How to Repair a Rear Hub on a Bicycle

How to Repair a Rear Hub on a Bicycle
The majority of hub problems can be attributed to poor hub adjustment or dry, worn bearings. Common symptoms include noise from the hub, stiff axle rotation, and sideways rattling of the wheel. Disassembling the rear hub, replacing the old bearings, and adjusting the hub properly should repair many of these problems.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Disassembly

Things You’ll Need:
  • Cone wrench (usually 15mm)
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Bicycle bearing and axle grease
  • Replacement bearings (as needed)
  • Cassette lock-ring tool
  • Chainwhip
  • Cloth or towel
 
Step 1
Remove the rear wheel from the bicycle and place it over a light-colored towel or cloth. The towel will serve to collect any fallen parts during hub disassembly.
Step 2
Remove the rear cassette by inserting a lock-ring tool in the center of the cassette. Attach the chain portion of a chain whip across one of the sprockets. Using an adjustable wrench, rotate the lock-ring tool counterclockwise. This cassette can now be removed.
Step 3
Slide a 15 mm cone wrench onto the flat portion of the left, or non-drive, side axle cone. The cone sits between the outer wall of the hub and the outer lock-nut on the axle.
Step 4
Fit an adjustable wrench onto the axle nut beside the cone and turn the axle nut counterclockwise. Loosen the cone and lock-nut, and slide the axle from the right side of the hub.
Step 5
Check the exposed bearings from both sides of the hub. If the bearing grease is dry or the bearings are pitted, they will need to be replaced. Healthy bearings will require fresh grease only.

Reassembly

Step 1
Apply fresh grease to the bearing cups and carefully press each bearing, new or recycled, into the grease beside one another. If you replaced your old bearings, the new bearings will have to be the same size. Apply a second layer of grease over the top of the bearings.
Step 2
Clean the axle of any old grease and afterward apply fresh grease over the length of it.
Step 3
Thread the axle back into the hub, carefully, so as not to disturb the bearings. Immediately thread the left cone and washer back onto the axle. Tighten with your fingers only.
Step 4
Use your cone wrench to tighten the left side lock nut against the cone. If there is play in the hub, continue to tighten the lock-nut. If the wheel does not spin freely, loosen the lock-nut.
Step 5
Reattach the rear cassette. Once again insert the cassette lock-ring removal tool into the center of the cassette. Use an adjustable wrench to turn the lock-ring tool clockwise.
 

Article Written By Matthew Ferguson

Matthew Ferguson is a writer living in Savannah, Ga. He has been writing for over 10 years and his work has appeared on various online publications. A collection of his short stories was published in spring 2010. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

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