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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 07-10-12, 01:35 AM   #1
Muddeprived
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Need front bearings I believe in my cheapie Magna

I'm a complete noob at biking so I'm learning as I go. Long story short, my gf and I moved to wexford, pa and everything we need is within a mile or two. We have two off roading jeeps that hog gas so I picked up two cheap bikes on CL to get us around. They will be our "starter" bikes until we build up funds to get the more $$ fancier bikes. One is a Magna XL2 26" mountain bike and I believe it's a 21 speed. It's in good shape but not perfect. I believe the front wheel bearing is gone cuz I can wobble the wheel a little side to side. I've done a little searching on google but cannot come up with the type or size of bearing in this wheel. It has a disconnect knob to remove the wheel if that means anything. Can anyone help, or at least point me in the way of finding out what bearing is in there?

I'm a do-it-myself-er and I fix everything that I can and would like to tackle this job myself.


Thanks

Chris
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Old 07-10-12, 04:21 AM   #2
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Unless it has been ridden a lot that way, there is a good chance that the front bearings just need to be repacked with grease and the cones readjusted. If you have some mechanical skills, it isn't difficult but it will require that you purchase a set of cone wrenches, which aren't very expensive. You can get by with a set of the stamped, double ended ones from Park Tools which are available online or at most bike shops. You can also get a heavier version that are single ended with a black finish and blue vinyl grips. If you plan on doing a lot of your own bike work I suggest getting the better wrenches, but I have both and use them interchangably. You don't need every size of cone wrench, so go to the Park Took education site and figure out which ones you will need. 13mm-17mm are the most common. A small magnet is a big help in removing bearings from the hub once you have it disassembled and helps keep them from getting away. You will probably also need a spoke wrench as wheels on lower end bikes tend to come out of true fairly easily. I included a link to a three-sided spoke wrench that is adequate. Once you upgrade to better bikes that will be around a long time, I suggest you get an individual spoke wrench in the proper size as they are less prone to slipping, but there is nothing wrong with the triple if you are careful to make sure it is fully seated before you start to turn. Instructions for repacking hubs and truing a wheel can be found at the link below. There are quite a few videos online but beware, not all of them are good. Bicycle Magazine has some decent online repair videos as does Park Tools. Park Tools sells a repair and maintenance manual that is great to have around. Zinn also has several good books on bike repair and maintenance.

The less expensive cone wrench
http://www.parktool.com/product/doub...e-wrench-dcw-1

Better cone wrench
http://www.parktool.com/product/13mm...-wrench-scw-13

Spoke wrench
http://www.parktool.com/product/trip...ke-wrench-sw-7

Park Tools online repair instruction
http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help

Hub packing and adjustment isn't all that difficult but you might want to go to a bike shop, a bike co-op, or enlist the help of a bike savy friend your first time out. I suggest that as long as you are at it, pack and adjust both hubs, replacing the bearings. You can get bearings inexpensively at any hardware or automotive store or at your local bike shop. There is nothing special about the bearings in a department store bike or most bikes for that matter. As far as grease, any general purpose automotive grease will do or you can buy a tube of Park grease at the bike shop.

Last edited by Myosmith; 07-10-12 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 07-10-12, 05:19 AM   #3
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The bearing may just need an adjustment - I would suggest you try that first. Cone wrenches are necessary, just follow the instructions on the Park site. If you've looked at the Park site you must have seen that bicycle bearings are overhaulable and you most often just replace the ball bearings. It's important to inspect the parts, though. As for doing both front and rear I would suggest you not bother at this time if working OK - more tools needed.
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Old 07-10-12, 09:07 AM   #4
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In my (too much) experience with these lower end bikes-
They have a MINIMAL amount of grease from the factory.
One of the first things I'd do is add grease to the wheel & Bottom Bracket bearings.

They also have retainer bearings, which I would swap for loose balls in order to fit an extra 2-3 bearings in per side.

Bearings are 3/16" for the front wheel & 1/4" for the rear.
I have seen Huffys with 1/4" F&R.

EDIT- IF the front wheel is semi sloppy, the hub is probably "toast".

Last edited by Bill Kapaun; 07-10-12 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 07-11-12, 02:49 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice and tips. The links were a great help. I'm pretty mechanically skilled to take on this fix myself. I've got a bit of experience with bearings on my RC and Jeep so I understand the concept and how it works.

What do you mean by "semi-sloppy"? I can wiggle the tire left and right about 1/8" but it seems to spin rather smoothly. I was thinking it needed tightened and hoping the hub wasn't damaged beyond repair.

I don't want to spend a whole lot on this bike so I'm looking at the cheapest bearings I can get. Would something like this work?

http://www.amazon.com/Campagnolo-Shi...+ball+bearings

Do we know for sure that the fronts are 3/16" cuz I can't really pop it off to check? I'd like to order the bearings, cone wrench, and grease at the same time to get the free shipping deal if possible.
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Old 07-11-12, 05:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
In my (too much) experience with these lower end bikes-
They have a MINIMAL amount of grease from the factory.
One of the first things I'd do is add grease to the wheel & Bottom Bracket bearings.

They also have retainer bearings, which I would swap for loose balls in order to fit an extra 2-3 bearings in per side.

Bearings are 3/16" for the front wheel & 1/4" for the rear.
I have seen Huffys with 1/4" F&R.

EDIT- IF the front wheel is semi sloppy, the hub is probably "toast".

I see a lot of this, too. I have junked wheels on cheaper bikes because the lack of grease, or maintenance, has allowed the bearings to " chew" the hub til it is too damaged for new bearings to help. Hopefully,,, new bearings & grease will be all you need, but I wouldn't bet on it. If you put in new greased bearings, adjust the hub, & there is still roughness/scratchy sounds, time for a new/good used wheel.
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Old 07-11-12, 05:43 AM   #7
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Since these are probably no-name hubs, the bearing ball diameter isn't certain but 3/16" is very likely. For safely sake, order a package of 25 balls in both 3/16" and 1/4" as one is certain to fit and the 1/4" balls will certainly be needed for the rear hub. Bearing balls are very low cost items so your cost penalty will be small.
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Old 07-11-12, 06:26 AM   #8
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Unless you are in a remote area, you shouldn't have to order bearings. Any decent hardware store, automotive or machinery parts store, or even big box home improvement stores should have 3/16 and 1/4 loose bearings, they may or may not have several grades, but we are talking about a well used Huffy here, any grade bearing will do. Just pull the axle from the hub and use the magnet to fish out a bearing. Take it to the shop and get 20 of that size (this will give you a couple spares in case you drop one, those things disappear the instant they hit the floor.

If you need a new wheel, hit the bike co-op. The sad news is that Huffy and many other low-end department store bikes are designed to be disposable. The replacement or upgrade of any significant component can cost you as much as a new Huffy. If you can keep it on the road for the cost of grease, and occassional cables, brake pads and inner tubes, they can be functional transportation. As soon as you start having to replace major components or have a bike shop work on it, you will be throwing good money after bad. Being you already bought the Huffy's give them a shot. If you start putting more than a few bucks into them, I'd suggest cutting your losses and look for used brand name bikes. Older used steel-frame MTBs and even many old 10-speeds will be more reliable than the average used Huffy and should cost under $100 even in good condition.
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Old 07-11-12, 07:28 AM   #9
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Note: The most common front hub configuration is 10 3/16 balls on each side, so if you want extras you will need more than 20.
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Old 07-11-12, 10:31 AM   #10
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http://www.thethirdhand.com/index.cg...d=936849527400
http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help

Last edited by davidad; 07-11-12 at 10:35 AM. Reason: adding info
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Old 07-11-12, 02:50 PM   #11
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I LOVE loosescrew.com and buy all my bearings + a bunch of other stuff there.
However, the shipping cost for just 2 bags of bearings is is prohibitive.

Just go to the LBS and pay 5-10 cents a bearing for a one time job.
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Old 07-24-12, 10:22 AM   #12
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Hey there, it's been a while so I figured I'd update this on what went down with this cheap bike. I took it to a local bike shop that's got some good reviews and told em that my front bearing is bad and lacked the tools to fix it. The guy there instantly grabbed it out of my hands (I had the front wheel with me) and went in the back room. He came out 3 minutes later and said the hub was loose and bearing was fine. He tightened it up and all was good. Sweet! I told em I'll be back in a few months to purchase a better bike (will do). He didn't want no money and said have a good day! That was nice of him to help me out. So I got the front bearing fixed at no cost and now about to order a $14 replacement shock for it. I realized that the bike had a 650 in/lb spring on it (shock is oozing oil and no longer functional) and i'm 175 lbs so I'm gonna order the 1500 lb version ($14 free shipping) and install that and the bike should be good to go until I save up for a nicer high-end bike (still researching). If i need something else, pls let me know!

I'm also purchasing the required tools to fix bearings and other parts of the bike. I'll use this cheapie magna bike to learn the basics so I know what to do whenever issues arise on the new bike.

This new found hobby in biking reminds me so much of my jeeping history. I bought a 2000 Jeep Wrangler back in 2002 and learned all about it during that time, experimenting with lifts, tires, etc. Ten years later I buy another Jeep Wrangler and with my experience, I know exactly what to do and not to do. It's like history is repeating itself....in another hobby. LOL.

Last edited by Muddeprived; 07-24-12 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 07-24-12, 10:32 AM   #13
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Glad it worked out for you. Sounds like you've got a solid plan to upgrade both your skills and your bikes. I like the way your LBS handled this. A little customer service goes a long way.
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Old 07-24-12, 10:36 PM   #14
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Got a question about the front fork. What numbers or info do I need to know when purchasing a replacement fork?
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