Grease, seals and how they affect a spinning bearing
We thought we'd post some info on grease fill and how it effects a bearing. Grease fill or commonly referred to grease fill % is how much grease is applied to the bearing. 100% would be a bearing completely stuffed full of grease, while 50% would be half as much.
The lower the grease fill % the easier the bearing will spin while not under any load. The common thinking then is to use a very low %. Some companies do this for one reason- to make you think their bearings are faster than they are. They know the first thing you will do when you install your wheel bearings or BB is to spin the wheel or the crank and see how long it spins. This is a great way to see how good the bearings are, right? Not really. We understand the thinking plus it's cool to time how long an unloaded bearing spins (we even have a few videos at our website showing how well our BRAND NEW bearings spin, but it's not the best gauge of performance. The reason is that the bearings are unloaded (ie, not being ridden by you).
A brand new bearing will spin mostly based on the amount of grease, the tightness of the seals and how heavy the spinning object is. A heavy wheel/rim, tube and tire will spin longer than a lightweight wheel/rim, tube and tire.
We tend to use slightly heavier seals and a slightly higher grease fill %. While it will take a little longer to break our bearings in, they do last longer and in the end, that is also why you upgrade to ceramic. While we use a higher grease fill % than most other ceramic bearings, our grease is specially designed for our bearings. It spreads easily while breaking in and isn't too tacky nor too watery. It is ideal for ceramic bearings and can be applied more liberally without causing a complete slowdown in the turning of the bearing.
What happens when our bearings are going through the "break-in" process?