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retiredbosn

Bearing counts and bearings in general, confused as usual.

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Ok I have a question, I have reels that have as few as four bearings and one with 10, everything else is in between.  It should be noted that I am mechanically declined, I can't fix anything but can break an anvil with a glass hammer, (or so I've been told ever since I can remember  ). Right now I have a reel that I have to ship to reelmech to put back together!  I accidently knocked the springs from under the clutch plate and can't put them back.  

Anyway, when I table these reels, I really don't see much difference, there are bearings at the end of the spools, one on the handle base, and the antireverse roller bearing. I know the handle paddles have bearings but I don't see them.  Where are all the extra bearings?  Inside the spool? Or are there simply more bb's inside the bearing housings?  

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Anyway, when I table these reels, I really don't see much difference, there are bearings at the end of the spools, one on the handle base, and the antireverse roller bearing.
The main reason to have the reels schematics on the table with the reel/s.....

Bearing counts, anything over 3 (spool support) are used in cranking (making the reel smoother).

The spool support bearings, then crank shaft upper support bearings, then crank shaft base bearings, then the paddle bearings (under the cap with the whole). Some reels (C3-C4-etc) have support bearings for the level wind worm gear.

Looking at the reels schematics will show the placement of the bearings, understanding that at the most only 3 will be spool support, you can tell what the rest are for.....

Good Luck & Tight Lines!!!

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We all read the bearing-count, because it's something that can easily be compared.

In reality though, most reels can get by with only three quality bearings, where additional bearings

only lend to smoother cranking. In truth, bearing "quality" is equally or more important than bearing quantity.

For example, a low-end producer may count a bushing or sleeve as a bearing,

or simply install low-grade ball-bearings to beef-up the count.

Since bearing-count is so easily compared, manufacturers are inclined to step up the count for competitive purposes.

But the angler must understood that a reel with a higher bearing count, will also have a higher sticker price

and a heavier reel weight.

Roger

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This is a great thread. I guess I like to have the important stuff on the table. Listing large numbers of "bearings" doesn't pass for quality, it can be a marketing tool. All I think is why am I paying in weight and $ for all those extra bearings?

Appreciate the expertise here as always.

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Do quality bearings have more bb's in the housing?  Or what should we as consumers look for?

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Do quality bearings have more bb's in the housing? Or what should we as consumers look for?

They're made of higher quality materials (will last longer) and to tighter specifications (will feel more smooth and wear less).

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Reel Mechanic should weigh back into this one for good information not my memory but here goes. I seem to recall RM writing one time that all reels used the same quality bearings. So to improve bearing function you would have to upgrade the bearings.

Before I retired my employer supplied components and I worked with  many bearing companies. So as I recall bearing are numbered with letters followed by a number. If I recall correctly the letters are AFBMA, Antifriction Bearing Manufactures Association. I believe the numbers might start as low as 1 and get larger with a 3 being about average and a 7 being  high quality.

For a given size bearing you can only get so many balls into the race. Increases in quality and therefore cost is in the tolerances in the races and ball diameters. They will select fit some bearings to make the balls as close to the same size as possible. We  are not talking measurements you do with a hand held micrometer but far more sophisticated equipment. Maybe into the millionth of an inch certainly into the .ooo1 inch range or closer.

Many other things come into the quality such as the spherical tolerances and material.

I guess what I used a lot of words to say that it would be pretty hard to look at a class 3 bearing and a class 7 with the naked eye and tell the difference.

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Reel Mechanic should weigh back into this one for good information not my memory but here goes. I seem to recall RM writing one time that all reels used the same quality bearings. So to improve bearing function you would have to upgrade the bearings.

Before I retired my employer supplied components and I worked with many bearing companies. So as I recall bearing are numbered with letters followed by a number. If I recall correctly the letters are AFBMA, Antifriction Bearing Manufactures Association. I believe the numbers might start as low as 1 and get larger with a 3 being about average and a 7 being high quality.

For a given size bearing you can only get so many balls into the race. Increases in quality and therefore cost is in the tolerances in the races and ball diameters. They will select fit some bearings to make the balls as close to the same size as possible. We are not talking measurements you do with a hand held micrometer but far more sophisticated equipment. Maybe into the millionth of an inch certainly into the .ooo1 inch range or closer.

Many other things come into the quality such as the spherical tolerances and material.

I guess what I used a lot of words to say that it would be pretty hard to look at a class 3 bearing and a class 7 with the naked eye and tell the difference.

J Francho will likely have a lot to say on this too.

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I seem to recall RM writing one time that all reels used the same quality bearings.
True. All reel mfg's we service are using an ABEC3 tolerance bearing pack. As for the manufacturer of the bearings all of the reels we service carry bearing packs with NBR stamps on the race edges (www.nbr-bearings.com)...

Tight Lines!!!  

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As always the knowledge of those on this site is astounding, thanks to all who have replied thus far.

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We all read the bearing-count, because it's something that can easily be compared.

In reality though, most reels can get by with only three quality bearings, where additional bearings

only lend to smoother cranking. In truth, bearing "quality" is equally or more important than bearing quantity.

For example, a low-end producer may count a bushing or sleeve as a bearing,

or simply install low-grade ball-bearings to beef-up the count.

Since bearing-count is so easily compared, manufacturers are inclined to step up the count for competitive purposes.

But the angler must understood that a reel with a higher bearing count, will also have a higher sticker price

and a heavier reel weight.

Roger

The heavier reel weight is not always the case. Recently I've been looking at a lot of different reels and see that some having as many as twice the bearings will weigh in the same as or even less than some other reels with less bearings, even made by the same manufacturer. Take for example, the Abu Garcia Soron STX20 spinning reel and Abu Garcia Cardinal 702LX spinning reel. Both are a comparable size in terms of line capacity (same amount each). Both have an aluminum frame, sideplate, rotor, and bail arm (there's a lot of aluminum in them!), but the Soron has 11 bearings vs. the Cardinal only has 7. The weights are the same though at 9.6 oz. each. Then compare both of those reels to the Shimano Symetre having only 5 bearings total but weighs in at 10.1 oz. for the 2500 size, which by line capacity is a comparable size to both of the Abu reels listed above. The Shimano reel actually weighs more than either of the Abu reels, even though it has the least amount of bearings of the three, and also has a lot more graphite in the build (sideplate and rotor) compared to the Abu's being nearly solid aluminum all over.

The way I see this is that by removing a bearing they have to fill that space with something else, either more metal in the places they would have had the bearing such as where a spool either rides on a bearing or rides closely against the shaft (more metal in spool or hollowed out for bearings to fit instead)..........or they put a bushing in place of the bearing instead. Either way, whatever replaces where a bearing would go also has weight to it as well. Depending on what that replacement is, it might actually weigh more than the bearing would, or be made of some material that won't hold up under wear such as a nylon bushing in order to reduce weight. In that case you sacrifice longevity of reel life for less weight.

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JMHO, bearings - how many, what type, and where, is just one factor (and not the most important)  that goes into making a good reel.  I agree about more bearings making for a smoother retrieve in a well designed reel.  But a poorly designed reel is a piece of junk no matter how many bearings are stuffed inside.  Most first tier companies are turning out reels that are much better quality than a decade ago. But it will take several years for the "classics" of the current generation to reveal themselves through countless casts by thousands of fishermen.

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