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Old 02-09-14, 11:04 AM   #1
onesmalldrop
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question about replacing axle cones

So I need new cones for my rear wheel. The ones on there are hella old and rusted and won't stay tight. Wheels Manufacturing sells what they claim to be an exact match for my hub (a Shimano 2200) here , but it's $18 for a pair. This seems insane to me. Are there cheaper options? I'm confused by the huge variation, I'd think there would be one like generic 16.9mm cone out there that costs a couple bucks. Are cones that finicky that you really need the exact specified one for your hub?
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Old 02-09-14, 11:41 AM   #2
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There are generally not generic cones because a cone must meet five criteria:
  • It must be the same threading as the axle
  • It must be small enough diameter to fit through the dust cap without rubbing but large enough not to leave a gap that would allow in dirt and water
  • The bearing surface must taper enough so that the balls run in the middle portion rather than near the edge.
  • There must be sufficient distance from where the bearings run to the bottom of the cone wrench flats so that the flats are above the dust cap.
  • It must be the correct length so that the overall distance between locknuts and the wheel dish are correct.

Only the last item is amenable to alteration using different widths of spacers or locknuts.
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Old 02-09-14, 12:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onesmalldrop View Post
Wheels Manufacturing sells what they claim to be an exact match for my hub (a Shimano 2200) here , but it's $18 for a pair. This seems insane to me. Are there cheaper options?
The Wheels Mfg cones are excellent quality, hardened, ground and polished, etc. Think of what it would cost you to rebuild the wheel around a new hub, or entirely replace the wheel and that $18/pair doesn't seem so outrageous.
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Old 02-09-14, 12:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
There are generally not generic cones because a cone must meet five criteria:
  • It must be the same threading as the axle
  • It must be small enough diameter to fit through the dust cap without rubbing but large enough not to leave a gap that would allow in dirt and water
  • The bearing surface must taper enough so that the balls run in the middle portion rather than near the edge.
  • There must be sufficient distance from where the bearings run to the bottom of the cone wrench flats so that the flats are above the dust cap.
  • It must be the correct length so that the overall distance between locknuts and the wheel dish are correct.

Only the last item is amenable to alteration using different widths of spacers or locknuts.
This is exactly what I wanted to know. Thank you!
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Old 02-09-14, 12:36 PM   #5
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The OP's comment about the cones not staying tight makes me wonder. Is it that the bearing adjustment is not staying consistent after the cones and lock nuts are well tightened against each other? Or is it that the cones and lock nuts are coming loose WRT each other? Seems to me to be possibly two different problems which might have difference solutions.

If the former (the cone/lock nuts staying tightened but the bearing adjustment is changing) then either the rolling surface of the cones is degrading faster then usual or the cup in the hub shell is doing so. I've seen cubs crack and start to collapse inward when the bearings were ridden WAY too tightly adjusted for a while. The cups get work hardened and eventually loose the ability to deform and rebound so they crack instead. Almost always this has been on low cost or poorly assembled bikes, sometimes on nice bikes that were poorly maintained.

If the latter (the cones and lock nuts won't stay tightened against each other on the axle) then I'd look at the condition of the threads on all pieces. next would be looking at the cones having the axle threading coaxial with the bearing surface and the lock nut bearing end surface. Sometimes I'll see cones that have the axle threaded hole off axially. When threaded onto the axle they "wobble" as they are spun on.

So replacing the cones might or might not be the solution, whatever their cost is. BTW at my work we sell cones for anything from $5 to $10 each for the basic grade (Wheels branded). Andy.
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Old 02-09-14, 01:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by onesmalldrop View Post
So I need new cones for my rear wheel. The ones on there are hella old and rusted and won't stay tight. Wheels Manufacturing sells what they claim to be an exact match for my hub (a Shimano 2200) here , but it's $18 for a pair. This seems insane to me. Are there cheaper options? I'm confused by the huge variation, I'd think there would be one like generic 16.9mm cone out there that costs a couple bucks. Are cones that finicky that you really need the exact specified one for your hub?
IME i would have to question whether being old, or rusted or loose was cause for considering the cones unusable. excessive wear, pitting, or trauma is most often the cause for a replacement.

if the cones and locknuts have not been adjusted with a proper cone wrench, and it IS necessary, then in all likelihood the result will be unsatisfactory, often resulting in excessive play or looseness.

forgive me if you know all this. far be it from me to stop someone from buying, whether justified in my eyes or not, and installing a set of cones on their bike hub. good luck.
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Old 02-09-14, 08:07 PM   #7
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I think that it is worth saying again here that cup and cone wheel bearing SHOULD NOT be adjusted with a "pre-load" as some seem to believe. It will destroy the bearing.
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