Garage Night TV has turned 10! Well, it’s our 10th episode, anyway. In this instalment, Pete replaces the rear wheel bearings on his Honda Africa Twin 750 – and gets a nasty shock when he finds what some previous mechanic has done in this department.
Sealed bearings. Great! They come from the factory with lots of lovely grease inside, and their own integral seals to make sure the grease stays in, and the muck stays out.
Right? WRONG! For me, the biggest revelation of this episode came when Trent popped open one of Pete’s new bearings and showed that inside was little more than a token smear of factory lubricant. So if you really care about those bearings lasting, it’s a good idea to check them – how to go about this is one of the numerous tips you’ll get by watching the video.
If there’s a lack of grease, you might consider adding some yourself. It’s not recommended to pack them with too much grease, though, due to the possibility of overheating or hydraulic lock. There’s a bit of debate on this, but about 1/3 full of grease is one recommended figure. That said, if you buy a reputable brand of bearing the manufacturers probably knew what they were doing – but if the inside is bone dry you might want to think about adding a little grease (or buying some higher quality bearings!).
A bike like Pete’s carries three bearings – two in the hub and one in the mysterious cush drive unit, which is bolted to the sprocket and meshes with the wheel hub. Depending on your bike, these might all be different sizes, or all the same. So make sure you’ve got the right part numbers when ordering.
Pete’s bike has been to India and back, so it’s picked up a few quirks along the way. At a roadside garage somewhere on the subcontinent is where Pete reckons it picked up a dodgy wheel bearing fitment. “It was definitely not me.” A likely story Pete!
All these bearings are a press or interference fit – they have to be mildly forced into place, so pay attention when Pete explains how to do it without ruining the bearings and thereby defeating the purpose of replacing them.