Best Ball Bearing Brands?

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Jeff K
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Best Ball Bearing Brands?

Post by Jeff K »

There are a lot of Ball Bearing Manufactures out there. NSK , FAG, Nachi, Federal Mogul, NHD Delco, National, Koyo etc to name a few. What are the better brands and what are the ones to stay away from? I am starting to see off brands pop up that I have never seen before at very cheap prices. I always figure that you get what you pay for and I stay away from the cheap stuff.
With COVID and a heavy snow storm, I have had a few days to start sorting and organizing some parts. I have made up a list of bearings used on the BSA 1971 B25, TR5T and late T100 and I am in the process of matching part numbers to industry standard numbers.
Example 57-0665 / T0665 = 6206 C3
Interesting on the Triumph T100 rod shell bearings, I have a few OEM in the original boxes. Some do not have a manufacturer's stamp on the back of them. But others have the Vandervell V.
Jeff
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kommando
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Re: Best Ball Bearing Brands?

Post by kommando »

The Vandervell shells are fine if they are VP2 which is a leaded bronze on steel overlay plated with lead/Indium. If they are Whitemetal throw them in the bin. VP2 is a dull silver, Whitemetal has a shiny bearing surface.

Roller bearings are pretty standard nowadays, the differentiation is the quality of the steel and the size and quantity of manganese inclusions is a big factor. An FAG bearing produced in India for example will have the steel imported from Europe if the local supply is not good enough. Its a bit of a black art to make low manganese inclusion steel. We needed the same levels of quality for shell bearings, as you formed the 1/2 moon in a press the inclusion would open up and create a tick on the back of the bearing shell, it went in the bin. In a rolling element bearing an inclusion close to the surface is a weak point which will start to break out and then cause rapid wear.
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Mark Cook
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Re: Best Ball Bearing Brands?

Post by Mark Cook »

We've found to our expense that a bearing manufacturer we used chose to metrify the main roller bearings. Using smaller rollers reduced the capacity of the bearings. We sourced some very good Japanese ones, but the supply was unreliable. We now use a European manufacturer. Also we were finding problems with the bronze/brass cages. So we are now using polyamide without problems.
As for the quality of the bearing generally, we know what has a hard life and what doesn't. It's silly to spend a lot of money if not required. We also use seals and shields on some bearings as we've found this improves life too.
So easy answer is just buy your bearings from Anita ;
Motorcycles and other parts manufactured by PES

+44 (0) 1709 894192
https://www.ccm-britain.co.uk(online shopping experience)
Jeff K
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Re: Best Ball Bearing Brands?

Post by Jeff K »

Thank you for the replies! I live in Mid Michigan USA, so there is still a lot of manufacturing around. And that means Bearing houses and suppliers. I have had good results with German, English, Japanese and USA made bearings in the past. The problem is there are a lot of Knock offs out there. China and India are both capable of making good quality products, the problems is they have people making cheap knock offs. Some of the better known brands now out source their manufacturing and that can lead to Quality Control issues.
I have a friend who is building a 1971 B25 and a 1973 TR5T, He is a perfectionist and does extremely detailed work. He choose to replace every bearing on each of the bikes. I am comparing what I have on hand and what he needs. Triumph and BSA purchased the ball bearings that they used. Once you know the dimensions it is easy to cross reference that to a standard size. Then the fun starts, many,many different brands out there.
Jeff
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Re: Best Ball Bearing Brands?

Post by mlb50 »

We built a lot of high speed dynos, some with inertia mass of 5 tons or more rotating to 2,000 rpm. We only ever used SKF roller bearings, never had a problem. As we had a trade account, I purchased SKF for all my British bike rebuilds. Never had a problem. And there are very reputable other brands, but if I was in a suppliers store and SKF was available that's my choice.
B50 @ 10:1 - what's a leg between friends?
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SteveS
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Re: Best Ball Bearing Brands?

Post by SteveS »

I would concur with Mark's point
we know what has a hard life and what doesn't. It's silly to spend a lot of money if not required
BSA were also aware of this and would not spend money on a higher spec bearing unless it was necessary for the job
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kommando
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Re: Best Ball Bearing Brands?

Post by kommando »

BSA had a machine tool business that had overseas sales, that included sales to Eastern Europe before the fall of the Iron Curtain. They insisted of being paid in £ or goods to the same value, so you will find a lot of Eastern European bearings in your BSA.
Jeff K
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Re: Best Ball Bearing Brands?

Post by Jeff K »

SteveS wrote: Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:15 am I would concur with Mark's point
we know what has a hard life and what doesn't. It's silly to spend a lot of money if not required
BSA were also aware of this and would not spend money on a higher spec bearing unless it was necessary for the job
No need for "Racing/Severe Duty" spec bearings. At 66, most of my bikes can go faster then I can. LOL. C3 rating should be go to go.
I am more concerned about:
1. Brands that have out sourced manufacturing and their Quality control is not what it should be.
2. Knock off brands.
3. Brands that have had problems with Material Quality.

Norton had a well known problem on the later 850 Commando with a inferior quality bearing in their gearbox, it was known to fail. A certain german parts company started to make parts in Mexico many years ago. A lot of their early stuff was-junk. This is what I am trying to avoid. The factory where I used to work years ago tried to save money with a different maintaince material supplier. A lot of the stuff was 'private Label" , a out sourced cheaper version of a name brand etc. One of the older Mill Wrights was showing me some of the junk that he got in to rebuild a packaging line. One of the items that had him upset was the replacement bearings. He would put one on his finger and spin it. the new ones were looser then the "old" ones that he was replacing and a couple were tight. He had a couple of syringes filled with a high end green colored grease that came with some pump rebuild kits. The needle was blunt nosed and about 1/16" in diameter. He had flatten the end down so it would fit past the seal in the ball bearings and he would lube them with it. I remember him complaining that it seem like some of the "new' cheaper replacement bearings were dry and only after he lubed them did them smooth out. Less then a year later the site went back to the original supplier. Like my dad used to say, you get what you pay for.
Jeff
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Re: Best Ball Bearing Brands?

Post by Momus »

Nachi bearings are as good as anything.

H onda uses them as OE; they are absolutely top notch.

Their metallurgy and steel cleanliness is unsurpassed.

NTN is also top tier.
If you love it, lube it.
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