- Bearing are often regarded as a service item, instead of a performance upgrade
- South African dust can be tough on the bearings that make your bike pedal and roll along
- Kogel ceramic bearings now have an official presence, in South Africa
As your cycling journey progresses from amateur to weekend warrior, the gains are often more challenging to unlock.
All riders obsess about component weight, but the more technically literate also scrutinize friction.
The bits on your bicycle that spin, do so on bearings. And the ability of those bearings to remain true, is crucial.
Bearings live a hard life, especially in South Africa. Although the winters are short and muddy rides only feature a few weekends each year, South Africa has a lot of fine dust.
The country’s unique geology has blessed it with mineral abundance, also creates exceptionally hard dust particles containing silica. Tiny in size and capable of getting into bicycle components and acting as an abrasive, South African dust can eat conventional bearings over time.
Thinking beyond steel
Bearing upgrades are often the last thing most riders consider when planning their bike budget for the year, but most mechanics would recommend it.
The most desirable bearing upgrade is to go from steel to ceramic. Although the purchase price is significant, a ceramic bearing can be manufactured to a more perfect roundness, making it spin with even less effort.
Beyond costing you watts, ceramic bearings are also more wear-resistant – especially when moisture is an issue. Steel bearings will rust when some moisture seeps past the seals – and unattentive pressure washing is often cause of this.
The global supply of ceramic cycling bearings is not broad and one of the lead brands, Kogel, is now available in South Africa.
More ceramic choice, for local riders
Distributed by Roam, these Texan manufactured bearings aren’t cheap, but they should last a lot longer than conventional steel bearings.
Want to replace your rear derailleur pulley wheels with a set of Kogel bearing equipped components? That will be between R2326 and R4984, depending on your groupset specification.
One of the most popular ceramic bearing upgrades is the bottom bracket. A place where your bike has a lot of exposure to mud and dust, not to mention significant side loads when pedalling out of the saddle,
Kogel’s complete ceramic bearing bottom brackets price from R3323 to R3821, depending on your frame requirements.
Oversized derailleur cages make a style statement when your bike is parked but also reduce friction when you are pedalling along. The Kogel rear derailleur cages price from R6646 to R7310.