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How to Ensure Cartridge Bearings are Installed Square?

buckmulliganbuckmulligan Posts: 1,031
edited February 2018 in Workshop
I've been doing a bit of off-season maintenance on my nice bike and decided to replace the hub bearings as they were very stiff. Bought a whole new set of cartridge bearings and installed them at the weekend, but I noticed that the front hub was still a bit stiff and the axle catches at various points as you spin it.

The hub is a Roval-branded one, which I gather is basically the same as various DT Swiss models and has a really basic construction with a lipped axle and a couple of cartridge bearings that press directly into the hub-shell on either side:


I used the axle to press the old bearings out and a perfectly sized socket to press the new ones in using the outer races; no hammering involved at any stage so I'd like to think they're not damaged! Initially I thought the drag and the catching of the axle was down to the bearings being pressed in too tightly and effectively pre-loading the inner-bearing race too much, so again, I used the axle to press one side out ever-so-slightly so that there was a tiny bit of lateral movement in the axle but the drag and catching are still there.

Any ideas what could be causing this? My current thought is it that the two bearings aren't in exactly square to one-another, is this possible/likely and how could I remedy it? Just thinking that I don't want to have to replace the bearings again in another few months because they weren't installed properly to start with!

Any help appreciated!


  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Were the bearings free / smooth before they were pressed in? It's always possible you have a rogue duff one.
    Is the axle completely true?
    I'd have thought it would be quite hard to install them any way but square unless the hub was damaged.

    (I once was pressing headset cups in to a carbon frame, and I hadn't noticed one was going in slightly skewed until it straightened itself out with a very loud crack. That was a sphincter tightening moment I can tell you!)
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,826
    What did you use to actually press the bearings in? Might not have got them in 100% true.
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  • buckmulliganbuckmulligan Posts: 1,031
    Hi, thanks for the replies.

    The bearings both felt great beforehand and I used a bearing press to install the bearings (namely the Wheels Manufacturing Consumer Press) using a socket as a drift. I installed them one at a time, so I was wondering whether I should find another socket and try to press both bearings in at the same time to ensure they're square with each other?

    Not sure whether the axle is out of true, but I'd be surprised if it is! I guess I'll push them out again and see if reinstalling them fixes the issue. Just wondering whether anyone had experienced something similar or whether I'd done something obviously stupid!
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I'd have thought that pressing them in one at a time is more likely to get them in square.
  • Yeah, I'd read that pressing them in individually was the recommended approach for BB30 bearings so that's what I went with for this.

    I guess I'll pull it apart again at the weekend, reseat them and see if it resolves itself.
  • Vino'sGhostVino'sGhost Posts: 4,129
    Yeah, I'd read that pressing them in individually was the recommended approach for BB30 bearings so that's what I went with for this.

    I guess I'll pull it apart again at the weekend, reseat them and see if it resolves itself.

    Get yourself a wheels manufacturing large bearing press and enjoy :) wmfing large bearing press should find it
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    The bearing seats maybe distorted worst case scenario though. Pressing both bearing in at the same time works but I also have wmf large press and proper drifts plus the over axle kit. Proper tools make light work of jobs. -wheel building and other stuff.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Put Old bearing on top of new bearing and use that as a drift.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • keezxkeezx Posts: 1,320
    A square installed bearing is unlikely.
    likely one or both bearings have some lateral preload (which is unwanted) because the distance between the bearings once installed in the hub is slightly bigger than the distance between the tips of the axle.
    Something a.o. others some Fulcrum hubs suffer.
    Removing a tiny bit of material from the bearing seat solves this in most cases.
  • Firstly check that axle end covers are not rubbing on the hub - it has been known.
    If not strip it down again and make sure that the bores and shoulders of the hub are clean and free of burrs - it only takes a minute alloy shaving or burr to put the bearings out of alignment. Also check the shoulders of the axle for burrs.
    When replacing bearings cleanliness is the key.
    Remove any imperfections carefully using either an oilstone, needle file or small scraping tool - whatever is able to reach the offending area. Use abrasives only as a last resort, as you can easily alter the fit of the bearing.
    Check the new bearings are ok before you refit them.
    As long as you keep the bearing as square as you can when pressing it in, you should have no problems using the tools you have. Cleanliness of the seating shoulders will be the main factor in aligning the bearings, not how square you press them in (within reasonable limits that is! )

    You say the original bearings were stiff - were the bearings still stiff after you removed them? If they did loosen up when removed then there could possibly a preload problem - that's difficult to rectify at home.
    If the original bearing lasted a reasonable amount of time - then it is unlikely that there is excessive bearing preload, and just replacing the bearing shouldn't alter this.

    If after refitting them there is still a slight tight spot - just fit the wheel to your bike knowing you have done what you can -and ride it :)
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