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Bicycle bearing grease lab test help #4483527
08/09/17 09:07 AM
08/09/17 09:07 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 12
Serbia
CycleGremlin Offline OP
CycleGremlin  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 12
Serbia
Hi all,

My name is Relja Novovic, I'm from Serbia (Europe/former Yugoslavia). This is my first post, though I've found this forum (and the bobistheoilguy.com site) a great source of good information. That's why I'm posting here, hoping to get more opinions, ideas and corrections. Apologies in advance for my Tarzan English and probably incorrect English technical terms. All suggestions and corrections are more than welcome.



If all goes well, before the end of this month, I'll get access to a lab testing machine of a local mechanics faculty. My goal is to test how various types of lubricants (greases, might do a test with oil, just for comparison) fare when used in bicycle bearings.

The presumptions, based on my previous experience and knowledge, but haven't found any tests (in books or on line) to scientifically confirm it, is that bicycle bearings don't take much load (compared to motorcycles, cars, not to mention heavier machinery) and that paying for any premium grease is not justified. That is what I want to test and compare if more expensive, higher quality greases make any measurable difference. With and without EP and other special additives. I also plan to test if filling the bearings 100% with grease, not leaving any gaps as is generally recommended, prolongs the life of bearings exposed to water and dirt, or harms them - or makes no measurable difference.


What I'll have at my disposal is a machine with controlled number of revolutions per minute and static load on the bearings. The machine has an axle, onto which a bearing can be screwed on. I will also be able to perform controlled impacts on the bearings (Charpy pendulum in English?).

My plan so far:
1. Using cartridge bearings, for easier mounting and lower price than cup and cone hubs. 6903 model.
2. Assuming an average wheel circumference is 2.1 meters (26" are smaller, even with wide tyres, 28" are a bit larger, but that's about middle ground).
3. Simulating 30 km/h speed for 90% of the test, with 10% at 100 km/h. With 2.1 meter wheel circumference, that's about 240 to 800 revolutions per minute.
4. Assuming one wheel carries 60 kg of weight, 30 kg per bearing. That load will be simulated, as constant.
5. Since rolling bearings that roll while loaded don't suffer measurable damage from road buzz, only impacts, I will disregard road buzz simulation. This will make the test less useful for the headset bearings, but good for all the others.
6. For impacts, simulating drop off a 20cm high kerb, with 50 kg load, 25 kg per bearing, without any damping from rim and tyre deflection, I'd test with 5 kilopond-meter impacts after every 12 hours of testing (about 50 Joules). My estimate is that's reasonably high impact, since off road bikes have wider tyres and suspension, and riders will usually use hands and elbows to absorb the shock. While road bikes don't get those impacts often (and they still have tyres, rims and riders to dampen the impact). 10 impacts after roughly every 12 hours of testing.
7. Assuming bearings are never submerged into water, but often sprayed with rain and dirt. A mixture of 1dl water, 1 spoon of sand and 1 spoon of soil will be poured over bearings after every 12 hours of testing.
8. Will degrease bearings in diesel, then "medical petrol" (is that the correct English term), then add tested lubricants.
9. Will do a test with 30% less lubricant than 100% full bearings, and compare that with 100% grease packed bearing. See which option fares better for this purpose, since bike bearings roll rather slowly.
10. Will use a fan to simulate air cooling, if there's measurable heat build up over 50 degrees Celsius. Will also use more stops for cooling down if required. Reduced speed as well (to 20 km/h average speed).
11. Wear measurement will be done by completely cleaning/degreasing a bearing and measuring it on a precise scale. Also, visual inspection for ball and race wear will be done at the end of testing.
12. I will do a first test on a 3000 km service interval. Then 5000 km. Then 8000 km. With 30 km/h estimated average speed, 5000 km will take about a week. If there's not much heat build up, I'm considering increasing the test speed to 60 km/h, and max speed to 120 km/h.
13. Assuming side loads are not relevant for lubricant performance comparison and the application, so will not bother with them (would have to improvise to achieve lateral loads).


Questions:
a) Are the estimates of loads and shocks realistic (strict) enough? Any better ideas on rain/dust/mud simulation?
b) Did I miss something?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Last edited by CycleGremlin; 08/09/17 09:07 AM.
Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: CycleGremlin] #4483595
08/09/17 10:12 AM
08/09/17 10:12 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,263
PV Az
AZjeff Offline
AZjeff  Offline
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,263
PV Az
You've got an interesting test regimen planned, hopefully it goes as planned. What is your goal from this testing? I've been a cyclist, on & off road for 30+ years and confess that the cost of a small quantity of bearing grease was and is insignificant compared to the overall cost of riding decent quality bikes. People with cheap bikes probably don't ever have the bearing greased, people with good bikes don't have a problem paying $10 instead of $5 for grease.

Who will benefit from your findings?


86 Samurai 1.3 leftovers
14 RAV4 2.5 5W-20 PP
16 Silverado 1500 4.3, DI, AFM 5W-30 PP

The most important thing to do in your life is to not interfere with someone else's life. - Frank Zappa

Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: AZjeff] #4483605
08/09/17 10:24 AM
08/09/17 10:24 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 12
Serbia
CycleGremlin Offline OP
CycleGremlin  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 12
Serbia
Originally Posted By: AZjeff
You've got an interesting test regimen planned, hopefully it goes as planned. What is your goal from this testing? I've been a cyclist, on & off road for 30+ years and confess that the cost of a small quantity of bearing grease was and is insignificant compared to the overall cost of riding decent quality bikes. People with cheap bikes probably don't ever have the bearing greased, people with good bikes don't have a problem paying $10 instead of $5 for grease.

Who will benefit from your findings?


Good question. smile

It's mostly my own curiosity for start. Afterwards, depending on results, we'll see.

Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: CycleGremlin] #4483621
08/09/17 10:42 AM
08/09/17 10:42 AM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,948
Connecticut
69GTX Offline
69GTX  Offline
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,948
Connecticut
It would seem to me that changing out the grease in the wheel bearings/pedal crank bearings, etc. would be much more labor dependent than anything else. I'd buy the most expensive grease one time if I knew it would last the life of the bike.

When I found out the cost of tools and labor to take apart the cranks on my back up 1977 Raleigh it was quite apparent it would be cheaper to get a new bike or at least a quality used one. Same thing when I briefly considered rebuilding my 2006 Raleigh sport bike after 10,000 miles. Fwiw, I put those 10,000 miles on over 8-10 years and never once did anything to any of the bearings on the bike. Chain lube and new tires was all the maintenance it ever got. For $450 it was a good deal over 8-10 years. Didn't even have a single tune up done. Went that distance on one chain. Bearing grease is a non-issue for a bike like that. I bought its replacement last year...an almost never used 2010 GT 16 speed for $275...everything on it basically new. In this price range...ride 'em until they drop. Though this time around I will change out chains more often so that I don't destroy the cassettes.

But, good luck on your test to find just what kind of grease/lubricants hold up the best per cost.


----------------

2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 39K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs
Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: CycleGremlin] #4483647
08/09/17 11:11 AM
08/09/17 11:11 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 12
Serbia
CycleGremlin Offline OP
CycleGremlin  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 12
Serbia
Where I live, most bikes (about 99% from my rough estimate - I service bikes) use cup and cone wheel and steerer bearings, that require annual service in order to last long.
Not sure about the most of the world.

As for the other parts, Shimano pedals are serviceable. Not sure about other makes.

Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: CycleGremlin] #4483683
08/09/17 11:52 AM
08/09/17 11:52 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,549
Indiana
Phishin Offline
Phishin  Offline
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,549
Indiana
On my boy's BMX race bike, we use Kluber Isoflex LDS18 Special A on all the bearings. The hubs and bottom bracket use ceramic balls with titanium races.



Last edited by Phishin; 08/09/17 12:00 PM.

2018 Chevy Silverado 3500HD 6.0L Gas: RLI 10w30
2010 Accord-LX K24: MaxLife 5w30 + Torco MPZ
2014 CR-V LX K24: M1 0w30
Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: Phishin] #4483699
08/09/17 12:10 PM
08/09/17 12:10 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 12
Serbia
CycleGremlin Offline OP
CycleGremlin  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 12
Serbia
Originally Posted By: Phishin
On my boy's BMX race bike, we use Kluber Isoflex LDS18 Special A on all the bearings. The hubs and bottom bracket use ceramic balls with titanium races.


Have you measured bearing drag? Ceramic balls, being a lot harder than steel, even more so than titanium, so are more likely to cause pitting in the races, causing even more drag than regular, all steel bearings after a while.

Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: CycleGremlin] #4483715
08/09/17 12:27 PM
08/09/17 12:27 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,549
Indiana
Phishin Offline
Phishin  Offline
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,549
Indiana
Originally Posted By: CycleGremlin

Have you measured bearing drag? Ceramic balls, being a lot harder than steel, even more so than titanium, so are more likely to cause pitting in the races, causing even more drag than regular, all steel bearings after a while.


No, I have no way to measure it. BMX races last 40 seconds or so. It's an all out 1/4 mile sprint. If the wheels spin ultra smooth and free, make no noise, or show any signs of "hiccups", that's really good enough for our application. As soon as any sign of a issue or problems presents itself, the bearings and races are replaced.


2018 Chevy Silverado 3500HD 6.0L Gas: RLI 10w30
2010 Accord-LX K24: MaxLife 5w30 + Torco MPZ
2014 CR-V LX K24: M1 0w30
Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: AZjeff] #4483810
08/09/17 02:23 PM
08/09/17 02:23 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,139
USA
ArcticDriver Offline
ArcticDriver  Offline
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,139
USA
Originally Posted By: AZjeff
You've got an interesting test regimen planned, hopefully it goes as planned. What is your goal from this testing? I've been a cyclist, on & off road for 30+ years and confess that the cost of a small quantity of bearing grease was and is insignificant compared to the overall cost of riding decent quality bikes. People with cheap bikes probably don't ever have the bearing greased, people with good bikes don't have a problem paying $10 instead of $5 for grease.

Who will benefit from your findings?


Its true that many cyclists spend $5K on bicycles and costumes today as a form of status; however, there are still a few of us who ride older bicycles...gasp...and practice a strong economy.

We are the ones not wearing spandex outfits into the local SBUX Forcing all the customers to see our 60-year-old glutes.

And I can think of a few old bike shop owners who would prefer to save overhead costs by purchasing a quality grease at half the price.

Cheers

To the OP:

Welcome to the forum and your English is better than 90% of us Native speakers.


Multiple Diesel and Gasoline vehicles
Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: CycleGremlin] #4483852
08/09/17 03:01 PM
08/09/17 03:01 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,471
California
nthach Offline
nthach  Offline
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,471
California
Originally Posted By: CycleGremlin
Where I live, most bikes (about 99% from my rough estimate - I service bikes) use cup and cone wheel and steerer bearings, that require annual service in order to last long.
Not sure about the most of the world.

As for the other parts, Shimano pedals are serviceable. Not sure about other makes.

Speedplays are servicable and the bike bearing suppliers(Enduro mostly) have bearing kits for Look and Time.

In the US, good bikes used sealed headset and bottom bracket bearings and it's a tossup for wheels, cheaper ones with Chinese/Taiwanese hubs as well as Shimano use cup & cone, the rest are cartridge.

Chris King and Hope are weird in the fact that while they do use sealed cartridge bearings, they do encourage periodic cleaning/relubrication with "synthetic" grease. Chris King being tight-lipped about their recommendation of lube, they did have Finish Line lubes make their hub lube but they seem to like XOM lubricants. I have a King headset and it hasn't been adjusted or relubricated. It still works like new.

As for my hubs, I'm mostly Shimano. I currently have M1 grease in my Ultegra 6800 hubs and I notice they spin quicker. Before that, it was Nemco purple synthetic sold as Pedro's Syn Grease and it was heavy grease(ISO460 base oil vs. M1's ISO220 base). I'll do my 'cross/commuter bike with M1 as well if I plan on doing a race or two this season. That bike has Deore XT M8000 QR hubs, it's a Specialized Tricross. The bike always had shifting problems, wide 135mm mountain bike hub spacing + road gearing(SRAM PG1070 11-36 cassette with a Ultegra 6700 road compact crank) = fun in good and bad ways.

Last edited by nthach; 08/09/17 03:03 PM.
Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: CycleGremlin] #4483856
08/09/17 03:05 PM
08/09/17 03:05 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 12,648
The Motor City
Kestas Offline
Kestas  Offline
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 12,648
The Motor City
Originally Posted By: CycleGremlin
Have you measured bearing drag? Ceramic balls, being a lot harder than steel, even more so than titanium, so are more likely to cause pitting in the races, causing even more drag than regular, all steel bearings after a while.

Not all true. Ceramic balls have less deformation at the point of contact, resulting in less drag and less heat generated. They're popular for racing applications.

I've never heard of titanium being used for raceways... not even in aircraft application. What's the engineering behind that?

Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: CycleGremlin] #4483865
08/09/17 03:14 PM
08/09/17 03:14 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 598
Upstate NY
Wheel Offline
Wheel  Offline
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 598
Upstate NY
Jobst Brandt described the loads typically seen in use in his book 'The Bicycle Wheel' It may offer you some useful information, it describes the engineering, as well as the process of building a wheel. He does include a finite element analysis of a wheel.

He suggests that wheels do see radial loads of 400 kg or more when striking a bump. He also points out that hubs are not efficient when passing the torque load to the left side of a driven hub, which I would see as unbalancing the load to the bearings during pedaling.

I question the reasoning behind the speeds you chose to test at. 100 kph isn't seen often, likely only seen on a severe descent in optimum conditions.

Good luck with your testing !


2009 Subaru Legacy (N/A)
Castrol Edge and Subie (Fram) filter
Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: CycleGremlin] #4483880
08/09/17 03:27 PM
08/09/17 03:27 PM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,651
Western S.C.
CR94 Offline
CR94  Offline
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,651
Western S.C.
Originally Posted By: CycleGremlin
... Questions:
a) Are the estimates of loads and shocks realistic (strict) enough? Any better ideas on rain/dust/mud simulation?
b) Did I miss something?

Thanks in advance for any help.
That looks like an interesting experiment. Good luck, and keep us posted on results. A few points:

1. Although absolute load on bicycle wheel bearings is obviously a lot less than that of a small car, EP qualities of the grease do matter, because specific loading (stress within the much smaller bearing races) is often higher. That's one reason why life of bike bearings is generally shorter.

2. Friction of any bike wheel bearing in good condition and adjustment is insignificant, compared to tire rolling resistance or aero drag.

3. Chain tension can add greatly to overall load on right rear wheel bearings, especially when climbing hills. Do the vector math, using reasonable assumptions, and you'll see. On steep hills, it can exceed load due weight of rider+bike.

4. To better simulate riding in rain, you need to subject your bearing to periods of continuous spray, not just dump mixture over them intermittently. The life of bike bearings tends to be highly dependent on the water resistance qualities of the grease.

5. I agree you needn't bother with lateral loading.

6. Front wheel bearings (at least typical conventional cup-and-cone ones) do not necessarily outlast rear ones, despite lower loading, because the front bearings are smaller.


2011 Toyota Prius now at 94K
1981 Mazda GLC (323) retired at 606K
1972 Subaru DL retired at 190K
1954 Chevrolet retired at 121K
Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: CycleGremlin] #4484002
08/09/17 06:12 PM
08/09/17 06:12 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 899
Fernandina Beach FL
Dan55 Offline
Dan55  Offline
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 899
Fernandina Beach FL


2016 Lexus NX200T 2017 Mustang Conv Eco Prem
Re: Bicycle bearing grease lab test help [Re: Wheel] #4484220
08/09/17 11:06 PM
08/09/17 11:06 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 12
Serbia
CycleGremlin Offline OP
CycleGremlin  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 12
Serbia
Thanks for all the replies. Here's my thinking out loud - don't take it as arguing and please correct me if you find my reasoning flawed:

Have read The Bicycle Wheel. From the time it was written, hubs have somewhat changed. From my experience - material quality and hardness has reduced (even in high end Shimano hubs), while rigidity and load transfer has improved - more load transfer to the left side of the rear hub. Not 50/50, but not much worse. Will double check that data (and the source).

As for bump loads - 400 kg seems reasonable, but since my test totally disregards the flex of the tyre and the rim (even the little flex hub material has), my guess (if I manage to do a measurement, or at least a calculation I will) is that 25 kg hit directly to the race of a single bearing is quite severe. Like said, if I manage, I'll double check it.

100 km/h speed will be used for shorter intervals, to simulate fast downhill riding. If there's much heat build up, I'll reduce the overall average speed, but will do a few tests at that top speed. Having said all that, if it's possible, I'm considering making a pilot test with a higher hardness grease (NLGI 3), just to see if the higher than realistic test speed is biased towards the "lighter" greases. If the heavier grease shows measurably more wear, I'll reduce the testing average speed (still going with some 5% at 100 km/h to simulate high speed descending).


Last edited by CycleGremlin; 08/09/17 11:14 PM.
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