The Centre of a Tension

Posted: 16 May 2013 in Bike Maintenance
Tags: , , , , ,

Right so, manly ego only lightly scratched from my complete failure to remove the cassette
Seriously, it didn’t even draw blood!
– The scratch that is NOT the cassette….
…hmmm I’m sure those gears weren’t red when I started!

Yes, sorry folks, my previous post should have come with a health warning:

Warning: Beware of “spanner rash” and other related ailments which commonly occur to all participants in the Mechanical and D.I.Y fields. Particular attention should be paid to the nature of the materials or objects you are working with, some Bite worse than others (bike gears being a prime example). If an incident does occur however it can be readily treated with liberal use of profanity and a piece of kitchen-roll. This is preferable from a hygiene point of view but in a pinch you can use the dirty ol’ bit o’ rag that you’d previously been using to wipe down all of the greasy components with. In addition, for more severe cases you may need to use two or even three pieces of kitchen-roll and in extreme circumstances stop work completely and make a cup of tea whilst you assess the damage and determine the best way to remove blood stains from the living room carpet before your spouse ⁄ partner ⁄ parents etc. return from where ever they’ve been!

So now that we’ve covered that in full we can move on to…

Servicing the hub:

Tools required:
 * 2 x Cone Spanners (appropriately sized)
 * 1 x Medium/Large sized Ice-Cream tub (preferably empty and clean)
 * Multi-Purpose Grease

Having flipped the wheel around to work on the other side (from the cassette) I located the correctly sized pair of ‘cone’ spanners and proceeded to undo the wheel bearing’s lock nut. Once that was removed, and whilst holding the wheel over the empty ice cream tub, I carefully removed the cone and pulled the axle through the hub. ** Please be sure to catch any / all of the ball-bearings that inevitably drop out and try to make a break for freedom! — (It’s not their fault, they’ve been couped up in there for so long with their brothers and sisters, all they want to do is get out and see the world!).

Success!! Now (to cut the long, tedious and fiddly work short) a quick Kerosene overhaul with an old toothbrush then a blast through with an airline to dry off and remove any stubborn bits of otherwise unreachable dirt and grime and we’re ready to re-grease and re-fit the bearings! The following is a brief account of what (IMHO) you should do, which is not the same as what I did but…lesson learnt!

Fill the bearing races with grease first then working from the opposite side, carefully replace half of the bearings in to the inner bearing race…actually wait, before you do that read this…

Important: make sure that you have an even number of bearings before you start, because if you don’t then it appears that one of the little round things might have sprouted legs, packed a tiny suitcase, booked itself a last minute place at a holiday resort and made a run for airport!!

Okay, so…assuming everything is okay and you haven’t got any AWOL bearings then proceed. Once you have this half of the bearings in place you can carefully push the axle back through the hub (you may want to grease the threads) and, holding it tightly in place to stop any “drop-outs” rest the wheel down with the empty bearing-race facing up — the weight of the wheel on the axle should be sufficient to keep the other bearings in place. Fit the remaining half of the ball bearings to the inner-race, screw down the cone lightly, feeling for the right amount of freedom of movement for the axle to turn smoothly without there being any wobble or looseness. Then, whilst holding the cone in place with one of the spanners carefully re-fit the spacers and the lock nut, tightening it down on to the cone ‘pinch’ tight and making sure that the cone itself hasn’t slipped and remains tight enough whilst not being so tight that the axle wont turn freely!

Congratulations!! If all has gone well then the wheel should run nice and smooth and the new grease should keep it running this way for another season or two, depending on the type and amount of riding you do and everything else, AND you’ve probably just done a better job than I did, but there you go…I got there eventually 🙂

Although after this of course I found out that the bearings weren’t the only thing making a gritty and rough sound, the cassette sounded like waves receding over a stony beach – “God when was this bike last serviced?” I wonder. Hmmm, back to where we were before then….removing the cassette (part 2)!!

  1. Chatty Owl says:

    My jaw hurts from your witty ways.

    • Tony Stark says:

      Thanks Chatty, sorry for the late reply but anyway I’m glad I was able to amuse you 🙂
      I really would like to have more wit in some of my posts but I just don’t think I have the kind of sense of humor that I could pull it off. Though it is nice to know that with you I have struck the right funny bone 😉


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