I keep wheel bearings "in stock" and check them every tire change.
I've never had any issues with All Balls bearings, FWIW.
Motorcycle wheel bearings are standardized metric industrial bearings made for massive loads and speeds of tens of thousands of RPM. They are understressed by a factor of ten when used in motorcycle wheels. The Chinese ones are fine if you know what you're doing.
I don't think anyone has ever seen a motorcycle wheel bearing that just plain wore out. They fail from two causes:
- Seal failure; water and dirt intrusion. On vintage bikes, the right front wheel bearing is often a rusty mess because that's the one most exposed to weather and rain for 30 years behind Grandma's shed. Pressure washing or just plain washing with a jet of water can also force water into a bearing; only takes a few drops to cause problems.
- Improper installation; usually this is numpties who bash them in with a claw hammer and shock the inner races. On many bikes, you have to read the installation procedure carefully to ensure you're not side-loading the bearing; some are supposed to be installed just until they touch the spacer, not just bashed until they bottom out in the bore.
Improper installation also includes worried types who remove one seal and stuff in additional grease on the mistaken theory that the glob of grease from the manufacturer "seems" inadequate (never mind that the grease fill and type is carefully calculated by professional engineers...).
Added grease by itself doesn't cause a huge issue in wheel bearing use, since they don't really spin fast enough to get hot, but removing the seal always damages it. Plus, you can have issues with incompatible grease chemistries. And it's messy; some of the added grease will make its way out of the bearing, and if the damaged seal is on the outside it will admit contaminants sooner or later.
The one exception may be adventuresome types who regularly enter deep water crossings; in this case, stuffing the bearing with grease can help keep water out a bit longer.
The stock bearings have a seal on one side because Suzuki somehow saved a tenth of a penny using these. There's no reason to remove the inner seal when installing fresh bearings with two seals.
2002 Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom, Dark Metallic Space Blue
1983 Suzuki GS850G, Cosmic Blue
2005 KLR685, Aztec Red - Turd II.2, the ReReTurdening
Last edited by bwringer; 07-31-2018 at 07:39 PM.