HSC Hybrid Ceramic Bearing Description
The application of hybrid ceramic bearing technology is relatively new within the cycling industry. Along with advances in aerodynamics and the fine-tuning of carbon frames for enhanced ride qualities, ceramic bearings point to a trend in which consumers are favoring performance advantages over simple weight reduction in bicycles (though it should be noted that ceramic bearings are lighter than their steel counterparts, if only by a few grams). For cyclists interested in making the upgrade to ceramic bearings in their bottom brackets and hubs, price is often a concern. HSC bearings are among the most affordable on the market, with no compromise in quality. Most front and rear hubs can be completely retrofitted for under $150, while most outboard bearing bottom brackets can be upgraded for $70.
HSC's ceramic hybrids use grade 3 silicon nitride (Si3N4) balls matched with hardened steel races and low-friction seals and retainers. The grade of the ball bearings refers to their sphericity in thousandths of an inch. Put simply, the lower the number, the closer the ball is to being perfectly spherical. As a reference, the highest quality stainless steel ball used in bicycle applications is rated at grade 25, and many ceramic hybrid manufacturers use grade 5 ceramic balls. Advantages over standard steel bearings include: lighter weight, lower thermal expansion and deformation under load, lower friction with reduced start and running torques, and reduced wear for longer running life. Again, put simply, ceramic bearings allow you to roll faster with reduced effort over a longer period before needing replacement.
We recommend installation be performed by an experienced mechanic with a professional quality bearing press. Improper installation will negate the performance advantages of ceramic bearings, and significantly reduce their wear life.