Angular Contact Ball Bearings Thrive in Off-road Applications


Constant motion and rough environmental conditions for off-road vehicles require that higher operating temperatures do not impact performance. This is why choosing the correct bearings for motion control is critical in UTV and side-by-side applications.

Due to their ability to withstand both radial and axial loads, angular contact ball bearings excel in rocky off-road terrain. They offer high shock load capacity.

Angular contact bearings come in single row, double row and double inner ring.

  • Single row have raceways with high and low edges making them asymmetrical. Opposing raceways allow it to carry thrust load in one direction. These bearings can be used in pairs, triple sets, quadruple sets or multiple sets. They do not contain seals or shields.
  • Double row angular contact ball bearings have an inner and outer ring with a double raceway. These rows duplicate stacked single row bearings. The ability to carry thrust loads in either direction is the main benefit. In addition, the clearance is preset by the manufacturer, so there is no need to adjust during installation. They are available with and without seals.

While the double row bearing can be more economical, some OEMs choose multiple single row bearings for design flexibility and, at times, performance.

  • UTV wheel bearings are comprised of double inner rings within one external ring. This design allows for an increased angle and larger axial load capacity. They have double seals on each side and excel in contamination resistance to water, dirt and mud.


What to look for in angular contact ball bearings:

Both single and double angular contact bearings are charged with moving high load equipment. For maximum life performance, OEMs should choose bearings made with:

  • High quality steel
  • High grade balls that function at high speeds without noise or vibration
  • Contact angles that meet the equipment’s performance requirements (generally 15, 25, 30 or 40 degree angles)
  • Grease that extends the life
  • Super finishes that minimize noise and improve lubrication
  • Cages made in materials that function at high speeds while maintaining low heat generation