Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Overhauling my wheel hub

I saw this bike on Dupont a couple weeks ago. On top of the fact that this vehicle carries three people, I like how it seems to be designed to lock to exactly two post and rings.

My bike is back in working order. Overhauling a wheel hub takes time, but the actual difficulty is not high.

This was my third time repacking a hub. The previous times were when my bike got soaked. It was gliding on old bearings, dirty black grease and water.

There are lots of sites online that will guide you through the process if you ever want to do it. I recommend Sheldon Brown's site. Here are my pointers:

1. Get some wrenches. Officially you need cone wrenches. They must be narrow wrenches with sizes like 13, 14, 15 and 16 mm. Proper tools are expensive, and when I was trying to find them, I found an alternative. Canadian Tire has some specialized bike tools that are probably considered low quality. I picked up some some cheap wrenches that came in a pair and were intended for something other than hubs, probably pedals.

2. Do your best to clean out the old grease and dirt.

3. Use lots of new grease. If you put too much, it just squeezes out.

4. Count the number of bearings being used. Don't use too few or too many when you replace them. If you use too many, your wheel will spin and allow you to ride a few kilometres, but you'll feel like there's a massive headwind even though all the branches on the trees are perfectly still.

5. Don't give up. If your wheel doesn't spin well afterwards, you probably need to separate the cones on the axle a little. Pull the hub apart again. It's not as bad as it sounds.

6. It's a messy job. If you do it inside, put lots of newspaper on the floor, and try not to get grease on your new rug.

7. Make yourself comfortable. It'll take a while.

Darren J 5/17/2006 08:02:00 a.m.


Thanks for the tips.

Repacking bearings is my least favourite repair. I have a headset to do, and I'm reluctant to get going on it.

Ice cream is the motivation!
You make it sound easy, but I ought to know better -- my non-technical skills, that is. (Though the ice-cream idea might improve on those!)
Hey Darren,

Read your interview in the cycling article in the Era-Banner. Good advocacy!

Thanks Grisha!

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