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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I built a new '04 Spider XVP last month, and am totally happy with my choice except for one thing: pivot bearing pollution. The bike has 8 rides on it (one 50+ miler, the rest in the teens and low 20's). I was aware of the additional attention the VPP may need, due to so many pivots. I don't wash my bikes, just dry-brush them to remove the dirt, and keep everything well lubed.

But I did not expect the bearings to fail after 8 rides.

Riding yesterday I noticed one of the lower pivot bolts (the one running thru the frame pivot) started to back-out. I thought this was odd since I had checked the tightness couple of rides ago (loosen the set screws, tighten the pivot bolts, re-tighten the set screws). After taking it apart last nite, I noticed I couldn't finger-turn the inner races on any of the 4 lower pivot bearings. Hmmm. Pop-ed out the seals and GAAAHHH, they were completely full of crud.

So, I removed the 4 pivot bearings and thoroughly cleaned and re-packed 'em with high quality industrial grease (Lubriplate 630AA, excellent stuff, used it with great success for years). But unfortunately at least 2 of the bearings are very rough/crunchy. Feels like the balls indexed at some point and now have flat spots.

I read the "Bearing Myth" post, and totally understand and agree. But crud destroys bearings, even when they're not spinning.

I live in Western Washington. Yeah, I know, wet climate and all. But its been a really dry year, so the bike has not been subjected to extremely wet conditions. And only 8 rides! My Ventana El Chamuco went a year w/out any pivot issues up here.

So, now what? Am I stuck doing pivot R&R every other ride? Anyone have suggestions for alternate bearings, or any other fixes that can help keep the crud out? I'm hoping that tightly packing the bearings with high quality grease will reduce the pollution.

Thanks for any advice.
 

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I don't think the bearings actually failed. It seems more like the bearings just came with substandard grease or just a lack of it. Its not that uncommon for bearings to sometimes come low in grease. Unfortunately the only way to find out is to take them apart when new and check each one. Clean out all the crud from the bearings with a good degreaser or solvent until they are shinny like new. Pack them nicely in some thick quality waterproof grease and you should be able to salvage them all. Don't worry about them feeling notchy. I think the problem is not necessarily the bearing stress or anything. I think the fact that the bottom linkage is slung below the BB level makes it more susceptible to getting more crap thrown on the bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
more bearings

Thanks. Yeah, I should've known better. Stock bearings usually come with that wimpy clear or transparent blue goo. And usually not very much.

I cleaned and lubed 'em real well this time. But still a couple of them were pretty rough.

I put some red medium loctite on the threads. Then made sure the 2 set screws were tight.

I noticed I had to be careful how tight I cranked on the pivot bolts as it seems you can bind the linkage w/out tightening very hard. I guess that's what the set screws are for (duh). I removed the shock bolt and tightened until the rear triangle side play was gone, and the link/pivots moved freely. Just seems like the setup shouldn't bind so easy.

Mine's an 04 frame. What are the "updated pivot bolts"?
 

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b.hasenjaeger said:
Thanks. Yeah, I should've known better. Stock bearings usually come with that wimpy clear or transparent blue goo. And usually not very much.

I cleaned and lubed 'em real well this time. But still a couple of them were pretty rough.

I put some red medium loctite on the threads. Then made sure the 2 set screws were tight.

I noticed I had to be careful how tight I cranked on the pivot bolts as it seems you can bind the linkage w/out tightening very hard. I guess that's what the set screws are for (duh). I removed the shock bolt and tightened until the rear triangle side play was gone, and the link/pivots moved freely. Just seems like the setup shouldn't bind so easy.

Mine's an 04 frame. What are the "updated pivot bolts"?
The new bolts are supposed to be solid and have a groove where the set screw goes to not allow them to back out.
 
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