Ep 15: Replacing swingarm bearings, part 2

It’s warming up in these parts and I’m getting closer to putting the swingarm back on my bike. Since Trent made me a linkage bushing in the last episode, I’ve been gathering new bearings and seals, getting the swingarm powdercoated and even fabricating my own chain slider out of a special hard-wearing plastic.

Some bikes use simple bronze bushings in their various rear suspension linkages and pivots, but many use needle roller bearings. That’s certainly the case with my bike, which mixes caged needle rollers with “full complement” bearings.

Watch the video for all the details, but essentially the full complement bearing is the more compact of the two, capable of carrying higher loads for its size but prone to its fiddly little rollers falling out when handled because there’s no cage around them.

Depending on the state of your bearings it may be possible to grease them up without removing them from the swingarm and continue using them. But I’ve chosen to replace mine, so the video shows how it’s done.

Worn pivot bearings – where the swingarm fork attaches to the frame – will cause your back wheel to wander from side to side.

Wear in the linkage bearings or their corresponding bushings will translate to other problems, such as a clunking in your rear suspension travel. And if the linkage bearings are not properly greased or, worse still, seized, your suspension won’t respond properly. That not only means a less comfortable ride – because suspension counts in the corners too, you’ll end up with a bike that doesn’t handle like it should.

I’ve got a few more checks to make and some new bits and bolts to gather – then the swingarm can go back on.

Hope you enjoy the video and find it useful. Please make sure to leave some comments and discuss your bike wrenching experiences.

– Waz

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9 thoughts on “Ep 15: Replacing swingarm bearings, part 2

  1. @Carlos

    You should watch Part 1 of the video. It shows how he removes the swingarm bearings. Doesn’t show how he removes the other bearings, though, but try browsing through his archive.

  2. Thanks for sharing the step by step process to replace swingarm bearings. I just did it with my bike successfully following your instructions. Looking forward to see more great videos from you… :)

  3. RE “Depending on the state of your bearings it may be possible to grease them up without removing them from the swingarm and continue using them.”

    i just greased it up n worked great real easy to get to

  4. It shows how he removes the swingarm bearings.I just did it with my bike successfully following your instructions. Looking forward to see more great videos from you…Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hey Ryan, I think I’ve seen you on the Elefant mailing list? You’ve probably got your answer from there by now but the seals are standard industrial seals. I used “18x24x3mm Nitrile Rubber Rotary Shaft Oil Seal Springless Type R26”. There are usually various kinds available – sprung, unsprung, metal bodied or not, so take your pick based on what’s already on your bike.

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