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Ceramic Bearing upgrade is it worth it????


Asterix
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Hi All

 

Advice please...I was wondering is there a real diffence by upgrading the cartridge bearings on my wheelset (Mavic cosmic carbone sl) to ceramic?

 

Also can anybody advice on what bearings it would take size/model. From what i can tell these are the model numbers but other sources give diffent results:

 

Hub: 1 x 61903

Rear Wheel: 2 x 608

Front Wheel: 2 x 61901

 

thanks

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Are you a podium finisher? If not, then you will not feel the difference. I think even as a podium finisher you will not feel the difference.

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obviously it will make a difference. You will be able to tell your friends about the difference, in both your wallet and your riding experience. In short show your commitment to your sport, and buy them.

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Simple answer - No.

 

Return on investment is not worth it.

 

Rolling smoothness is increased by only perhaps 2 % due to low RPM but price increase 300%

 

There is also no proof that it will last longer as the cups are still metal.

 

Hope that helps

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I have ceramic bearings in my BB in my race bike... and not in my other bike... the other bike does not spin sooo smoothly... could be that it is not installed quite so well... or that the ceramic bearings actually do make a difference...

 

To judge the difference is gonna be a bitch... but when I am struggling up a mountain and I know that there is nothing else to make this easier except my body... there are no more excuses... this kind of mind game on myself is a bit of a luxury... because I am just as fast with the other bike!

 

It just makes me feel betterclap.gifclap.gif

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It will make a difference because you know they are harder that the hardest steel.

 

and as JB pointed out, it still runs in a steel race. So the bearings will wear that out.

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Intresting advice..

 

so basically it comes down to a mind game and waste of money? :blink: :huh:

 

But did you not feel faster when you bought a bit of bling? I felt faster when a R200 Blackburn pump replaced my R90 BBB one.

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Intresting advice..

 

so basically it comes down to a mind game and waste of money? :blink: :huh:

 

It's probably the same as a Power Balance band. You spend the money after contemplating for a long time knowing that the difference (or not proven), but once you got them, you will feel much better. Also a bit like when I changed to my 29" - not sure if there is actually an improvement but hey... of course it is so much better!

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Very valid point given by da Butcher in that those ceramic balls still roll in a steel race, ergo any piece of dirt that gets in (and it will) will wear out the races, so I'm not really sure you'll get much more life out of them.

 

The only ceramic bearings I would consider, actually not just the bearings but the entire BB, is an Enduro XD15 BB (http://www.enduroforkseals.com/id332.html). I considered buying one as Rush Sports had them on special at about R1500, which is a ton of money for what I normally consider a consumable. Enduro use a different steel for the races which according to their information outlasts and is more corrosion resistant than the "normal" steels used for bearing races.

 

They make a great statement in their bumpf that the BB will outlast your frame, but only offer a 1 year warranty, which for a BB is pretty damn good.

 

As for the balls, being silicon nitride (the long name for ceramic) will for sure last much longer than steel, and couple with the harder steel for the races, should make for a longer life, assuming you do a little TLC now and then.

 

I wrote to Enduro asking them if I'd really experience any tangible benefits, this was the reply:

"I would be happy to shed some light on the bearings for you. The main difference between the XD-15 and the standard ceramic bearings in the longevity. The XD-15 is designed to be a more maintenance free bearing than standard ceramic bearings hence the reason that we offer a one year warranty on the BB. However all bearings need grease so what we tell most people is to lube your bearings whenever you change your chain. With the chain already off pulling the cranks off is never too much trouble. If you do this you should be able to get a few years out of the XD-15 BB."

 

In the end I left it as dropping 1.5k on a BB was just too much for me to swallow and with me not exactly being a threat to any podiums anytime soon, I figured my money was best spent elsewhere.

 

But... here's the thing; us mountainbikers spend absolute fortunes on bikes and components that we "need". All those insanely light carbon bits, the anodised blingy bits we stick on our bikes, etc, etc. So don't let anyone tell you you don't need ceramic bearings or you won't really feel difference. How much difference did you feel when you stuck on those KCNC bar-ends that weight less than a cigarette? I reckon f'all, right? So if you want them, get them, you'll "know" they are a major improvement because that's how we justify spending so much money on anything else we buy.

 

I'll still be buying that XD15 sometime - should shave at least 3 seconds off my time for the 3 Towers :D

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Schaeffler, the manufacturers of Campagnolo CULT ceramic bearings published a white paper with a friction comparison between their ceramic bearings and normal steel bearings. On a crank, it worked out to a saving of something like 0.5W at 100rpm and, so maybe a saving of 1-2W on a wheelset.

 

A major component of the saving was that the material used for the balls and races requires only a light oil lubrication, rather than grease. They also claimed that their ceramic bearings have a greatly improved operating life, compared to normal bearings. The anecdotal evidence I've seen for Campag BB bearings seems to back this up. I'm not sure it makes sense to pay 3x more for a set of bearings to get 1-2W and 1.5x times longer life.

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