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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just bought a rear wheel from a '97 TW on Ebay. How do I determine the condition of the rear bearings? The wheel is in very nice shape- looks like it was treated well and there is no grease leakage so I have no reason to assume that the bearings are worn. How long do rear wheel bearings usually last on the TW?
 

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Forever, if they haven't been drowned or abused. TW has a heavy wheel rim combo, but with sub 20 horses it's hard to abuse them... certainly not impossible.
Well, nothing lasts forever... so every time you swap tires, wipe the bearings clean and stick a finger in there, rotate the inner race, feeling for notchy or uneven movement. Push the inner race straight in and out, shouldn't be any real movement at all. Then tweak the race at an angle, it should not move more than a micromillimeter. Any excess play or movement... replace the bearings. You've got the wheel off the bike already....
Rubber sealed bearings can be cleaned and repacked by gently removing the seals... but don't bother if there are any problems with them.
I've ridden hundreds of thousands of miles and only had bearings fail twice. Buell XB12XT rear bearings failed at 12k, some strange harmonics design flaw that only seemed to plague the longer wheelbase models, redesigned wheel replaced under warranty has three larger bearings and has been trouble free for 50k. An enduro bike I regularly drowned during water crossings, lost front bearings... fully my fault for not maintaining it.
All that said... it's pretty cheap insurance to swap new bearings in.
 

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We do things right because we do things twice! That was my fathers moto and he was forever redoing what repairs he did because he cheaped out. I doubt there is any issue with the bearings in your wheel and I have never had to replace them in any of the 7 TWs I have owned. For a ten dollar bill and a little extra time I think if you are in doubt then just buy the parts and do it right the first time.

GaryL
 

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The very first thing I did on my new TW200, was pop the wheel bearings out, and pack them with propper water-proof, rust-inhibitting, high film-strength grease (Motorex, Maxima, Bel-ray, etc,). Do this every off season, bearings last fer ever.
 

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Slip the axle back into the wheel just a little off the bike, then use the axle as a lever to lean against while rolling the wheel. Unless the bearing is totally shot you won't feel any problems just rolling it with your finger. Have to put some load on it. If there's any coarseness, notches, ect, replace it. Personally I wouldn't bother trying to remove the seals and re-pack. The seals are not intended to be removed and most likely you'll damage it in the process, so it won't seal as well again. Quality (Nachi, SKF, ect) bearings can be had online for $6 or so apiece. Often really not much more than buying an all-balls kit (which come with mediocre Chinese generics).

There's really no life expectancy for bearings, mileage or time.

Tip- if you're having a hard time driving the bearings out- rust, or a spacer that doesn't want to slide over enough- a suitably sized concrete wedge anchor works well. Tap the wedge end into the I.D of the bearing, flip the wheel around, then use a long punch/old socket extension to tap the back of the wedge gently a few times, expanding the clip so it "bites" the I.D of the bearing. Then give it a couple solid hits and it'll fly right out. Gives you a nice solid surface to hit against. Tap the bearing forward off the anchor, squeeze the clip back down, rinse and repeat. 1/2, 5/8, or 3/4" anchors will take care of about 99% of motorcycle wheel bearing sizes.
 

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I've been a bike mech my whole life, and there are ways of carefully removing rubber-coated, steel snap-ins, or circlip rubber or steel plate, cartridge bearing seals. If your a ham fisted; then yes, the seals can be damaged. (don't let these types hold your new-born). If you are a patient delicate fingered type, then it's easy, and very common to do. Every race bike I've prepped, the first thing I do, is to repack all new cartridge bearings, then install them. Especially in the cheaply priced, bearing age we live in. Your wheels are what your rolling on. Take care of them! Quality bearings, quality grease.

I have never in my life of owning bikes, motorized or peddaled, even in my rc truck toys, have had rust anywhere near my bearing. Good Grease!

Another great way of removing press-fit bearings, is to warm the part theyre in. They will then fall out, because of the expanded material, and the lack of rust from good grease, and propper maintanence. :thumbsup:
 

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and after you clean up your wheel bearings..... stay away from pressure washers or at the very least keep the spray away from your hubs and axle area. pressure washing is like water injection around light rubber seals.
 

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I put the bearings in the freezer and the hubs out in the sun to heat up. The bearing go in with little effort. You can also use the old bearing as a driver.
 

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I can note that they will fail if youre doing alot of wet And grittyriding. Mine have maybe 30 miles left before they explode. You'll know they are done when the make a ratchet I ng noise under heavy load.

Sent from my LML211BL using Tapatalk
 
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