Bearings bearings bearings


Indeed, it seems like the bearings that people are having problems with all shouldn’t have any problems at all.


I totally agree about the life time. I don’t think I have ever really had a bearing stop working or get noticeably worse over time, including old spinfaktors.

I do have to clean them often to keep them from being responsive. Maybe I’m just not patient enough? I cant seem to get a bearing to be completely unresponsive with any amount of lube. Even a pin drop. I’ve been using V4M when I’ve tried. So I clean them often and run them dry.


Kinda same here, I just run them right out of the Mineral Spirits now. (After I spin and dry them with air first, of course.) I used to do the Pin Drop of YYJ Thin Lube stuff, too but it just made the Yo-Yo slow down to much and act to Responsive…For too long. Taking a few weeks to break in past the Lube, I like the idea that the Lube makes the Bearing last longer I just don’t have the patience for the Lube Breaking In Process.


With V4M or the thin YYJ stuff, it shouldn’t take any more than a half an hour to break in to unresponsiveness. Thicker stuff like Gorillus Lubricus, sometimes I can’t break in at all and I have to start from scratch. :wink:

I made a “lube breaker-inner” once (just a motor), but when I accidentally left it running too long and overheated it (blew the motor) I didn’t bother replacing it.

I don’t know that I’d say ceramics last longer. Under optimal stresses, maybe…? But as Kyle mentioned, it’s more brittle. Ceramic is “harder” but a certain degree of elasticity in a material is a benefit when that material will receive impact after impact.


Nothing we do with bearings should ever put them at the end of their lifespan… under our conditions they should run pretty much forever.

In an industrial application where wear rates are high, you can kill a steel bearing and ceramics can help (depending on the cause of the wear)… but not in yo-yos. The only purpose they serve for us is that they have a very slightly lower coefficient of friction, so technically they can spin a little longer… but I’m talking about adding seconds to a sleep time that is world record long… not having a real impact on every day play.

Fun fact: cleaning your bearing leaves behind a very light residue, no matter what you’re using to clean it… that residue over time breaks down and gums up, meaning you probably have to clean it again. Using a light oil helps prevent this… but it’s not a perfect solution.

This is why I just use bearings as they are… from the factory there is nothing on them except (most likely) a light oil… once that breaks in (bearing oils are designed to break down without becoming sticky) it should just work from then on.

The original “gold” “mercury” and other such bearings were developed as ‘ultra clean’, basically they are bearings that went through a very nasty (and high regulated) chemical process to ‘dry out’ the metal, they have nothing in them except metal. For our purposes, that’s good.



Bearings I get right out of the package almost always have to be cleaned, whether it be a few hours or a few days, they all get crusty and need to be cleaned.


A recent YoYoFactory Facebook post really holds true with yo-yo bearings:

“Most common way to damage a yoyo: maintenance. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.”

Majority of bearings will play perfectly as they are, some may need a few minutes of play and a little patience to break in, but that’s all they really need.


I wish it were true. I wish I lived in the world jhb lives in. :wink: But for whatever reason at all (let’s not even bother trying to figure it out…) bearings – especially new ones – get screechy and responsive. And then they benefit from cleaning.

I don’t get it either… and I wish I knew what caused it. Like if I could say, “Oh, that’s just ____, it’ll get pulverized in a few minutes of play…”. But I’m not wired that way. When a bearing screeches and freezes, that tells me one thing: there is debris jamming up a ball. And “playing through” debris sounds like a great way to scratch up your races and balls, leading to more problems in the future. So my brain says, “In the absence of better information, you KNOW that cleaning always helps, so let’s clean this stupid thing…”

You’re not cleaning a working bearing. You’re cleaning a bearing that is not doing its job. Not sure how that’s a crime against bearings. :wink: Bearings that are working, I never think about. I don’t pull them out and go, “time for a routine cleaning or preventative maintenance”. I don’t pull one out until it stops working.

And they do stop working.


Soo. The just change the string and “blow in the groove” approach, then…, Very classy. :smiley:


When my bearings get loud, I clean them. I do it carefully, but I don’t find it a big deal to just throw them in some acetone and let them soak for a few minutes (deshielded of course). I always lube them with V4M too, heck last time I didn’t even bother trying to do a drop from a pin, I just used a single drop straight from the bottle on 4 different bearings and not a single one of them came out responsive. All were very quiet though!

It’s even been a few weeks now, and my Chief is still nearly silent, amazing considering I’ve got a KK in it. I’ve never had a KK bearing this quiet, and maybe its because I wasn’t using enough lube? Regardless, all came out fine and I’ve yet to have a bearing become completely unusable since I started yoyoing, though I do clean them when they need it.


What GregP said. When a yoyo starts screeching and is responsive, you clean it. Basic mechanic knowledge, “When a bearing is loud or making noises, there is some sort of matter causing friction, which in turn can damage the bearing”. To me, yoyoing becomes very irritating when I’m using a loud, screechy bearing. And they always start out nice, but then decay into grittiness. I’m starting to think some of these people who don’t have these basic problems don’t yoyo much anymore.


I’m more inclined to think they’re just fine with rattly crusty bearings. :wink:


The sound of grinding, screeching metal must soothe their minds. :smiley:


If I had loud rattly bearings in my yo-yos then my girlfriend would have kicked me out ages ago haha. Maybe i’m just lucky with bearings, who knows. ;D

I can tell you that 99% of bearings I have ever had to mess with or clean are returned from people who have already “cleaned them properly” so maybe that’s why I like to push the “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it” mentality.


But presumably the bearing went crappy and THEN they tried to clean before returning. So it WERE broke when they tried to clean. :wink:

I’d be more worried if the consumers didn’t at least try to solve their own problems first.


I clean/lube my bearings periodically. Don’t care for noisy bearings myself. Just don’t seem to have the issues with them like some people do, but then I’ve never stripped axle threads either, which seems epidemic at times.


Could just be perception? If 10 different people in one week complain about their bearings (and the same regulars like me humour them with replies that confirm noisy responsive bearings are a thing), it might seem like an epidemic… Then those same people might not complain for another 6 months if ever, but 10 different people pile up a week later (with the regulars humouring them, also), the epidemic seems to have spread! Yet out of X number of yoyos each, they start a thread saying, “What do I do with this bearing?” it all adds up.

I think noisy bearings that need cleaning are a real thing and it’s just that people (especially new yoyoers) need that first confirmation that their yoyo hasn’t been ruined and so they start a thread.

Don’t get me started on the axles, though. How do these things get stripped?


Agreed, I just don’t get it.


I do. When I first started yoyoing I picked up a C3 Token, and for the next three months straight I was unscrewing that thing like every 5 minutes of practice getting out knots. It finally wouldn’t screw back together, so I picked up a Cheif, which was a minor upgrade. :wink: It’s short axle, combined with soft aluminum, didn’t fare too well after repeated abuse. I still miss my Token, I haven’t gotten around to pick another one up. :’(
Moral of the story: Carry a toothpick (or something similar, I use the tweezers from my SAK) and pick out your knots instead of unscrewing the yoyo, except for cleaning gritty bearings. :wink:


Yes, I do agree with the Forum late-heads that the Topic of Bearing Cleaning is a huge pandemic. The #1 ailment of the Yo-Yo!

Maybe outweighing dirty Strings and those wily…mysteriously “Stripped Axles” that came from the Manufacturer, as mentioned.