How Long Do Motorcycle Wheel Bearings Last?

June 29, 2021

Bearing installed on the front wheel of motorcycle.

The wheel bearings are one of the tiniest components of the motorcycle that tends to overlook. The majority of motorcyclists are unaware, and it’s pretty simple to disregard. However, the reality is that wheel bearings are among the most critical components of your motorbike. If not replaced and maintained correctly over time, they may cause significant damage to other parts.

Therefore, how often should motorcycle wheel bearings should be changed? Approximately twenty-thousands (20,000) and hundred thousand (100,000) miles will need wheel bearing replacements. That is around 3 to 5 years. It is highly dependent on the durability of your wheel bearings, the amount of usage, and how you utilize it.

You must realize that wheel bearing has a reasonably extended life lifetime in comparison to other motorbike components. It is important to remember that most wheel bearings will survive between three and six years, and most high-quality wheel bearings will last further. It is also critical to understand that the duration of a wheel bearing is not a reliable indicator of when wheel bearing should replace it. In this discussion, I will cover indicators that indicate when it’s time to change your wheel bearings.

Indications of Flawed Wheel Bearings:

Vibrating Wheels

Vibrating transmitted via the handlebars is the initial indicator of wheel bearing breakage Vibrations may be felt by the rider when on the motorcycle. Whether your wheels are wobbling and shaking, particularly at high speeds, this indicates that the wheel bearings are worn. Additionally, it is since the wheel bearings do not adequately balance the tires when driving.

Additionally, you may feel vibrations coming from not just the wheels and tires, as well as the grips, saddle, and other components of your motorcycle. The vibrations may get stronger over time. When there is a vibration transmitted via handlebars, owners should inspect the wheel bearings.

Strange Noises or Clicking Sounds While Riding

Concerning the vibration, the rider may hear a clicking noise. At first glance, you may believe it is a stone or other hard object lodged in the wheel, but in reality, the wheel bearings are failing.

The clicking noise may begin with a couple of ticks and then develop noisier and more ticks are audible.

The simplest method to determine when your motorcycle’s wheel bearings need replacing is when you begin to hear weird sounds coming from the bearings. Whenever your wheels make a grating or screeching sound, this indicates that your wheel bearings require a range of adjustments due to the sounds creates by friction within moving metallic elements. In addition, whenever you speed the motorbike to full speed, you can hear the wheel bearings making so much noise.

It’s also worth noting that worn wheel bearings may produce unusual noises not just from the wheels or tires but also from other components such as the squeezing or perhaps even the cobbler. As a result, it is critical to pay close awareness to this warning.

Steering Is Excessively Loose

Another symptom is when you have a sloppy steering sensation while riding. When this indicator is visible, it indicates that the wheel bearings have deteriorated and must replace.

Wearing Signs on Tires

A further indicator that your wheel bearings are worn out and need to replace is corrosion and wearing on the wheel.

Wheel Wobbles on the Shaft

The final sign that a wheel bearing is failing is that the wheel slides on the shaft. When you press the wheel, it begins to spin. It should not shift in an optimal circumstance, but the wheel bearing is out of alignment if it does.

Spinning Reluctance

It was spinning the wheel while the motorcycle is stationary. If there is a reluctance to move, this indicates that the wheel bearings are failing. While little resistance is not unusual, if the wheel is not rotating freely, there is probably a problem with the wheel bearing.

Additional Indications of Faulty Wheel Bearings

A whirring or grumbling sensation or a scratchy vibration thru the handlebar might indicate a bad wheel bearing. As the condition advances, this may even become audible while riding. Please note, nevertheless, that your motorcycle’s wheel bearings may be defective and exhibit no indications until the breakdown results in an accident. Although if you escape a collision, the impact may cause severe damage to your wheel hubs, axle, and other components. If you notice unusual whirling, grinding, or noise, immediately inspect your wheel bearings. Take calculated chances with this maintenance since the harm to your motorcycle if your wheel bearings might be severe.

Why Do Wheel Bearings Fail to Function Correctly?

The primary causes for a wheel bearing to failure are as follows:

Flawed Installations 

Utilizing the faulty equipment, such as a hammering or an iron wrench, may wreak havoc to the wheel end bearing’s outer d and internal, resulting in the wheel bearing failing abruptly. Additionally, reusing outdated components, including screws, nuts, circlips, split pins, and seals, rather than changing them, may lead the wheel end bearing to function in unconventional or hazardous circumstances. It is resulting in increased wheel end bearing wear and an increased chance of a vehicle crash.

Damage From Collision or Bad Roadway Condition 

Any collision, whether driven through potholes, over speed bumps, or into the porch railing, may degrade a wheel bearing and shorten its longevity.

Low Quality Wheel Bearing 

 A wheel bearing is constantly under great strain. Wheel bearings made of substandard efficiency components may suffer from inadequate heating, lead to premature wearing and failures.

Driving Circumstances 

Trying to drive in high waters or dirt might result in the failure of your wheel bearings. Water, dirt, or other pollutants like grit or gravel may pass through the gaskets and into the bearing, contaminating the grease and causing the bearings to be worn out quickly.

How to Preserve and Prolong the Lifespan of the Motorcycle Wheel Bearings?

  • The initial and most essential action you can do to lengthen and preserve the longevity of the wheel bearings is to grease them at least once every three months – Although this is critical, remember to lubricate the hub and hinge. You will notice that polishing the wheel bearings improves your riding’s lightweight and efficacy, as well as the way the wheels operate and roll more effortlessly.
  • A further option is to do regular wheel bearing inspections. When replacing motorcycle wheels, I suggest that you inspect the bearings. You must be vigilant for signs of damage, roughness, rust, and coloration on the bearings. Once you discover anything odd, it is a warning that your wheel bearings may require to be replaced.
  • Another efficient way to ensure that the wheel bearings operate flawlessly and have a longer lifespan is to clean them periodically as they get filthy. It is essential to remove all particles, dirt, and grit from any corner of the bearings needed to execute the lubrication. This modest deed may significantly prolong the durability of the wheel bearings.


A wheel bearing rupture while riding might result in a significant collision or, if you are fortunate, may only damage some pricey components, such as wheel hubs, axles, and so on. Therefore, do not overlook them since they are critical and not easy to manage. To determine wheel bearing check periods and servicing methods, look at your handbook or maintenance manual. The majority of current bicycles have ball-type wheel bearings that seal to prevent oil from being added.

At every tire replacement, inspect your wheel bearings. Rotate the tire and attempt to move the wheel while the motorcycle is supported by a motorcycle jack, checking for tightness and yield in the bearings. If it loosens, you should do a more thorough inspection of the wheel bearings. Slip a finger into the axle hole while the wheel is removed and try to spin the bearing. If it seems abrasive or begins to stick, it should be changed. Examine the area surrounding the bearings for metallic debris or particles.

Maintaining a decent state for your motorcycle is an essential element of being a responsible rider. When your motorcycle is in bad condition, it increases the risk of an accident. Occasionally, these kinds of failures are the result of neglected or improperly fixed mechanical problems.