Enduro Bearings Components: Getting Rolling

Enduro Bearings Components: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted

Note: Riding Gravel received the Enduro Bearings Max Hit 440C Stainless Steel Headset, the Torqtite bottom bracket, and the Direct Line Pulleys at no charge for test and review. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will alwys struve to give our honest views and opinions throughout.

Enduro components
The Enduro components.

Enduro Innovations, the maker of our “Max Hit” bottom bracket we have on test now, got a hold of me recently and asked if there was any bike that I might have which they could send over a few components for and if I would be willing to put them through a long term test. We went over a few ideas and finally arrived on a set of Enduro bearing-filled components for a Twin Six Standard Rando v2 I have which is currently running the Shimano GRX Limited group.

The components I received to test at no charge to Riding Gravel for this review are the Max Hit head set for a 44mm head tube, the “Torqtite” bottom bracket for Press-Fit bottom brackets, and a set of Enduro’s “Direct Line Pulleys” for the rear derailleur. I’ll briefly detail each component below and I have a few first impressions to share as well.

Enduro Torqtite bottom bracket
The Enduro Torqtite bottom bracket

Torqtite Bottom Bracket: This component was specifically designed to address creaky, inefficient press-fit style bottom brackets. Ideally, press-fit bottom bracket shells would be bored with a machine and faced as well to insure that the bore was perfect and that the faces of the shell were perfectly perpendicular to that bore. If cups are pressed in each side, a precision machined shell as described would theoretically be creak free and the bearings would last longer. However; the bicycle industry chose a less expensive, “easier” solution which avoids the expensive machining processes that a press-fit bottom bracket should have. Instead, the bottom bracket shell is simply honed, most of the time, or molded in the case of carbon fiber, and the faces of the shell left imprecise as cut/molded. The resulting variances created in tolerances are made up for by using plastic cups which were designed to deform slightly to adjust to any out of plane tolerances.

Okay, so what went wrong? This cheaper manufacturing method led to creaky bottom brackets and premature wearing of bearings. Not good! Thus, “PF-30” became a byword for mechanics and a pain in the patuckis for riders who had to endure creaky, fast wearing bearings and cups. The “solution” was to use a thread-together bottom bracket which eliminated the reliance on the shell for alignment. All well and good, but the Torqtite bottom bracket goes a couple of steps further. First, this component uses high-quality, 440C precision bearings, better seals, and top-quality grease. But maybe most importantly, Enduro designed the Torqtite bottom bracket to have its bearings placed as far outboard as possible, lending the crank set a firmer, more stable platform to spin on.

Our Torqtite Bottom Bracket is made to fit a PF-30 shell and accommodate a Shimano 24mm spindle. this bottom bracket can also accommodate a SRAM spindle, (Not DUB), with an included shim for the non-drive side. MSRP: $150.00USD. Enduro makes several types of press-fit bottom brackets for several applications, so check their site if you are interested to see if your style of press fit bottom bracket is covered by them.

 Detail of the Enduro Max Hit stainless steel head set.
Enduro Max Hit stainless steel head set.

“Max Hit” Stainless Steel Headset: As with our Max Hit bottom bracket on test, the head set is also machined from stainless steel and guaranteed for life. Made entirely from 440C stainless steel, the Max Hit head set bearings are claimed to be able to have 8 times the mass and a larger contact area than competitor’s bearings. The Zero Stack, Max Hit head set retails for an MSRP of $119.00.

The Enduro Direct Line pulleys (Note: Center “buttons” are there for shipping purposes)

Enduro Direct Line Pulleys: The rear derailleur jockey wheel upgrade has been a “thing” since the 1990’s. Sealed bearing pulleys were touted as having less rotational resistance and were lighter, in some cases, than stock rear derailleur pulley wheels. But now Enduro has upped the game with direct replacement jockey wheels for several rear derailleurs that have many key benefits. First, the bearings are ceramic hybrid XD-15 bearings which are backed by a lifetime warranty. These are set into machined 500 AF Delrin (not molded) pulleys which also are backed by the same lifetime warranty. A unique feature of these machined Delrin jockey wheels is that they are extremely rigid, have less drag than aluminum or titanium jockey wheels, and with no holes, they will not collect gunk and are easier to clean. MSRP: $185.00

First Impressions: The components arrived in nice boxes and, for the bottom bracket, a nice plastic tube so you can see the component. The bottom bracket was nicely machined and anodized. It came with the shim to make it compatible with a SRAM crank, but in this case it will go on the Shimano GRX Limited crankset. It comes with all the shims and bearing seals you may need to get you up and running.

The head set, being made out of stainless steel, felt heavy in the hand and was obviously very beautifully machined. There was also an odd top cap, with no exposed hex head socket, but instead the top cap has a rubber insert around its circumference. This obviously is meant to be tightened by hand. Otherwise everything looked pretty common as far as parts are concerned with the exception of a delicately machined stainless steel dust seal which is meant to go on the crown race.

The derailleur jockey wheels were interesting from the standpoint of looking, well…..plain. The machined Delrin wheels were sleek looking and the little aluminum dust caps were simple, but what matters is inside, and these pulleys do spin nicely in the hand. We’ll see if they can hold up to a dusty, gritty environment.

One thing I was interested in was whether or not I would be adding weight or saving weight with the component swaps. Here is the breakdown of the weights and swap totals.

Cane Creek head set > Max Hit head set weight differential: +20 gram

Wheels manufacturing PF-30 Thread-together bottom bracket for 24mm > Torqtite Bottom Bracket weight differential: 0 grams

Shimano GRX pulleys > Enduro Direct Line pulleys weight differential: -2 grams

So, I added 18 grams by switching over to the Enduro components.

Image of a bicycle with Enduro products installed.
The Twin Six Standard Rando v2 with the Enduro Bearings products installed.

Installation & First Ride Impressions: The bottom bracket was the most straight forward of the components to install. The Torqtite system relies on the two halves of the shell to thread together making for a precise alignment for the bearings to run in. The bottom bracket needs two standard outboard bearing cup tools to be installed correctly. These wrenches are available separately from Enduro, by the way, but in my case, having been a bicycle mechanic for decades now, I already had those wrenches on hand.

The head set was next and fairly straight forward as far as installing also with the minor exception of that odd top cap. I just grip-tightened it and the headset seemed to preload just fine. Hmm…. how about that?! I will say that the head set allows the bars to turn really easily now.

The pulleys were last and were not all that hard to install. (Tip: Make sure you use a thread locking compound on the bolts that hold the pulleys in the cage!) Once everything was installed, the freer running bearings in the bottom bracket and rear derailleur were noted when spinning the cranks backward. But what about riding?

Check out that top cap. No bolt showing!

Well, and I’d say this for our Max Hit bottom bracket in another bike being tested now, it seems that these freer running, more precise bearings feel very smooth. Smooth as in I do not feel the slight “grumbly” vibration on the crankset when smashing the pedals going up hill anymore. It’s hard to describe, but you can feel things with a standard bottom bracket that you do not feel with the Enduro bottom bracket bearings. That and the cranks just seem more stable. It’s very subtle, but it’s there.

As for that headset, well time will tell. I imagine that gravel does a pretty good number on traditional headsets and since I’ve been using mostly high-end head sets, I just don’t see much of an issue. However, the head set I removed was gritty, and it was a commonly used brand in many bikes these days, so upgrading may prove to be a good thing here.

And derailleur pulleys. Only triathletes care about this, right? Well, actually, we all should care. Being a mechanic, I can tell you that gunky, ordinary pulleys do decrease drive train efficiency, and I don’t know about you, but I need all the efficiency I can get these days. So, yes, derailleur jockey wheels can make a difference. This may only be seen after many miles, and that is what I intend to do with this review.

So Far… The Enduro Bearings components were very well presented, impressively made, and installed with no issues. My initial impressions are that these would all be good upgrades but I am holding back a final verdict because, as bearings, I expect them to last a long time. Given that it may take a while for me to be satisfied with my testing, this review may not close up for many week.s

I’ll be back after many miles.

For more on the Max Hit or Torqtite components, check them out here.


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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