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Old 05-22-11, 06:12 AM   #1
Michael Shaw
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Lubricating Shimano Hubs....

My wife bought me an old tall red mystery Bianchi at a garage sale yesterday afternoon, probably because she really liked the colour and figured I would like it. (Yes, I know. You don't have to tell me. I married well). Also, she possibly bought it because I have expressed regrets about getting rid of my old Bianchi a few years ago because it was definitely too small for me (21-inch frame).

Anyway, I suspect that this is a Japanese Bianchi because the components are more or less high-grade Shimano, except for the Italian Ambrosio 19 Extra Super Elite rims on Shimano hubs, and the frame sticker says "MAGNY Ishiwata". There are NO OTHER DECALS anywhere on the bike - except for the "Eduardo Bianchi" decal on the head.

The frame measures 64cm from crank centre to top of seat tube. The entire bike weighs less than 10 kilos (less than 22 pounds).

The bike must have been owned by a professional (doctor or lawyer??) because the bike is quite old and has seen very little use. When I took the rear tire off to see why it would not hold air I found that the tube was patched with black electrical tape.

Here's the question: The Shimano hubs are very skinny and they have little metal clips on them that cover what I assume are lubrication holes. If they ARE lubrication holes, what goes into them and how is it done ??

Mike
Pictures below of Bianchi.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-33.JPG

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-34.JPG

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-35.JPG

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-36.JPG

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-37.JPG

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-38.JPG

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-39.JPG

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-40.JPG

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-41.JPG

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-42.JPG
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Old 05-22-11, 06:58 AM   #2
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I'm not retro enough to know but, if it was my bike, I'd open up the hubs, clean and inspect them and grease them in the conventional way.

Back in the pre-sealed bearing mechanism days we used to do that with some regularity - several times per season. I assume the lubrication holes are to squirt oil into between greasings.
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Old 05-22-11, 06:58 AM   #3
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Nice bike, but since your question is specific to the hubs, some photos of the hubs themselves would be useful.

Many older hubs (and some newer Campy hubs) had oil or grease ports to allow lubrication without disassembly. Oil worked but had to be added very frequently, like every other ride. Grease was more durable but gave a little more rolling resistance, which was important only to track and road racers.

I assume these are standard cup-and-cone Shimano hubs and can be disassembled for cleaning and grease lubrication with a couple of cone wrenches. You will need the appropriate freewheel puller also.

BTW, that a huge jump in size, from your earlier Bianchi. You went from a 53.5 (21") to a 64 cm frame! I hope you are really tall.
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Old 05-22-11, 06:59 AM   #4
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like the ones on older Campi hubs thay are for oil. you push the clip aside and drop some oil in it. you coulc use a greasegun lik the one for older Grease Guard stuff like WTB and Suntour but that gets messy. best thing is to just forget the clips and overhaul them like regular hubs.

looks like a mid '80s special or maybe a Sport SS. I suspect the frok may be a replacement.
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Old 05-22-11, 07:10 AM   #5
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I hope the bearing adjustment is still good. The axles should be a tiny, tiny bit wobbly when out of the bike, so that closing the QR would take out the slack just enough so you feel solid contact between the bearings and races.

I would not use grease on a hub with a port, although I don't have any experience with them. When you grease bearings the regular way, there's a little grease in the end of each hub. When you try to use an oil port to add grease, then you fill the hub with the stuff before it even reaches the bearings. Then you have an axle turning inside a close fitting hub with grease in between. So you're shearing a lot of grease.

That's one reason coaster brake hubs are said to have a lot of drag: closely fitting parts turning in a bath of thick grease.

I would use synthetic oil in whatever grade is recommended because it has a higher film strength and won't run completely off as fast.
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Old 05-22-11, 07:19 AM   #6
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I did disassemble the axles and grease the bearings. And took the electricians tape off the tube so I could fix the flat tire properly. Had my big laugh of the day. All this morning starting at about 6 AM.

I was hoping you guys would chime in - there are a few other peculiarities about this old Bianchi, besides the absence of Bianchi decals on the tubes. For one thing, the rear sprocket cluster is a set of six very close ratio sprockets - the smallest one having 13 teeth and the largest one only 21 teeth. Front sprockets have 52 and 40. For another, the head tube looks out of proportion to the rest of the bike.

I have it on good authority that the bike, including the chromed forks, is stock, and still has all of the same parts that were on it when the owner bought it. He purchased it new in the 1980s.

Curiouser & curiouser...

Last edited by Michael Shaw; 05-22-11 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 05-22-11, 07:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Nice bike, but since your question is specific to the hubs, some photos of the hubs themselves would be useful.

Many older hubs (and some newer Campy hubs) had oil or grease ports to allow lubrication without disassembly. Oil worked but had to be added very frequently, like every other ride. Grease was more durable but gave a little more rolling resistance, which was important only to track and road racers.
Here's a picture of the clip on the Shimano hub, the dimple in the middle filling and covering the little hole:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-53.JPG

The front & rear hubs are the same.

M
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Old 05-22-11, 07:47 AM   #8
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I can't see the pictures, but from the description I found the EXACT same bike a few years ago at a garage sale, except it was a 52 cm frame. It was in the basement of an orthodontist, used to be her triathlon bike. Shimano 105 with a 6 speed 600 freewheel, Ambrosio Elite rims on 105 hubs with the oil port (I greased them normally). Magny Ishiwata tubes, strange lack of decals, chrome fork, SR stem and bars. It was even red, like yours.

I sold it to a friend, since it was much too small for me. Definitely Japanese-made, I think it had the sticker.
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Old 05-22-11, 10:05 AM   #9
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I can't see the pictures, but from the description I found the EXACT same bike a few years ago at a garage sale, except it was a 52 cm frame. It was in the basement of an orthodontist, used to be her triathlon bike. Shimano 105 with a 6 speed 600 freewheel, Ambrosio Elite rims on 105 hubs with the oil port (I greased them normally). Magny Ishiwata tubes, strange lack of decals, chrome fork, SR stem and bars. It was even red, like yours.
I sold it to a friend, since it was much too small for me. Definitely Japanese-made, I think it had the sticker.
You should be able to just click on the links I provided in order to see the pictures in the public folder on my hard drive.

Well, there's a coincidence. The fellow who I got this bike from mentioned that he bought it 25 years ago for the purpose of competing in a triathlon. I suspected he was a doctor when I saw the electricians tape wound so neatly around the inner tube. Maybe there was something special about these bikes that made them preferable for triathlons. I just took it for a spin and it feels GREAT !!

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-33.JPG

Mike
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Old 05-22-11, 11:54 AM   #10
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Dammit man! She's a beauty!
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Old 05-22-11, 03:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Michael Shaw;12677240

[url
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4370787/Binachi-33.JPG[/url]

Mike
Yep, same bike. Same brownish gum hoods, same pedals, same fluted seatpost, same triangular tabs on the seatpost. Plus the headbadge is the same: a sticker rather than a separate piece. Mine was a six-speed, too.

Mine had a white italian saddle on it, don't remember the maker but it was shaped kind of like a Concor. Had "Triathlon" printed on it in red with little pictograms of running, swimming & riding.

They're great looking bikes, I still hate that it was too small for me.
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Old 05-22-11, 03:23 PM   #12
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- there are a few other peculiarities about this old Bianchi....the rear sprocket cluster is a set of six very close ratio sprockets - the smallest one having 13 teeth and the largest one only 21 teeth. Front sprockets have 52 and 40...
That gearing was very common in the days of 5 and 6-speed freewheels. The "ideal" was the "corncob" or straight block which would be 13-18 in a 6-speed and the 13-21 was a near thing as it was the only way to get reasonably close ratios with a (barely) adequate low gear.

One of the advantages of more cogs (9 and 10-speed) is you can have closely spaced cogs without sacrificing overall range so much.
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Old 05-22-11, 11:48 PM   #13
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That's a triple crank though... you could grab yourself a granny ring and a triple front derailleur and enjoy close ratios with a wide enough range for the vast majority of terrain.

I'd chuck a 13-21 7 spd HG freewheel on for better shifting and the 16t cog, myself. Mind you, I find a 16t essential with a 42t ring, and you have a 40, so it may be fine with the 6spd.
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