Bearing Replacements (All bearing replacements include removal, cleaning and installation)
$65 Front or Rear Wheel
$130 Steering Stem
Just need an inspection and greased?
$35 Front or Rear Wheel
$100 Steering Stem
WHAT IT DOES AND THE PROBLEMS
Bearings that are installed at the factory are good to go, right? Should last me the life of the bike or at least as long as I own it, right? Rear wheel, front wheel, swingarm, steering - these are all bearings that need inspected and serviced on an ongoing basis. Dry dust or wet mud, packs itself in the "seals" and works its way past and into the bearings.
New bikes off the showroom floor have their own issues with lubrication. They may be lubricated at the factory but then sit in a box for months. The grease melts down or settles, not providing lubrication where it should be. Not every bike is like this, but it's worth a look over.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Play/bumps/pitting/abnormal wear on bearing surfaces. Unable to easily and freely rotate bearings. Stiff or tight steering or swingarm rotation. Heavy dirt build up. Lack of lubrication.
HOW TO FIX
Proper lubrication and using the right kind of grease will help keep your bike moving and rotating as it should. Checking or setting your sag can identify possible sticky bearing situations.
DID YOU KNOW?
Bearings take a beating and they aren't fun to lubricate or replace but they allow your bike to rotate and articulate around and over obstacles. Inspecting and servicing these bearings throughout the riding season will keep your bike moving like new.
Note: Whenever disassembling for inspection or lubricating make sure to thoroughly clean the bike.
Bearings are located in your wheel hubs, steering neck and swingarm. Wheel hub bearings and steering bearings are the easiest to test. The swingarm bearings can be the toughest to test and inspect without doing a bit of disassembly.
Wheel bearings should be checked on and off the bike. With wheel on bike, grab the front and back of the wheel and try to move it up/down and left/right. Give it a spin and listen for noise and watch for wobbling. Any grinding, no free spinning, any abnormal movement means you likely have an issue. Remove the wheel and, using two fingers, check the bearings for roughness and play. You can also look at the grease on the axle, if you have any. Any rust color or water intrusion means your seals are failing and it's time to change the bearings and seals.
Steering bearings, located in the neck, should move freely. Testing without disassembly is simple. Rotate the handlebars lock to lock. They should move freely without any grinding, binding or stops. Be aware that an over tightened stem nut can fool you into thinking your bearings are dragging. If the stem is removed from bike, visually inspect the tapered roller bearings on the top and bottom as well as the races in the neck. Bearings should roll smooth and race should be smooth and have no pitting or abnormal wear. Again, any signs of rust or water intrusion is a good sign it's time to replace the seals and bearings.
Swingarm bearings are the hardest to inspect and test as it can't really be done without at least minor disassembly. If you remove the rear shock, or at least disconnecting the linkage, to allow the swingarm to rotate freely you can test for any play in the bearings by moving the swingarm up/down and left/right. The next step would be removing the swingarm bolt and swingarm assembly from the bike and performing the testing and inspection like the wheel bearings. Anything abnormal, the best practice is to replace the bearings and seals and then grease.
When choosing to replace bearings and seals it is important not to go the cheapest route. Bearings are not something you want to have to do over. Spend the money on quality parts, using OEM is a great option but often overpriced from dealers. We like to use Pivot Works bearing and seal kits when performing our services.
Use a grease, like Lucas Oils X-TRA Heavy Duty, when lubricating bearings and axles. This grease, along with being waterproof, also holds up extremely well. Meaning, it will not thin out and run when it gets hot leaving vital parts under lubricated.