Wobbly Bearings

Hi Friends,
Sorry for the long post, I’ve seen people asking for relationship advice on this forum from time to time, now’s my turn:

A bit over a week ago I got a new 2007 KH29er, upgraded to the spirit cranks and mounted a brake using a d’brake adaptor. She’s a beautiful machine to ride, we’ve had many fantastic times over our first week together, I may be being a little besotted here, but I think we’ll be together forever.

We had a great cross country muni session on the weekend, we worked so well together - she held her lines perfectly, got air when I needed her to, cornered smoothly. I got such a great vibe while we were out there. But when we got home from work today I noticed she was behaving a little funny, making a bit of noise, and feeling a little loose. I pulled everything off her, gave her a good clean and polish, and in the process noticed the bearings on both sides ‘wobble’ - that is if I grip the outer ring of the bearing and wobble/rock it parallel to the axle there is noticeable back and forth movement. The movement is within the bearing (and not the bearing moving along the axle, or the bearing rocking against the axle). When the wheel is mounted in the frame and the bearing cups are anywhere from snug to over tight, rocking the frame/wheel produces a fair amount of movement, to the extent that I can see the the crank rocking back and fourth as well (ie it’s no just wheel flex).

At the moment our problem is not too bad, but I’m worried for her in a “it’s not me it’s you” sense. I’ll put it out there bluntly I’m not a one uni man. I’ve had other unis in the past, and I currently have 4 others that I take out from time to time. not to mention having an occasional day out with a b$ke. She knows about these (they all share a room) but I doubt that this could have caused our problems, as none of the other uni’s I’ve had seem to have this same behaviour…

Does anyone have any ideas what could have caused this? My thoughts:
A) Is that just the way it is and the way it is to be? Has anyone else met a uni like this? Is this just a normal process that all unicycles go through when ‘coming out’ of the box?
B) Could I have not done the bearings up tight enough and worn them out prematurely? I’ve given her plenty of attention so far, checking everything was not too tight and not too loose after every run to work, or every couple of km. Nothing was too tight, but could I have encouraged her to be too conservatively loose?
C) Could it be the d’brake adaptor? either torquing against the bearings inducing wear or could it have been not a perfect fit, causing the bearing to be stressed incorrectly? Has anyone else with a d’brake had a similar problem?
D) Something else?

I feel if i don’t do anything about this now things could just get much worse for us further down the track. Like we’ll go out one day and we won’t have as much fun together, and we’ll realise everything our relationship revolves around has fallen apart and I’ll suddenly realise I’ve been an abusive partner all this time.

It’s probably a horrible thing for me to think like this so early on, and it may be a little strange putting personal details like this out there on an internet forum, but I just can’t get the thoughts of what could happen out of my head. It’s just too unbearable. All us unicyclists are the same, surely one of you has found yourself in this sort of a situation and can help me out?

  • Terribly Troubled Tim


It appears that you have done something, something terrible, and now you are paying the ultimate scarifice :frowning:

Have you talked to anyone else about this? It might be time to seek professional advice. A good LBS counselor should able to help, but only if you are ready to help yourself.

I suggest getting those bearings relaced as soon as possible, before this wobble starts to get in the way of your feelings for “her”.

Who knows, maybe new bearings will add spark to your relationship/riding :slight_smile:

P.S. There is one other potential cause for this problem: Too much space, i.e. spacers between the cranks and bearings are missing or too thin. Such problems are common in new relationships, so just take it slow, it could be as easy as adding or changing spacers. Everyone needs space(rs).

mmm Good point. Thanks Ben. I did put it all together with 8mm spacers in between the cranks and the bearings. Is needing a spacer >8mm a bit unusual?

Like you say it is a new relationship, and it was initially a tight fit getting the cranks spacers and bearings to mate. I’ll try giving them a little nudge with a mallet to help them seat better.
Do you think I can fix the wobble that easily, or should I look to be replacing the bearings asap as well (the bearings may not be in optimal condition any more, but if i don’t change them will riding with worn bearings damage and wear the frame and bearing cups prematurely?)

I got 6MM on a nimbus hub with mometns and 8mm with a koxx hub and moments

Well, I don’t really specialize in that kind of “therapy”, but it should work out of the box unless something is “wrong”, in which case your LBS should be able to help you out.

Bad bearings in one week is highly unusual, but in a new relationship, things can be edgy at first, so maybe you and your new love can pop on over to the LBS and have a talk.

I’d suggest a glass of a wine, but that might stain her paint :wink:

It sounds to me like your new love is entirely at fault. I don’t think you should have any guilt over this unbearable situation.

If she’s wobbly within the bearings, it sounds like she brought her bearing problems to you from the very start. Fortunately, a little cosmetic upgrade should make her ride much more smoothly. I recommend contacting the girl’s family (hopefully UDC?) and talk to them about sending you replacement bearings. Or, if the inlaws are unreasonable, you can just impose a bearing change upon your girl for a reasonable price.

Here’s wishing you a future of smooth rides with your new love.

I hate to be the one to ask, but I’m sure we’re all thinking it…
Is there any chance someone else has been riding her? :o

I wonder if wobbly bear could have anything to do with this?

Oh great, now you’ve gone and said.

Talk about airing your laundry in public :roll_eyes:

LBS therapy for sure.

I don’t think therapy is required. You’re the man here. Bearings get worn out and floppy over time; your gal just needs a makeover a little sooner than others. That’s not your fault. Just go straight to the makeover with new bearings, it’ll perk her right up.

Also, I noticed she’s a 2007, so you’ll probably just need to buy the new bearings. That’s where your LBS could help (or order from UDC).

Ok, so it seems like going into some more ‘personal’ details may be appropriate now.

We met through UDCAU. It wasn’t so much a blind meeting, I’d done some research and I knew what too expect. None the less I was pretty excited when we actually met, things always seem so much larger in life than on the screen.
I know she’s a bit old, but she was quite a spring chicken when we met, having never been ridden at all. She certainly didn’t bring any baggage along with her, in fact I had to introduce most of the parts of any normal relationship to her! UDCAU haven’t yet got the 2012 KH frames, and so they did me a good deal upgrade the older model with the spirit cranks and d’brake to she can do everything a younger model can do. So while she was ‘fresh out of the box’, not a pure breed. She came with 4mm spacers, presumably what is needed with the moment cranks. I couldn’t get it to work with those ones (maybe she did bring baggage!!) so I took the 8mm spacers off of my Nimbus 24 (gee this is becoming incestuous), and am waiting for new ones from UDC to fix that one back up.

Ben, I hear you about going to my LBS. I like the idea, but things are a bit ‘rural’ here in Sydney, at least as far as unicycling is concerned. I’ve been there before and they are more amused than helpful. I might try going further afield, find my prime LBS. Actually I think I’ll probably call UDC up again before that.

There were a few guys eyeing her up at the trail head the other day, but the were two wheelers, not really her type and she didn’t take any interest in them. I don’t think they’d even know where to start even if they did get a hold of her. My wife did take her for a quick ride, I’m kinda ok with that though.

uniShark, given it was all brand new, what could i have done to cause this problem? If I replace the bearings but don’t do anything different am i just going to keep having this problem and leave a horrible trail of poor broken bearings behind me, haunting all my future unis?


My theory is that they came from a bad batch of bearings. I can’t imagine you rode her so hard that you caused her bearings to be wobbly, and it doesn’t seem like overtightening would cause sideways wobble. I’ve had one KH bearing go bad on me, probably from a combination of dirt, wear, and overtightening. It felt rough and grindy, not wobbly. Anyhow, it was no big deal to replace the bearing, and now my KH29 rides nice and smooth.

I had a torker DX bearing explode in the housing and i have had a koxx bearing go bad but they do need replaced every few years.