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DaveLeeNC 05-16-15 05:41 PM

Hub Question
Not much bicycle mechanical experience here.

I have a late 90's vintage front wheel with some kind of Campy hub (32 spoke) and Mavic rim. I run this wheel with Gatorskins when I use my road bike for local/around town errand kind of stuff. I am not sure of the total history of this wheel, but I believe that it mostly sat around and has maybe 3000 miles or so.

I did a very quick bike wash and quickie chain clean/lube thing on Thursday evening (didn't even take the wheels off - the kind of thing you would do once or twice per week). No 'hard squirting' from the hose, but mild squirt rinsing for sure. My ride on the next day yielded this somewhat irritating sound from the front wheel. A pulsating sound like 'continuously upzipping a plastic zipper' is my best description. And it was definitely related to speed rather than cadence.

At first I thought that it was a brake rub, but that was not it. And the sound is gone when the wheel has no load (like standing on the side of the road trying to figure it out by spinning the wheel). I just rode on and after 20 miles (30 mile ride) it was gone and I forgot about it.

I rode it again today and the sound is back. It was a short ride (was actually half of an A/B test between 2 sets of wheels) of only 10 miles, and the sound was unchanged at the end of the short ride. From just playing around with the wheel in my garage, the only thing that I notice is a light "clicky sound" when I hold the wheel and spin the hub (sound is clear when you hold your ear to the tire).

Is this most likely a hub/bearing failure in the making?



bikeman715 05-16-15 05:51 PM

There a good chance you flush out the grease with your cleaning and what you are hearing is the balls hitting each other as you spin the wheel . What you need to do now is repack the hub with fresh grease and watch what you do with your hose as you clean your bike . Area to be carful with are the headset , BB , and hubs . If you feel you can't do this on your own then I suggest you take it to a shop and let them do the repacking .

DaveLeeNC 05-16-15 07:42 PM

bikeman, thanks for the response.

My initial thought was that 'if this caused this problem then so would a hard rainfall'. But you can't deny that (apparently) the washing brought this on, so that is the likely culprit.

Thanks again.


Willbird 05-16-15 07:47 PM

In a properly lubricated bearing there is no metal to metal contact, there is an oil film between the metals. If you washed it out you may quickly ruin the balls, but bike shops (20 years ago anyway) often have loose ball bearings avail in different grades. But I'd get it at minimum relubed pronto.


JohnDThompson 05-17-15 08:00 AM

Some models of Campy hubs have an oil clip on the hub shell. If a few drops of oil stop the problem, what you need is lubrication. Re-pack the hub with fresh balls and grease at your earliest convenience.

Bill Kapaun 05-17-15 09:13 AM

To me, any odd noise in a hub means it's SCREAMING at me to check it out before riding any more.

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