The year was 1994, and CBR founder Charlie Rowlett was an employee at a Honda-Yamaha motorcycle shop. During his time employed at the motorcycle shop, he noticed that many of the expensive OEM replacement bearings they were selling to their customers were simply standard sized bearings and nothing particularly special. He was intrigued by this and spent a considerable amount of time researching the sizes and applications of these bearings and recording them in a detailed spreadsheet.
After tallying all his data, a clear pattern emerged and he discovered a business opportunity—providing top-quality replacement bearings for a much lower cost than what the motorcycle shops were charging. Soon after, CBR Bearing was founded.
As a long-time dirt bike enthusiast, Rowlett was familiar with the motorcycle industry, so he started there, but his plan was to eventually move on to providing bearings for the industrial market, which he did.
When ceramic hybrid bearings began gaining popularity, Rowlett was intrigued. At the time, these products were very limited in availability and the prices were sky high! Rowlett was convinced that he could take an existing name-brand steel ball bearing and “remanufacture” it into a more affordable ceramic hybrid ball bearing, but he wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it.
After many starts, stops, dead ends, and failures, Rowlett realized that lots of special tooling was necessary to manufacture ceramic hybrid bearings. So, he shifted his focus toward making bearing-specific tooling in his own machine shop with the help of a master tool maker and aerospace engineer.
Soon, CBR was marketing their own line of top-quality ceramic hybrid bearings they called their “Pro-Series.” Their first ceramic hybrid bearing was sold in 2002. The company has since sold tens of thousands of bearings to customers in industrial markets as well as in the motorsports industries.
According to Rowelett, “I saw there was a space to fill in this niche market—providing high-quality bearings at affordable prices. I took a leap, started my own business, and here we are, 25 years later! I am proud of what we have accomplished over the last 25 years and how we’ve stayed true to my original vision, but continue to look forward to what the future may hold for CBR. We appreciate our loyal customers who come back to us time and time again for their bearing needs. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.”
Rowlett is still intimately involved in the business. In fact, if you call CBR with a question about our bearings, you may just find yourself speaking to Rowlett himself.
CBR stands behind Rowlett’s original vision of providing their customers with top-quality, affordable bearings. Even though CBR is a small bearing manufacturing company, they are able to offer some of the industry’s best prices and fastest turnaround times.
CBR would love to have the opportunity to earn your business. If you have a need for top-quality ceramic hybrid bearings at affordable prices, contact us. We can answer any questions you may have and give you a quote on pricing and turnaround times. We look forward to hearing from you!