I just overhauled some cheap bmx hubs. I installed new bearings and cones. Now I'm trying to get the hubs adjusted so that the bearings will last as long as possible.
I had always thought that leaving bearings even a tiny bit loose (be it bb, pedal, or hub) was one of the cardinal sins when it came to maintaining a bike. But reading this from Sheldon Brown put that in question:
If nothing you can do will eliminate both the binding and the play at the same time, it is better to adjust a little loose and accept a slight amount of play then to have the hub bind
This is the situation I'm in. Is a little bit of bearing play a legitimate option? Will my bearings wear down more quickly if they are slightly binding or if they are slightly loose?