Wheel Bearings - Water/Weather Resistant and how to wash to reduce risk of damage?

DSK

Senior Member
I have case open and a wheel manufacturer, who has replied with some interesting points that, I was not aware of mechanically.

'... wheel 'x' uses low contact seals to reduce rolling resistance in the bearing. These are not resistant to water, so care must be exercised when washing that water does not enter the hub internals. If it does, it must be dried or, you run the risk of water penetrating the bearings and drastically reducing their life. ……………………… If you feel that the low contact seals are not suitable for your preferred maintenance habits, I would consider using - 2RS seal type bearings instead of -2RU.'

I keep my bikes clean and spot less but, do not use pressure washers or blast a water hose gun close upto the bike. I always blow dry it with a garden blower after rinsing. Neither are they abused or used in wet or rainy weather. Sunny days only. The current bearings are sealed, whilst there is no sign of play, noise or issues, there may be a potential bearing issue occurring under load.

So a few questions for you technically superior beings.....

1. How does one clean a bike (chain/cassette degrease and wash), with it all intact on the bike and prevent water getting into the hub internals?
2. What is a -2RS bearing? (or equivalent that I can buy for my road wheelset that would be resistant to water)
3. I am looking to get a basic road bike (e.g Specialized Allez/Giant Defy) to use as a hack this coming winter. What all weather wheelsets are available and what at the key features one should look for if bearing specifications are provided to protect again rain/water?
 
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I like Skol

Hold my beer and watch this....
Don't wash your bike! Works for me :crazy:
 

gbb

Legendary Member
Location
Peterborough
Im struggling to remember the designations but lets say a 6001-2RS is a standard bearing with 2x rubber re-inforced seals, pretty standard design. Those seals will of course introduce an element of friction.
I think 6001-2RSL or RSH (the SKF suffixes changed over the years i think) are the same bearings of course with low friction seals....and they do run more freely. As you say, the downside is they are perhaps less resistent to water, but tbf, ive never found it so, but maybe i havnt soaked mine enough with water, who knows ?

If you're mechanically apt, people consider these bearings 'sealed for life, no maintenance, but it neednt be so.
My Fulcrums have 6001-2RSLs fitted and maybe once a year i whip the axle out, clean the bearing out, re-pack with grease, re-insert the seal. They (although they don't get much use nowadays) are still running on low friction sealed bearings i fitted really quite some time ago and have done many thousands of miles. On Fulcrums they tend only to have a single seal anyway, the inboard side is unsealed so greasing is relatively easy.

My Ribble BB, Veloce outboard bearings, i sensed some grittiness in them. Remove the BB, flip out seal on the inboard side, clean, re grease, fit seal and away you go. They've run fine since.
The slight downside is as you remove the seals, inevitably you minutely damage them, making them more likely to allow ingress....but its that or you soon fit new bearings anyway. Ive had no problems my way.
 
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DSK

DSK

Senior Member
This new wheelset has only do about 200 miles since the sun broke out.
 

gbb

Legendary Member
Location
Peterborough
I'd agree cup n cone wheels for general winter riding. My old Shimano R500s, brought for £50 a set, cheap at the time did extremely well on my winter commuter, not spared any weather and were pretty bomb proof. I think they were Tiagra hubs so any modern version of them should be quite robust.
 
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DSK

DSK

Senior Member
The old wheelset is off. Once again the LB specialist said that there is a problem under load, such as spokes loosing tension or, a peculiar bearing issue that is not obvious. His comments regarding using a garden hose to rinse the bike and that water getting into the bearings was, 'that's utter boll*cks, the manufacturer is just looking for way to avoid a potential warranty claim'.
 
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DSK

DSK

Senior Member
Spokes all seem fine. Wheels seem to run true when not under load (upside down/bike stand). There is lateral wheel movement, bit like a bearing issue I had with my ageing Fulcrum 5 but, there is no clicking with the movement, the bearings sound good and the wheels do roll well. Its a very odd one this one. LBS thinks its spokes loosing tension under load or a very odd bearing issue. Awaiting update from manufacturer and retailer.

Identical new wheelset (out of my own pocket) fitted this morning and its back to being awesome....... brakes nipped back up so there is little travel on the lever again (we backed them off a couple of times over the last 2 weeks with the old wheelset).
 

gbb

Legendary Member
Location
Peterborough
How exactly did the original problem show itself DSK ?
While my R500s were brilliant wheels for the money...they weren't perfect and quite prone to flex, particually if you were giving it beans out the saddle. I'm wondering if the loss of tension you describe is straightforward wheel flex, something some wheels do suffer with.. I'm perhaps going off on a tangent, what exactly is your complaint with the wheels ?
 

Ajax Bay

Veteran
Location
East Devon
what exactly is your complaint with the wheels ?
See other thread @gbb . Sorry to cross-thread @DSK - but does seem odd. Of course spokes at the bottom loose tension under load, from (say) 1000N to about 700N (maybe 600N with those low-spoke-count wheels). But not so they'd go loose and cause side-to-side movement, beyond that which one would normally expect under climbing power.
 
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DSK

DSK

Senior Member
Basically fitted a new wheel set in Dec 2019 to my cherished bike. Didn't begin to ride the bike until some time later when the weather became good, and since its been used almost daily but, not covering seriously high mileages. No issues, very impressed for probably 3+ months. Then over the last two weeks, issues began. Noticed some brake rub on rear rim, brakes work bang on so backed them off. Noticed lateral movement on the rear wheel bit like a wheel bearing but, no clicking, noise or feel to suggest bearings. With the brakes backed off, there was evidence of the wheel hitting the rear brakes when out of the saddle. LBS took a look, said bearings seem spot on, spokes seem spot on, they run true without load so, probably loosing tension or a weird bearing issue under load. Contacted retailer and manufacturer, manufacturer replied with the comments in my original post.

Identical new wheel set bought, brakes put back to where they used to be, very close to the rims and maiden ride on them was like the previous wheel set before it developed the issues. There was a tangible difference between the faulty and replacement set.

This thread was started as I genuinely thought that a gentle rinse with a garden hose may be casing premature issues as I'd not expect a manufacturer to state some BS about washing my bike. LBS did the wheel swap with me at their side and they said I've been fed a load of BS about washing my bike using a garden hose regardless of the bearing type.
 

gbb

Legendary Member
Location
Peterborough
Sounds like wheel flex I used to get with the R500s. I couldn't detect anything unusual by manipulating individual spokes and they ran very true with no load but as I said, give it beans and youd feel it, particularly on the front on mine I seem to remember but I'd be out of the saddle climbing so rocking the bike side to side.
My Fulcrum 5s have never exhibited this, solid as a rock.
Wheel bearings are as you say, BS from the sound of it, I use low friction seals but dont find their seals any worse than standard ones.
 
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