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This is a discussion on steering bearings within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Can I use standard 1/4" ball bearings as replacements on my old honda's steering stem? Or is there something special about the ones you pay ...

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  1. #1
    Junior Member ahracer1's Avatar
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    steering bearings

    Can I use standard 1/4" ball bearings as replacements on my old honda's steering stem? Or is there something special about the ones you pay a premium for at the dealer? Unfortunatly I can't afford $40 needle bearings right now

  2. #2
    Senior Member KeninIowa's Avatar
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    Don't wanna hurt your feelings but that's not really a place to try to save a buck.


  3. #3
    Senior Member HackAsaw's Avatar
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    the thing about that particular ball bearing design is that it is somewhat forgiving and has adjustment built right in

    I'd measure the Honda balls and if they are within ten thou or so

    go for it

    It wouldn't surprise me to learn HOnda used same old same old 1/4 balls anyhow, maybe they aren't 6mm or maybe they are

    I dunno

    however, my SOP is to toss loose balls in a jar and never put any forks back on using them

    timken bearings are just the right thing to do

    so if you were nearby, I'd give you a hand or two full since the only things I actually use them for tend to be problematic with trouble following
    Accidental inventor of the worlds fastest wearing rocker arms and other edible engine parts! Try my yummy blue cheese camshafts!

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  5. #4
    Junior Member ahracer1's Avatar
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    I measured them with a micrometer at .250. One of the previous owners may just used whatever he could find. I just didnt know if there is a difference in materials. I figured they were all a high carbon steel so it shouldnt make a difference whether they were marketed for a bike or not.

  6. #5
    Senior Member HackAsaw's Avatar
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    I've been taking those pesky bastards out of steering heads for years and the only bad ones I've found have been ones that had been run dry for a long time, or those which had been run loose

    if it goes together and feels good

    go for it, I would if I didn't have timkens and I've had days I couldn't afford a set either

    who hasn't?

    my guess is a good roller ball is a good roller ball

    you could always test them by smacking them with a sharp file

    if a file won't touch them and they don't shatter

    I'd call it good within reason
    Accidental inventor of the worlds fastest wearing rocker arms and other edible engine parts! Try my yummy blue cheese camshafts!

  7. #6
    Moderator jbranson's Avatar
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    I like the timkens because they are easy...but you talk to some real chassis gurus and they'll tell you the old school balls are better. Something about the angle of the loading...the way the tighten up compared to timken...blah blah. The problem with the balls is they don't take shock well..tend to dent the races creating that notchy feeling.
    JohnnyB

  8. #7
    Senior Member midge's Avatar
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    mcmaster carr.com

    Part Number: 9528K15 $4.12 per Pack of 100
    Type
    High-Precision Bearing Balls

    System of Measurement
    Inch

    ABEC Precision Bearing Rating
    Not Rated

    Ball Material
    E52100 Alloy Steel

    Diameter
    1/4"

    Diameter Tolerance
    ±0.0001"

    Sphericity
    0.000025"

    Rockwell Hardness
    C60-C67

    Specifications Met
    American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

    ASTM Specification
    ASTM A295

    Note
    Balls are grade 25.






    © 2008 McMaster-Carr Supply Company. All rights reserved.



  9. #8
    coolatula's Avatar
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    mcmaster carr.com is where I bought a set for a old three wheeler I had years ago.
    Honda wanted THREE TIMES the price for the same bearings. For that price I could probably have gotten stainless steel!
    I spent like $10.00 instead of $30.00!

    Tapered bearings are the way to go if you can.


  10. #9
    Senior Member HackAsaw's Avatar
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    I doubt I could be convinced that ball rollers, caged or loose, are better than tapered rollers for a steering head

    if they were indeed

    all bikes produced would use them and none made today do as far as I know

    and a real treat if you are running balls

    are using the caged ones

    I've used them in Brit bikes before when an owner did not want to "compromise the originality of their machine ..... bleh....

    and the caged balls do have a Triumph Factory part number and will fit all of the 70 and back unit frames

    quote:Originally posted by jbranson

    I like the timkens because they are easy...but you talk to some real chassis gurus and they'll tell you the old school balls are better. Something about the angle of the loading...the way the tighten up compared to timken...blah blah. The problem with the balls is they don't take shock well..tend to dent the races creating that notchy feeling.
    JohnnyB
    Accidental inventor of the worlds fastest wearing rocker arms and other edible engine parts! Try my yummy blue cheese camshafts!

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