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  1. #1
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    Cartridge bearing hub waggling in one spot

    I'm tuning up a new bike for my girlfriend, a Motobecane cross bike with Mavic Aksium wheels. Being a mail order bike, it's lacking all the fine adjustments, which I'm attempting to do now.

    I've dealt with cup and cone hubs before, but not these cartridge bearing hubs, which seem like an odd hybrid... there's two nuts on each side like a cup and cone hub, but a cartridge bearing inside. I would have hoped that the cartridge bearing would have made adjustment easy or even unnecessary, but no.. The wheels had play out of the box with the QRs tightened, and now after adjusting, it appears that different spots on the wheel have different degrees of play.

    When everything seems just about perfectly adjusted (wheel turns smoothly, generally no play with QR clamped), there is one spot in the wheel's rotation that has noticeable play.. but just that one spot.

    What gives?

  2. #2
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    Well, I ended up taking the whole hub apart (not much to it, just an axle, 'cones' that fit into the cartridge bearings, and locknuts). I suspected that the axle might have been somehow bent, but it wasn't the case. I ended up putting it back together with slightly higher tension, and it seems fine. Maybe a hair less smooth spinning, but the waggle seems to be gone.

  3. #3
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    Checked the rear, and same deal.

    I'm surprised these supposedly factory adjusted wheels are so poorly adjusted. I suspect most people who buy them just put them on the bike and ride... and wonder what all the clunking noises are...

  4. #4
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    THey spend just the minimum amount of time to adjust the stuff, more time means more money. as more wheels or bikes per hour come out of the assembly line the cheaper it is.

  5. #5
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Also, cartridge bearings are just poo.

    I don't care how prestigious the brand, using cartridge bearings instead of adjustable ones reeks of cheap-arsed crappiness, IMO.

    AFAIK Shimano and Campy are the only ones to have engineered adjustable bearings for oversize axles so far...

  6. #6
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    Funny, i'd always had this idea that cartridge bearings were better. The only other cartridge bearing hub i've dealt with is a Hope front hub on my mountain bike, with no adjustment possible, but at least it works well.

    I'm not crazy about these low-spoke-count radially laced wheels anyhow, but the whole bike was a steal ($1000 shipped for a (mostly) Sram Rival equipped aluminum cross bike) so I can't really complain. One day I'll build her a nice pair of real 32 spoke wheels, with good old cup and cone hubs

  7. #7
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Cartridge bearings are better only in that you're always able to replace both races, and replaceable cups in adjustable bearings are relatively rare.

    However, the need to replace a cup doesn't really come up unless the hub has been run out of adjustment for a long time.

    When you think about it, you can see they use more metal to do the same job, and it's a case of using a cheap generic part to substitute for an expensive tailored one.

  8. #8
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    A little play in radial bearings will not hurt. If you try to get a preload on them you will wear them out prematurely.

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