metal flakes in my front bearing

Bike = 1979 motobecane 50v

The bearing in my front wheel is completely full of small metal shavings, and the wheel barely turns. There is a fellow creature whom I will ask to help me take apart the wheel and repack the bearing, but I am curious as to what caused this so I can prevent it in the future.

Has this happened to anyone? Should you even be able to see the ball bearings in the wheel?

I can put a picture up when I get home from work tonight.

Re: metal flakes in my front bearing

John Joedicke /

Either the race or the bearings have broken down due to lack of lubrication. May have to replace....probable. Also the agustment on the bearings way probably loose

Re: metal flakes in my front bearing

they bearing on your front wheel are the cup type, yes you can see the balls its is normal, fi there ar etons of shavings the races for the balls might be shot....if your races are replaceable, no big deal, if not, time for a new wheel. toss the old bearings and races and get a new set from one of the major shops, repack them with a hipressure grease

Re: metal flakes in my front bearing

Man, I had this happen to me around 1995 in the rear hub of my Puch Magnum! At that point, I had no idea what was going on, but my rear wheel FROZE! And there were more than just a few shavings! Unfortunately at that time, I knew NOTHING about mopeds, there were no parts available here and I had never heard about the Internet!

Long story shortened? Pull it apart, clean it out, hope that you can replace the bearings and that there was no damage to the races, grease it up and try it out. As for my bike? It had 17,000 miles on the engine and the only thing wrong with it was the busted rear wheel, but because of my ignorance and no mechanics to look at the bike, it disintegrated in my yard.

Re: metal flakes in my front bearing

Thanks for the help everyone. I'm assuming that the "races" are the round metal dealies that hold the ball bearings? I went to and to get a rough idea regarding how much it would cost to replace these, and they didn't have any on their websites. Do you guys know how much these typically go for?

Thanks again.

Re: metal flakes in my front bearing

Can I get bearings from this site ?

I have no clue what any of the numbers on this site mean though. More generally, I don't know a damn thing about bearings.

Re: metal flakes in my front bearing

okay so I took a minute to read that site and understand all the numbers now :)

Re: metal flakes in my front bearing

no, your wheel uses loose bearings, you can most likely get them from BJ at <> the races (if replaceable) will run you about $20, the bearings prob a dollar a pop

Re: metal flakes in my front bearing

the races are the part of the hub that the bearings sit into, not the retainers, which actually hold the ball bearings. if you ride on improperly adjusted bearings this type of thing will happen eventually, especially if there is no grease! when properly adjusted axle should rotate freely and smoothly and have no play. bearing retainers should not be very expensive(with bearings in them already). check races for pits, and the cones as well. the cones are the part that thread onto the axle and fit against the bearings. bon chance.

Re: metal flakes in my front bearing

Are your bearings sealed (like those in the website you pointed to above) or are they individual little metal balls? In either event, you may be able to purchase them from a bearing shop in your city/locale. If you can take a sample to them, it might make it easier. Since the individual ones come in myriad sizes, they can probably better measure them than you might, since they sometimes are in increments as small (for bikes, at least) as 1/32". If you have the housed (or caged) bearings (the ones contained in a round metal "house", obviously) you might find the bearing number on the side. If not, you'll have to take it to them too or find out from some other fellow bike owner.

Re: metal flakes in my front bearing

I took apart the axle/bearing assembly last night, and it definitely seems weird. First of all, the axle is slightly warped and some of the threads are in bad condition. Also, one of the bearings looks like the kind in the website I linked to -- sealed bearings where you can actually see the ball bearings. On the other side, the bearing is completely different -- there is this angled piece on top of the bearing so you can't see the ball bearings. The outer diatmeter of the one where you can see the ball bearings is very slightly larger than the other bearing. I don't understand it and it definitely doesn't seem right.

Fortunately, creature benji has an extra motobecane wheel which he is going to let me use -- thanks benji! If it's a mag wheel I'll just swap it, otherwise I'll take out the axle/bearings/etc. and stick them in my wheel. I kind of want to take it apart so that I can solve this mystery.


I talked to BJ at Handy Bikes, and he said that some motobecane wheels did have sealed bearings inside. He wasn't sure about the front wheels, but he said that some of the rear wheels for sure had sealed bearings. Motobecane used a bunch of different wheels at different times, so they are not all interchangeable.

Anyway, I bought a new sealed bearing at a bicycle store; now I just need a new axle. That oughta be easy to find...

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