at all.

So many suspension pivot bearings are 68XX or smaller which are terrible and Enduro are about the only place to buy MAX-style bearings in that series as the larger industrial brands would never dream of using a bearing like that in this application. In those cases you are going to chew through bearings regardless of what brand you use
Engineers are not all equal in intelligence or experience and some bicycle engineers insist on specifying bearings that are undersized (not properly load rated) for the job--even when advised against it. It mostly happens with wheel makers trying to lighten the wheels, but it can happen with suspension pivot bearings as well. You are correct that any given size in a MAX (full complement: no cages/spacers inside the cartridge and "maximum" amount of balls crammed in) is going to be significantly stronger in comparison to its "caged" counter-part.

We have bearing kits for many frames and they are always comprised of MAX bearings (when available). Some pivot bearings are massive and don't require the MAX designation. BTW, we offer free bearings to those that supply data for kits we don't have in our database.
 

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I just buy Phil Wood standard bearings since the good brands like NSK or SKF are hard to get a hold of. People here keep saying 'just Google it' but I've spend literal hours with part number searches only to end up on industrial ordering systems that only take bulk orders, or said bearings are $50 each for some reason. I don't want to use eBay for this stuff either. Phil Wood bearings are made in Japan and is a rebranded NSK. They last an incredibly long time and they only time they come off is when I need to regrease them and press them back in.

Unfortunately, some bearings don't exist outside of the Enduro brand. The SB130/140/150/165 bearing kits are all specialty bearings so I have no choice to use Enduro. But I pack them with Phil Wood grease before installing to make sure they last longer.

I prefer bearings with carriers since they spin freely when properly lubricated. I've noticed that 'MAX' or 'full compliment' bearings without carriers tend to seize up a lot sooner because the balls pack in to each other. Adding extra grease can delay this, but the balls will eventually pack together and seize up. This isn't an issue with bearings that have carriers.
 

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I prefer bearings with carriers since they spin freely when properly lubricated. I've noticed that 'MAX' or 'full compliment' bearings without carriers tend to seize up a lot sooner because the balls pack in to each other. Adding extra grease can delay this, but the balls will eventually pack together and seize up. This isn't an issue with bearings that have carriers.
This literally makes no sense. The bearings seize because they pack into each other? A seized bearing is a bearing that is locked up. The ball bearings in a MAX cartridge are almost always in contact with each other except for maybe a small gap or two somewhere in the ring of balls. In order to lock up, a physical change inside the cartridge would have to take place. One possibility would be corrosion (water intrusion) that would form deposits between the balls or bonding them to the races and each other. Another would be dried up grease that would form hardened ramps between the ball bearings. A badly worn bearing with metal particles or broken balls could cause seizing up as well. But the balls don't simply "pack into each other."

Also, any of those possible causes of seizing listed above apply to caged bearings as well. There is more room for extra grease inside a caged cartridge, so that could be a plus, but you fail to understand the nature of a suspension pivot and why a MAX bearing is much better suited.

A pivot bearing only moves a few degrees back and forth. In a caged bearing, that means only a small percentage of the balls is bearing the load. With a MAX bearing, several more balls are sharing that load. They are much stronger in a pivot application.
 

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This literally makes no sense. The bearings seize because they pack into each other? A seized bearing is a bearing that is locked up. The ball bearings in a MAX cartridge are almost always in contact with each other except for maybe a small gap or two somewhere in the ring of balls. In order to lock up, a physical change inside the cartridge would have to take place. One possibility would be corrosion (water intrusion) that would form deposits between the balls or bonding them to the races and each other. Another would be dried up grease that would form hardened ramps between the ball bearings. A badly worn bearing with metal particles or broken balls could cause seizing up as well. But the balls don't simply "pack into each other."

Also, any of those possible causes of seizing listed above apply to caged bearings as well. There is more room for extra grease inside a caged cartridge, so that could be a plus, but you fail to understand the nature of a suspension pivot and why a MAX bearing is much better suited.

A pivot bearing only moves a few degrees back and forth. In a caged bearing, that means only a small percentage of the balls is bearing the load. With a MAX bearing, several more balls are sharing that load. They are much stronger in a pivot application.
I'm sorry, I should have been more clear. The balls in max bearings tend to pack in to each other leaving a gap that's not quite big enough to fit another ball in. I've pulled seized bearings. Many of them. I pre-pack my new bearings with good waterproof grease, and water intrusion isn't a big issue. The outside of the bearing might have surface rust, but the inside is still mostly fine with grease. The only thing wrong is that the balls aren't evenly spaced out and they're packed in to each other and seized. Sometimes, I take a drill to spin the bearing out and it just delays seizing. Could this be why they're seized? Not according to you. But your job is to sell these bearings and be smug to others while doing so. So you'll have to excuse me for questioning your replies and motives.

Trek bikes use caged bearings from the factory and their bearings last me a very, very long time. I replaced enduros with Phil Wood caged bearings where I can and they're lasting an incredible amount of time as well. 2 years and still not seized or have any play. I guess theoretically, max bearings would take more load, but never once have I told myself, 'man I could really use pivot bearings with the ability to handle more load than these stupid caged ones'.

Long story short, I've had more enduro max bearings seize on me in a short period than literally any other brand of bearings. You know how long Trek factory caged bearings lasted me until they seized up or got crunchy? 3 years. I know you've got to sell these to pay the bills, but touting them as the best for pivot bearings because 'they handle more load' isn't the best selling point. Most people would rather have bearings that spin smoothly for many months than have the strongest bearing.

Not saying that enduros suck. They're serviceable when you don't have a choice because they're the only ones that make specialty bike bearings and pack them full of good grease. But saying they're the best for pivot applications raises a few eyebrows. And you're not winning customers by being an ass about it.
 

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I'm sorry, I should have been more clear. The balls in max bearings tend to pack in to each other leaving a gap that's not quite big enough to fit another ball in. I've pulled seized bearings. Many of them. I pre-pack my new bearings with good waterproof grease, and water intrusion isn't a big issue. The outside of the bearing might have surface rust, but the inside is still mostly fine with grease. The only thing wrong is that the balls aren't evenly spaced out and they're packed in to each other and seized. Sometimes, I take a drill to spin the bearing out and it just delays seizing. Could this be why they're seized? Not according to you. But your job is to sell these bearings and be smug to others while doing so. So you'll have to excuse me for questioning your replies and motives.

Trek bikes use caged bearings from the factory and their bearings last me a very, very long time. I replaced enduros with Phil Wood caged bearings where I can and they're lasting an incredible amount of time as well. 2 years and still not seized or have any play. I guess theoretically, max bearings would take more load, but never once have I told myself, 'man I could really use pivot bearings with the ability to handle more load than these stupid caged ones'.

Long story short, I've had more enduro max bearings seize on me in a short period than literally any other brand of bearings. You know how long Trek factory caged bearings lasted me until they seized up or got crunchy? 3 years. I know you've got to sell these to pay the bills, but touting them as the best for pivot bearings because 'they handle more load' isn't the best selling point. Most people would rather have bearings that spin smoothly for many months than have the strongest bearing.

Not saying that enduros suck. They're serviceable when you don't have a choice because they're the only ones that make specialty bike bearings and pack them full of good grease. But saying they're the best for pivot applications raises a few eyebrows. And you're not winning customers by being an ass about it.
I see. Questioning your descriptions and presenting facts is being as ass. I said your description made no sense. It's true but I'm sorry if that offended you. Should I let factually incorrect statements go unchallenged so I don't hurt feelings? In your last post, you made another incorrect statement. No, Trek does not use mostly caged bearings in their suspension pivots. A majority of their suspension bearings are made by Enduro, and they are MAX.

Of course the ball bearings in a non-caged bearing are not evenly spaced. There is no reason for them to be. The balls being in contact with each other has nothing to do with seizing. Is the grease dry? What are you actually finding inside the bearing that is keep it from rotating?

Regarding bearing strength, if a caged bearing is holding up fine under regular, normal riding conditions for years at a time it is by definition strong enough. But many riders have bearing failures due to caged bearings that do not hold up to the load. When they switch to a full-complement bearing, the bearings quit failing. As I said in my first post, there are plenty of large caged bearings used effectively in a pivot application because the bearing is large enough to handle the load, so this does not apply to all bearings. Also, some double-row bearings are caged but plenty strong for pivots because of the extra row.

I don't work for Enduro. I can sell any brand of bearings I want to at this point. When a bearing fails there is a reason and once that reason is identified, in most cases it can be corrected. I find most criticisms of Enduro bearings to be due to comparing apples to oranges. For example, "My Enduro bearings constantly corroded but then I switched to SKF stainless steel bearing and the corrosion stopped!" Yeah, well, switching to a 440C stainless Enduro bearing would have stopped the corrosion as well...
 

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I see. Questioning your descriptions and presenting facts is being as ass. I said your description made no sense. It's true but I'm sorry if that offended you. Should I let factually incorrect statements go unchallenged so I don't hurt feelings? In your last post, you made another incorrect statement. No, Trek does not use mostly caged bearings in their suspension pivots. A majority of their suspension bearings are made by Enduro, and they are MAX.

Of course the ball bearings in a non-caged bearing are not evenly spaced. There is no reason for them to be. The balls being in contact with each other has nothing to do with seizing. Is the grease dry? What are you actually finding inside the bearing that is keep it from rotating?

Regarding bearing strength, if a caged bearing is holding up fine under regular, normal riding conditions for years at a time it is by definition strong enough. But many riders have bearing failures due to caged bearings that do not hold up to the load. When they switch to a full-complement bearing, the bearings quit failing. As I said in my first post, there are plenty of large caged bearings used effectively in a pivot application because the bearing is large enough to handle the load, so this does not apply to all bearings. Also, some double-row bearings are caged but plenty strong for pivots because of the extra row.

I don't work for Enduro. I can sell any brand of bearings I want to at this point. When a bearing fails there is a reason and once that reason is identified, in most cases it can be corrected. I find most criticisms of Enduro bearings to be due to comparing apples to oranges. For example, "My Enduro bearings constantly corroded but then I switched to SKF stainless steel bearing and the corrosion stopped!" Yeah, well, switching to a 440C stainless Enduro bearing would have stopped the corrosion as well...
I'm merely presenting my experiences. I'm sorry you feel like you have to be a smug asshole and school me with your 'facts'. Facts generally come with documentation to prove they're facts. Ideally, documentation from a third party and NOT the manufacturer.

My personal experience says that enduro bearings have seized on me more than any other brand. I pre-pack them with waterproof bearing grease before installation. They aren't dry when I remove the seals. Nothing has gotten through the seals. I'm sorry that's so hard to accept. I'm not the only one with these experiences either.

I don't know what to tell you about my personal Trek bikes from the past. They were a 2018 Trek Fuel EX and a 2019 Slash. Both of which had fully caged bearings in all pivots. Could it have changed now? Possibly. But I no longer own Treks so I can't say anything about their newer bikes.

Sorry for questioning the great RWC. I'll make sure to not do that again once you produce documents that show just how much stronger full compliment bearings are than caged ones. Perhaps with controlled testing as well. Or should I just take your word for it because you sell stuff and scream louder than me?
 

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I'm merely presenting my experiences. I'm sorry you feel like you have to be a smug asshole and school me with your 'facts'. Facts generally come with documentation to prove they're facts. Ideally, documentation from a third party and NOT the manufacturer.

I don't know what to tell you about my personal Trek bikes from the past. They were a 2018 Trek Fuel EX and a 2019 Slash. Both of which had fully caged bearings in all pivots. Could it have changed now? Possibly. But I no longer own Treks so I can't say anything about their newer bikes.

Sorry for questioning the great RWC. I'll make sure to not do that again once you produce documents that show just how much stronger full compliment bearings are than caged ones. Perhaps with controlled testing as well. Or should I just take your word for it because you sell stuff and scream louder than me?
I'm screaming now? Please take a breath and engage in a discussion without getting so worked up. Look, let's take Enduro out of the equation entirely. Full complement bearings (MAX) vs caged bearings with regard to load ratings is just an engineering fact. An SKF full-complement bearing has a higher load rating than the same sized SKF caged cartridge bearing.
 

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I'm screaming now? Please take a breath and engage in a discussion without getting so worked up. Look, let's take Enduro out of the equation entirely. Full complement bearings (MAX) vs caged bearings with regard to load ratings is just an engineering fact. An SKF full-complement bearing has a higher load rating than the same sized SKF caged cartridge bearing.
Sure. Fine. I believe you.

Still doesn't explain why enduro max bearings seize at a much higher rate than any other brand, in my experience.
 

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Sure. Fine. I believe you.

Still doesn't explain why enduro max bearings seize at a much higher rate than any other brand, in my experience.
Well, I wish you had one of the bearings in question available and could send it to me, because I really would like to know the cause. The best I can guess from the description is an issue with bad grease that was hardening.
 

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Well, I wish you had one of the bearings in question available and could send it to me, because I really would like to know the cause. The best I can guess from the description is an issue with bad grease that was hardening.
In that case, when I come across one, I'll make sure to hit you up and send some to you. I have to replace or unseize, then degrease and re-pack Enduro bearings every 6 months. I hope you understand my frustration with the bearings(not you, personally). It's tough to not place the blame on a certain brand or type when you have bearings on another bike that's lasted for 2-3 years with minimal intervention and a bike with only enduro bearings and requires more periodic attention and work. Though in my experience, packing even brand new enduro bearings with bearing specific waterproof grease increases its life by a factor of months. The brand new ones installed on a new frame don't seem to last very long.

I actually have a new frame I just built up and the bearings are enduro from the factory. I didn't bother to pack them with extra grease when I built the frame up. Once the rainy season and winter rolls around, I'm going to replace them, and I'll let you know if any of them are seized. I expect about 500-600 miles on those bearings. Mostly dry, a few times caught in the rain. Never power washed, rarely regular washed. So a typical non-babied and non-thrashed MTB.
 
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