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Thread: cone pitting

  1. #1
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    cone pitting

    Bike: Early 80s Raleigh Rapide

    How bad does this cone look? You can see some small pitting in the center were the bearings run. I am overhauling this bike that I've had since high school. I'm trying to avoid investing too much into it but would like to get a few more years out of it. I bought several new parts including tires, cables, brake pads, grip tape etc. from two on-line bike retailers. Now, I see this pit in one of the cups don't really want to place another order. I called two bike shops and they didn't sound very confident they had these older parts in stock.

    How against the "rules" would it be to go ahead and use this cone? How much life do you think I can expect to get out of it. (I'm no Lance Armstrong....my weekend biking usually is only in the 10-15 mile range.) Do you think it would last 3-5 years? I called two local bike shops and they were not very confident they had this part in stock on this old of a bike.

    (Click on link to enlarge photo)

    Thanks for your opinion?
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    DOS
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    Grease it up and go; you'll be fine.

    However, if its gonna bother you, visit a shop or two; every shop I know has drawers full of odds and ends (screws, etc.) that they will give you for nothing (just got some old pads for old single pivot brakes that way).

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    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    The common wisdom I think is "for the love of god don't use it" but I've ridden on hubs and bb's with pitted cones or cups or axles and had no problem. There's a risk it could get worse and lock up your wheel or something but I'd ride on that.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

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    don't be so angry clancy98's Avatar
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    i think thats about as bad as pitting gets before its too obvious to even ask... I wouldn't think you'd get 3 years out of it tho.
    Irregardless is not a word, and you do not sound more intelligent using it.

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    Set it up with a little play so that it rotates freely, then ride it for as long as you wish.

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    Wheels Manufacturing has a great website that will help you identify the cone that you need.
    http://wheelsmfg.com/index.php?optio...=470&Itemid=32

  7. #7
    Call me The Breeze I_bRAD's Avatar
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    You can buy a complete axle at your lbs including cones and nuts for 5 bucks.

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    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I say replace them. If you can't find cones to fit your axle, replace the whole axle. What's the point of doing an overhaul if you don't replace the worn parts? They are replaceable parts, not like the frame. You wouldn't ride on bald tires, would you?

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    Well it seems the opinions are varied. Some say to run them and some say don't run them.

    You can buy a complete axle at your lbs including cones and nuts for 5 bucks.
    Not at my LBS! I called and the person I spoke to said that they had a bin full of various sizes from older bikes.

    Me: How how much are they?
    LBS: I can't imagine they would be very much. ....
    Me: O..kay. What does that mean?
    LBS: Oh, just a few bucks each.
    Me: Does a few mean 2-3 or 5-10? Each or pair?
    LBS: I'll sell you one for 3.95. (She pulled that one out of you know where.)

    For crying out loud, everytime I call a bike shop for small parts, it seems they just make up a price. If I called tomorrow, I'm sure the price would be different. I bought some parts on-line (inc shipping) for about 1/2 or less of what the LBS charges. Good lord....I'd love to support the LBS if they were reasonably higher than the web but not by crazy amounts. I guess I will just stick to the internet for my shopping. (By the way. I found what I believe to be the right part for less than 1.00 each on-line but the shipping will obviously kill it. I've already ordered all my other stuff and don't need anything else to go with it. I guess I'll learn next time to make sure the shopping list is complete before clicking the place order button.)

    I say replace them. If you can't find cones to fit your axle, replace the whole axle. What's the point of doing an overhaul if you don't replace the worn parts?
    Good Point!


    Thanks for your input.

  10. #10
    Your mom
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    For crying out loud, everytime I call a bike shop for small parts, it seems they just make up a price.
    I totally had the same experience at my LBS. Bought two axles which were clearly pulled from a used bike; charged $10 a piece. I love having them close, but they totally nickel-and-dime me.

    As for the OP, I've repacked hubs with cones that pitted. But not on bikes that I ride a lot. Find yourself a new set of cones. I don't even think they have to match that well.

  11. #11
    Call me The Breeze I_bRAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnrboyd View Post
    Not at my LBS! I called and the person I spoke to said that they had a bin full of various sizes from older bikes.
    Your basic made in taiwan 6sp axle set will do the trick. Surely your lbs can replace a broken axle, hardly a rare problem. They're 5 bucks in my catalogs. Did you ask for a cone, or an axle?

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    Old Fogy
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    My LBS sells axle, cones, and bearings for a tad over five bucks. Take the old ones in and match them up. If you let them go, you'll end up ruining the non-replaceable races in the hub, requiring a new hub to repair.

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    what kind of hub is that? thats lame your shop isnt helping out too much but 3.95 isnt too bad for what you're asking. were you expecting something for free? i feel bad for the guy who paid 10$ for a used axle set, that is kind of steep. it takes time to dig up a random cone set!, and few shops have that stuff catalogued and arranged. more like bin'o'cones. wheelsmfg looks like a sick site.

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    but 3.95 isnt too bad for what you're asking. were you expecting something for free?

    No.. certainly not free. If I can get the part at an on-line retailer for less than 1.00, the LBS can certainly buy it for much less than that. (Maybe .50 or so?) If wholesale cost is around .50 and you sell it at 3.95, that's a gouge in my opinion. 8.00 for a pair of cones is pretty high especially if you say you can get an axle, cones and maybe even bearings for 5.00 or 6.00. If that's the case with this shop, why wouldn't they suggest it in the first place? My other beef is that the price was seemingly pulled out of thin air as opposed to having a fixed price. This is also the same bike shop that sells the cottered crank bolts for 3.50 each. (I bought mine on-line for 1.95 for TWO....Yes, there was a little shipping, but spead out over my entire order, was minimal.) I fully understand that a retail shop has to make money and they have to charge more than on-line retailers but nickel and diming someone to death isn't the way to do it in my opinion. If they sold the parts at a fair markup, they'd be more apt to get my business when it comes to buying more expensive parts or even a new bike. The other thing about the 2 LBS in my area is that anytime you ask for small parts, they act like you're getting into their private stash. They don't really want to cater to the do-it-yourselfer apparently. (Ok.. LBS rant over.)


    Did you ask for a cone, or an axle?
    I just asked for the cone. I would have thought the LBS would have suggested the axle kit if they are so much cheaper than the individual parts. My guess is that even if they have the axle kits, they'd charge 20.00 or more.

    I totally had the same experience at my LBS. Bought two axles which were clearly pulled from a used bike; charged $10 a piece. I love having them close, but they totally nickel-and-dime me.
    Sounds like you and I use the same LBS.

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    If you have a Dremel tool, grind the pitted cones. They will be as good as new.

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    If you have a Dremel tool, grind the pitted cones. They will be as good as new.
    The pitted area is already an indention in the cone. Wouldn't grinding them out further make it worse? If I just smooth it out I will be obviously taking out more material. This seems like it would create more problems. ??? Or are you perhaps saying to grind out the non pitted areas down to match up with the pitted area?

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    Check the hub for pitting,scoring also. If its bad, then at least get new cones.

    If the hub is ok, I would just repack the bearing and ride. Its not a real high end bike so I wouldn't spend much money on it. Be sure there is absolutely NO play in the hub when you adjust it. Pitting is usually cause by LOOSE bearings. It may feel notchy when you spin it by hand, but its not going to make any difference as far as rolling resistance when you ride.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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    The LBS has to take a bunch of time to deal with little parts. You are lucky they don't charge you by the hour. Both of the LBS here have given my free parts after I have built up a relationship with them. I have run wholesale/retail businesses and believe me, retail eats up your time with the little stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerdog View Post
    The LBS has to take a bunch of time to deal with little parts. You are lucky they don't charge you by the hour. Both of the LBS here have given my free parts after I have built up a relationship with them. I have run wholesale/retail businesses and believe me, retail eats up your time with the little stuff.
    When I worked at an LBS, we called the guys who came in during the peak rush on a saurday, wanting some obscure slotted washer or a spoke that they had no idea how long it should be, as "snot ball rollers." They always complained about the price.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berre View Post
    If you have a Dremel tool, grind the pitted cones. They will be as good as new.
    That's not entirely true. Cones are case hardened, so grinding off the hardened outer part is going to make them run smoothly for a short time, but they'll wear out a lot faster.
    The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare. -Juma Ikangaa

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    Rumblefish jtarver's Avatar
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    In my experience, if you actually patronize your LBS often enough that they recognize you, things get a lot cheaper. I just got my LBS to order a LHT for $1000, a lot less than I found it anywhere in town or on line, I don't buy a ton of stuff, but when I do, I come in with the old part or knowing exactly what I want. I don't waste their time, and they appreciate it. Phone calls annoy bike mechanics because they have to stop what they are doing, wipe off their hands and,usually, deal with ambiguous price requests. Showing up in person is usually best, unless you're just checking to see if they have a specific part in stock before you ride over.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturmcrow View Post
    That's not entirely true. Cones are case hardened, so grinding off the hardened outer part is going to make them run smoothly for a short time, but they'll wear out a lot faster.
    The key word is "maintenance". Cones get pitted by lack of grease and water infiltration, which causes them to corrode.
    I have ridden grinded cones for many thousands of miles. They're still like new.
    Last edited by Berre; 02-08-09 at 01:12 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnrboyd View Post
    The pitted area is already an indention in the cone. Wouldn't grinding them out further make it worse? If I just smooth it out I will be obviously taking out more material. This seems like it would create more problems. ??? Or are you perhaps saying to grind out the non pitted areas down to match up with the pitted area?
    I did not write "grind out".

    Put the cone on an axle and insert it in a cordless drill. Spin the cone in the drill at moderate speed. While it spins, grind the cone's surface with a fine stone in a Dremel tool running at high speed.

    Do not push the Dremel stone, it should barely touch the cone. Remove the cone's material on the whole surface untill all pits are gone. Take your time, avoid heating the cone, since heat will ruin it's hardness.

    You're done when the whole surface is shiny and smooth.

  24. #24
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Another method is to pack your ball-bearings as in an overhaul - but use Simichrome or similar metal-polish. Then you spin the wheel for awhile to polish out the the cones & races.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

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    In a pinch, I found this article that shows you how to Repair Cone Bearings and Bottom Bracket Spindles. I found it useful and did the repair on a 137mm bb spindle becuase I couldn't find a replacement. It turned out well and therefore I would recommend it instead of just riding it.
    Another option is to spin the spindle 180 degree with respect to the crank. Usually it is the down stroke portion that is pitted. By switching it 180 degrees you get a smooth surface again on the down stroke. This can only help once.
    Make sure that all the area is clean also and apply ample bearing grease. I used automotive wheel bearing grease. The BB bearing on a bike sees a lot of stress.

    http://www.cicle.org/cicle_content/p...ry.php?id=1903

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