Ball VS roller bearing Motorcycle

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Truckedup
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Ball VS roller bearing Motorcycle

Postby Truckedup » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:02 pm

Ok, a motorcycle has front steering like a bicycle, a fork supporting the tire axle and handlebars. This pivots on rolling element bearings. It was loose ball bearings from early on and then in the 70's changed to caged tapered rollers like a car wheel bearing. Recently, the trend has been back to balls, but caged.....This is especially so on hyper performance street bikes and in racing...
At higher speeds motorcycles steers by leaning in basic terms ....To go left the rider steers slightly to the right, the bike leans left and the front wheel is actually a few degrees right as the bike arcs to the left....The rider also shifts his weight into the lean but the basic action is pushing and pulling on the handle bars...
So why change from roller to ball? I don't think they cheaper... Is a ball better for small angle of rotation? Does a ball have less resistance to movement so the rider has a better feel? bikes are all about what the rider feels the machine doing.....Any ideas?
Naked frame LSR bikes, dressed in animal hides clinging to machines propelled by fire...

PackardV8
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Re: Ball VS roller bearing Motorcycle

Postby PackardV8 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:31 pm

Just randomly, the ball system is usually a few ounces lighter than a typical roller and races. It's also often self-contained rather than separate race.

And yes, I remember back in the bad ol days, a few long fast interstate rides and the Triumph/BSA races would have indents from the loose balls and the steering would develop a ratchety feel. They had to be replaced every few years.

I'd assume for straightaway work, you'd prefer the '67 and later frame with more rake/trail, but I've never forgiven them for the change, because I'd grown up with the early bikes and they just felt more lively in the seat.
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Re: Ball VS roller bearing Motorcycle

Postby PackardV8 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:42 pm

PackardV8 wrote:Just randomly, the ball system is usually a few ounces lighter than a typical roller and races. It's also often self-contained rather than separate race.

And yes, I remember back in the bad ol days, a few long fast interstate rides and the Triumph/BSA races would have indents from the loose balls and the steering would develop a ratchety feel. They had to be replaced every few years.

I'd assume for straightaway work, you'd prefer the '67 and later frame with more rake/trail, but I've never forgiven them for the change, because I'd grown up with the early bikes and they just felt more lively in the seat.
Jack Vines
Studebaker-Packard V8 Limited
Obsolete Engineering

Truckedup
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Re: Ball VS roller bearing Motorcycle

Postby Truckedup » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:23 pm

Jack, I'm referring to bikes in general, mainline sport bike newer than about 2007...
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Re: Ball VS roller bearing Motorcycle

Postby Olefud » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:43 pm

Ball bearings have somewhat less static drag. They can fret more readily if towed for long on a bumpy trailer or such.

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Re: Ball VS roller bearing Motorcycle

Postby Truckedup » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:47 am

Olefud wrote:Ball bearings have somewhat less static drag. They can fret more readily if towed for long on a bumpy trailer or such.



Some bike racers spoke up and said the less drag of ball bearings is the reason, gives more precise steering ......
Naked frame LSR bikes, dressed in animal hides clinging to machines propelled by fire...


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