Protect my Balls!!! (Ball bearings)



Volnix

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Feb 19, 2011
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Hi!
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How often should the hubs on wheels be overhauled?


I am using a pair of Axis Classic (yeah I know that they dont cost that much, but why not service them?) that was stock on the Allez and I have about 5000km on them, without ever even removing the dust cups on the hubs (which I am starting to suspect that steal my speed).


Should I remove the dust caps and try to service the hubs or are they fine?

Should I pack those with some heat resistant grease or oil or something?


If the dust cups rub againt the spinning wheel, they do steal speed, dont they?
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Thanks!
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dabac

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Sep 16, 2003
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There's really no agreed interval.

Anything with cup & cone, I inspect before use as a matter of principle. You never know how well they're put together.
If they look OK, I ride.
I try to do yearly clean and relubes whether it's indicated or not.

Occasionally, after a real soaker, I might do another one earlier than what the calendar indicates.

Oil in ball bearings is generally frowned upon, it doesn't hang around long enough. It will work though, if your service intervals are short enough.

Heat resistant grease, where'd you get THAT idea from?
There are boutique lubes available, some use lithium lubes, many are happy using marine grade greases as they are a bit more water resistant.
Others will use whatever they find in the garage/garden shed, and seems to do just as well with that.

My opinion is that the difference in performance from one reasonably suitable lube to another is entirely dwarfed by bearing adjustment and how often the bearings are repacked.

If you can't notice the seal drag when spinning the wheel off the ground, then I seriously doubt that you will notice it riding.

And at 5000 km, wear-in should have long occurred, and there really shouldn't be any residual drag.
 

Volnix

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Feb 19, 2011
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Originally Posted by dabac
Heat resistant grease, where'd you get THAT idea from?
Ehmmm I was watching this documentary about cycling, it was called "The ride of my life - story of the bicycle".

Basically at some point it was about the "invention of the mountain bike" and where that happened, was in a mountain somewhere in the US, which they were calling "Re-pack mountain" because all the hubs would need to be re-packed after each ride, probably due to heat I guess... Or maybe from the knocks, I dont remember.

Now that I think of it, hubs dont rotate as fast as the rims do for any speed, but they still get hot, dont they?
 

CAMPYBOB

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Sep 12, 2005
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For loose bearings/cup & cone style hubs:

1. Any automotive wheel bearing grease will work fine.

2. Dust caps do not cause friction losses unless they are FUBAR. They keep **** out of the bearings.

Does your dust cap have a small weep hole? If not, drill one and buy a grease gun with a needle greaser tip. You can grease your hubs in 15 seconds without removing the wheels from the bike. Or drill a hole in the center of the hub shell and add a Campy or shimaNO grease band (or install a set screw) to cover the hole. Or go all-in and tap the hub for a grease Zerk fitting.
 

dabac

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Sep 16, 2003
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Volnix said:
Ehmmm I was watching this documentary about cycling, it was called "The ride of my life - story of the bicycle". Basically at some point it was about the "invention of the mountain bike" and where that happened, was in a mountain somewhere in the US, which they were calling "Re-pack mountain" because all the hubs would need to be re-packed after each ride, probably due to heat I guess... Or maybe from the knocks, I dont remember. Now that I think of it, hubs dont rotate as fast as the rims do for any speed, but they still get hot, dont they?
The repack comes from early, proto-MTBs, basically repurposed cruisers, townies or whatever that could take wide tires and looked sturdy enough, used coaster brake rear hubs. And these would get real hot, cook the grease and supposedly need a repack after each run. It's not applicable to bikes in general, and not applicable at all to rim-brake and disc brake wheels. Apart from abused coaster brake hubs, the only hubs that can be expected to go warm enough to matter under normal use are tandem hubs with brakes. If you get the hub of a rim-brake wheel even noticeably warmer than it's surroundings you have a serious bearing failure underway.
 

Volnix

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Feb 19, 2011
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Originally Posted by dabac


The repack comes from early, proto-MTBs, basically repurposed cruisers, townies or whatever that could take wide tires and looked sturdy enough, used coaster brake rear hubs. And these would get real hot, cook the grease and supposedly need a repack after each run. It's not applicable to bikes in general, and not applicable at all to rim-brake and disc brake wheels. Apart from abused coaster brake hubs, the only hubs that can be expected to go warm enough to matter under normal use are tandem hubs with brakes.
If you get the hub of a rim-brake wheel even noticeably warmer than it's surroundings you have a serious bearing failure underway.
Hmmm they didnt say that they were hub brake bikes... Never checked the temperature of the hubs either.
 

maydog

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Feb 5, 2010
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My first road bike came with cheap wheels with quando hubs. The cone on the right side of the front wheel loosened somehow and tightened up against the balls during a ride and siezed up. After repacking and readjusting them, I continued to ride it until I built a replacement. It was a bit crunchy after that.

The replacement set I built up has cup and cone Tiagra hubs. I used to use them on my commuter, winter and rain beater. They have never required servicing other than cleaning the exterior, still spin smooth as day 1.

If the hubs are properly adjusted and you aren't doing any extreme riding, no overhaul is needed. I suppose reballing and repacking may add a bit more life to the hubs, if you plan on keeping them forever.
 

dabac

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Sep 16, 2003
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Volnix said:
Hmmm they didnt say that they were hub brake bikes... Never checked the temperature of the hubs either.
Well, at the start of MTBing, they were. Giving too much background and detail can kill the flow of any story. Checking the temperature of the hubs of a rim braked bicycle would be about as action packed as watching paint dry, but there's always the hope of a serious bearing failure I suppose...
 

Volnix

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Feb 19, 2011
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Originally Posted by maydog
I suppose reballing and repacking may add a bit more life to the hubs, if you plan on keeping them forever.
Well... hmmm, maybe I should talk with somebody then. Somebody titled psych - something.
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Originally Posted by CAMPYBOB
Does your dust cap have a small weep hole? If not, drill one and buy a grease gun with a needle greaser tip. You can grease your hubs in 15 seconds without removing the wheels from the bike. Or drill a hole in the center of the hub shell and add a Campy or shimaNO grease band (or install a set screw) to cover the hole. Or go all-in and tap the hub for a grease Zerk fitting.
Maybe will check whats going, if it looks bad might WD-40 or degrease spray them, let them on the side to drain and apply some new grease...
 

dabac

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Sep 16, 2003
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Volnix said:
Well... hmmm, maybe I should talk with somebody then. Somebody titled psych - something. :big-smile:   Maybe will check whats going, if it looks bad might WD-40 or degrease spray them, let them on the side to drain and apply some new grease... 
It's very much down to the riding conditions. On my commuter, the effects of a couple of months of salt, sand and sleet are clearly visible in the hubs. Other bikes can to until the grease dries out before suffering noticeably.
 

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