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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys and gals,

I have about 53,000 mile on my 2009 street triple and was wondering...
I have never service the steering bearings, (lube or nothing).
I am thinking replacing the OEM's for something better. any suggestions? is it easy to change them? does it make a difference?

safe rides!!!
thanks!
 

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Ball bearings are lighter and less expensive than tapered roller bearings. Because balls present a much smaller contact area to the inner and outer rings they are more likely to indent the raceways. The tapered rollers generally last longer, handle shock better and many people say they feel more precise.

Correct preload and clean grease make all the difference. And please don't touch the bearings with bare hands, the salt in your skin can cause corrosion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
should I look for a specific size/type/brand?

anything to look for,...for the right parts?

thanks!!
 

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The quality of Chinese bearings will vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. German or Japanese bearing are generally more consistent. I like Timken bearings for this application. If you've never done this procedure there are many tutorials online. Just make sure you seat the outer rings (cups) fully.
I don't have a clue what size you'll need.
 

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never use cheap chinese bearings in any application on a motorcycle. They will fail early. They are garbage.

Good bearings are not cheap and cheap bearings are not good.

Taper roller bearings provide a much larger surface area (footprint) than ball bearings. MUCH more contact surface to spread the load out. They work the same, but will last longer if installed correctly. Most damage them on install because they don't know what they are doing.

If you measure the OD of the old bearings removed, and the ID, you can get a set of tapers to match those dimensions.
 

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They run ball bearing in MotoGP. Good enough for me. Keep them lubed and adjusted correctly and they last plenty long.
I'm not sure that's a shining endorsement, given that those bikes are rebuilt just about every race and replaced every year. If we're just talking about performance, yeah, but once you start adding longevity and everyman budgets into the equation I think the balance starts to shift. Of course, that's just opinion based on layman observations so take it for what it's worth.
 

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Tapers made a big difference to my ZZR1200, and I'd always choose them. MotGP go for the lightness of steering that balls will give, but on the road I'd go taper every time. And as has been said, European or Japanese. Buy cheap, buy twice. :smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
"allballs"....now that's a funny name!...:badum:laughhard

I'll order tapered roller head bearings...

Thanks guys!
 

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They run ball bearing in MotoGP. Good enough for me. Keep them lubed and adjusted correctly and they last plenty long.
As noted below by mcouper...not a fair comparo at all. A road bike that does not get the mechanical attention a fully supported race bike does and does not have to deal with the rigors of normal crap roads...is not an endorsement for me to use at all. I'll go for something a little more robust and will outlast the ball bearing.

I'm not sure that's a shining endorsement, given that those bikes are rebuilt just about every race and replaced every year. If we're just talking about performance, yeah, but once you start adding longevity and everyman budgets into the equation I think the balance starts to shift. Of course, that's just opinion based on layman observations so take it for what it's worth.
You are dead on mcouper.

Tapers made a big difference to my ZZR1200, and I'd always choose them. MotGP go for the lightness of steering that balls will give, but on the road I'd go taper every time. And as has been said, European or Japanese. Buy cheap, buy twice. :smile2:
They really work well with the heavier bikes. Totally agree with rest of your comment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
allballs is all I can find...

can you guys direct me to non chinese tapered bearings for the street triple?

thanks!
 

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Mostly cheap chinese crap. They are not even a manufacturer. Get from a reputable manufacturer distributor, all balls is not that, not even close.

I am just going by recommendations of members of another motorcycle forum. They all had good luck with them. Maybe things have changed.

As far as where to buy them, their are beating houses in many cities that sell quality product, the latest do not manufacture the product they sell.
 

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Not so sure why people diss Chinese ball/taper bearings. China is not the backwater it was 30 years ago, and you can be sure they manufacture the finest bearings for their heavy industry. I can remember way back in the '50s when 'Made in Japan' was a joke for poor quality, but they turned that around in short order. A lot of stuff coming out of China these days is very impressive, and if it were made in North America you would be paying 5 times the price. Servicing/replacing headstock bearings is a major job though; the bike has to be properly supported, the forks removed, a special tool is needed to tap out the collars, and a special tool is needed to press in the new bearings. A castle-type socket is needed to torque the nut properly. IMO damage to bearings is caused by spraying water (or worse still pressure washing) on the steering head causing corrosion inside when water seeps in.
 

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Not so sure why people diss Chinese ball/taper bearings. China is not the backwater it was 30 years ago, and you can be sure they manufacture the finest bearings for their heavy industry. I can remember way back in the '50s when 'Made in Japan' was a joke for poor quality, but they turned that around in short order. A lot of stuff coming out of China these days is very impressive, and if it were made in North America you would be paying 5 times the price. Servicing/replacing headstock bearings is a major job though; the bike has to be properly supported, the forks removed, a special tool is needed to tap out the collars, and a special tool is needed to press in the new bearings. A castle-type socket is needed to torque the nut properly. IMO damage to bearings is caused by spraying water (or worse still pressure washing) on the steering head causing corrosion inside when water seeps in.


china does produce a lot of CRAP. Most anything sold in Walmart is crap. I quit buying the "run of the mill" drip coffee maker and spent ~$300 on a hand built Norwegian drip coffeee pot. It is known to last for decades and makes some damn fine coffee!
 

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Not so sure why people diss Chinese ball/taper bearings. China is not the backwater it was 30 years ago, and you can be sure they manufacture the finest bearings for their heavy industry. I can remember way back in the '50s when 'Made in Japan' was a joke for poor quality, but they turned that around in short order. A lot of stuff coming out of China these days is very impressive, and if it were made in North America you would be paying 5 times the price. Servicing/replacing headstock bearings is a major job though; the bike has to be properly supported, the forks removed, a special tool is needed to tap out the collars, and a special tool is needed to press in the new bearings. A castle-type socket is needed to torque the nut properly. IMO damage to bearings is caused by spraying water (or worse still pressure washing) on the steering head causing corrosion inside when water seeps in.

Considering I work FOR a major bearing manufacturer, I can tell with full confidence that chinese bearing steel is garbage. They don't have the ability or know-how to make great steel required for bearings. They copy the hell out of all the major manufacturers and it LOOKS similar, but in performance they are awful. I see it all the time where heavy industry companies "save" money on cheap bearings only to see the life of them be a fraction of what a quality tier 1 bearing is. THEN I get to come in, show them the error of their ways and get them back on track...you cannot tell me china makes some of the finest heavy industry bearings...that is laughable. I have many pictures of early failures in metallurgy, design an fitment. My world IS heavy industry bearings...I have yet to see chinese garbage out perform a quality one. Never.

I'll say it again, I would never put cheap, crap chinese bearings in anything I own if I was replacing them.
 

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I am just going by recommendations of members of another motorcycle forum. They all had good luck with them. Maybe things have changed.

As far as where to buy them, their are beating houses in many cities that sell quality product, the latest do not manufacture the product they sell.

Nothing has changed, they source the cheapest bearings they can find and package them as all balls. Most of the bearings don't even have markings on them...a very good sign they are junk.

Find yourself a bearing distributor to source quality stuff like NSK, SKF, NTN, KOYO, TIMKEN. There really is a difference.
 

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allballs is all I can find...

can you guys direct me to non chinese tapered bearings for the street triple?

thanks!
Find yourself a bearing service/supply house, or distributor like Motion Industries, Applied Industrial Technology or Kaman. They will source what you need if you bring in the old ones. There IS a possibility that OEM is your only source. They will make one off sizes for some odd reason.
 

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My only question would be....If there's nothing wrong with your present set-up, that is no looseness, no lumpy feeling when turning, etc., why would you take it apart and change the bearings? The chances of ruining what you have by trying to get it apart are fairly high and the benefits of changing to taper roller bearings slight. You know the old saying.....If it ain't broke....
 
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