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Ultimate Unit Bearings

Strong, Simple Spidertrax Bearing Hubs

Fred WilliamsPhotographer, WriterHarry WagnerPhotographerSpidertraxPhotographer

The covered wagon, also known as the Conestoga wagon or prairie schooner, worked its way across the American frontier powered by such livestock as mules, horses, or oxen. The wheels spun on spindles with iron bearings. The hub design with a spindle and greasy bearings isn’t bad, but maybe it’s time to use a lighter, faster, simpler, and cleaner design. It’s time for unit bearings under your Conastoga buggy or rock buggy or next custom 4x4.

What is a unit bearing and why would you want to try something new if the age-old system works great? A unit bearing isn’t really anything new except that it’s easier to use. On most full-floating axles (front or rear) you have a spindle with a hub and a pair of bearings, and you need to regularly service these by taking them apart, inspecting the bearings, and repacking with grease. The unit bearing is an all-in-one dual bearing assembly that bolts onto your axle end and doesn’t require recurring maintenance. This sounds great, but unit bearings have gotten a bad rap over the years because they do fail and when they do it requires purchasing a whole new unit bearing for high buy-in costs. Plus, most unit bearings require an axleshaft to hold them together, a problem if you ever break an axleshaft and need to limp home.

But the science of unit bearings has changed. Spidertrax offers a high-performance unit bearing that can take a beating, as has been proven by Ultra-Four rock racers who abuse them without fail every race. These can stand up without an axleshaft, and they are easy to use and install. We know we can’t convince everyone that a service-free hub is the way to go (some of us like the greasy job of tearing down and inspecting our hubs, bearings, and spindles) but if you’re ready for a simpler, stress-free, cleaner option then Spidertrax Ultimate Unit Bearings are the ticket.