Cup and Cone or Sealed cartridge bearing?

JamesT20 Posts: 16
edited April 2011 in Workshop
looking into getting a new wheel set, what are the advantages/disadantages of cup and cone or a sealed cartridge bearing?


  • jairaj
    jairaj Posts: 3,009
    Cup and Cone you can adjust and tighten the bearings as they wear out to keep them lasting a bit longer and always running smooth. You can also access the bearings to keep them greased up or clean. But if not done properly, ie too tight or not tight enough you can cause premature wear.

    Cartridge bearings, there is nothing really to adjust. throw away and replace when bearings have worn out and gone wonky. No adjusting needed, just taken them out or put them in job done. So you can't really wrong, just means when they are slightly past best you can't re-tune them back into the "sweet spot".

    But don't confuse cup and cone as being non-sealed. Many people think cup and cone bearings are not sealed, it depends on the design, some are some are not. For eg Shimano Hubs are made from sealed cup and cone bearings.
  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    all bearings are sealed.

    or are you meaning cartridge bearings? some are good some are poor.
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  • unixnerd
    unixnerd Posts: 2,864
    I loath cup and cone bearings. Fiddly messy things, just serviced one earlier tonight. I'm an engineer and my hobby is tinkering with classic cars so I'm no stranger to a spanner. But this is one job I'd rather avoid. My mountain bike uses cartridge bearings, one pound each and seconds to change. I know which I prefer.

    What's the normal service interval on cup and cone bearings? I got these wheels second hand, they're in superb cosmetic condition, I doubt they've ever seen bad weather. I won't be putting many miles on them myself as they're for my tourer. The tourer's old cup and cone cheapish Shimano hubs have done about 7000 miles and have worn a nasty groove into the cup. I really should have serviced them a bit more! I suspect the majority of such wheels get little attention.

    The one I've just done shows no signs of wear but is still very slightly rough, not smooth as silk but getting there. I wonder if I should have used new ball bearings? Only the second time I've done the job, went a lot better than the first time! - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
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  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    When I took my RS10 hubs to bits after 3 winters they were still spotless inside, so the seals evidently work well. Just regreased and reassembled and smooth as silk still. I've never tried cartridge bearings.
  • JamesT20
    JamesT20 Posts: 16
    one of the reasons i was asking is im looking to get a new wheel set for a cyclocross bike and whether either bearing type would suit better? what is going to last longer taking a bit of a pounding?
  • careful
    careful Posts: 720
    Most modern hubs have some attempt to seal out ingress of water. Some seals are fairly effective (eg Fulcrum 3 or 5 and most Shimano), some (eg Fulcrum 7) not so good. I guess a cyclo cross bike may be fairly exposed to wet and mucky conditions. Cup and cone have the advantage of being a lot easier to clean, dry and re-grease the bearings if water/dirt does get in. On the other hand this is all a bit of a pain so well sealed cartridges would be just as good. I guess the worst choice in your case would be poorly sealed cartridges.
  • JamesT20
    JamesT20 Posts: 16
    thanks for the feed back, been have a look around at wheel set and Fulcrum have produced CX versions of there raceing 5 and 7 wheels, which they are saying have got a double gasket to help keep the muck out so I guess somthing like this would be worth a look at, as apposted to a standard road hub/seal set up.