Cup and Cone vs Cartridge bearing: Complete Comparison Guide

Can you move a bike without a bearing? Obviously, you can’t. And that’s why bearings are such an important topic to be discussed. On top of that, bearings are a pretty confusing component. All cartridge bearings are sealed but not all sealed bearings are cartridges.

This intensifies the confusion even more. One of the very common dilemmas is which one should I choose between Cup and Cone vs Cartridge bearing

The cup and cone bearings give the users option to repair and reuse it after wearing off but cartridge bearing can’t offer. They are mostly disposable when they wear out. Moreover, loose or sealed is another distinguishing factor between them. But they both are good for some specific uses. 

That was just an overview of the whole. There is more to it. Stick with us till the end to get a detailed idea about the differences between these bearings. 

Quick Comparison Between Cartridge Bearing & Cup and Cone Bearing 

AspectCup and Cone BearingCartridge Bearing
Loose or SealedBearings in this system are looseThis bearing design is contained within a race 
Repairability It can be repaired, serviced, and used again Hardly repairable, in most cases, they are disposable once they wear out 
Good forGood for places where displacing lateral and vertical loads is a priority Good in places where rotation is involved, good in taking the harsh condition stresses
Durability Cup and cone bearing can last long if taken care of properlyNot as durable as the other one
Our Recommendation Timken Tapered Roller Bearing Cone and Cup SetCANECREEK Serie 40 Cartridge Bearing

Head to Head Between Cup and Cone & Cartridge bearing

Generally, a bicycle has many a number of bearing in its system. A very commonly asked question is what is the number of bearings in a bicycle hub? Actually, there are many types and kinds of bearings available. 

For instance, we are discussing two types of bearings here that are used in different parts of a bicycle. These bearings work perfectly in various positions and ensure a good bicycle ride. 

There might be some differences between cup and cone vs cartridge hub. So let us see a detailed comparison between the cup and cone bearings and the cartridge bearings- 

Loose or Sealed:

As we already know, the bearings in a cup and cone system are loose. It’s one of the major differences between the cup and cone bearing adjustment and the cartridge bearing hub adjustment

Just like the finest bb30 bearings, the cartridge bearings are mostly sealed. Even though there are both sealed and unsealed cartridge bearings

But typically the sealed one is widely used because that is more long-lasting than the unsealed one. So the cartridge bearing is mainly contained within a race. 

Both of these designs have pros and cons. They have effects on repairability and usage. Even their advantages largely depend on this as well. 


This aspect comes directly from the previous one. It results from the build-up of the bearings. The loose cup and cone bearings are easily repairable. They can be used after some servicing. SUNLIGHT bearings are quite renowned in the market for their repairability. 

On the other hand, the sealed cartridge bearings are quite different. They are hardly repairable and in most cases, when they wear out you have no way but to dispose of them. 

This is one of the major differences between these two bearings- one is repairable and one has to be replaced. 


As we already know, cup and cone bearings are easily repairable, hence they are reusable as well. On top of that, they are long-lasting as well. With proper care, they can last for a lifetime.

On the flip side, the cartridge bearings aren’t as durable as the previously mentioned one. But it can be quite good in durability, but not as much as the cup and cone-bearing.  But some bearings like the FSA cartridge bearings serve you well while they last. 


The loose design of the cup and cone bearings give it more surface area in contact with the cup. Surface area affects friction, which we all know. Similarly, in this case, it can spread in more areas and this helps in spreading the load more effectively. 

Moreover, they are good at displacing vertical and lateral loads. On the other hand, cartridge bearings are good at providing rotation during harsh conditions. 

They have deeper machined grooves in the raceways. It gives them around 40% more load capacity. So they can cope with lateral forces easily. 

Final Verdict: Which One Should You Purchase? 

So both of these bearings are different in their own way. Cup and cone bearing sizes are different from cartridge bearing sizes. 

If you want to provide less stress on the bearing system when the bike moves, you should go for the cup and cone-bearing. If your priority is lessening rotational stress, then cartridge bearing should do the work. 

As you can see, both of these bearings have their own pros and cons. Moreover, they are perfect for different types of activities. So we would suggest you pick one according to your situation and need. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Are all bike bearings the same size?

Obviously not. All bike bearings can not be of the same size as they are used in different parts of the bicycle. But there are some specific common sizes that are widely used. 

How many types of bearings are there?

Bearings are a crucial component of bicycles. Moreover, they are used in different parts. So there are many available types of bearing in the market. The most popular 6 types of bearings are plain bearings, rolling element bearings, jewel bearings, fluid bearings, magnetic bearings, and flexure bearings. 

What bearings are used in bicycles?

Angular contact bearings and radial bearing are two common types of bearings. These two bearings are widely used on bicycles. Angular ones have races that reach the bearing at an angle off perpendicular. Radial bearings contact between the bearing perpendicular and the ground.

To Sum Up

That was all we have to share with you. Choosing between Cup and Cone vs Cartridge bearing can be a tough choice. Really hope that this post helps you in choosing. 

Don’t forget to prioritize your own preferences first. Do some ground research and then finalize your pick. Our best wishes to you.

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