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Smoothest Bearings

1877 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  jonowee
I borrowed a friends SS last year which had American Classic hubs on it. That was one of the smoothest hubs I've ever been on. Those wheels would turn forever it seemed like. If I ever go to the effort of building up a new wheel, it might as well be with the best bearing set that I can afford. Just wondering what the general opinion was on which hubset used the best bearings. If you could also give them (the hubs) a general cost rating as well ($-$$$$) that would be great. Thankx!
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anything with Campagnolo adjustable cup-and-cone bearings. was the Am. Classic hub ball bearing, or sealed cartridge? If the latter I would say that there are even smoother hubs out there. The old Campy Record high-flange track hubs I raced on come to mind. I used to lube the hubs and BB bearings, all adjustable loose balls, with sewing machine oil, which I also used on the Regina track chain. You could give the cranks a spin in the stand and the drivetrain would still be spinning 5 minutes later.
In general, any loose ball hub, properly adjusted and clean, will turn with less resistance than any sealed cartridge bearing.
Remember, smooth does not necessary equal least resistance. Phil Wood's sealed cartridge bearings are incredibly smooth, but due to their being packed with relatively thick green Phil grease, they have a tad more resistance than even cheaper cartridge bearings, and certainly more than most any loose ball setup. But for MTBing, quality of the seal, and the grease, is more important than having the absolute least resistance in the bearings. For track certainly, road time trialing, hour record attempts, etc. the least resistance is the way to go. Thus the sewing machine oil. If you value low resistance higher than longevity, just yank the rubber seals out of your shitmano hubs, bb and derailleur pulleys,and marvel at how much easler the drivetrain will turn. at least until you get in the dirt.
Oh which reminds me. Those Campy track bearings weren't "stock." The Old Trackie Trick was to clean out the hub, or BB, of all grease, with solvent, then pack the bearings with either simichrome polish, or Pearl Drops tooth polish. Then ride to polish the race surfaces. Then clean out the races, throw the old loose ball bearings away and add fresh new Grade 10 instrument quality bearings, and lube with sewing machine oil. That's what I did to achieve the 5 minute spin in the work stand. There's also something called "track slack" that involves leaving one loose ball out of each race in the hubs. The end result is slight play in the hub, but it rolls forever. The weight of a valve stem would make the rim rock back and forth seemingly forever. On others' bikes. I never used "track slack" on mine, as a noted mechanic the late Bill Woodull (sp?), told me it was a bad thing.
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I always prefer longevity over lightness, smoothness, etc...

I heard of DHers removing seals to help run smooth, then clean and repack the parts or replace wheels between runs.

Go sealed bearings. But there are instances where cup-&-cone has it's advantages, like with low-end bikes, it's easier and cheaper to make stuff run smooth again.
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