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Old 11-17-09, 10:54 PM   #1
CliftonGK1
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Pitted hub cone... again.

After 7000 or so miles on the original equipment, the non drive side hub cone on my rear hub was pitted. It was pretty severe, so I pulled everything apart and checked the race (?) inside the hub and it was not damaged, just the cone.
I replaced it with a Wheels Mfg. cone, replaced the bearings, glooped some Phil's in there and went back to riding. Today I pulled things apart because I've been feeling like there's some drag on the wheel, and the new cone is starting to pit. Grrr.

Questions: What improper adjustment causes the pitting: Too tight, or too loose? Could my weight (225 pounds) and riding style (stand and attack hills) be hastening the demise of these parts? Right now I'm riding a Deore hub; would I see a significant longevity difference if I switched to an Ultegra? D-A? King? Phil?
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Old 11-17-09, 11:02 PM   #2
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I have a 5 yr old deore hub with comperable mileage, no pitting.

Subtle things can increase the wear, using a magnet to pullout the bearings might be one. It can magnetize the ball bearing which will cause particles of worn metal to cling to the bearing instead of float loose into the grease, it might also be a problem with your cups, are they worn also? Wrong type of grease(not viscouse enough), too much pressure on from the cone will enable material transfer. I don't think you'd see a longer life-span unless you went to ceramic bearings, which isn't worth it IMHO.
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Old 11-17-09, 11:59 PM   #3
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After 7000 or so miles on the original equipment, the non drive side hub cone on my rear hub was pitted. It was pretty severe, so I pulled everything apart and checked the race (?) inside the hub and it was not damaged, just the cone.
I replaced it with a Wheels Mfg. cone, replaced the bearings, glooped some Phil's in there and went back to riding. Today I pulled things apart because I've been feeling like there's some drag on the wheel, and the new cone is starting to pit. Grrr.

Questions: What improper adjustment causes the pitting: Too tight, or too loose? Could my weight (225 pounds) and riding style (stand and attack hills) be hastening the demise of these parts? Right now I'm riding a Deore hub; would I see a significant longevity difference if I switched to an Ultegra? D-A? King? Phil?
Time to switch to a cartridge hub. That ain't shimano - you'll destroy a catridge but the hub will always be fine.
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Old 11-18-09, 09:48 AM   #4
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I'm not familiar with cartridge hub manufacturers. I know the DT 240s is a cartridge. What other manufacturers should I be looking at?

130 or 135mm is fine, so MTB hubs are OK by me if they're not disc.
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Old 11-18-09, 10:03 AM   #5
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You didn't say how long the replacement cones lasted. In any case, it's possible that you used a defective cone. Also, your installation might have been too tight or too loose. Did you adjust it correctly? ie. a little play until the QR is clamped tight, then no play at all.

Also, be sure to use enough grease, including inside the dust shields. Some should squeeze out after installation (wipe it off of course). That way, road grit that makes it past the dust shield will become stuck to the grease before making it into the bearings.
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Old 11-18-09, 10:07 AM   #6
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Phil is also a cartridge bearing hub.

However, cup-and-cone hubs can last a long time. I have >50,000 miles on a pair of Dura Ace hubs still using the original cones ans have maintained and used several sets of Ultegra and 105 hubs still going strong at 30,000 miles with the original cones.

Too loose or too tight bearing adjustment will damage hubs as will insufficient grease or water incursion from riding through deep water as MTB riders are prone to do.
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Old 11-18-09, 10:20 AM   #7
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You didn't say how long the replacement cones lasted. In any case, it's possible that you used a defective cone. Also, your installation might have been too tight or too loose. Did you adjust it correctly? ie. a little play until the QR is clamped tight, then no play at all.
The replacement cone barely made it to 2000 miles, that's why my initial assumption was that I had something mis-adjusted. I more than likely had things too tight, by not having much play before the QR was clamped down, so clamping was probably forcing the entire system together too harshly. The pitting wear I'm seeing in the cone is even around the entire face, which seems to indicate an even wear force. The original cone which pitted out was worn in mostly one place and tapered from that location, more like the way a pothole "spreads" over time.

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Too loose or too tight bearing adjustment will damage hubs as will insufficient grease or water incursion from riding through deep water as MTB riders are prone to do.
No deep water on the roads, but I do ride though a lot of persistent rain. That's what led me to check the original setup; lots of miles in the rain and some slush, and they had never been serviced.

I think for now, this is an adjustment I should leave to the shop.
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Old 11-18-09, 10:42 AM   #8
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The bearings should be adjusted with a slight amount of preload. I use a nut that fits over the axle as a replacement dropout for the adjustment. The nut fits over the axle and I install the quick release with what I feel is the clamping tension. Then make the final adjustment on the bearing so that is a slight amount of drag (preload).
If you are riding often in wet conditions you may want to consider overhauling your hubs more often. Every 1500 miles. I get by with 2500 miles.
The seals in our hubs are dust seals and not designed to keep moisture out. This is also true in radial (cartridge bearings).
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Old 11-18-09, 10:45 AM   #9
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Rain will just wash out the bearings, Phil Wood grease or no. Rain requires constant maintenance. I would say you should probably do re-grease maintenance once for every 4 to 7 rain rides, more if you get a lot of sand/grit/dirt.

A sealed cartridge hub will be better, a Protected Sealed Cartridge hub is even better (the cartridge bearing is protected from the elements by a cover)

I don't think you need the shop to do this.
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Old 11-18-09, 11:17 AM   #10
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Rain will just wash out the bearings, Phil Wood grease or no. Rain requires constant maintenance. I would say you should probably do re-grease maintenance once for every 4 to 7 rain rides, more if you get a lot of sand/grit/dirt.

A sealed cartridge hub will be better, a Protected Sealed Cartridge hub is even better (the cartridge bearing is protected from the elements by a cover)

I don't think you need the shop to do this.
That would be 2 or more hub overhauls a week during the winter months. It sometimes rains for 15 days at a time up here (or more) and I ride to work 4 days a week (30mi r/t) plus a long ride or two on the weekends.

I suppose it is a bit of trial/error learning that I need to deal with. I seem to have gotten the "error" part out of the way early on. It's only within the last year that I stepped up to doing all my own maintenance, so hubs, bottom brackets and headsets were the final frontier for me. Threadless headset and (cartridge) BB are pretty simple, but adjustable bearing hubs require bit more finesse.
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Old 11-18-09, 02:22 PM   #11
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Obviously a sealed cartridge would fare a bit better. The other thing that was suggested to me is to be careful about how tight the skewers are. The wheel spins fine off the bike, but you can press those suckers further in with the skewers and bind them up a bit.
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Old 11-19-09, 04:37 PM   #12
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You didn't replace the balls along with the cone?


Tsk.
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Old 11-19-09, 04:47 PM   #13
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You didn't replace the balls along with the cone?

Tsk.
The OP used the more correct term "bearings" instead of "balls" when he describes changing them
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Old 11-19-09, 05:00 PM   #14
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Oops. Missed that phrase. You're right. Never mind.
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Old 11-19-09, 05:44 PM   #15
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I'm not familiar with cartridge hub manufacturers. I know the DT 240s is a cartridge. What other manufacturers should I be looking at?

130 or 135mm is fine, so MTB hubs are OK by me if they're not disc.
Those DT hubs are one of the finest hubsets you can buy - they will last you a lifetime. Also consider Phils
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Old 11-19-09, 07:51 PM   #16
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A person who rides as much as you do ought to consider stepping up to some first class wheels. Cartridge bearing hubs included. You won't regret it. bk
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Old 11-20-09, 04:32 PM   #17
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using a magnet to pullout the bearings might be one. It can magnetize the ball bearing which will cause particles of worn metal to cling to the bearing instead of float loose into the grease

Interesting. Haven't heard this. Is that purely anecdotal or have you noticed this firsthand? I'd expect isolating the variables would be pretty subtle.

My first instinct would be poor bearing adjustment.

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Rain will just wash out the bearings... I would say you should probably do re-grease maintenance once for every 4 to 7 rain rides, more if you get a lot of sand/grit/dirt.
4-7?

Where did you get those ridiculous, contrived numbers.

You must live in a desert or something. Ridiculous.

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Old 11-20-09, 06:49 PM   #18
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Sounds like you adjusted the cone too tight. You need to set the adjustment so there is some play when you have axle in your hands, when the quick release is tightened the play will go away.

Regarding cartridge bearing hubs being more durable, I seriously doubt it unless you are talking about Phil Wood. DT rear hubs use a stupid aluminum freehub body (unless you special order) which will get torn to crap assuming you are using the Shimano spline pattern. Give me a loose ball hub with steel or Ti freehub body any day...just learn how to adjust the cones.
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Old 11-20-09, 07:11 PM   #19
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Interesting. Haven't heard this. Is that purely anecdotal or have you noticed this firsthand? I'd expect isolating the variables would be pretty subtle.
No, I haven't searched for any cases or bothered to test for it. Really, this issue doesn't occur normally, since most mechanics just toss the bearings after they pull them out. IF one kept recycling the bearings then this might occur.

Anyways, the idea is that the microscopic wear-debris which come off the ball bearing during normal wear will not float out into the grease as typical. Instead those microscopic bits of wear-debris will stick to your ball-bearing like iron filings on the end of a horseshoe magnet. This will accelerate wear since those debris will almost always be contacting the race, cup or neighboring bearings instead of occasional contact if they were floating in the grease.
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Old 11-20-09, 08:44 PM   #20
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4-7?
Where did you get those ridiculous, contrived numbers.
You must live in a desert or something. Ridiculous.
No Houston, where did you learn to read?
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Old 11-20-09, 09:07 PM   #21
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Sounds like you adjusted the cone too tight. You need to set the adjustment so there is some play when you have axle in your hands, when the quick release is tightened the play will go away.

Regarding cartridge bearing hubs being more durable, I seriously doubt it unless you are talking about Phil Wood. DT rear hubs use a stupid aluminum freehub body (unless you special order) which will get torn to crap assuming you are using the Shimano spline pattern. Give me a loose ball hub with steel or Ti freehub body any day...just learn how to adjust the cones.
Yeah let's talk about hub then randomly talk about freehub durability. This thread is about bearings and races, catridge bearing hubs are inherently superior in design to loose ball hubs with non replaceable hub races. A cartridge hub only wears out the catridges, even if left without matinenance for an extended amount of time, which is obviously not the case for a loose ball hub - once the nonreplacealbe hub races are pitted you're ****ed.
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Old 11-20-09, 09:16 PM   #22
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Yeah let's talk about hub then randomly talk about freehub durability. This thread is about bearings and races, catridge bearing hubs are inherently superior in design to loose ball hubs with non replaceable hub races. A cartridge hub only wears out the catridges, even if left without matinenance for an extended amount of time, which is obviously not the case for a loose ball hub - once the nonreplacealbe hub races are pitted you're ****ed.
That is indeed one of the main failings of some hub designs - that the race cups cannot be replaced along with the cones and ball bearings. I've found this to my cost in the past.
For a while I used a road bike with wheels built up on Shimano Deore hubs for commuting - these hubs were little more expensive than their road equivalent, but the seals were far superior, meaning vastly improved lifetime. I later found Hope Technology hubs (remember I was in the UK) for road bikes, and these use sealed cartridge bearings. Expensive, perhaps, but very reliable so far!
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Old 11-20-09, 09:17 PM   #23
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Yeah let's talk about hub then randomly talk about freehub durability. This thread is about bearings and races, catridge bearing hubs are inherently superior in design to loose ball hubs with non replaceable hub races. A cartridge hub only wears out the catridges, even if left without matinenance for an extended amount of time, which is obviously not the case for a loose ball hub - once the nonreplacealbe hub races are pitted you're ****ed.
They are superior only if you don't properly maintain your cup and cone hubs.
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Old 11-20-09, 09:24 PM   #24
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They are superior only if you don't properly maintain your cup and cone hubs.
Which is the point.

If a hub is ridden in conditions (re: wet) that requires a hub overhaul every month then a looseball hub is an inferior choice.
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Old 11-20-09, 09:28 PM   #25
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That is indeed one of the main failings of some hub designs - that the race cups cannot be replaced along with the cones and ball bearings. I've found this to my cost in the past.
For a while I used a road bike with wheels built up on Shimano Deore hubs for commuting - these hubs were little more expensive than their road equivalent, but the seals were far superior, meaning vastly improved lifetime. I later found Hope Technology hubs (remember I was in the UK) for road bikes, and these use sealed cartridge bearings. Expensive, perhaps, but very reliable so far!
Yup, not sure about those Hope Hubs but if you went to the shimano XT hubs i hear they have a labyrinth type seal on the hub which would perform much better than the deore's simple ring type seal.

As far as cup/cone and cartridge bearings, the cup and cone are superior if you maintain them... IF, and many don't.. plus it is far cheaper to make a cartridge hub. But you'll still see cup and cone on the high-end hubs. One of the biggest weaknesses of cartridge bearings is they cope with lateral loads poorly.
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