This is what exactly what I do and as far as the bearings, for those of us who had the Paterson tanks at Brooks Institute we were told to take out the bearing in the reels. I did and load them quickly. At Art Center College of Design they didn't care what we used as long as we got results. I used my stainless steel tanks while there, bought from Freestyle.
I almost always use a stainless steel reels however and use the Paterson system when I have a lot to process. I find there is less hardware to clean with stainless steel. A tank, reel, lid and cap. With the Paterson system there is a tank, reel, center column, retaining clip, lid and cap.
It takes some practice to load film at first but it becomes second nature in no time. With 120 roll film I make sure the leading end doesn't have a corner that's curled, other than that it's about the same as 35mm.