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I'm using WH-550 from Shimano, can I replace my steel bearing balls with ceramic bearing balls?

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Yes, you can. You just need to get the right size of loose ceramic ball bearings as that's what shimano wheels use. They are available from various vendors, like here for instance.

You didn't ask this, but I'll answer it for you anyway: would I recommend replacing the bearings on a pair of WH-R550's with ceramic bearings? No, and neither would many others. Ceramic bearings are expensive and can end up costing nearly as much as your particular wheelset. There are better places on your bike to spend that money and get more bang for your buck. A lighter, more aerodynamic wheelset would be a great place to start.

  • thanks for your suggestion, anyway, does it make much different if i'm using ceramic bearing ? or not much different only expensive in a price of the bearing ? – Rick Ant Feb 14 '12 at 5:55
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    @RickAnt For road use, they last longer and run slightly smoother, but as jm2 noted the difference is very often not worth the price. – cmannett85 Feb 14 '12 at 7:50
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    @cbamber85 my experience has been that they do not last as long as a standard bearing. I think this is due to the fact that ceramic bearings are more sensitive to debris and deteriorate quicker in the presence of any dirt or grit. – joelmdev Feb 14 '12 at 14:16
  • @RickAnt they do roll smoother initially but the difference is negligible in the scheme of things. Ceramic bearings are a good thing to add to your bike when you've maxxed every other component out. – joelmdev Feb 14 '12 at 14:19
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    @cbamber85 i thought the same thing when was considering ceramic bearings for my bottom bracket. Once i started reading reviews and listening to the experiences of my friends I was surprised by how negative everyone's experiences with them were. Everything I read/heard went about the same- they're awesome when they're new but they feel terrible in a short period of time. Maybe there is a brand out there that is more reliable, but I have not come across it. – joelmdev Feb 14 '12 at 15:16

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