I was repacking wheel bearings today on my 1992 Trek 400 when I decided to see how the wheels were doing on my 2009 GT Series 3 I bought from REI just over a year ago. I had replaced a broken spoke on the rear wheel last week, and knew it was spinning rather smoothly, but when I pulled the front off today (the first time since I bought the bike), it was rough.
I pulled the front hub apart and I found one of the cones in this state:
It was pitted about 2/3rds of the way around. The other cone had some minor beginnings of pitting. The hub itself has a few tiny flecks or dings on the side with the bad cone.
I'd be surprised if I had 2000 miles on this bike, between snowmaggedon, being out of town for an extended period during the summer, and sharing time with other bikes. I also mostly avoided rain on this bike, as it was new and all. I know it's a relatively cheap hub (some generic Formula hub), but this I did not expect from a new hub after essentially a season.
Initially I was planning on swinging a local bike shop tomorrow and buying replacement cones, but as I thought about it, I was sort of annoyed by the prospect of needing to do this on a new bike. I've worked on much older bikes with hubs in better shape, and that 1992 Trek 400 I was working on today must have been low miles and it was pristine in there. At least it had a better dust cap, with rubber lip tucked up against the cone.
So now I'm contemplating making the 50 mile trip down to the local REI and trying to negotiate my way into some free cones or to return the damn thing just on principle.
Am I being rational?
I dismissed the broken spoke as just a result of a machine built wheel, and the choppy frost heaven roads around here. Should I chalk up the hub damage in a similar manner?