Since ceramic bearings stormed onto the cycling scene in 2003, they have been earning praise and delighting riders with their lack of friction and free spinning ways. But, it is important to remember that ceramic bearings are race parts and need to be maintained. While the materials we use are more durable than what is found in a steel bearing, if not maintained, the bearing will not last on it's good looks alone. While steel bearings often do not need maintenance, due to ceramic's inherent hardness, they need to be adequately maintained.
Please read below for the proper steps in ensuring a long lifespan...
The biggest enemy to a bearing is contamination. Therefore a long lifespan is directly related to proper care and maintenance. Your F1 Ceramic bearings are high performance parts and should be taken care of as such.
Your F1 Ceramic Bearings are pre-greased with F1 Grease (either Turbo Grease or Rocket Sauce) . You will need to purchase our F1 Grease to grease our bearings. It is the only grease we recommend as compatible with our bearings.
Do not continue to use bearings that won't spin freely. If you continue to ride dirty or poorly lubricated bearings, you can permanently damage the bearings. Contaminants in your bearings can cause the pitting of your races, increasing friction, causing heat buildup, and can eventually cause the bearing to stop turning.
Normal riding conditions:
- Wheel Bearings and Pulleys should be greased at least once per year
- BBs should be greased several times a year to ensure a long lifespan (if you can, do it at least quarterly)
Greasing more often is better than not often enough, particularly with BBs which are subject to the most contamination and are also the easiest to maintain.
Rain riding: There is much concern among riders about riding their BB in the rain. It is fine to ride in the rain but we recommend doing the below maintenance soon after riding. We power wash our team's cross bikes virtually every weekend and also maintain the BB at the same time to be safe. We have several years of use on the BBs and they are smooth as silk. But the key is maintenance.
You should keep your bearings clean (no dirt or moisture) and well lubricated. Water can rust the races and dirt can destroy the race finish if left for too long. Poorly maintained bearings are not covered under warranty.
If the bearing needs maintenance, the below videos will help show how to perform the task. It is really very easy to do.
If you have neglected maintenance on your bearings, fear not, you can send them to us for a factory cleaning and we'll get them back feeling slippery fast again! Our factory cleaning is a very advanced and in depth process that cleans and greases much better than any shop or at home servicing.
How to grease your F1 Ceramic Bearings
The greasing method shown in the video below applies to all our BBs, wheel bearings and pulleys. The method is the same... remove the rubber seal, apply grease, re-install rubber seal.
Please note if you use our BBs for cyclocross you should do this maintenance much more often, especially if you use a pressure washer or hose to clean your bike after muddy races.
Because of the design of SRAM cranks and how they tension, a shim is required on the non drive side of the BB.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING FOR SRAM BBs:
1. If your BB uses our 1 piece shim (sold 2007 - 2011),remove the non drive side cup from the frame, press the shim out through the inside of the cup using a socket or round object that is roughly 24mm OD and a press. Then remove the dustcap as shown in the video below. To re-install, first install the dustcap as shown in the video, then flip the cup and press the silver inner shim back in from the inside of the cup.
2. If your BB uses our new 2 piece shim (sold 2012 - current)(silver on the inside, black "non drive" on the outside), remove the non drive side cup from the frame, remove the black outer shim first by gently prying it off with a very small Flathead screwdriver. Once the outer shim is removed you can then press the inner shim out (through the inside of the cup). You will need a socket or another round item that is roughly 24mm OD. Press this into the dustcap so it contacts the silver shim and slowly press it out. You can then remove the dustcap as shown in our video below. To re-install, first install the dustcap as shown in the video, then press the black outer "non drive" shim into place, then flip the cup and press the silver inner shim in last.
Removal of these shims can be tricky. If you have any trouble or are nervous about removing the shim yourself, please contact us and we can offer some pointers or have you send it to us and we can grease the BB for you.
Riding in adverse weather conditions (rain, snow, dusty, etc.) will speed up the maintenance interval. If you regularly ride in these conditions we do recommend inspecting the bearings more often.
We strongly recommend a qualified bicycle mechanic perform all maintenance.