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Does it make any difference if they are FREE?
I have a couple weeks pause before I can get back to the Peugeot re-build....

I've been debating asking this in open forum, because I don't have any background in this sort of thing...... and it seems this subject can become a potential Hot Topic I've seen on multiple threads..

My Question is about the use of Loose Ceramic Ball Bearings....... In an old Peugeot Road Bike, in Axles, Crank, and Pedals.

Not: "Will I feel anything?"
Not: "Are they better?"
Not: "Is the expense worth it?"

But: "If they are Given to me FREE, are Ceramic Bearings worthwhile????"

I'm not a racer...
I'm not athletic...
I'm 67 years old...
Bike is a lower end Peugeot U09 (I think)...
Wife & I ride 5-10 miles, and call it a weekend...
This is the first bearing overhaul in 45 or so years. I've had to replace front axle & Cones... Rear looks good... Haven't opened up Crank or pedals yet...

"FREE? You Ask??" I fixed a laptop motherboard (fuse) for an IT guy at work, and he was knows I'm rebuilding an older bike and offered to buy Black Grade 5 Bearings as a "Thank You"..... So I calculated number & Size for Axles, Crank, & Pedals... and said "Thank You"...

and I'm waiting for them...

I forgot to include headset, but that bearing set was replaced/lubed about 10 or so years ago, when I did new wheel rims.

I already surmise I probably won't notice anything... but cones may wear less... ??

With the $$$ of the bearings removed from the discussion....
What arguments against Black ceramic bearings remain, over stock #25 BB?

Like I said, I have 2 weeks before I start in on the overhaul.... I'd like to have the benefit of your answers...


As a Mechanical Design Engineer I will answer: no.

The main issue for a casual cyclist is that they will require more frequent adjustment; ceramics have a different thermal coefficient of expansion than steel, so as the temperature changes, the fit of the bearings will change.

My biking focus is commuting - 10 miles each way, I am a 50+ y/o, BIG guy, my bikes are 70s/80s/90s with modern components. I build my own wheels (for durability). I use 52100 (bearing steel) balls in my bearings, with boat trailer wheel bearing grease. My bikes are put together for reliability.
Thanks for your info... In my snooping for information about this, most Ceramic info is on assemblies, not loose bearings in Cone & Race situations.

I had read that there was a difference in thermal expansion between steel and ceramic, but I just assumed it would not make any difference in a bicycle....
Unless you are extremely picky about adjustment thermal expansion in balls is not worth worrying about.
Convince you're friend to buy you a nice set of tires, they will make about 1000% more difference than ceramic bearings.
(11-03-2014, 05:24 PM)DaveM Wrote:  Convince you're friend to buy you a nice set of tires, they will make about 1000% more difference than ceramic bearings.

Excellent suggestion Smile
I replaced tires on both bikes earlier in the Spring...
Oh well....
I've got Steel replacements....
Koolstop Salmon brake pads?
KMC X8.93 chains?
Sunlite TR tubes?
Headlights with CREE diodes?
Planet Bike Blinky tail lights?
Good suggestions, but he had already ordered them a week before I posted this thread...
In addition to bearings and lube & cleaning, my plans included improved brake pads... I actually found some ebay brake pads that improved contact by about 40% surface area, and are long enough they are angled to match the curvature of the rim.... Don't know their name, but the first one worked so good (after the arm was adjusted so entire pad contacted rim simultaneously)... I ordered 3 more, so all the bikes brakes would be updated this winter...
There has been comments that safety levers don't have the pressure that others (Presently out of reach on turn down bars) so an increase in pad surface area seems to compensate for this, at least did on the experimental rear wheel placement this Summer...
Chains, now that they have been cleaned and oiled, shift beautifully...
Tire tubes were whatever was on sale at the time.. This last spring.
Picture shows the LED head and tail lights.. and my Aldi Food Store seat Smile!

Anyone else have an opinion on Loose Ceramic Bearings in an old Cone&Race useage?
I found another bike shop, Hundreds of miles from my house.... I figured I'd just go in and ask about ceramics.... I have nothing to loose.... and might get a better handle on things...

Guy seemed honest, in saying that they may be good in some instances... but they are $$ and I probably wouldn't notice a difference with them, which I have heard so many times, I'm taking as gospel. He then asked about the bike I ride and frequency of rides.. Infrequent Road riding.

I tossed in the 'What if they are Free?' senerio.... and after a pause he said.... "If you are OK with checking them and replacing them if the others don't work out, I don't see why not? Thank your buddy!"

I then approached him (He's on the other side of town from the guy I spoke with who mentioned electrolysis in another thread).... about the Electrolysis aspect of Ball Bearings, vs Ceramic.
He said Electrolysis is incorrect...
He says the issue is Conductance.
Ceramics NON-conductive (inert). Therefore cannot suffer from oxidation and rust as traditional steel ball bearing in a poor environment, though this may not occur except under poor maintenance or storage for long times.
So then I asked if that conduction caused the cone pitting I saw.... "Most probably pitting of cones is more contact related, rather than rust"... Seeing that I also found a slightly bent axle, and had replaced the rims many years ago... I seem to have answered my own question, but I just wanted confirmation from multiple sources....

I think I'm getting a better idea of the overall subject based upon the multiple conversations...
Well, I guess I can't say Free Any More!!

My mistake on the front bearings cost $17.00 for a bag of 30 G5 3/16" Black Ceramic bearings.

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