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Featherbed Headstock Bearing Choices

Discussion in 'Other Norton Motorcycles' started by johnod, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. johnod

    johnod

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2016
    I've noticed there seem to be 3 different types of bearings, ball, tapered , and sealed.

    Is any type the preferred choice?

    Left to my own I'd probably go with the sealed if they work fine.
     
  2. wilkey113

    wilkey113

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    I prefer sealed, and they've worked perfectly on my bikes.
     
  3. lcrken

    lcrken VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    I used tapered rollers on my featherbed race bike, and tried both the original sealed bearings and tapered rollers on my Commando race bike, and they all worked just fine. I don't think there is much to choose from between them, as long as they are properly pre-loaded and/or adjusted. I've also raced a lot on Yamahas with stock loose ball bearings, and the also worked well as long as they were adjusted properly. The sealed bearings have the advantage of not needing adjustment, as long as you've got the proper spacer between them.

    Ken
     
  4. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Can you fit sealed bearings into featherbeds ?
    I thought that was a Commando only 'innovation'.

    Bearing folks throw up their hands in horror at that application, in theory that is a terrible idea, the bearings were not intended for that sort of use (ie not rotating, but just jittering about the same position).
    But they are VERY cheap, and fairly easy to replace, and they last longer than might be thought.
    The correct length of spacer is MANDATORY for them to work, note well.

    And, they don't need adjusting. Which quickly destroys tapered bearings or loose balls if they are run too loose.
     
  5. ashman

    ashman

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    I have been running sealed bearings in my Wideline sinse building it 35 years ago as long as the spacer is the right size, I replaced the bearings on the last rebuild over 6 years ago but the old bearings were still in good shape after all that time.

    Ashley
     
  6. Matchless

    Matchless

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    When I acquired my 1962 650 ss from the first owner it still had the original headstock bearings fitted. These were the 7205 angular contact type. As they were in poor condition I replaced them with 6205 2RS & a spacer tube as Commando. Works fine & doesn't require adjustment.

    Martyn.
     
  7. Bernhard

    Bernhard

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    [quote="Matchless" Works fine & doesn't require adjustment.

    Martyn.[/quote]

    Sadly, I think you are all wrong this is due to my experience; the bearings are NOT fully rotating and therefore cannot wear evenly –not even taper rollers. The bearings take a pounding at the straight ahead position, where the MOST wear occurs, whether ball or taper roller or whatever, I knock them out and turn the cups round in the headstock the get the maximum amount of use from them.
     
  8. johnod

    johnod

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2016
    Thanks everyone.
     
  9. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    The parts book for a 1964 slimline lists the cup type bearing inserts, and 36 loose ball bearings....

    Does anyone know what H60 (x 2) is in the frame diagram ?
    Don't you hate it when they draw and number things, and then don't list them,
    AND list a string of un-numbered and unshown items.
     
  10. milfordite

    milfordite

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    OK...I need to replace the head bearings in my Atlas and want to use the sealed bearings. Lots of comments that the spacer needs to be just right. Will a commando spacer work? What is the length of spacer needed? Where do the bearings need to sit in the headstock? Flush or set in how far? Details please!
     
  11. Matchless

    Matchless

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    To use the Commando set up in a Featherbed the bottom bearing needs to be fitted into the headstock as far in as it will go. Then measure from the top of this bearing to the top of the frame. From this length take off the width of the other (top) bearing. This is how long the spacer tube needs to be. It is not critical to a few thou' but better slightly too long rather than too short,as the top bearing doesn't need to bottom out in the frame. From memory a Commando spacer needs to be shortened for a Featherbed.
    Hope this makes sense.

    Martyn.
     
  12. ashman

    ashman

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Yes the Commando spacer need to be shorten to fit the Featherbed.

    Ashley
     
  13. milfordite

    milfordite

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Thanks guys! Good info as usual!
     
  14. johnod

    johnod

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2016
    What is this spacer tube you're talking about?
     
  15. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Plain old sealed ball bearings, like the Commando uses (stock) has no method of adjustment.

    A spacer tube is required between them, so that when you do up the headstem nut it doesn't just keep moving the bearings towards each other, or trying to.

    BTW, I thought the Commando uses a larger diam stem, and the featherbed uses a smaller diam stem.
    So the ball-bearings type bearings can't be the same (?), the internal diam must be smaller for the featherbed ?
     
  16. johnod

    johnod

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2016
    So if I install sealed ball bearings in the featherbed I need the Commando spacer?
    Is that correct?
     
  17. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    No, you need a commando-like spacer, but suitably shortened for featherbed use.
    This is mentioned above, somewhere.
    The featherbed steering head is a bit shorter than the Commando one.

    I make it about 6 &1/2" (rough tape measure/eyeballing),
    and I think the Commando is like 7", without going and measuring it.
     
  18. johnod

    johnod

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2016
    So do I have to make this spacer, if so from what?
    I haven't seen one so no idea.

    OR
    Do I modify a Commando piece?
     
  19. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    I'm surprised someone hasn't chimed in here, I've got std bearings in my bike/project. !

    Its little more than a piece of steel tubing, its item 39 in this Commando view.
    https://andover-norton.co.uk/img/images ... d633ae.jpg
    Its purpose is purely to keep the bearings apart, if you use the sealed ball bearings.
     
  20. johnod

    johnod

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2016
    Guess I have to find something the right diameter then.
    What has anyone else used?
     

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