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Shimano Hub Adjustment

Old 06-28-12, 07:07 AM
  #1  
budopo
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Shimano Hub Adjustment

I'm sure this was covered in countless earlier threads, but I can't quite find the answer.

I just got a set of Shimano RS80-c24 clincher wheels. I haven't adjusted cup-and-cone hubs in ages (I have adjusted bottom brackets, though). I've been using Suntour Superbe Pro wheels for the last 20ish years (cartridge bearings).

So, the hubs were too tight when I unpacked them. I got them on my truing stand and loosened them a bit. I got it to where I could feel just a little play at the rim, and then closing the quick release skewer tightened them up just enough to eliminate the play.

However, they just don't roll as freely as I'd expect, and certainly slower than my old wheels. Granted, they're new and not broken in at all, but even with a little play (felt at the rim), they're a bit slow. I'm also surprised that closing the quick release tightens the bearings (I thought Shimano claims these bearings aren't affected that way).

So, should I adjust them so there's just a hint of play with the skewers closed? I tend to like adjusting things so there's no play (but just a hair looser would give play).

Also, I was thinking to upgrade to grade 10 steel ball bearings (chromium steel, not stainless) and repacking with new grease, but since they're new wheels, I don't know if it'd be worth it.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-28-12, 07:15 AM
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reptilezs
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the way you did it is within my limits. play when unclamped but no play when clamped. others adjust it clamped and just until the play disappears
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Old 06-28-12, 09:52 AM
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I'm also surprised that closing the quick release tightens the bearings (I thought Shimano claims these bearings aren't affected that way).
It's the ones with the "digital" adjusters that are supposed to eliminate that. From the exploded view, I see yours are the traditional axle setup instead.

As for the adjustment, you did it correctly. I wouldn't be concerned about how it compares to your old wheels; even the substantial drag of a dynohub with the lights on has practically no effect on my own actual road speed, and that's a level of hub drag a couple orders of magnitude beyond what you're looking at. Example:
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Old 06-28-12, 10:36 AM
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If the drag really bothers you, pull them apart, clean the races well and repack with new bearings (they're cheap) and quality grease and see what happens.
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Old 06-28-12, 10:56 AM
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Don't leave play while they are clamped, that's a good way to ruin your hubs.

Break them in for a bit and replace the bearings when you need to... I never preemptively replace bearings.
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Old 06-28-12, 11:01 AM
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do they have the rubber seal things on the outside of the hubs? you can remove those. all they do is cause squeaks and drag. give them 100 miles or so to "wear in" and see how they do. even cheap cup & cone hubs will spin forever with fresh grease and proper adjustment after they've been worn in.

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Old 06-28-12, 11:12 AM
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  1. Newer hubs generally have much better finished bearing surfaces than in the "old days," but it's still not as smooth as a properly worn in bearing. My sense is that 100 miles is not nearly enough for run-in - would expect more like 500 miles.
  2. For the longest bearing life and best "run-in" multple experts recommend a small amount of preload, so it would seem you've probably achieved pretty close to ideal adjustment.
  3. As a precaution you could make sure the dropouts are properly aligned so as to not cause any deflecting stress when the hub is clamped.
  4. Leave the dust seals - lubricate the seal where it meets the hub if you like. They will slow you down less than dirt will.
  5. I would not bother overhauling at all, as the quality of grease or ball bearings will make negligible difference when everything is new. The greatest variable is the bearing surface, not a 15/1000" variance in ball bearing tolerance. You can add a bit of grease to make sure there is a good seal against contamination.

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Old 06-28-12, 01:02 PM
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I find this job easiest to do with an axle vise, (Hozan type) and a QR skewer. I made a little video showing this. Actually, it's a video of a complete overhaul showing my adjustment method at the end, so you'll have to put up with a couple of minutes of blather to get to it.

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Old 06-28-12, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
It's the ones with the "digital" adjusters that are supposed to eliminate that. From the exploded view, I see yours are the traditional axle setup instead.
Ah, ok. Along a similar line, the Dura-Ace wheels were just too expensive for me right now (especially since I have to do a whole conversation over from Suntour). Would it be possible to fit a Dura-Ace free hub body to these hubs (for the weight savings and quicker engagement) and the axle (for the oversize stiffness and to eliminate the preload from the quick release)? I know these are minor improvements (well, except for the weight), but I'm just curious if it's doable some time in the future. I would like not having to worry how much the quick release is affecting bearing load, though.

Dan, great video. It's been a while since I've adjusted wheel bearings, but I used to pack the hub with balls, like you did, but leave that side up and insert the axle down into the hub, then flip it over to put the balls in the other side. This reduced the chance of loosing the balls when you flip the wheel. Of course, I didn't have the Hozan clamp. I put the wheel on my truing stand and adjusted the cones that way. I didn't have one end free, like in your video, but it did hold the hub pretty securely, so I could wiggle the rim to feel if there's any play.

Thanks everyone for your advice. It sounds pretty much the same as what I was thinking. The biggest question was whether it was worth it to repack the bearings, but I was doubtful, since I figure Shimano would have good grease and bearings from the factory.
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Old 06-28-12, 03:01 PM
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Don't worry about how they feel in your hands that has nothing to do with how they work with a full load. If they are adjusted properly there should be a little bearing preload that you feel when the QR is closed. You won't feel any difference on the bike.
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Old 06-28-12, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by budopo View Post
Ah, ok. Along a similar line, the Dura-Ace wheels were just too expensive for me right now (especially since I have to do a whole conversation over from Suntour). Would it be possible to fit a Dura-Ace free hub body to these hubs (for the weight savings and quicker engagement) and the axle (for the oversize stiffness and to eliminate the preload from the quick release)?
No, the bearing system's very different for the hub models that use the oversized aluminum axles. Also, the parts required would've been about half the price of your entire wheelset... the freehub body alone is about $160.
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