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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 02-28-14, 03:16 PM   #1
jodphoto
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BB hub theory and practice question

I have 2 League Fuji bikes with the same issue in the hubs, They are going on 30 years old, and have the Suntour LePree hubs.

The cones are sort of chewed up where the ball bearings run. I have tried to find replacement cones from Wheels Mfg. and a couple of LBS parts bins I was allowed to rummage. Nothing I found would fit. I don't care much about OLD spacing or grease seals. These can be adapted. The main issue is that LePree cones come to a very small diameter near the interior end (pointy end) of the cone and the balls run very near the tip of the cone.

I have asked about this on the forum previously and was advised to try Wheels Mfg. They had cones which I bought and found the tip ends too big in diameter. The tip diameter is not a specification given for the cones they offer so I am here again seeking wisdom. BTW, the front axle is 9mm x 1mm, the rear axle is 10mm x 1mm. The balls are 1/4" rear, 3/32" front

Each replacement cone I have tried has more meat near the tip than the LePree and the balls don't run far enough back on the cone to seem secure. I have opted to use heavy grease with new balls on the old cones and repeat often. I have an Ebay search for these hubs but fear they all suffer from the same issue more or less.

Is it OK to reduce the diameter of the small end of the replacement cones on a lathe with emery cloth? Will that remove important case hardening and leave a too soft bearing surface?

Same question; Is it viable to redress the old cones, moving the bearing surface farther outboard?

OR: Is it ok to run smaller or fewer balls, thereby moving the ball position further outboard and away from the damaged area?

If I had a few more bucks, I'd get some used Campy hubs and re-lace the wheel. So, if that's your advice, duly noted.


Best option? Any other ideas?
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Old 02-28-14, 03:49 PM   #2
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Assuming you actually have front 3/16" balls and that you ruled out changing the cups to accommodate the larger cones, I would consider attempting 5/32" balls on new cones (in front, not sure about the rear size) to be the first option. Metric sizes might offer more options.

Last edited by AnkleWork; 02-28-14 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 02-28-14, 05:24 PM   #3
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Just give it up and get new wheels or at least new hubs. There comes a time when it just doesn't make sense to beat a dead horse. Whoever told you a bicycle wheel was supposed to last forever?
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Old 03-01-14, 12:21 AM   #4
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Just give it up and get new wheels or at least new hubs. There comes a time when it just doesn't make sense to beat a dead horse. Whoever told you a bicycle wheel was supposed to last forever?
I mean it when I say these rims are strong classic beauties. I don't see modern rims I like as much as these. Both sets have lasted 30 years, 20+ of which I have enjoyed one of the sets. I have strongly considered Campy hubs and new SS spokes. This is an appealing option.

I don't care about common sense with bikes, but rather a creative sense. Solving the problem with some ingenuity appeals to me.
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Old 03-01-14, 12:48 AM   #5
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I mean it when I say these rims are strong classic beauties. I don't see modern rims I like as much as these. Both sets have lasted 30 years, 20+ of which I have enjoyed one of the sets. I have strongly considered Campy hubs and new SS spokes. This is an appealing option.

I don't care about common sense with bikes, but rather a creative sense. Solving the problem with some ingenuity appeals to me.
i thought it was all about the hubs? now the rims?

anyway...

i understand your desire to find a simple solution to a problem. i do it all the time. but, believe me, trying to find suitable used cones for an old hub, and worse, trying to patch up the worn out cones, is like trying to, IDK..., doing a body-off restoration of this POS:



even after all the work, well, these were horrible when new.

get some new to you hubs off of CL or Ebay. that's what i recommend. FWIW.
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Old 03-01-14, 12:52 AM   #6
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rather a sophisticated shop project to re grind cones .. are you a sophisticated machinery/ tool owner ?

I'd save time and bother and just buy new wheels.

particularly if the bike will be ridden and not just collected for display .

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Old 03-01-14, 01:18 AM   #7
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Ok. I get it. I'm beating a dead horse or doing a frame-off restoration of a Ford Fairmont (which doesn't have a frame, if I remember correctly).

The rims ar classy. I guess I'll lace some used Campy hubs on them with SS spokes. Thanks for the collective wisdom.
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Old 03-01-14, 07:33 AM   #8
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I would look for some period-appropriate new/old stock hubs on ebay.
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