How to Choose Your Bearings
Radial vs Angular Bearings
Radial are the most common as they are cheaper. They attempt to carry the load in a truly radial direction, which is vertical in terms of hubs, cranks, suspension pivots or derailleur pulleys.
Angular contact bearings require tight tolerances because they are directional. There is an inside and outside component and they can be compared to the old-style cup-and-cone systems in terms of design.
What are ABEC 3 and ABEC 5 ratings?
ABEC Ratings (Annual Bearing Engineers Committee – 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9) which means ‘good, better, best.
Rating 7 to 9 is for precision equipment that rotates thousands or hundreds per a minute which is over kill for a cyclists. This you will most see in drills and machine equipment.
ABEC ratings (Annular Bearing Engineer’s Committee) are standards to which each bearing must pass many tests in order to meet the scheduled requirements including noise testing at high RPM, extremely tight tolerances for the internal diameter, outer diameter, roundness of ball, trueness of races, and surface finish for all of the above.
ABEC 3 Bearings
Grade 10 Chromium steels balls are 10/1,000,000 round, twice as round as the industry standard at it’s highest level.
ABEC 5 Bearings
Grade 5 Chromium steels balls are 5/1,000,000 round, these are military level specification, used for precision equipment.
Designed specifically for suspension pivots, Enduro Bearings pioneered MAX type bearings almost 20 years ago for bicycles to address the challenges associated with mountain bike pivots. These bearings have 35-40% more load capacity than standard radial bearings.
Ceramic Hybrid (CH) ABEC-5 Grade
Ceramic bearings are not only here to stay, they are now the standard, period. When carbon fiber was first introduced, there were many riders still on steel bikes in the Tour de France, but now every racing bike is made of carbon fiber.
Angular Contact (A/C)
For the ultimate bottom bracket bearings, and for many hubs, these are the best bearings available for speed, balance, and longevity. Because they utilize a large surface area design, the load from all the balls is shared equally at all times, spinning faster than any radial bearing where only 30% of the balls may be taking the load.
ZERØ Ceramic Bearings
Proven time and again in World Cup race conditions, the ZERØ Ceramic bearings are the ultimate race day weapon. Oversized Grade 3 balls roll on races which are ground to a mirror finish after receiving Magnetite and then Cryogenic treatments for hardness and longevity.