How easy is it to strip down wheels and replace bearings?

OnTheRivet

New Member
Location
Brecon
Being newish to cycling and at a pretty basic level of mechanical competance, how easy is it to strip down wheels to check and replace bearings?
 

wisdom

Veteran
Location
Blackpool
Being newish to cycling and at a pretty basic level of mechanical competance, how easy is it to strip down wheels to check and replace bearings?
If they are sealed units there's not much you can do.Other than replace them as a unit.Easy to do though.Cup and cone are very simple to strip,clean regrease and re assemble.Plenty on youtube to help you.
 

Cubist

Still wavin'
Location
Ovver 'thill
Depending on the sealed units it isn't too difficult to drift out the old bearings and press new ones in, but quite often all you need to do it pick out the bearing seals and regrease.
 
I've just replaced the ball bearings in the cup and cone hub in my Boardman's rear wheel. It's a Mavic wheel with a 9 speed cassette.

Once the wheel is off, start by thoroughly cleaning every part of the wheel. Unscrew the skewer nut making sure not to lose the spring and slide the skewer out. Put the spring back on the skewer, right way round and lightly screw the nut back on so it doesn't get lost.

If you can, remove the cassette using the chain whip and socket adaptor. This will improve access and also allow you to properly clean the sprockets while you've got it off the hub. It is possible to do the bearings without taking the cassette off however.

Using the correct size spanners, undo the cone and nut on the none drive side. Note the order of assembly (mobile phone photo might be an idea)
Slide the axle down a little way so that you can extract the balls with a magnet on a stick, or needle nose pliers. There are 9 in my hubs each side. Put them in an old cup or other suitable solvent resistant vessel.

Leaving the drive side cone and nut assembled, slide the axle out, over a shallow tray if you're wise, to catch any balls that may fall out from the drive side. Winkle out the balls from this second side of the hub.

Very thoroughly clean all the components and inspect. The balls should be clean and shiny, as should the races, particularly in the hub.

If everything is in apple pie order, the used balls can go back in, but a new set is only £4 or thereabouts so we're going to put new ones in aren't we.

Put plenty of new grease into the hub race on the drive side. carefully install each ball in turn, using the grease as an "adhesive" to hold them in place. Reinstall the axle.

Turn the wheel over and pack the other hub race with new grease. Install the balls in this race. Screw the cone back onto the axle so that it makes light contact with the balls give the axle a good few twiddles to ensure the balls are seating nicely.

Put the locknut back on. Retighten the cone and locknut, but do not over tighten the cone into the bearings. The axle must spin freely but with no perceptible end float. It's a delicate adjustment, and may take some time to get just right, but must be done correctly.

Back in with the skewer, wheel back on the bike, and check that the wheel rotates freely without any grumbles or rocking at the rim.

As my fellow cyclists will tell you, plenty of youtube vids to watch before doing the job for real.
 
OP
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OnTheRivet

New Member
Location
Brecon
thanks Eribiste, the use of a mobile phone to take photos of how things are arranged is good advice above all else! Having taken apart my tumble dryer to change the drum spindle I would have been lost without taking photos of where certain wires were placed.

re ball bearings, any particular make to go for or are they fairly standard wherever you get them?
 

Hugh Manatee

Veteran
All my bikes are good/very good quality retro machines. I have always done my own work on them; in the beginning because I couldn't afford shop prices and now, well because I can!

I have always found Shimano very easy. The design seems logical and simple. Then I had a go at Campag. This I found very difficult. There are two sizes of bearing in the rear hub and you need to wrap bits of cotton around pawls to get the thing back together!

Whatever you have, make sure you have the correct and proper tools for the job before you start.
 

young Ed

Veteran
watch youtube and hit google a bit and then armed with a camera and paper and pencil go ahead and strip them down, if you f' 'em up take them down LBS (Local Bike Shop) and get them to do them properly as it is very difficult to do any damage to the actual wheel if you are just a bit careful with the spokes
Cheers Ed
 
I bought my bearings from a well known motor factors and bicycle retailer with orange and black in its logo. They came assembled in steel cages and had to be removed from the cages before I could use them, but crucially they were 1/4" diameter and nine in number on each side. There probably are different grades of rolling bearing element, but I'm sure our general purpose application will be entirely satisfied by the H/fords offering, or those of any other bike bits retailer.

I think it wise to check the brgs every thousand miles or half year for a road bike, probably twice as frequently for a hard used MTB. A delicately focused ear'ole whilst rotating the wheel can give you a clue as to how your balls are holding up, so to speak! As with all things cycle wheel wise, silence is golden.
 

Cubist

Still wavin'
Location
Ovver 'thill
I've just replaced the ball bearings in the cup and cone hub in my Boardman's rear wheel. It's a Mavic wheel with a 9 speed cassette.

Once the wheel is off, start by thoroughly cleaning every part of the wheel. Unscrew the skewer nut making sure not to lose the spring and slide the skewer out. Put the spring back on the skewer, right way round and lightly screw the nut back on so it doesn't get lost.

If you can, remove the cassette using the chain whip and socket adaptor. This will improve access and also allow you to properly clean the sprockets while you've got it off the hub. It is possible to do the bearings without taking the cassette off however.

Using the correct size spanners, undo the cone and nut on the none drive side. Note the order of assembly (mobile phone photo might be an idea)
Slide the axle down a little way so that you can extract the balls with a magnet on a stick, or needle nose pliers. There are 9 in my hubs each side. Put them in an old cup or other suitable solvent resistant vessel.

Leaving the drive side cone and nut assembled, slide the axle out, over a shallow tray if you're wise, to catch any balls that may fall out from the drive side. Winkle out the balls from this second side of the hub.

Very thoroughly clean all the components and inspect. The balls should be clean and shiny, as should the races, particularly in the hub.

If everything is in apple pie order, the used balls can go back in, but a new set is only £4 or thereabouts so we're going to put new ones in aren't we.

Put plenty of new grease into the hub race on the drive side. carefully install each ball in turn, using the grease as an "adhesive" to hold them in place. Reinstall the axle.

Turn the wheel over and pack the other hub race with new grease. Install the balls in this race. Screw the cone back onto the axle so that it makes light contact with the balls give the axle a good few twiddles to ensure the balls are seating nicely.

Put the locknut back on. Retighten the cone and locknut, but do not over tighten the cone into the bearings. The axle must spin freely but with no perceptible end float. It's a delicate adjustment, and may take some time to get just right, but must be done correctly.

Back in with the skewer, wheel back on the bike, and check that the wheel rotates freely without any grumbles or rocking at the rim.

As my fellow cyclists will tell you, plenty of youtube vids to watch before doing the job for real.
Excellent instructions. The only thing I'd add would be to keep the bearings from each side separate, as they can wear at different rates. If you aren't going to put new bearings in as per Erbiste's excellent advice, then mixing up bearings from either side can make the newly greased and replenished bearings run lumpy, especially to the well tuned ear.
 

subaqua

What’s the point
Location
Leytonstone
thanks Eribiste, the use of a mobile phone to take photos of how things are arranged is good advice above all else! Having taken apart my tumble dryer to change the drum spindle I would have been lost without taking photos of where certain wires were placed.

re ball bearings, any particular make to go for or are they fairly standard wherever you get them?
If you can take a dryer apart to do the spindle, then wheel bearings on a bike will be a diddle for you. Eribiste write up is really good. I try to use a lithium grease as it is a little more water resistant
 
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