Anyone play with a dry bearing?

How long does a dry bearing last before it stops working? A week, a month, a year? I have played with dry bearings for a few days but have lubed them for fear of them breaking down or whatever. I actually prefer a noisy bearing because I like to be able to hear when my yo-yo is slowing down.

I’ve never worn out a bearing and only lube them when they start to get shrill and act funny. In the winter time that’s about 2 hours. It depends on the bearing though. Lots of bearings come lubed a little bit.

I almost never lube mine and aside from a 2yr old center trac that could probably still work I just need to clean it I’ve never really had a problem with running them dry. I just clean them when they get noisy and then keep playing them. I’m sure if it’s applied correctly lube can help but for me personally I have had more problems with lube than running them dry.

I thought cleaning a bearing would make it louder? I haven’t had any issues with performance with my bearings. They just made a lot of noise.

I like mine lubed and silent.


for me they are quiet clean and dry. If they are ever loud for me they are most likely dirty.

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Warning… The following post contains a very large number of words. Reading these words may tax the patience and/or attention span of some. Especially those select individuals that know everything already; my information will fill absolutely no information void for them. If you sadly happen to be allergic to reading challenges; then probably best to hit the back button now and save my hearing your sobbing about how you will never be able to recover the life you spent reading the following.

Ok… now for some semi fun filled actual real information.

A bearings’ potential threshold for generating noise is not only different from type to type but many times from bearing to bearing.

That being said; just about any bearing that ‘does’ generate noise, will most often generate ‘less’ noise once lubed.

Lube is a friction barrier. Putting a filmform between parts in contact proximity; reduces the friction coefficient of the component parts. Not much different than a car engine. A car engine low on oil will: sound louder, run rougher, get hotter faster and get less mileage because the engine is not running efficiently.

A yoyo bearing, no doubt can be run absolutely DRY.

But there are some trade offs that can/will most likely occur because of running a bearing ‘dry’. No matter what the bearing parts are made of; running a bearing dry will immediately cause it to start eating itself alive. It may happen slowing(depending on the initial quality of the bearing and the various construction types and of course materials used and the treatments applied to the component parts.

… Steel/steel, steel/stainless steel, steel cage/ceramic balls, steel outer race, on and on and on… All the types react differently to running: dry, kinda dry, kinda lubed up or buried with Lube.

Stating that, ‘For me they are quiet clean and dry’ in reality would be more the exception than the rule. A Dry bearing would run even quieter when lubed properly. That is not an opinion. That is a fact.

…One day when I must have been partially BrainDead; I actually spent $600 on a YYR Dazzler. I considered hitting myself in the head with a sledge hammer a few times to knock a logical answer out of my cranium; but decided against it because I figured I would not end up with a reasonable answer but would end up with a couple a dents in my head. Turns out it is truly one of the very best yoyos I have ever touched in the last 18 years.<<<<< But I am only telling you guys that because supposedly the Dazzler came with a high quality bearing??? The bearing FROZE up on me in about 10 minutes! I dont mean an hour and ten minutes. I mean 10 minutes. It didnt slow down. It started screaming and then just jammed to a stop!

I have Never had a bearing ‘croak’ that fast in any yoyo… Even the cheapest metal bearing yoyo I have ever purchased.

What’s the point of my sharing that episode in life? Simple. Any bearing can Drop Dead for any number of reasons.

When you or if you decide to run a bearing dry; you simply have to recognize that you will pay a price for that type of performance you get.

I know some people will tell you that they have a yoyo with a bearing they have been running totally Dry for years or longer.

I also know people that will swear to you that Aliens hovered a flying saucer over their swimming pool while they used a Tractor beam to suck the hot dogs off the Hibache.

You would be Amazed how many people, over the last 18 years have told me long it has been since they changed out a bearing or even changed a string. And if you run a bearing even partially lubed(properly) than they just might last a totally long time.

But if you run bearings dry; more often than not; the performance of those bearings will go downhill much faster than a properly lubed bearing.

Personally, I like ‘almost dry’ bearings. They are reasonably quiet. But almost Never as potentially quiet as a properly lubed bearing.

I have several completely ceramic bearings. Every one of them sounds different. And with almost every one of them; I can feel this ‘dry generated vibe’ coming up the string. < A simple case of the parts grinding against each other.

There are different kinds of lube. Different viscosities of Lube. There are lubes that can be of just about the same viscosity and yet one will have ‘clinging properties’ to assist in the parts not eating each other away as fast.

If you lube a bearing; are you going to remove the shields? Remove them, clean and lube and then reinstall the shields? Or remove the shields, lube the bearing and then leave the shields off? Each option will directly affect the performance of that bearing.

I never use canned air to blow out a bearing. I use a photographers’ squeeze blower. First I remove the shields. Then I put the bearing(s) into an Ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. The cleaner tank is filled with 91+ percent of isopropyl alcohol. After I take the bearing out of the Ultrasonic cleaner; I dry the bearing with a hair dryer. I set the dry/clean bearing down on a paper towel sitting on the kitchen sink. I put in a good drop of One Drop VM4 bearing lube. I lift the bearing off the paper towel and put it on a pencil. With my free hand; I flick the outer race of the bearing to move the lube to All internal parts. Then I use my thumb and index finger to lift the yoyo off the pencil. Then I put down the pencil and pick up the squeeze ball. Holding the bearing about an inch or so above the towel and manually blowing out surplus lubrication.

You will waste some lubricant. But the lighter air power will allow some of the lube to remain to shield the parts against premature aging, so to speak.

Some people opt to just run dry bearings more from lack of experience in proper lubing techniques than just wanting to run em dry.

There is an old saying, ‘Anything is easy if you know how’.


Do you recommend that I clean the bearing every time before I add lube to it? I just play inside, so can they really get dirty? Is it ok to clean them with paint thinner? Do you clean and lube just based on how the yo-yo is reacting or do you roughly follow a regimen such as do maintenance once a month? I leave the shields off because the only way for me to remove the C-clips is by denting the shields and then placing my x-acto knife under the clip and lifting up. I have tried putting the blade in between the c of the C-clips but it seems like the blade is too thick to get in there and get it out. I bought an x-acto #1 (what package said) but the blade is an x-acto #11.

I was just stating my bearing maintenance and what I do. I by no means said this is what everyone should do. I just stated my experiences. Your method is good too but it is not the only way to do it either. For me they are quiet clean and dry. And that is my experience with it but someone else may have different results that’s why I said “for me”.

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I was just stating my bearing maintenance and what I do. I by no means said this is what everyone should do. I just stated my experiences. Your method is good too but it is not the only way to do it either. For me they are quiet clean and dry. And that is my experience with it but someone else may have different results that’s why I said “for me”. With that being said,I would like to try some other kinds of lube to see if my experiences are any better with that. I’ve only tried the some other site thin lube and I don’t think it’s that good. I might pick up some od v4m and I am a photographer and my dust pump thing broke a while ago but your method has given me some motivation to get another one and try that. Thanks doc! :wink:

Whoops don’t know how I managed to do that. I was trying to add to my pos but somehow quoted it and then added to it so thats why I posted again. Lol

Was going to post almost the same thing as yoyodoc, but a lot less wordy :smiley:

You have an object that is 100% metal. If you have 0 lube in the bearing and it is quiet, it is an exception. Metal on metal makes noise. With even a small amount of lube, it provides a barrier between the metal and allows it to be quiet.

Do I have some that are dry? Yes, but that is an exception for me. The vast majority of mine have enough Brain Lube in them to lube the majority of YYE members yoyos for a year ;D

Well I guess quiet is a relative term. Yes mine make a little bit of noise but it’s still pretty quiet. I’m sure they would be quieter with lube but for me they are quiet enough. Basically I prefer a tiny bit of noise to it playing responsive. Of course over lubing is user error but I can almost never get the right amount, either too much or not enough. The idea of the dust blower thing might change my mind though.


Mine are over lubed on purpose, no error :smiley:

Lol. I was talking about me if you thought I was implying that you over lube yours.

Just joking around, knew what you meant haha

Ok good. Lol. I have had to be more careful lately because some people round here can seriously dish out some jabs and jokes but can’t take any joking around at all if it’s not them doing the joking.

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Anyone tried dry lube? For ceramic bearings? Worth it?


If you are referring to powdered graphite, skip it. It’s very messy and gets all over everything. Makes your string black and coats the response system.


Is Terrapin dry lube powdered graphite?

If so, that stuff can work fairly well if a minute quantity is applied.

Don’t know. But people tried graphite awhile back and it was a mess. No experience with the Terrapin product.