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Exposed bearing front tire

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I recently broke my speedo on my xr650l. I had about 300 street miles to get home so I took the broken speedometer off and left the exposed bearing as is and rode home. I've been commuting on the street with the bike to and from work and have only ridden dirt twice short distances both times. I haven't had cash to replace the speedo but will soon. I'm gonna be doing a long ride almost 2000 miles to Baja in about a month. I'm wondering if riding with the bearings exposed has damaged them. Can I do safely do the ride to Baja without replacing the bearing or do I need to replace before I go on the ride?

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Bearings are cheap and easy. The "sealed" portion is just a plastic washer pressed into the outer race to keep the grease in the bearing. If the bearing could protect itself from water and dirt, bikes wouldn't have bearing seals at all. Also, if you pop that plastic washer out of a brand new sealed bearing, you will find that they are barely packed at all and house a grease that really resembles Vaseline. I'm sure it's better than Vaseline, but none the less, I have experienced much longer bearing life since I started repacking new bearings with known good grease before installation.

 

With that said, I would opt for new bearings and seals before the trip. Cheap peace of mind.

 

On a separate note, do you still need a speedo drive?

 

 

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22 hours ago, Lovemydog said:

Can I do safely do the ride to Baja without replacing the bearing or do I need to replace before I go on the ride?

I was just talking to people that do a group ride to Baja every year.  They put in about 1000 miles on the dirt roads down there.  They were suggesting replacing all of the wheel bearings even if they seem good.  A failed bearing ended the ride for one of the group a year or two ago, and it was rather expensive to get the bike back to civilization.

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