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  1. #1
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    Replacing hub cups, bearings and cones

    I'm thinking of replacing the cups, cones and bearings on my road bike at some point, the winter wasn't all that kind to them. Are cups and cones pretty hub dependent? Can I just walk into a bike shop and ask for a new set of cups, cones and bearings, or do you have to perform some kind of ritual on a full moon in order to conjure up a new set?

  2. #2
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    Cones can be replaced, and they're not rocket science on old road bikes, which is what I'm assuming you have. If the threading is right and the diameter plugs the hole in the dust cap, you are almost guaranteed good to go. You might have some length issues, but spacers fix that. Bearings are even easier, but you want grade 25, not grade 300.

    On most bikes the cup is the hub, so just stick a pen in there, run it around the ring left by the bearings, and see how it feels. I'm betting your cones are hosed, but your hub is ok.

  3. #3
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    Typically, cups outlast cones by quite a lot. I've overhauled many hubs where the cones were hosed but the cups were fine.

    Shimano hubs have non-replacable cups anyway so if the cups are damaged badly, you need a new hub.

    Campy hubs used to have (may still have) replacable cups but they were so expensive that replacing the cups cost nearly as much as a new hub.

    As noted, get Grade 25 bearing balls, not grade 200 or 300. For bearings, a lower Grade number means better quality.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    Typically, cups outlast cones by quite a lot. I've overhauled many hubs where the cones were hosed but the cups were fine.

    Shimano hubs have non-replacable cups anyway so if the cups are damaged badly, you need a new hub.

    Campy hubs used to have (may still have) replacable cups but they were so expensive that replacing the cups cost nearly as much as a new hub.

    As noted, get Grade 25 bearing balls, not grade 200 or 300. For bearings, a lower Grade number means better quality.

    Cool, thanks for the information. I think (hope) there's still a fair amount of life left in the cones, I like to have things in tip top shape, that's why I was thinking of replacing things. It's an old raleigh, I have to do a full cleaning of the hub and see how things are afterwards. Hmm, yeah, I'm not sure if I can replace the cups. I had assumed you could, but now that you mention it they are probably non replacable.

  5. #5
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    When you get the cones cleaned up (you did remember to leave one "in place" on the axle, right?" check out the thin, shiny line where the bearings make contact. It should be of uniform width, and free from any pits or obviously-worn spots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer
    When you get the cones cleaned up (you did remember to leave one "in place" on the axle, right?" check out the thin, shiny line where the bearings make contact. It should be of uniform width, and free from any pits or obviously-worn spots.
    I'll have to check them again. I had to clean them quickly when I cleaned them earlier in the week and didn't have time to do a proper inspection.

  7. #7
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    As much as my sanity thanks me for all the hours spent building wheels, not having to build is a good reason for replacing cups vices a hub

    On cup inspection, how much wear is too much? pits and non-uniform band is a no kidding indicator, but what about a band of cloudiness on a mirror finish?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by poopncow
    On cup inspection, how much wear is too much? pits and non-uniform band is a no kidding indicator, but what about a band of cloudiness on a mirror finish?
    If the ball track is smooth and free of pits you are fine. The track normally won't be mirror bright and a fosted appearance is normal.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer
    When you get the cones cleaned up (you did remember to leave one "in place" on the axle, right?" check out the thin, shiny line where the bearings make contact. It should be of uniform width, and free from any pits or obviously-worn spots.
    There is a very simple and cheap method for testing bearing races. Just take a ball point pen (it's got a tiny ball bearing at it's tip) and run it around the path that the balls in the hub set usually take. If there is any pitting or irregularity you will feel it quite easily. This is a much more definitive inspection than a visual inspection. If you feel a vibration in the pen, it's time for new cones or cups.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by poopncow
    On cup inspection, how much wear is too much? pits and non-uniform band is a no kidding indicator, but what about a band of cloudiness on a mirror finish?
    Band of cloudiness on mirror finish = the bearings have polished the cup as they should

  11. #11
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    I have just taken all the bearings out and degrease everything, and have a set of brand spanking new bearings to put in there. It appears to be quite free of pits, there was a ton of dirt and guk that came free with the degreaser.

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