Bearing is an integral part of a bicycle but its importance is mostly neglected. Bearings are used in all the moving parts of the bike. And, Conventional bikes have several types of bearings which differ from each other in size and structure.

Today I am going to cover Bike Bearings & their types, using what size of bearings on a bike, their versatility, and whether all are universal or different. That means various such things about bearings will be discussed in this article. To know more about bearing, please read this carefully.

What Is A Bearing On A Bike?

A bearing is an essential component of a bike. It reduces the fraction of two surfaces and helps to steer the bike.

A bike has bearings at various places like hubs, bottom brackets, headset, pedals, shifter, and many more places. In a word, the moving parts of a bike have bearings. You cannot imagine a  bike without bearings.

How Many Types Of Bike Bearings Are There?

There are variations of bearing according to the variation of work. Different types of bearings are used in different parts of the bike. And, each bearing is suitable for different jobs. Thus all the bike bearings are not universal. So, various types of bearing are seen in a bicycle.

There are four types of bearings. They are-

  1. Cup And Cone Bearing
  2. Cartridge Bearing
  3. Roller Bearing
  4. Bushing Bearing

1. Cup And Cone Bearing:

Cup & Cone bearing is a commonly used bicycle bearing. It is also known as the ‘Classical bearing’. The components of this bearing are cups, cones, cage, ball bearing, washer, tensioner, and locknut.

  • The cup of this bearing holds the bearing balls inside it while the cone holds the balls together by applying pressure. But too much pressure on the cone will restrict the balls and prevent them from moving correctly. And, this restricted ball will make pedaling difficult.
  • There are 9 ball bearings on each side of the bicycle’s rear hub and 10 on each side of the front hub.

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  • That means there is a total of 18 ball bearings at the back and 20 ball bearings at the front.

Nowadays, cup and cone bearings are used in hoops, headsets, pedals, and many other places on a bike.

2. Cartridge Bearing:

Currently, cartridge bearing is being used a lot as it is cheaper and easy to maintain than others. That’s why it has become popular in recent decades. It is also known as a ‘sealed bearing’.

The components of the sealed bearing are the outer race, rolling element, cage, inner race, seal, etc.

  • The cage holds the bearing in a place. It uses in frames, hub, and bottom brackets.
  • All the components of the cartridge bearing are stuck together in one bearing. Thus the components fit easily. And, you can service and replace this bearing at any time without having difficulties.
  • The upper side of this bearing is sealed with plastic or rubber. This seal reduces dirt and water from entering the bearing but does not prevent it completely.

3. Roller Bearing:

Rolling bearing is also known as ‘needle bearing’. It is not like a ball bearing; instead, it is a cylinder-shaped bearing. And, it is hardly seen on bikes as this is an uncommon bearing in the recent cycling world. Also, this different-shaped bearing is expensive. For high manufacturing costs, the manufacturer has stopped producing this bearing.

Needle bearing can perform well under high loads and make smooth rolling resistance, but it is not durable. That’s why it is rarely used in modern bikes. The roller bearing is generally used in pedals, but sometimes we can see it in headsets too.

4. Bushing Bearing:

Another name for bushing bearing is ‘bush or sleeve bearing’. It is a lightweight bearing.

Sleeve bearing used in seat posts, pivots, shocks mount, suspension, and shifters. It is a simple and easily understandable bearing with oil-free ruining,  cheap, durable, and various grades.

Are All Bike Bearings The Same Size?

No! All bike bearings are not the same size.

4 different sizes of ball bearing are used in cup and cone bearing. They are-

  • 5/32″,
  • 3/16”,
  • 1/8″,
  • and 1/4”.

Furthermore, according to the size of the bike frame, the size of the bearing also varies. So, it is clear that all bike bearings are not the same size.

So, Can You Use Any Type Of Bike Bearing On Your Bike?

The answer is ‘no’. You can’t use any type of bike bearing on your bike. There are several types of bearings- Cup and Cone bearing, Cartridge bearing, Roller bearing, and Bushing bearing. As Bearings are used in multiple parts of a bike, different types of bearings are used in each position.

  • Cup and cone bearing is used in headsets and hoops.
  • On the other hand, a Cartridge bearing is used in the frame and bottom bracket.
  • Besides, the Bush bearing is used in the pedal and shifter, etc.
  • You cannot use bush bearing where cup and cone bearing is used. Or. you cannot use a cup and cone bearing instead of a cartridge bearing.

In other words, you cannot use one type of bearing in place of another because each style is different in size, shape, and structure. Thus if you want to change the bearing of your bike, you must use the same type and size of bearing as the one currently used in your bicycle.

  • And, Bicycle bearing replacement will cost you 30$ to 60$.

But How Do I Find My Bike Bearing Size?

When you want to change your bike’s bearing, you need to know the size of your bearing. Let’s see some process of measuring bearing.

Cup & Cone Bearing

First, you need to know the size of the ball. To measure the ball’s diameter, you need the help of verniers to find out some standard ball diameter sizes, such as-

  • Headsets and Pedals, which are 5/32″.
  • Front hubs are 3/16″.
  • Rear hubs and bottom brackets are 1/4″.

Cartridge Bearing

For Cartridge bearing, you have to know three measurements-

  • the outside diameter,
  • inside diameter,
  • and bore.

You can see the cartridge bearing sizes in print form on the bearing. If the size is not printed on the bearing, then you need to measure it using Verniers.


Bearing helps to move different parts of the bike and without bearings, the bike movement become literally off. Generally, there are four types of bearing and each bearing has a different size and structure. As a result, we can’t use any type of bearing on our bikes.

Yes, all bearings are not the same, they are different based on size, usage, and other facts. So, if you want to change the bearing, you have to replace the new bearing according to the type and size of the current bearing.

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