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Rear wheel doesn't spin for as long as the front wheel?

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Rear wheel doesn't spin for as long as the front wheel?

Old 04-01-13, 07:38 PM
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Rear wheel doesn't spin for as long as the front wheel?

Hi all, I'm new to biking in general. I noticed the other day that the rear wheel on my Specialized Roubaix doesn't spin for as long as the front wheel does -- with the same effort, it seems like the front wheel spins for a good 25-30 seconds whilst the rear only spins for about 10-15 seconds. There doesn't seem to be any noticeable drag (i.e. wheel touching the brakes), but there is still a noticeable difference between how long they spin for. I was wondering if this is normal, or are the hub/bearings on the rear wheel too tight? I'm not sure how I would go about loosening them if that was the case.
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Old 04-01-13, 07:44 PM
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That's about right. You shouldn't expect the rer wheel to spin as long as the front because there's more machinery causing drag. The freewheel ratchet mechanism and the added seals will contribute a bit of added friction.

Even identical wheels may not spin as long, because the tiniest variation can make a big difference when the overall drag is so low. One seal could be a hair tighter, there might be more grease in the bearing, a tiny difference in preload, and so on, but I guess you get the point by now.
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Old 04-01-13, 08:07 PM
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Hi,

A wheel that spins a very long time has too loose bearings,
i.e. it should spin freely but beyond that you can't judge
the loaded performance by the unloaded performance.

You will get a better idea by removing the wheel and
spinning the spindle by hand, it should feel slightly
tight and on cheaper wheels somewhat rough too.

rgds, sreten.

Last edited by sreten; 04-01-13 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 04-01-13, 08:14 PM
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Try this test: Remove the rear wheel from the frame and replace it with the chain not looped over the cogs. Now the wheel should spin without the freehub drag and you can test to your heart's content.
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Old 04-01-13, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by sreten
Hi,

A wheel that spins a very long time has too loose bearings,
i.e. it should spin freely but beyond that you can't judge
the loaded performance by the unloaded performance.

You will get a better idea by removing the wheel and
spinning the spindle by hand, it should feel slightly
tight and on cheaper wheels somewhat rough too.

rgds, sreten.
Not having the QR clamped is going to change the pre load on the bearings by a large amount, making that test useless.
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Old 04-01-13, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
Not having the QR clamped is going to change the pre load on the bearings by a large amount, making that test useless.
Even for wheels with cartridge bearings, which AFAIK, shouldn't be preloaded like cup'n'cone ones?
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Old 04-01-13, 10:14 PM
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I know it's April fools day, but lets end this. The spin test is totally meaningless because it's vulnerable to small meaningless variables, and is involved with total drag that's so tiny as to not figure at all compared to the other drag forces when you ride.

I have grease guard hubs with cartridge bearings. They coast down quickly every time I grease them, and spin much freer 3 days later when the excess grease is worked out. Does that mean I should worry when they spin slower, or later when the y spin freer?
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Old 04-02-13, 04:17 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
Does that mean I should worry when they spin slower, or later when the y spin freer?
Yes.
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Old 04-02-13, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by sreten
Hi,

A wheel that spins a very long time has too loose bearings,
i.e. it should spin freely but beyond that you can't judge
the loaded performance by the unloaded performance.

You will get a better idea by removing the wheel and
spinning the spindle by hand, it should feel slightly
tight and on cheaper wheels somewhat rough too.

rgds, sreten.
The above is too simplistic and not really accurate, especially as previously noted regarding q/r hubs. There is plenty of accurate guidance on adjusting hub bearings available. Just Google hub adjust - 1st two are Sheldon's and Park's procedures, the others provide videos and possibly some additional insight.
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Old 04-02-13, 01:55 PM
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Now I have to go home and check all the wheels...
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Old 04-02-13, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by BoggleMinds
Hi all, I'm new to biking in general. I noticed the other day that the rear wheel on my Specialized Roubaix doesn't spin for as long as the front wheel does -- with the same effort, it seems like the front wheel spins for a good 25-30 seconds whilst the rear only spins for about 10-15 seconds. There doesn't seem to be any noticeable drag (i.e. wheel touching the brakes), but there is still a noticeable difference between how long they spin for. I was wondering if this is normal, or are the hub/bearings on the rear wheel too tight? I'm not sure how I would go about loosening them if that was the case.
That is normal east of the Mississipi...
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Old 04-02-13, 08:00 PM
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West of the Mississippi it is a clear sign that you need a new front wheel at worst, and a complete hub overhaul at best. Although, many of the tighter guys around here would just leave it alone until it fails. bk
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Old 04-02-13, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
Not having the QR clamped is going to change the pre load on
the bearings by a large amount, making that test useless.
Hi, that is conjecture on your part, not knowledge, rgds, sreten.
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Old 04-02-13, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman
The above is too simplistic and not really accurate, especially as previously noted regarding q/r hubs.
There is plenty of accurate guidance on adjusting hub bearings available. Just Google hub adjust - 1st
two are Sheldon's and Park's procedures, the others provide videos and possibly some additional insight.

Hi,

It was simplistic but also accurate in that unloaded friction is meaningless.

rgds, sreten.
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Old 04-03-13, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by sreten
Hi, that is conjecture on your part, not knowledge, rgds, sreten.
And you know this how? It's fairly common knowledge that cinching up on the QR will take up slack in the bearings. Not sealed cartridge bearings if the spacer is manufactured correctly, but in loose ball types, which the OP is talking about.
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Old 04-03-13, 06:42 AM
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What I want to know is how come the locknut(s) allow preload to be transmitted to cup'n'cone bearings, but not to cartridge ones?
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Old 04-03-13, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by sreten
Hi,

A wheel that spins a very long time has too loose bearings,
i.e. it should spin freely but beyond that you can't judge
the loaded performance by the unloaded performance.

You will get a better idea by removing the wheel and
spinning the spindle by hand, it should feel slightly
tight and on cheaper wheels somewhat rough too.

rgds, sreten.
Originally Posted by sreten
Hi,

It was simplistic but also accurate in that unloaded friction is meaningless.

rgds, sreten.
OK, I'll be more specific - It's too simplistic to say that a wheel that spins a very long time has too loose an adjustment. "Very long time" is not a measurement, and I had a set of wheels with perfectly worn-in bearings on the plain ol' Normandy hubs of my Moto Grand Jubilee that spun very, very well even with proper preload.

"It should feel slightly tight is" is not accurate for q/r wheels, and saying that cheaper wheels should feel rough is both simplistic and inaccurate. Some inexpensive hubs may feel rough but many do not, and I think it unwise to set up that expectation. One can only tell how smooth the hub can be by doing a proper adjustment.

The only correct, supportable statement is that one can't judge loaded by unloaded performance.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 04-03-13 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 04-03-13, 11:12 AM
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Let's not forget that sealed bearing hubs with overly aggressive seals have their own issues. I had a bike in the other day with a similar complaint. I counted 9 rubber seals contributing to the drag! The nice cup and cone hubs with labyrinth seals and non-sealed freehub bearings spin with so much less friction, but in a world scared of maintenance, we have over-sealed bike parts.
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Old 04-03-13, 11:17 AM
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Surely any drag that you can feel with the wheel(s) off the bike adds up to nothing worth mentioning in actual use, though?

What make/model were these hubs with 9 seals, and how did the customer come to the conclusion that they were too draggy - by spinning them off the bike or by actually riding them? Just curious.
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Old 04-03-13, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Continuity
Surely any drag that you can feel with the wheel(s) off the bike adds up to nothing worth mentioning in actual use, though?

What make/model were these hubs with 9 seals, and how did the customer come to the conclusion that they were too draggy - by spinning them off the bike or by actually riding them? Just curious.
Nondescript Taiwan sourced hub in a proprietary wheelset....freehub was so draggy that rolling the bike along the floor pushed the chain forward. I disassembled to find that while the bearings were smooth, tthere was gobs of drag until i removed the seals....then they were great! But as with most cheap Asian stuff, there are no replacement freehubs available....
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Old 04-03-13, 12:20 PM
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Hunh - so the seals made it drag that badly? I'm guessing that some silicone/teflon grease and/or some bed-in time wouldn't have solved the problem? (Or maybe it would, but not in the time frame that the customer demands... )
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Old 04-03-13, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Continuity
Hunh - so the seals made it drag that badly? I'm guessing that some silicone/teflon grease and/or some bed-in time wouldn't have solved the problem? (Or maybe it would, but not in the time frame that the customer demands... )
Bed-in time? This was not a new bike.... I am seeing a lot more of this with non-branded sealed Asian hubs lately. Sealed freehub bodies are easier to manufacture, and they look good on paper, but in practice, unless the bearing quality is top notch, there's no improvement. They get draggy and since they are mostly unserviceable, a drag to work on....
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Old 04-03-13, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWise1
Bed-in time? This was not a new bike....
Wow - bloody hell - they must have been some *tough* seals! LOL

Do the Shimano freehubs that cassettes mount on count as 'sealed' in this context?
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