Bearing problem

I was at a park today riding around on my Nimbus when the bearings started clicking loudly at the same spot every rotation and when they clicked the tension in the pedaling would get real hard for that second and then go back to normal until the next rotation when it clicked. I went home and took the frame off to make sure nothing was inside bearing holders and there wasn’t, so I put the frame back on and the clicking was still there only not as loud at all and it didn’t “tighten” every click. So right now it’s in my dad’s trunk to go to the LBS tomorrow and hopefully the awsome guy down there can fix it. Do you guys have any idea of what it might be? I’m no expert, but I think it must be that there is something in the bearings or they’re not lubed very good so they’re binding up. What do you think? Another thing I’m wondering is if the bearings on the unicycle are “standard” so I wouldn’t have to order special ones if they were broken? Would the bike shop mechanic be able to put bearings from a bike or a cheap uni like he sells on it or would I want to get better quality ones? Thanks a bundle!!!

-Tyler :slight_smile:

Hello Tyler, When my Nimbus pedal begins to click, it’s because the right pedal has become ever so slightly less than real tight into the crank.

Take the wheel off and then spin the bearings by hand with your fingers. If the guts inside the bearing have broken you can sometimes feel the clicking in your fingers as you spin it.

Bearings fail. Sometimes the guts inside the bearing break. Sometimes the bearings get damaged when they are pressed on the hub and end up having a very short lifetime. For munis you can get dirt and crud all packed inside the bearing. If a bearing gets clamped too tight in the bearing clamps it can shorten the lifetime of the bearing.

When the bearing is replaced I would suggest using Loctite Sleeve Retainer to hold the bearing in place.

If you search for threads that contain the words “Loctite sleeve retainer bearing” you’ll find some threads by me about how to remove and replace a bearing.

A bike shop will be able to pull the old bearing off and put on a new one. They just need to be careful that they don’t inadvertently damage the bearing while pressing it on. The other hard part can be just getting the correct bearing for a reasonable price. It’s a standard and common bearing size but prices can be all over the map depending on how many middlemen get involved and jack up the price.

It’s definitely not the pedal, it’s the bearing.

So about getting a new bearing, do you think a standard quality bearing would be ok?

Yes, standerd quality.

Do like JC said, and when you put the frame back on, make sure the bearing holders are tightened enough. If they’re loose, they wiggle and make a sort of clicking/clanging noise.

Standard quality bearings are just fine. Those would be the generic bearings that sells. Price should be anywhere from $4 per bearing on up to $10 per bearing depending on how much markup they get and how many middlemen get involved.

There are high quality bearings like the SKF bearings that sells. There is no need for such fancy bearings on a unicycle that gets used outdoors. If it’s a high end freestyle uni that gets used indoors and you want to splurge then you can go for the higher quality bearings.

The other choice is metal shield or rubber shield. The metal shield typically has less rolling resistance but they don’t seal as well as the rubber seals. The rubber seals will typically seal out dirt and crud better than the metal seals but the rubber ones have a little more friction.

For unicycles that get used outdoors I use rubber sealed bearings.

The bearing numbers for metal shied bearings end in ZZ. The bearing numbers for rubber shield bearings end in 2RS.

Clicks that happen at a specific pedal location are very suspiciously pedal related. Granted, for each rotation, the axle bearing races will be in the same spot when the click occurs, but the balls will not. Same is true of the pedal bearings. If you have a spare pair of pedals at hand, at least swap them out first to see if the problem moves or goes away.

Main cap (axle) bearings are frequently overtightened and that will cause them to fail prematurely. Search the fora for the correct tightening procedure for axle bearings. You can flip the cranks and flip the wheel easily, also. This puts the axle bearings on opposite sides. This will give you further hints about where the problem is before you pull and axle bearing. It’s not hard to do, you just have to have the right stuff to do it.

Standard bearings are cheap and available locally. Yours are probably some 6203 ABEC-1 variant. Auto shops may have them. Bearing outlets certainly do.

I tried turning the wheel with just the cranks (not moving the pedals) and I still could hear/feel the clicking.

clicking bearings

My bearings were doing the same as yours Tyler. They would click when rotating the wheel forwards but not backwards.

It happened once for about two days, went for away when I rode through a really deep puddle and got the bearings wet, and then came back two weeks later. Same thing happened, got them wet, clicking stopped.

But during the British Juggling Convention, a bunch of trialsers went for a blast, I jumped off some pretty big things and when we got back to the convention it was clicking louder than ever.

Roger from UDC UK was there but wasn’t about, but Myark from UDC UK (who is just as nice and helpful as Roger by the way!) looked at it and didn’t have a clue.

I took the bearing holder off and two bits of the bearing fell out! The outer casing of the bearing had split and was pressing into the insides of the bearing (the actual ball bearings).

It might be this that’s happening to you, maybe the bearing is cracked inside and is about to crack all the way through.

I did have my bearings a bit tight tho!

Hope this helps.


I did notice a hairline crack on the outer casing of one bearing. Do you think that might be it? Maybe when the LBS put my tire on they tightened the frame too tight.

Ummmmmmmmmmm… BUMP

It is quite possible that the bearing got way overtightened by a bike shop. Bike shops do that a lot to unis.

That’s one of the big problems with the main cap style of bearing holder. It is very easy, and very common, to overtighten them. If overtightened too much you can crack the bearing or damage the bearing cage that is inside the bearing.

When you get the bearing replaced ask for the old bearing. You can take it apart and look at what’s inside the bearing. It’s interesting to see what’s in there. A couple of small screwdrivers can pry off the bearing seals. Then some WD40 and a paper towel to clean out the insides so you can see what’s in there. You’ll see the bearing cage that holds the ball bearings.