Thursday, October 7, 2010

Converting to sealed bearings

Converting loose bearing wheels to sealed bearings has always been a difficult and time consuming effort for me. But I really think that if done correctly the product is worth it. The leleu wheels that I am using have an OD of 29mm. That's a problem because the bearing sizes I want come in 28mm or 30mm.
Yesterday I stopped by the wizards lair and asked phil if they had any pipe I could turn in order to make a shim for 28mm bearings. If you were keeping track that would mean I'm making .5mm shims. That's small and probably too difficult to turn in a lathe. Phil suggested I go get some shim stock. I didnt know that this stuff existed! It's great. I was able to stop by online metals and pick up some .5mm shim stock and since it was scrap they just gave it to me for free.
Anyway, I got the shim material, cut it down with my dremel and trimmed it fit.
All in all it's been super simple and easy. I still need to use some red loc-tite to seal it in place and I need some length of pipe to keep the bearings from being pulled in on each other.
The bearings i used were 6001zz. With this setup I'll be running 12mm axles. Stoked!


  1. wow, i had no idea it was this easy. Rad! Also, love the wheels.

  2. Shim stock! Don't forget that red loctite when you get back from California in 6 years!

  3. You put the loctite around the bearing? Just did this wit my sebring rims. do tell!

  4. yeah, you put loctite on both the ID and the OD of the shim, and then pop the shim into the wheel, and the bearing into the shim.

  5. Hey what did you end up using for pipe as a bearing spacer? Do you know if copper pipe from the hardware store would work or would that be too soft and get mushed?

  6. I bought about a foot of aluminum stock and a pipe cutter from a local hardware store and it made it really easy.

  7. if you could have a custom bearing made to fit the spoke wheels perfectly, what size would it be? I think im going to have some made

  8. Well, I guess if cost weren't an issue one would wan to make bearings that were 29mm OD, and 12mm ID. However, custom bearings are going to cost a pretty penny and would only be applicable to spoke leilu wheels.

    By the way, check out my more recent posts at my new blog location:

  9. Hi Friends,

    Nice information! Sealed bearings offer low maintenance and long life for many applications from machinery to bicycles and appliances. Thanks for posting this informative article.

  10. So just to clarify, can you bore out the inner part of the hub to hold the 30mm OD with 12mm ID... is that for front and rear rims? Also, is it the same axles for front and rear rims. Finally, my old bearing fell out and I cannot get the old housing out... any suggestions?

    1. No boreing is necessary, you will want to use 28 x 12 bearings, and then use .5mm shim stock to fill the excess 1mm of space in the hub. Both axles will be the same. As far as getting the bearing cup out, either use a bearing puller or stick a screwdriver on the opposite side and pound it out with a hammer. Good luck!

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    hydrodynamic bearings