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Tandem Hub with no wrench flats

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Tandem Hub with no wrench flats

Old 11-28-18, 04:27 PM
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Tandem Hub with no wrench flats

I have two tandems (with different wheel sizes) and only one Arai drag brake. This kind of drag brake has the drum threaded onto the non-drive side of the hub and the brake shoes and arm are attached to a plate that gets installed on the axle between the spacers. The drag brake came installed on my Kuwahara Adventurer road tandem that has 27" wheels, but I also want to use it to tour with my 12-year-old son who is too short for the Kuwahara, so we ride around on a Miyata Duplicross that has 26" wheels. I have bought a second 26" wheel that has the non-drive side threading to install the drag brake drum, but I am stuck on how to separate its axle spacers to install the drag brake, because this hub's axle has no wrench flats. My local bike coop (which ha s the wheel as a donation) did not know. I am assuming it is some sort of press fit axle, but I am not sure how the nuts and spacers are removed (nor reinstalled). Help would be gratefully received.

I am desperately trying to upload photos of the hub, and will not rest until I succeed.

-Will
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Old 11-28-18, 04:36 PM
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At last, I managed to upload images.
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Old 11-28-18, 05:47 PM
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Perhaps the answer lies on the opposite end of the hub where the cassette installs. Can you post a picture of that end as well?
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Old 11-28-18, 07:04 PM
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Will the center hole of the axle (where the skewer goes) accept allen wrenches?
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Old 11-28-18, 10:08 PM
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Both sides of the hub look the same to me (sorry this pic is not as clear,), and neither has a socket to accept an allen wrench.
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Old 11-29-18, 07:28 AM
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Just found this from your reply on my post. You might want to post this on the Bicycle Mechanic's page to see if any of those folks have seen this hub.
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Old 11-29-18, 10:42 AM
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Iíd stick a 5mm Allen key into the ends of that hub. The hex feature may not be visible from the end.
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Old 11-29-18, 11:54 AM
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I tried all the sizes of allen keys that I have (including a 5mm) and all of them were either too large to fit in the hole or turned freely when for at least 20mm of depth.
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Old 11-29-18, 01:38 PM
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I have hubs threaded for a hub brake where the end caps are press fit onto the axle. I have had to use pliers sometimes to hold one end of the axle and twist the cap off the other end. I also have a threaded rear hub with an axle that accepts an Allen wrench, in which case the end cap is threaded onto the axle rather than pressed.
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Old 11-29-18, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by reburns View Post
I have hubs threaded for a hub brake where the end caps are press fit onto the axle. I have had to use pliers sometimes to hold one end of the axle and twist the cap off the other end. I also have a threaded rear hub with an axle that accepts an Allen wrench, in which case the end cap is threaded onto the axle rather than pressed.
Thanks Reburns, I have also posted this question on the Bike Mechanics forum and it has been pointed out to me that a press-fit hub (as this very clearly seems to be as the axle is not threaded on either end and the hole is not a hex socket, but rather is for the quick release skewer) is not suited to my original plan of moving a single drag brake from one tandem to the other as the friction fit would deteriorate with each time it is open and closed.

I am now considering two options - either (1) obtain another drag brake or (2) a different tandem hub that does not use press-fit spacers. All of it makes me wonder about my plan (that was honestly started because the bike coop where I volunteer had this 26" tandem wheel that it wanted gone when it was temporarily shrinking due a move). Eventually, I hope my son will grow and we will ride the larger Kuwahara tandem with the 27" wheels (which deserves a post of its own for me to sing its praises).
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Old 11-29-18, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Random Tandem View Post
Thanks Reburns, I have also posted this question on the Bike Mechanics forum and it has been pointed out to me that a press-fit hub (as this very clearly seems to be as the axle is not threaded on either end and the hole is not a hex socket, but rather is for the quick release skewer) is not suited to my original plan of moving a single drag brake from one tandem to the other as the friction fit would deteriorate with each time it is open and closed.

I am now considering two options - either (1) obtain another drag brake or (2) a different tandem hub that does not use press-fit spacers. All of it makes me wonder about my plan (that was honestly started because the bike coop where I volunteer had this 26" tandem wheel that it wanted gone when it was temporarily shrinking due a move). Eventually, I hope my son will grow and we will ride the larger Kuwahara tandem with the 27" wheels (which deserves a post of its own for me to sing its praises).
I must be missing something. If your axle is like the ones that I have with end caps pressed onto the ends, then the only problem I see with the friction deteriorating is the risk that the end cap might fall off and roll away when you remove the wheel from the bike. Otherwise there is no issue once the wheel is on the bike as the entire assembly is captivated between the dropouts and secured with the skewer. Isnít the problem that you are having trouble getting the end cap off in the first place? If that becomes easier, great, as usually it takes pliers or vice grips and wiggling and pulling to remove it. The friction in my end caps, shown below, comes from a rubber o-ring in a groove inside the cap, which could be removed to make the job easier. For me usually the bigger problem in moving the brake to a different wheel is getting the drum unscrewed from the hub. Otherwise itís just time and effort. How often do you expect to be moving the brake between wheels anyway?
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Old 11-30-18, 01:59 AM
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Originally Posted by reburns View Post





I must be missing something. If your axle is like the ones that I have with end caps pressed onto the ends, then the only problem I see with the friction deteriorating is the risk that the end cap might fall off and roll away when you remove the wheel from the bike. Otherwise there is no issue once the wheel is on the bike as the entire assembly is captivated between the dropouts and secured with the skewer. Isnít the problem that you are having trouble getting the end cap off in the first place? If that becomes easier, great, as usually it takes pliers or vice grips and wiggling and pulling to remove it. The friction in my end caps, shown below, comes from a rubber o-ring in a groove inside the cap, which could be removed to make the job easier. For me usually the bigger problem in moving the brake to a different wheel is getting the drum unscrewed from the hub. Otherwise itís just time and effort. How often do you expect to be moving the brake between wheels anyway?
The comments on the Bike Mechanics forum suggested that repeated removal and resetting the end caps could damage the bearing adjustment, but your comment is making me wonder (because the real force is from the quick release skewer and lateral forces on the wheel when cornering). I am going to give it a go with the vice grips and see what occurs. If I can get the drag brake plate seated among the spacers so that the placement of the brake shoes is correct, I will give it a go. Eventually, I will move the drag brake back to the larger tandem, but I doubt this would occur as frequently as once per year. My older child will be overseas at University for a while, so I may be riding the smaller tandem with my younger child for a few years (just waiting for his legs to grow...).

After using the drag brake on loaded touring down the Pacific Coast, Unscrewing the Arai drag brake drum from the old hub turned out to be easy, although I had contemplated this for days after reading the suggestion at SheldonBrown.com to put the brake on tight and roll the tandem backwards. I booked my 6'7" brother and my father to sit on the tandem to provide increased friction on the tires, adjusted the brake and planned to make the attempt on a nearby hill, but found that it unscrewed without anyone helping me on a flat sidewalk with just some spare metal parts in the panniers to provide weight. I certainly will be coating the threads with anti-seize compound before it is installed on this hub, so I hope it will not get more difficult to remove next time.

Thanks for your heartening suggestions.

-Will
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Old 11-30-18, 12:55 PM
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Good luck, I think your plan is reasonable. If those end caps slide off and on via a friction fit, I can’t imagine the process hurting the hub bearings in any way. The hub I used in the pictures is DT Swiss/Hugi/Bontrager tandem. The drive side cap is pressed on in the same manner, and is intended to be removed and reinstalled in the process of cleaning and lubricating the star ratchet mechanism, which can be required as often as twice a year. The bearings are sealed units and pressed in with much higher force, unlike the caps held on with o-rings. The drive side cap can be popped off by a determined person simply yanking hard on the cassette.
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Old 12-04-18, 09:42 AM
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Agree with the above comments. Assuming it's a DT/Swiss hub (or clone) I wouldn't worry about taking the end caps on/off on occasion. I have several of those hubs and as reburns stated, they are designed to be removed for regular maintenance.

I'm surprised you got your drum brake off so easily. Mine usually require the use of tool I made out of a 2x4 and some old bolts.
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Old 12-05-18, 02:19 PM
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To close the loop on this thread, I have now removed the end cap and the spacers (they were, as Reburns suggested, held on by a rubber o-ring that only took a committed attempt with pliers to move). After seeing the parts, I am pretty sure I could remove the end cap twice a day (which of course, I do not intend to do), and there would be no affect on the wheel bearings. Now I find that the axle under the aluminum spacers is wider than the hole in my drag brake plate. I am thinking whether I should drill it out because it will make it less tightly attached when used on the larger tandem. Also still contemplating whether the drag brake is well suited to this hub because when the drag brake plate is not tightened under the lock nuts it can move and become uncentered, but I suppose it will be centered by the brake shoes every time it is applied. I suppose the risk is that the drag brake could be uncentered and drag on one side of the brake drum when the brake is not applied, which would be a drag...

Thanks to everyone on this forum for the helpful information and suggestions (including when to ignore some other overly cautious advice).
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Old 12-05-18, 02:51 PM
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It's fine to drill out the axle hole on the drum brake (assume you have an Arai?) to fit the larger axle. I've done this before with no issues. Not sure what you mean by the outer plate with the pads moving around? If the hole is the right size for the axle, when you put the outer plate in between the two end caps it will not move (I assume you realize you have to remove the small spacer-washer that's in there now in your photo). Of course, if you now go to use that outer plate with the now-larger hole on a smaller axle on your other bike, there is a possibility that it may move a bit depending how much smaller the other axle is.
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Old 12-05-18, 03:06 PM
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I moved an Arai from a wheel with a 10 mm axle to one with 12 mm. I was advised by Mel at Tandems East to use a reamer to enlarge the hole in the brake faceplate, rather than try to keep a drill centered. I happened to have a reamer that covered 12 mm, so that’s what I did and it has worked well. At the time I anticipated wanting to move the brake back to the 10 mm wheel occasionally, so I fabricated a 10 mm ID/12 mm OD bushing to use when the brake was on the 10 mm wheel. (You can see the bushing on the axle in the pictures I posted earlier) As it turns out, I never do that and haven’t used it, but I found it surprisingly difficult to find the proper size stock for the bushing.

As you say, the plate will be centered by the shoes when the brake is activated and then held in place by the skewer, but I would still prefer the use of a bushing for more precise assembly.

Last edited by reburns; 12-05-18 at 03:15 PM. Reason: Improvement
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Old 12-05-18, 05:32 PM
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On the Kuwahara Adventurer (where my Arai drag brake was previously installed) there was quite a bit of play because the hole was bigger than the axle and I followed the recommended system of setting up spacers to adjust the depth of the brake shoes in the brake drum, engaging the brake firmly with a clamp then tightening the lock nut to fix the brake with the shoes centered in the drum. It would seem that otherwise you risk that the two shoes are not sharing the work especially since you cannot see the braking function.
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