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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 08-10-05, 12:56 AM   #1
Terror_in_pink
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opted against sealed hubs?

1.how often do you overhaul
2.how long does it take you
3.do you think it is worth the time and effort for the desired hubs?
4. Have you "pitted" or destroyed your hub in the process?
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Old 08-10-05, 02:47 AM   #2
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Ok this is as far as I know and my own personal opinion from working as an apprentice mechanic in my local bike shop.

Most people here use hubs (from factory wheelsets) with sealed bearings (Mavic, then-Velomax (now bought over by Easton), Bontrager) so when we are requested to do an overhaul, we remove the bearings and throw it out, clean out the old grease and pop in new grease and bearings. People here rarely send bikes in for servicing and the rain and humidity almost always results in the sealed bearings being almost half rusted when they finally decide to get it fixed.

People who use loose bearing hubs are few and far in between here. As bicycle parts are cheaper here people just ride, trash and throw and buy new ones, most of the time.

1. For loose bearing hubs I do not know as I have not yet hit that mileage (new wheels). Maybe once a year? Depending whether your hubs are sealed and whether you ride no matter rain or shine.

2. We take a day for loose bearings. (We like to take our time. But seriously, actually it only requires half a day or less, but we keep getting interrupted by customers as we are understaffed at the moment. Job description = mechanic/sales assistant/cashier/delivery driver)

3. Considering campagnolo and shimano still use loose bearing hubs, answer is yes. I would do that myself having just bought a campagnolo wheelset for my road bike.

4. Not yet, but just be careful in the cone adjustment. It needs to be pretty precise. Too tight and you wear out the races, too loose and you damage the bearings and hub when you ride. I believe pitting is more a consequence of lack of maintenance.

If you want to do it yourself, I recommend having an experienced mechanic sit side by side with you to guide you, like what happened to me when I apprenticed.

Anyone who is more experienced please correct me where I am wrong.

Last edited by njwbert; 08-10-05 at 02:51 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-10-05, 05:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by njwbert
2. We take a day for loose bearings.


Do you charge a full day for labour? This can be done in 30 mins, even by me!
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Old 08-10-05, 05:51 AM   #4
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in my experience, hubs with loose bearings can be a bit of a pain. i enjoy the idea of them a whole lot, and overhauling is pretty easy--open the cones up, clean out old grease, plop some new gunk back in there. the problem is adjusting them properly, so that it spins freely without play. we're talking about turnin that fuc.king cone wrench fractions of a degree in order to achieve it. if you've got a mechanic you like who will do it for you, that's rad... as my mechanic coworker said, "i'm paid to bust blood vessels in my eye so other people can ride." but it can be no fun for even the mechanically inclined non-mechanic to do that when all you want to do is ride.
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Old 08-10-05, 05:54 AM   #5
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no lol. we charge a one time job fee and not time based. however we have quite a backlog too... which kind of sucks... or had i should say, since i dun work there anymore as my school semester has just started again.

edit:
for the brief period of my employment though, we the mechanics (two of us only actually), keep getting interrupted time and again by customers who want their stuff done and done now, which is why the only repacking i witnessed took a whole day (with a whole lot of individual small jobs in-between).

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Old 08-10-05, 06:09 AM   #6
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it's a common mistake to say that "cartridge" bearing hubs are "sealed." a lot of people seem to think they're the same. of course, there is nothing sealed about a cartridge qua cartridge -- dirt, water, etc, can get in without a problem. for there to be a seal some additional measure needs to be taken -- a grease shield, etc. in many cases, the cartridges in cartridge bearing hubs directly face the elements without any seal, making them less "sealed" than many cup/cone hubs, which almost always have something that shields the bearings from water, etc.

that said, in terms of maintenance, it's still easier to do the maintenance on cartridge hubs, even if the bearings might wear out faster due to the possibility of increased exposure -- just pop the old ones out and pop the new ones in. but, it's not that hard to overhaul cup and cone hubs. i would never hesitate to buy cup/cone hubs or cup/spindle bottom brackets, as many times they offer higher quality than their cartridge-based counterparts.

1: This'll depend on whether or not you ride your bike in garbage-ass weather. I've seen wheelsets that still spin like new when they're over a year old. Others, of course, don't make it through a winter full of salt and filth without grinding, etc. Grease, when packed enough, does a pretty good job of repelling water and the accompanying grime on its own.If you are the type of person to wipe down and clean your bike often (especially after each winter ride) and to make sure that the sealed are all the way in, you can get away without having to overhaul often. Once you can hear any grinding/crackling when you spin the wheel in your hand, you probably need to repack to avoid the possibility of pitting your races.

2. Well less than an hour for one hub. I have two recommendations to make it go much easier:

First: Be very thorough about being clean. This means not setting your new bearings on the ground, but putting them in a clean bowl or some such. Also, after you've removed your old bearings, you absolutely need to clean all of the grease from the hub and cones. Being even slightly lazy can result in your repacked hub being nearly as bad as it was before. Make sure that you wash your hands between working with the old bearings and touching the new ones. Use a lot of new grease, you can always wipe off the excess.

Second: Only remove the locknut and cone from one side of the hub. It is unnecessary to do the other side since the axle will slide out fine with them on. This way, you will not have to mess around with recentering the axle in your hub. You also will only have one locknut/cone assembly to worry about getting tight enough.

3. Yes, it's totally worth it.

4. No. You only want to tighten the cone down until there is no more play in the axle. The suggestion that I really have for getting this right is to use proper cone wrenches, ideally ones that have long, easy to grab handles. The double-ended cheap park tool wrenches will work, but they will not make your life any easier. You have to make sure that the cone does not move from where you want it as you tighten the locknut, so you're going to want a wrench around the cone that'll be easy to hold in place.
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Old 08-10-05, 06:25 AM   #7
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1.how often do you overhaul

Depends on how you ride, weather, mileage. I used to do mine twice a year when I was putting on about 5-7000 miles.

2.how long does it take you

About an hour. Take the time to get them adjusted JUST RIGHT. You may want to give up and say "close enough", especially if this is new to you. Stick with it and do it correctly.

3.do you think it is worth the time and effort for the desired hubs?

Yes. The only hubs I have that are sealed are for my fixed gear bikes. I did this because I wanted reliability. My geared bikes are all cup cone.

When I built up my Phil wood fixed hub, the first thing I noticed was the bearing drag. I put the wheel in the truing stand with the rim seam at the top (12 o'clock) and let it go. The wheel gets to about 5-4 o'clock and stops. If I do this to Dura ace cup and cone hub it would swing back and forth in the truing stand several times.

I am not saying this is a bad thing. For a bike messenger who wants reliability this is the hub you want. You could probably ride this hub in the ocean and it would still work for years. Despite the bearing drag it is relatively fast.
Yes. I know Phil makes bearings for track racing and this is going to be my next purchase.


4. Have you "pitted" or destroyed your hub in the process?

No. I have pitted headsets but not hubs. You should check your wheel periodically for play in the hubs to prevent this.

I have worn out cones, but it takes a lot of miles and these can be replaced.
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Old 08-10-05, 06:33 AM   #8
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"garbage-ass weather", heh.
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Old 08-10-05, 06:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shants
it's a common mistake to say that "cartridge" bearing hubs are "sealed." a lot of people seem to think they're the same. of course, there is nothing sealed about a cartridge qua cartridge -- dirt, water, etc, can get in without a problem. for there to be a seal some additional measure needs to be taken -- a grease shield, etc. in many cases, the cartridges in cartridge bearing hubs directly face the elements without any seal, making them less "sealed" than many cup/cone hubs, which almost always have something that shields the bearings from water, etc.
I'm not sure what cartridge bearings you are using on your bikes, but all of the ones I buy are very "sealed" and they are most definitely sealed better than cup and cone hubs.
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Old 08-10-05, 08:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by riderx
I'm not sure what cartridge bearings you are using on your bikes, but all of the ones I buy are very "sealed" and they are most definitely sealed better than cup and cone hubs.
Cartridge bearings are not sealed against other liquids. It's impossible to keep two liquids separate with a single lip seal. Well designed cartridge hubs will take additional steps to keep water away from the cartridge seal. A common method is to just use the end caps as a shield.

Decent cup and cone hubs will also use more that one seal to keep water out. Shimano hubs for instance have the rubber contact seal and a labyrinth seal.

You can't really say one type is better than the other because there are so many variations.

Last edited by d_D; 08-10-05 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 08-10-05, 10:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terror_in_pink
opted against sealed hubs?

1.how often do you overhaul
2.how long does it take you
3.do you think it is worth the time and effort for the desired hubs?
4. Have you "pitted" or destroyed your hub in the process?
1. I would do it at least once a year, or more specifically, whenever you feel a little grit in there. More often for garbage-ass weather.
2. At home, I clean my hubs and bearing with degreaser and a Q-tip very thoroughly, and take an obsessive amount of time and care. So, maybe 30 minutes per hub. At the shop, I still clean with degreaser before repacking, but use a paper towel (not as intricate of a cleaning) and it takes about 10 minutes to overhaul a hub. Maybe 15?
3. That depends. If you use a high quality loose BB hub, its worth it. My 20 year old Campy Record hubs spin better than any of my cartridge bearing hubs could ever hope to. High quality loose BB hubs (record, etc) and run-of-the-mill hubs are a world apart. If you want the most durable wheelset in nasty weather conditions, I would say go with cartridge. YMMV
4. No. Just be careful.

Learning how to adjust a cup and cone system is infinitely valuable though - you will be master (or mistress) of your hubs, headset, and possibly bottom bracket.
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Old 08-10-05, 01:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by d_D
You can't really say one type is better than the other because there are so many variations.
Indeed -- I didn't intend to come off as saying that cup/cone are always ultra-sealed and that cartridge are generally less so. Rather, I simply wanted to point out that cartridge != sealed. Sealing is something that you have to assess independently of the type of bearings.
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Old 08-10-05, 02:23 PM   #13
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does choice of grease really make a difference when overhauling loose bearing hubs? any suggestions?
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Old 08-10-05, 02:33 PM   #14
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phil wood grease is the UJ (ultrajam)
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Old 08-10-05, 02:36 PM   #15
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1.how often do you overhaul
three or four times a year, but more often in winter with all the rain and snow.

2.how long does it take you
about an hour.

3.do you think it is worth the time and effort for the desired hubs?
yes. its not that much time anyways, and i find cup/cones hubs and bb to be much smoother

4.have you "pitted" or destroyed your hub in the process?
nope.
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Old 08-10-05, 02:45 PM   #16
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I ended up overhauling my rear hub by accident. Being completely clueless (I assumed it was a cartridge hub!), I opened it up during a wheel rebuild and dropped bearings all over the floor. It took me a very frustrating hour to fix the hub. I plan to repack the front hub soon, and wouldn't expect to take longer than half an hour per hub.

As it was the first time I've tried this, I don't know how successful I was. I was careful with the amount of pressure I used on the locknuts, but only time will tell.

Given my experience, I'd expect an experienced mechanic to take fifteen minutes per hub. Once I got my head around all the weird bits that are on the axle, it's conceptually very simple.
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Old 08-10-05, 05:36 PM   #17
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track - my next set will be loose bearing. I went with a set of Promax SBs out of sheer cheapness and the knowledge that these would be my first track only wheels (laced to Mavic Mach 2 tubulars), yet have found them to be VERY nice hubs! Plus a bearing replacment (OEM) costs all of $18.50. If I go with a different wheelset in the future, these will kame a really nice set of trainers. However---high flange Dura Ace and I will meet one day soon. Very soon

The Phil "track cartridges" have the seals removed. Saw them about two weeks ago or a former set of Bill Clay's wheel. And damn, those are fine wheels...

I have ground out bearing and races on the lowerest-end Sovos and Suzue hubs - but you get what you pay for. And since I didn't pay for maintanence lesson, I screwed them up. But I learned a lot about loose bearings too. Adjustments, as ryan_c mentions, need to be done properly or else you may end up wearing something out quicker than you expect. A good skill to have? You bet.
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