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Suspension Bearing Maintenance

Suspension Bearing KitsBike Suspension Bearings All Have a Big Problem: They Are Too Small

Because bike designers are always having to save weight and space these little bearings (which take all of the impacts from your rear wheel to your shock) are working on the limits of what is possible. Because of that, they don't last very long.

Here at Shockcraft we do all we can to help these little guys live. We give them good seals, we use full complement types that have as many balls as possible, then we get them packed as full as possible of the thickest and stickiest grease we can find.

And it all helps. But they still can't last forever. So if it's been more than a year since suspension bearings were checked or replaced, then it's time to check them out again.

Step 1: Check Condition

Unbolt the suspension links one at a time and grab the bearing inner ring with your fingers.  
How do they feel?
Smooth rotation is perfect.  
  • If they feel notchy and index from one position to another then they're hammered out of shape inside.  
  • If they're grinding then they've worn steel particles off the balls and race. They're in bad shape.
  • If you can't turn them by fingers, then they're seized and the suspension isn't working well at all.
Check at least one side in all the positions on the bike. Most bikes will wear out one pair or group of bearings first and often have others which feel perfectly fine. The choice is yours whether to replace the lot or just the bearings that absolutely need it. We sell complete bearing kits for the more common bikes and individual bearings if you don't need the lot.

Steps 2 & 3: Removal & Installation

Bearings are a tight fit. To get them in and out you need to either press them or hammer them. Pressing is by far the best method and can often be done with a vice and sockets. Hammering is okay to remove most bearings but some will come apart, leaving the (not fun at all) job of removing a stuck outer race jammed down in a bearing pocket!

No matter which method you use, there are two things you've got to remember so you don't damage the frame or new bearings.
1.  Always support the piece of frame or linkage around the bearing pocket when pressing or hammering. Yes this can be difficult, but get it wrong and you can bend or snap frame parts.
2.  Always press new bearings in by pushing only on the outer ring. Any force on the inner ring will usually damage the inner ring and the balls as the load is transferred diagonally from the inner race across the balls to the outer race that is being seated.

Shockcraft's Suspension Bearing Range

We have a large range of suspension bearings, and sell these individually and in kits:

Individual Suspension Bearings Suspension Bearing Kits
Individual Suspension Bearings Suspension Bearing Kits