Honda Shadow Forums banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok after having searched other posts i still could not get a good answer.

Knowing from bycicles the ball bearing are nice on a bicycle, but on a motorcycle i have serious doubts.

Does is steer badly, no i have to be honest, but due to the weight of a mc compared to a bicycle i think is more noticeable when the bearings are becoming pitted due to the overal weight of the mc and or mileage.

So my qn is for the people who replaced their bearings what do you feel different is it a worthy upgrade to do or should i wait when things become really bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,101 Posts
No, stay stock ball. No advantage, feel, etc.

It's a bad bearing set is if the steering centers itself with the front wheel off the ground. Should be smooth from lock to lock.

Disassemble, clean, repack. The visual is more a shadow exposed at the race, each ball position, but no notch that drops in and holds steady. This teardown is every 7,500mi/12070km.
 

·
Registered
2013 Honda Shadow Phantom 750
Joined
·
4,544 Posts
Ok after having searched other posts i still could not get a good answer.

Knowing from bycicles the ball bearing are nice on a bicycle, but on a motorcycle i have serious doubts.

Does is steer badly, no i have to be honest, but due to the weight of a mc compared to a bicycle i think is more noticeable when the bearings are becoming pitted due to the overal weight of the mc and or mileage.

So my qn is for the people who replaced their bearings what do you feel different is it a worthy upgrade to do or should i wait when things become really bad.
My personal opinion is that the tapered roller bearing upgrade is an improvement over the stock ball bearing setup. I have noticed a lot of discussion on Gold Wing forums about this upgrade, but it is a different set of circumstances on a GW than a Shadow. They have more weight involved and also where trikes are involved they have a greater rake on the front end which puts more pressure on the bearings, so tapered rollers are almost a requirement.

For our Shadows I doubt you would really see much of a difference, other than going from old worn bearings to new bearings. The problem with steering stem bearings is that they don’t rotate, my opinion as I have no evidence, they are turned side to side so the same rollers, or balls, are always in the same location. The forward rollers(balls) on the lower bearing and the rearward rollers (balls) of the upper bearing are always taking the majority of the load because the bearing never rotates more than 90*, or there about. Therefore steering stem bearings will always wear faster than similar bearing in a rotating assembly.

So it comes down to which wears slower a roller or ball bearing? This is actually depending on the design of the ball outer races. If the MC outer races are designed like a bicycle race (two flat plates with a minimal groove for the balls to ride in) then the roller bearings would be the better option and I would suspect they would wear less. However if they ball bearing is designed like some of the ball bearings I have seen in the machines I have rebuilt at work where the outer races enclose the balls so that half of the ball is touching the race at all times then I would think they are about even. It really boils down to surface contact area.

So as I said I really don’t think it will make a lot of difference on the Shadows. But I also don’t think it will hurt the bike either, provided everything is setup properly. It is like changing to a different seat,,,it’s not stock but it don’t hurt either.

Eric


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,953 Posts
My Nomad had tapered roller bearings from the factory. I don't think it makes enough difference to be worth the trouble unless yours is already bad. Regardless of the type, I would not use chinese bearings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everybody for your wisdom and information regarding my headset bearing q'n.

I have plenty of experience in racing bicycles with both shimano and campagnolo and what i noticed there is where my q'n came from.
Im glad that the real problem is keeping the balls lubricated and yes that is a issue in not sealed bearings esspecially in open bottoom bracket bearings on bicycles.

I however will check to see what the lube status is on my headset and if not correct extra lubel will be added to avoid future issues.

Thanks all it was very informative to read. (y)
 

·
Registered
2002, Shadow Spirit 1100
Joined
·
3,013 Posts
I have put the tapered roller bearings in at least 2 bikes and there is no comparison in my opinion. The tapered roller bearings are far superior. Think of the pressures of your wheel bearings and putting this strength onto your headset. A bearing which can handle 50,000 miles on a wheel bearing isn't going to wear out near as fast as light duty ball bearings. I also pack a little extra grease into the neck so that it will eventually lube those lower bearings. If you like lots of maintenance go with the loose ball bearings.
 

·
Registered
1999 Shadow 750 ACE VT750CD3 Modified
Joined
·
4,763 Posts
All well and good, however the operating requirements in a wheel bearing are completely different than a headset.
Imagine if you will a wheel that is moving back and forth, never making a full rotation and the loading is primarily axial, but can also experience dynamic misalignment due to steering component flex.

Maybe the tapered roller bearing is not ideal after all, but what is?
Good question isn't it?
 

·
Registered
1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
Joined
·
19,624 Posts
The amazing thing about this discussion is that all your bike's wheel bearings are single row ball bearing assmblies.
Older cars with adjustable front wheel bearings were tapered bearings.
But now even all the new cars with hub assemblies have 2 rows of ball bearings.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,953 Posts
I have put the tapered roller bearings in at least 2 bikes and there is no comparison in my opinion. The tapered roller bearings are far superior. Think of the pressures of your wheel bearings and putting this strength onto your headset. A bearing which can handle 50,000 miles on a wheel bearing isn't going to wear out near as fast as light duty ball bearings. I also pack a little extra grease into the neck so that it will eventually lube those lower bearings. If you like lots of maintenance go with the loose ball bearings.
never mind
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,055 Posts
Knowing from bycicles the ball bearing are nice on a bicycle, but on a motorcycle i have serious doubts.

Does is steer badly, no i have to be honest, but due to the weight of a mc compared to a bicycle i think is more noticeable when the bearings are becoming pitted due to the overal weight of the mc and or mileage.

So my qn is for the people who replaced their bearings what do you feel different is it a worthy upgrade to do or should i wait when things become really bad.
Welcome to the forum!

I have experience in this area, and have mentioned here before. A few years back I had a case of tennis-elbow that quickly came back even after physio therapy. Some time later when I had my bike in for a safety inspection it was found to have a notched bearing which was just off centre, so I was fighting the steering all the time but no so much I could really notice it. When I replaced the head bearings the tennis-elbow quickly went away as well, so the steering was perhaps causing it perhaps just aggravating the injury (I was using a rotary hoe on very hard ground when it started)
Tableware Kitchen utensil Audio equipment Auto part Carbon


I went with "All Balls" taper roller bearings. There is a small risk with this, the steering becomes so much better and easier to move (especially if you've been fighting a significant notch!) that you might find your steering turns very quickly. The risk was in the easier turning meant I over-steered a bit in the first days after the upgrade.

The biggest advantage with roller bearings is they'll not notch as "quickly" as ball bearings. But the steering does feel smoother too, though it's a bit harder to notice with good bearings of any type and I doubt really would make much of a difference especially on these sorts of bikes.

I don't think there was much of a difference in price. Certainly with the tightness of my budget at the time I'd have opted for ball bearings if they were even $10 cheaper. Looks like I paid $50NZ for them but I may've also part-paid with cash.

There was no difference in installation.

Due to the pain I experienced with the elbow, I'll not go back to ball bearings in the steering without a very good reason to. I believe it is a definite upgrade, even if just in less maintenance.

I must comment on the false advertising though. There is neither balls nor racing in this photo.
Cloud Cat Vertebrate Comfort Carnivore


If I suddenly stop responding, it's because Tiger learned I posted the post-op photo of him, and is upse#oatu[a0f 8$AZY S%Y
Font Event Carmine Logo Graphics
Image source/attribution <a href="A Drop Of Blood PNG Images With Transparent Background | Free Download On Lovepik">A Drop Of Blood Png vectors by Lovepik.com</a>
 

·
Registered
1999 Shadow 750 ACE VT750CD3 Modified
Joined
·
4,763 Posts
Kitchen utensil Tableware Auto part Carbon Circle

An interesting image, a good example of Jobst Brandt's "False Brinelling".
Note how the majority of wear is confined to the straight ahead area of the race and the linear wear track of the ball, indication of the steering flex and mis-alignment movement of the bearing and breakdown of lubrication.
All problems that a tapered roller cannot solve, but due to the greater contact patch will mask for longer, although the tapered roller is also known to be quite intolerant of dynamic misalignment it is not like it a wheel application. (-;
I could go on about choices, but I'm being dragged away from the computer.
 

·
Registered
1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
Joined
·
19,624 Posts
I agree that roller bearings have a better contact area and will last longer without the notchy problem.
I would prefer them also if I were changeing bearings.

True story=
I worked for Nissan for many years and in the 1980s when they were being tranported to the dealers across the USA on trains, we saw light marks in roller bearings, even though they were not causing a problem and you couldn't feel them.
We would see them when we were still packing front wheel bearings we would see 4 or 5 dark lines across the face of the otherwise perfect bearing cone.
It was called "Railroad bearings" from that bearing sitting in one spot, and the rail car was clicking over the joints on the rails hundreds of times on the trip, and the vibration would transfer into the bearings and actually make a mark in the number of rollers sitting in that position on the bottom. Didn't need to be replaced for that but an interesting situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,101 Posts
Say X is horizontal and Y is vertical.

Ball is sitting with a load in the horizontal position.
Roller sits in the vertical position like a car tire mounted on the upper and lower A arms and that roller's position.

Ball rolls on a ball.
Taper is rolling on the bottom edge of the needle/roller.

Can't get that picture out of my head if I think X Y position. Am I in reverse order?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
838 Posts
Can't get that picture out of my head if I think X Y position.

Am I in reverse order?
Not reverse...but...2 dimensional thinking. You are leaving out the Z.

Ball bearings roll in a cup not on a ball. A tapered roller bearing is not rolling on the very bottom edge unless it has not been properly seated. Properly seated it makes full contact with the race it rides in (you know this...you are just having fun :)).

John
 

·
Registered
2013 Honda Shadow Phantom 750
Joined
·
4,544 Posts
I agree that roller bearings have a better contact area and will last longer without the notchy problem.
I would prefer them also if I were changeing bearings.

True story=
I worked for Nissan for many years and in the 1980s when they were being tranported to the dealers across the USA on trains, we saw light marks in roller bearings, even though they were not causing a problem and you couldn't feel them.
We would see them when we were still packing front wheel bearings we would see 4 or 5 dark lines across the face of the otherwise perfect bearing cone.
It was called "Railroad bearings" from that bearing sitting in one spot, and the rail car was clicking over the joints on the rails hundreds of times on the trip, and the vibration would transfer into the bearings and actually make a mark in the number of rollers sitting in that position on the bottom. Didn't need to be replaced for that but an interesting situation.
Where I work we build/rebuild many different types of industrial machines, from continuous copper casting machines, wire drawing machines, all the way down to the most basic types of gear boxes. Not long after I started working there 10 years ago I noticed that many of the bearings that we used had the races and caged balls/rollers individually wrapped in paper. I asked about this and it is done like this to preserve and protect the bearings from the damage you described. I have also learned that there is a proper way for bearings to be warehoused and stored to minimize vibration damage.

The bearings we use range from basic bearings like is used in our bikes up to ones that cost $5000 or more. There was one machine we rebuilt that one of the bearings cost $30,000, it was 3” wide and 5’ in diameter.

Eric


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
'97 Spirit 1100 - Chandler, AZ
Joined
·
513 Posts
Just completed a good 700+ mile ride over the weekend including a lot of long sweeping 65-70mph curves, interspersed with sections of extreme, 5-10mph max switchbacks and 6% mountain downgrade curves coming out of Alpine, AZ to Morenci, AZ. on Highway 191 in Eastern Arizona. Exhilarating, but revealed what I think are somewhat loose/dry head bearings on my '97 Spirit. Was a bigger issue on the long sweeping, higher speed turns. About mid-way through the turns the front wheel started to give very vague feedback then begins to feel like it's wandering from side to side for no good reason. Not terrible, but unnerving, particularly in the mountains with shear drop-off's to the side. Planning to inspect the steering head and bearings this coming weekend. From having done prior service with the bike lifted off the ground, the fork will flop effortlessly from center to either left or right, but as I didn't feel any looseness, didn't pay it any mind. One of my riding buddies told me it should have some resistance (preload) when turning and shouldn't just flop to either side, so guessing that's the likely issue. Will be digging into the service manual this week to see how best to service it. Hit 20K miles on the way home too!

BTW - here's an older, but good link to that very section of highway. We came down from ~8,000 feet of elevation just south of Alpine, to about 3,200 feet in Morenci.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top