Join Date: Jul 2005
Bikes: 1984 Trek 520; 1990s Peugeot (Canadian-made) rigid mountain bike; 2007 Bike Friday NWT; misc others
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You can tighten the cones yourself, but you need cone wrenches - usually two, although in a pinch you might be able get by with one cone wrench and one normal adjustable wrench (eg crescent wrench) (see linked picture). Each side of the axle has a cone nut, and just outside it is a locking nut (see thumbnail sketch). The cone wrenches are very narrow and allow you to hold the cone with one wrench and tighten the lock nut next to it with the other, without the wrenches interfering with each other or the hub or cassette. If there is only a small amount of play in the hub, put one wrench on the (outer) locking nut on one side of the hub and one cone wrench on the (inner) cone on the other side. Screw the cone a bit tighter into the hub until the wheel spins smoothly with no binding, but no wobble. Then hold that cone still with one wrench, and tighten it's own lock nut against it with the other.
I've occasionally done this with the wheel still in the bike (and for sure you need two thin cone wrenches then) but it's easier if you take it out. If you do it in the bike, as a last step you have to tighten the very outside axle nuts that hold the wheel in the dropouts (right side of thumbnail sketch).
But if it's a new bike it may have other things that need to be checked or adjusted, so take it to the LBS this time.
Last edited by cooker; 08-08-08 at 07:43 PM.