I might have to talk my Dad into getting one of these Harley bicycles.
He's 80 these days, but still gets around pretty good, and albeit his memory is obviously slipping, the old bastard is probably in better health and shape than I.
He recently bought a $500 electric bike from Amazon.
He said he pretty much had to assemble it himself, which as I remember as a kid he did quite often.
He recently told me about this bike, and said the front wheel didn't seem to have much glide, and when spun, it slowed down and stopped rather quickly.
He decided to open up the hub and give the bearings some grease.
Upon doing so, he said bearings just came rolling out.
I immediately thought he must have over tightened it, and fried them.
But he said inside the hub, there were no cups or races, just a handful of loose bearings inside.
He's afraid to ride it now.
Makes me wonder, is this some new fangled way to do bearings?
Just throw a bunch inside a hub, close it up and call it good?
Or did the old man screw up his bike?
It is actually quite normal, considering there was probably no/very little grease from the factory. For older and cheaper bicycles, ball bearings are sealed between two compression rings (also called cups). Almost always one of the rings is the wheel hub itself, and the second one is attached to the shaft. Everything is packed with grease, and compressed by two thin nuts (often the ball bearing cup is threaded and acts as one of the nuts). I've repacked quite a few bicycle hubs while I was riding a lot. There is no easy way to do it (like pressing new ball bearing on a car/motorcycle), but if you put a dub of grease inside the hub, it is easier to insert ball bearing one by one.
For your dad: The ball bearing cups were probably over-tightened either from the factory, or when your dad assembled the bicycle. It is very easy to do, if the two nuts holding the ball bearing cup (or cup and clamping nut) were a bit loose, and he torqued the retaining shaft nuts/quick release when installing the wheels.
It sounds like you dad should not be scared to ride it, the front wheel just needs a bit of TLC. Take it to any local bicycle shop, and they'll repack the ball bearings (probably $20-$40 labor included), dial-in the correct pressure required for ball bearings to roll smoothly.
That said, an electrical bicycle for $500 is probably as bare-bone as it gets, since cost of manufacturing is mostly in the electric motor and battery. Everything else, including the gear sifters, breaks, gears, chain, tires, etc. is bottom of the line... Although I'm skeptical of Harley bicycles due to low ROI, there are a lot of great options out there in the $1500-$2500 range. And the higher you go, the more bicycle for your money you get.
Here is a video on how to repack the ball bearings: