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I've used ceramic bearings in smaller devices, but not on a motorcycle. Better, in less frictional losses, (for high quality ceramic bearings), yes, but in real world, you're not going to notice a difference on something like a motorcycle, imho. If you needed to replace the wheel bearings and had a good source for ceramic that was cost competitive, no reason not to use them that I can think of.
 

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It is very likely a waste of money for something without any advantage of any value in the use.



The one thing I don't see there would be the question about impacts. How would ceramic material hold up under an impact hard enough to break it, would the ceramic shatter, a catastrophic failure or would it hold up?

I had a chain thrown locking up the gear box on my TM125 years ago. The gear box locking up caused the crank to try to "climb" causing the large right side crank bearing to break, but it didn't actually completely fail. After getting the chain out and back on the bike it actually fired up and ran, but with a lot of crank bearing noise. The impact caused the bearing cage to break, pushing bearings out of position, but still able to function well enough for the engine to run..

For that one reason I'd definitely stay with the regular steel bearings on wheels. If an impact was hard enough the bearing may break, but it would very likely continue to function well enough to stop the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sounds like the crank bearing failed because of poor chain maintenance. There is always going to be something that could happen to form a chain of events that cause failure.
The reason I ask is I am trying to slim down my Suzuki which is a great big lump to move around. I heard fitting ceramic wheel bearings really helps when pushing the bike around. If this is indeed true then it's worth exploring.
 

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No, the chain came off because the TM had the side stand bolted on the frame on a horizontal pad. Apparently an impact with a rock sheared off one of the bolts. The side stand rotated in, pushing the chain off, derailing it entirely. The loose chain folded at the couter shaft sprocket. The chain was fine both before and after. It was physically derailed. It was also only the cause for the failure, it is the possible failure that I pointed out - a shock load (the proper term I was missing) to the bearing.

The impact broke the retainer, but the bearings still would roll. The stress that broke the bearing didn't break the balls, the parts that actually roll. The bearing still rolled. Ceramic bearings are not as strong in shock load situations, wheels impacting road hazards. Is it worth taking the risk of an impact breaking a ceramic ball or better to stay with steel, the choice of engineers in impact shock.

The one concern about ceramic is as pointed out before - the impact shock. The steel holds up, deforming when the modulus of elasticity is exceeded, ceramic will not deform - something we see when we drop a dish on a hard floor - it shatters. That would be my concern. If one ball should fracture loads will shift and possibly more will break.

If you watch this video you may find your answer...


Unless you buy the best you may be getting zero gain or even worse performance. Considering where the friction comes from it appears the lube and cage are the main culprits in ease of rolling.

I wouldn't risk it simply to have it a bit easier to push a bike around in a garage. From the video I am not sure the difference would be noticeable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi,
I understand your concern for ceramic bearings collapsing, that would be a nightmare and if there were any possibility of that happening I would never use them.
Since I asked I have found out there are many types of ceramics, from nickel ceramic coating for rebores to ceramic coating for paint finishes, coating for exhausts, all very hard wearing. As well as the traditional ceramics, bricks, pottery etc. dishes made from clay which are fragile.
Interesting video with some good pointers, you get what you pay for and a bicycle doesn't go fast enough to merit the cost of a ceramic bearing.
Where I live I use a narrow passage to get into my back garden to my sheds. I push my bikes in and do a 3 point turn to get them out. My Slingshot is 240kg and although I love it it's proving a lump to move. This is why I have the XSR, much easier to move around.
Anyway because of that and wanting to keep and use my Suzuki is why I'll explore any avenue to make things easier in my old age... :)
 

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Definitely do what you please, but I'm not sure you will even notice any difference.

One possibility would be to use a bike dolly from a place like Harbor Freight (click here), but from a UK source. With or without using the side stand pad, see my recent thread on motorcycle dollies to save space click here

One more thought would be to get an XSR700 center stand kit so you can slide a small "lazy susan" style heavy duty turntable under the stand so it can be turned around on the plate. Here is a link to the center stand thread here click here Plus there is a company making and selling smaller turn tables in the UK Rotunda click here

Fact is if you had the center stand you could probably lean it onto one leg and rotate the bike on that stand.
 
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