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  1. #1
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    New wheel - should it feel rough when holding the axle and spinning it?

    Hello. Today I bought a new 27" rear wheel. When Holding the axles in my hands and spinning the wheel, it feels very rough indeed, not a smooth rotation. The LBS man said all wheels are like that when they're in your hand...
    is that so?

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    No, it's a sign that the assembler adjusted the bearings too tightly (very common on lower end hubs). Fortunately, the fix is easy. Read up at www.parktool.com on bearing adjustment.

  3. #3
    slow as I ever was Ex Pres's Avatar
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    You need a new LBS man
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  4. #4
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtciv View Post
    The LBS man said all wheels are like that when they're in your hand...
    LBS man needs further education. Shop somwhere else if possible. This wheel needs attention before being ridden or it will need more attention later. Choose your desired result.
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  5. #5
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Actually the LBS guy is right - but only for a basic machine built replacement wheel straight out of the box....

    Assuming it's an el cheapo generic replacement like the ones I build do the following:

    1. Check your dropout alignment.
    1. Adjust and lock hub for a noticeable grind - but not one that feels damaging.
    2. Ride around block 2-3 times or for about 5 minutes.
    3. Check wear-in. Most will wear in considerably.
    4. Make final adjustment such that:

    You have either a micron of end-play (assuming quick release) or are spot on - smooth but no end-play.

    If you discover after wear-in that the axle when rotating binds in 2 or 4 spots - return the wheel as the races are likely not pressed in parallel. (Defective hub.)

    As a builder of hand-built basic and replacement bicycles wheels - I end up with about a 10% defect rate in my basic alloy hubs - the number one defect being races that have not been pressed in evenly and parallel. The others common defects are damaged freewheel threads and disc-brake hole mount threads.

    (Because of the cup race defect - I end up with a pretty good supply of cones, bearings and axles, and lots of hub shells for the local recycler.)

    =8-)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
    Actually the LBS guy is right - but only for a basic machine built replacement wheel straight out of the box....
    Which is highly likely what the OP bought. I'm guessing <$100 looseball joytech style hub on a noname AL rim. A good LBS would adjust the hubs before sending them out.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    Which is highly likely what the OP bought. I'm guessing <$100 looseball joytech style hub on a noname AL rim. A good LBS would adjust the hubs before sending them out.

    Sad thing here in the SF Bay Area is...

    ...99% don't.


    They buy the damn wheels - fronts for 16.00 and rears for 21.00 to 24.00 wholesale - and then turn around and sell 'em for 40.00 and 45.00 to 55.00 retail...

    ...with absolutely no work whatsoever done on them. I.e., they sell them AS IS. It's a real shame cause back when I started folks spent about 15-20 mins touching them over.


    Hand building them - for same wholesale and retail price is the base of my business. Customs are the other half.

    =8-)

  8. #8
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
    Actually the LBS guy is right - but only for a basic machine built replacement wheel straight out of the box....

    Assuming it's an el cheapo generic replacement like the ones I build do the following:

    1. Check your dropout alignment.
    1. Adjust and lock hub for a noticeable grind - but not one that feels damaging.
    2. Ride around block 2-3 times or for about 5 minutes.
    3. Check wear-in. Most will wear in considerably.
    4. Make final adjustment such that:

    You have either a micron of end-play (assuming quick release) or are spot on - smooth but no end-play.

    If you discover after wear-in that the axle when rotating binds in 2 or 4 spots - return the wheel as the races are likely not pressed in parallel. (Defective hub.)

    As a builder of hand-built basic and replacement bicycles wheels - I end up with about a 10% defect rate in my basic alloy hubs - the number one defect being races that have not been pressed in evenly and parallel. The others common defects are damaged freewheel threads and disc-brake hole mount threads.

    (Because of the cup race defect - I end up with a pretty good supply of cones, bearings and axles, and lots of hub shells for the local recycler.)

    =8-)
    Let's not jump the gun here.

    The OP needs to clarify "rough". I doubt he even knows the difference between proper bearing adjustment on a looseball hub, how a overtightened cartridge bearing hub and how a crappy $50 wheel with enbloc rubber seals feel.

    P.S You must be dealing with some really ****ty, non-shimano hubs judging by your description of your wheelbuilds.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    Let's not jump the gun here.

    The OP needs to clarify "rough". I doubt he even knows the difference between proper bearing adjustment on a looseball hub, how a overtightened cartridge bearing hub and how a crappy $50 wheel with enbloc rubber seals feel.

    P.S You must be dealing with some really ****ty, non-shimano hubs judging by your description of your wheelbuilds.

    Yep...generics are generics...and even Suzue considered a more reliable generic runs the gamut of sloppy race installs, loose cups, and damaged threads.

    But at 1.50 USD from Taiwan...doubt the manus really care. They have more higher end products to worry about.

    =8-)

  10. #10
    Senior Member vredstein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
    Sad thing here in the SF Bay Area is...

    ...99% don't.


    They buy the damn wheels - fronts for 16.00 and rears for 21.00 to 24.00 wholesale - and then turn around and sell 'em for 40.00 and 45.00 to 55.00 retail...

    ...with absolutely no work whatsoever done on them. I.e., they sell them AS IS. It's a real shame cause back when I started folks spent about 15-20 mins touching them over.


    Hand building them - for same wholesale and retail price is the base of my business. Customs are the other half.

    =8-)
    In my own experience, if you take the time to touch up prebuilt wheels, you are labeled a "slow" worker. Same if you adjust hubs on box bikes, check dropout or hanger alignment, etc. Many shop owners/managers see time spend on these things as a threat to their bottom line, wasted labor costs, etc. So many mechanics who start out with the intention of checking these things succumb to the pressure. It's just plain easier to take the long hook pole, pop it down, and ring the customer up. A 90 sec sale makes you a hero. A five minute touch-up on a sub-$100 wheel is unnecessary "charity work".
    If the mechanic doesn't succumb to the pressure, he finds himself scheduled for ten hours a week--message sent.
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  11. #11
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    We could use a ton of local reporters - who know bicycle-mechanics - to go out in the field of one's community and write reviews of their local shops. What they do/don't, prices, quality of workmanship, so forth. And set up a national database which people can access to determine what shop they will be visiting next time.

    Checks and balances would need to be in place to guard against fraudulent reviews, and further reviews by customers welcomed. Or threats of lawsuits by idiot shops who don't want the truth getting loose on the population.

    I've already done this work locally, and it can be a lot of fun! Anyone want to know the best bike shop in Burlington, Vermont?
    Quote Originally Posted by Cateye View Post
    Only panthers007 is stupid enough to believe that this is a good idea.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the replies, everyone. I just backed off the cone on the non-drive side by about 1/4 of a turn (I'm not sure how much, to be honest) and it now runs fairly smoothly but not exactly frictionless.

    There also of course then develops a slight latteral wobble in the axle. I suppose it's always a case of trial-and-error to find precisely the right cone adjustment.

    Pictures of my wheel:






  13. #13
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtciv View Post
    Thanks for the replies, everyone. I just backed off the cone on the non-drive side by about 1/4 of a turn (I'm not sure how much, to be honest) and it now runs fairly smoothly but not exactly frictionless.

    There also of course then develops a slight latteral wobble in the axle. I suppose it's always a case of trial-and-error to find precisely the right cone adjustment.
    That's usually ok... desired actually, when the wheel is off the bike. That wobble should go away as you tighten the wheel onto the bike. The compression will take up the slack.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  14. #14
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    Yea, well I left the tiniest bit of play in the hub assembly, and put it on the bike. It seems ok now, I'll ride a couple of miles thisevening to see what happens.

    Thanks!

  15. #15
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Boy you really did buy a cheap wheel...the cones aren't going to last long. After wear in and before your final adjustment - put a nice additive circular bead of grease in each side. Most manus of cheap hubs really skimp on the grease...

    I like the lacing job though....

    However, care and deligence should still get you 20,000+ miles on the new wheel.

    Good Luck!

    =8-)

  16. #16
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Since this is apparently a solid axle the usual rules given for tensioning the bearing of hollow axles that were given above do not apply. Being a solid axle you do NOT want any play in the bearings. A very small amount of play when unmounted is only for quick release hollow axles where the skewer adds the final tension and compresses the axle. For your case you want it to be pinched so that there is a very slight amount of preload so it doesn't quite spin freely. Given the low cost of this wheel it may feel a touch rough at that point but assuming it's decently greased and you ride it for a while it'll break in after a few dozen miles and develop some slight play. You'll need to re-adjust again for just a pinch of preload to restore the light drag that comes with the correct preload. Being a cheap hub it may never achieve the silky smoothness of the better ones which, once adjusted correctly, are smooth out of the box and don't really break in since there's nothing to be pounded into shape.

    And yes, it's very much a case of sneaking up on the fine tuning. It must be done by feel. And the difference between too tight, just right, and too loose is typically about 1/8 of a turn for the entire range. A quarter turn in this case is a huge change that took the hub well out of the correct zone.
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