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  1. #1
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    What to do about a loose sealed hub?

    I have a one year old Masi with sealed hubs and just about a week ago I noticed I could move the front wheel side to side by just a tiny amount. I realized that the hub was ever so slightly loose. I only put about 2000 miles on it since I got it and it seems weird that the front hub would be shot. I asked a mechanic at the bike shop and he told me I can tighten it with cone wrenches and it should be fine. I have to say I'm totally confused… I'm kind of new to this so I did some research and seemed to realize that sealed hubs cannot be adjusted so if there is any loose you just get a new one. Is that correct? If so what is the point of the two nuts on the outside of the hub that look like a cone and lock nut? And why would the mechanic tell me to tighten those? He even pointed out that they were sealed…
    Any advice would be hugely appreciated! Do I need a knew hub? Is there a part inside the hub that can be replaced? Why would it be loose in the first place?
    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    Some sealed (aka cartridge) bearing hubs can be adjusted, via a threaded end cap or other system. Some cannot, and some can be adjusted with thin shims under the end cap.

    I don't know your hub, but if it seems to be adjustable, and the mechanic who saw it said it was, then go ahead and take up the play.

    That said, most cartridge bearings used on hubs, are either rarial, or angular with angles shallower than the typical cup/cone bike hub bearing, So when adjusting do not apply much preload. Simply take up play, and don't forget to allow for the compression that the QR may apply.

    I adjust these types of hubs for minimal vestigial play (not sure if there's play or drag) when mounted in the fork and tightened.
    FB
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  3. #3
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    As Francis mentions some cartridge bearing (as opposed to calling them "sealed") can be adjusted. Chris Kings come to mind. That said true radial contact bearings (the Kings are angular) like a touch of end play so the balls can run in the center of the track and not ride up the side. A small amount of end play is not wrong. Andy.

  4. #4
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    What are the make and model of your hubs? Many hubs advertised as "sealed" really have cup-and-cone bearings and are fully adjustable. Almost all Shimano and Campy's upper level hubs are this type and all you need are the correct sizes of cone wrenches.

  5. #5
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    A radial bearing will have a slight amount of play at the rim. Don't worry about it. If you take out the play you will put a slight side load on them. Radial bearings do not like a side load.

  6. #6
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    American Classic 58 and 205 hubs are preset adjustable despite using cartridge bearings.
    Robert

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    So I have an Easton/Velomax wheel where the bearing is so loose that wheel now rattles as I ride. I've stopped using it, but don't know what to do to fix it. This is an R3 hub, not the later R4 that allows adjustment with a hex wrench.

    Is this user serviceable at all? Or even shop service? I just don't want to send it to Easton. It wouldn't be worth it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    So I have an Easton/Velomax wheel where the bearing is so loose that wheel now rattles as I ride. I've stopped using it, but don't know what to do to fix it. This is an R3 hub, not the later R4 that allows adjustment with a hex wrench.

    Is this user serviceable at all? Or even shop service? I just don't want to send it to Easton. It wouldn't be worth it.
    Why don't you start by phoning or emailing Easton?
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  9. #9
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    So I have an Easton/Velomax wheel where the bearing is so loose that wheel now rattles as I ride. I've stopped using it, but don't know what to do to fix it. This is an R3 hub, not the later R4 that allows adjustment with a hex wrench.

    Is this user serviceable at all? Or even shop service? I just don't want to send it to Easton. It wouldn't be worth it.
    For an experienced wrench it should be easy to pull out the axle and see what condition the bearings are independent of each other or how the axle fits within them. From this assessment choices can be determined. Andy.

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    I've done that before and their response is to send it back to them as it is NOT user serviceable, even to replace a spoke. Of course we can replace our own spokes, but these spokes are double threaded and only they have them. A shop with a spoke threading machine can make one. Anyway, I just brought the wheel out, and it turns out only one side is loose. The other side seems tight.

  11. #11
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    We have a high mileage customer with an Easton wheel set (not sure which model). She goes through bearings almost every year. She does ride through all weather. Andy.

  12. #12
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    Maybe I should just bring it in to a shop and find out. The wheel is an Easton Orion II, the model available right after they bought Velomax.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Some sealed (aka cartridge) bearing hubs can be adjusted, via a threaded end cap or other system. Some cannot, and some can be adjusted with thin shims under the end cap.

    I don't know your hub, but if it seems to be adjustable, and the mechanic who saw it said it was, then go ahead and take up the play.

    That said, most cartridge bearings used on hubs, are either rarial, or angular with angles shallower than the typical cup/cone bike hub bearing, So when adjusting do not apply much preload. Simply take up play, and don't forget to allow for the compression that the QR may apply.

    I adjust these types of hubs for minimal vestigial play (not sure if there's play or drag) when mounted in the fork and tightened.
    Thanks for the info! I couldn't figure it out by myself so I brought it to the shop I bought it from and the mechanic there right away noticed that my fork had been bent and the cartridge was damaged. I had a crash last year so I assume that bent the fork, which then put more pressure on one side of the hub as I continued riding, which would be why the bearing cartridge on that side are shot, and not the other side.
    He said it would be fine to keep riding on it for awhile because it's not gonna damage anything other than the already damaged cartridge and when it gets too shaky to replace the bearings and get them to straighten the fork.
    I guess I have a lot of learning to do before I can properly maintain my own bike!

  14. #14
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    Funny that with a fuller disclosure we hear of external influences that, I for one, didn't expect. But, I think we all hope that the OP get' it all dealt with. Andy.

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