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  1. #1
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    Problem with Fulcrum Racing Sport

    10 miles in heavy rain the other day and I shook, bounced and dried the bicycle as I have done whenever this happens for many years. A few days later and I have crunchy rear wheel bearings on my Fulcrum Racing Sports. I even feel that there is ancillary noise in the cassette body. Never, ever had this type of problem with Campy Chorus. Aren't these Campy?

    Should I try to lube and adjust these myself or bring the wheel into the shop? Bike is only a couple of months old. I looked at the schematics for these hubs and they are clearly sealed bearings. How can this be?

  2. #2
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    Almost all hubs use sealed cartridge bearings now. Once a sealed bearing is "crunchy" it needs to be replaced. Lubing it, even if you can get the narrow seals out and reinstalled without damaging them, won't help.

    Does the hub have a preload adjustment? Some do, some depend on accurate machining. If it has a preload adjustment then it is possible that it's become too tight. Although in my experience they usually loosen, not tighten. Most likely a seal let in water which damaged a bearing.

  3. #3
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    No preload, actually pretty simple cones and locknuts so I dissassembled to take a look. Did the little finger test on the non-drive side cartridge bearing and it spun perfectly. Same test on the drive-side and "crunch". When the assembly is all together, it is difficult to tell which side is the problem, however once you know, you know.

    I will have to go to the LBS for warranty determination either from Bianchi or Fulcrum. I only have about a month and a couple of hundred miles on this Bianchi Intenso. One ride in the rain shouldn't have "shot" a cartridge bearing. Years ago, raced in the rain often and never had an issue as long as I drained and wiped down appropriately.

  4. #4
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    Eric, do you agree this is unreasonable for the drive-side bearing to be toast after 1 ride caught in the rain, a couple of hundred miles on a bike purchased in March? Also it looks to me like the drive-side bearing is part of the free hub body. On the other side I can see a pretty standard 6001rs cartridge.

  5. #5
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    GKSki,

    One rain storm? And only a few hundred miles??? Wow, this is another example of why it is hard to move completely away from either Shimano's and/or Campy's cup & cone system. I've got cup & cone hubs going 8-10 years (they've probably seen at least 200+ rainstorms in Belgium here during that time, and that's conservative), where I only service them once a year, cleaning & re-packing with thick green marine grease, and there is no scoring anywhere on these decade old cups and/or cones (balls get replaced every 30,000-35,000 miles). And living in Belgium means rain and cycling go hand in hand like sour Beer & Flanders! Heck, I've had Ultegra 600 hubs from early 90s that I just recently sold on Ebay for $80 for the set, and the things rolled just as smooth as the day they were new.

    I know the marketing slap that the modern sealed cartridge bearings provide unparalleled lightness, that they open up new markets for hubs (since they are so inexpensive, i.e like BHS and others mftr's hubs), and are (arguably) more easily serviceable....... but dam#, your type of story is repeated so often on different biking forums across the Internet that it isn't even funny. It's enough to make one wonder if we haven't taken a step back over the past decade with regards to hubs and BBs.

    I don't know if it ever will be possible, but if a company somehow develops a system to where the present cartridges are sealed on the order of cup & cone systems, and this sealing isn't so friction-loaded from having that type of seal, then they are going to win a lot of hearts & minds of cyclists, especially cup & cone holdouts.

    Until then, I just think it s#cks for someone like you, who had extreme joy in getting his new wheels (and/or bike with it), only to watch one little rain storm render that joy to a frustrating headache all because a cartridge system's seals still do not provide a basic level of protection (and when they do, those tough-sealed bearings drag so hard that they can't even compare to cup & cones roll-ability). You just never, ever heard that with cup & cone and square taper BB systems, and I remember many, many a bike from friends rolling out of shops back in the 70s, 80s and 90s. It simply was never an issue.

    I sincerely hope you get a new bearing put in your Fulcrums for free, because one rain storm and a few hundred miles, in my eyes, is not right. I know you probably already realize this, but you can get a bearing pressfit tool (it's easy to rig one up from Home Depot for ~$10-12, I've done it for a myself since the wife has a cartridge wheel set) and then you might as well buy a stash of 20-30 6001rs bearings for like $12-$15 on Ebay and pop in a new one every now & then after a soaking or two. That way the crunchiness-issue can be headed off at the pass

    Cartridges are great when you live in a climate that doesn't see a lot of elements, but they definitely are a PITA if you live where that is not true. So many guys here have their race wheelsets, along with their summer training and winter training wheelsets. Guess what types of hubs are on both training wheelsets and what type of hub is on the pampered race day wheelset?
    Last edited by BelgianHammer; 05-18-2015 at 12:14 AM.

  6. #6
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    No, one ride in the rain and a few hundred miles is not normal, and justifies a warranty claim. Doesn't matter what type of bearings or wheels we are talking about. For what it's worth, the cartridge bearings in my Zipps are still perfect, after 14000 miles. The haven't seen all that much rain overall, but there have been quite a few heavy rainstorms among those miles nevertheless.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the responses.

    Yes, I have had many racing and training miles done in heavy downpours over the years. Racing here in the Northeast US can be a lot like Belgium. With Campagnolo stuff, never had an issue. After the rain, bounce the bike gently, spin the wheels, wipe off whatever water you can then hang the bike to dry and relube the chain.

    Ironically, the Fulcrum wheels are actually Campagnolo. Also wonder if the rain ride could be a coincidence. Maybe the cartridge bearing was defective or seated incorrectly in the first place.

    One odd thing that I noticed when looking at the exploded parts diagram for the Racing Sport and that is that there doesn't seem to be a matching 6001RS cartridge bearing on the drive side. There is a cartridge bearing, but it apppears to be part of the cassette freehub body. You can see the difference when looking at the parts diagram for their Racing 7 rear hub and the Racing Sport rear hub below.

    Problem with Fulcrum Racing Sport-fulcrumwheels_page_2.jpgProblem with Fulcrum Racing Sport-fulcrumwheels_page_1.jpg

  8. #8
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    "....Ironically, the Fulcrum wheels are actually Campagnolo. Also wonder if the rain ride could be a coincidence. Maybe the cartridge bearing was defective or seated incorrectly in the first place....."

    Yeah, they do come bad. Had to replace a brand new one (zero miles on the wheel when it was mailed to me over here) and it was cheaper to replace the bearing than mail it back and have them do it. This was the thread:

    Novatec/Bitex hubs vs. BHS-style hubs: bearing servicing


    Regarding the hub and cartridge bearing, as far as I know, they all come out. It is just a matter of how. Some have retaining clips in them (where you need a special tool to get at them), others, if I understand our resident RBR wheelbuilders correctly, you can just use a blind puller (or one of these that costs $10: Abi Enduro Cartridge Bearing Puller | eBay) and pull the bloody thing out. Either way, if there's a cartridge bearing in there, in some way it has to come out.

  9. #9
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    I had a wheel hub bearing go bad on a new bike's stock wheels after the first rain ride. Could have been a defective seal or just bearings that did not have that high quality seals.

    The replacement (from the LBS under warranty, so I assume it was similar quality) has stood up to many rain rides. I suggest asking the LBS if they will replace it under warranty.

    There has to be a bearing on the drive side of the hub, it's just not shown in the diagram.
    Sometimes the DS bearing is larger than the NDS so don't order a bearing for it based on the NDS's size.

  10. #10
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    Hmmm...just odd that you can see the DS bearing on all their other wheels, just not on this Racing Sport. It is as if it is integral in the cassette body. Please take a look at the exploded diagram again.

    I am certainly going to pursue with the LBS. Should be 1 year from Bianchi and I know Fulcrum has 2 years on their wheels. Only reason I am researching this is because LBS is more than 50 miles.

  11. #11
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    Those are entry level wheels. Probably very similar to the Fulcrum Racing 7s that came on my Bianchi. I got a year out of them. Currently hanging up in my garage as spares. Your wheels should have lasted a bit longer but they are cheap wheels to start with. I looked them up, you can get them for $175.00 a pair on Wiggle. I would call the shop and see if they will honor the warranty. The problem is you might be without your wheels for a while. Personally I would buy (or build) a better set and keep the Fulcrums for a back up set.

  12. #12
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    Hey Ericm979,

    Can't GKSki just turn that axle around (like you showed told me to do with mine in that other thread) and use the shoulder on the axle to tap that DS bearing out on the cassette body?? I know it will possibly mess with the bearing, but the OP would at least know what size it is and could order some new ones to always have on hand.

    (Disclaimer: it is hard for me to tell, on my computer screen, from GKSki's blowup pic, if that axle even has shoulders)

  13. #13
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    Don't know what you mean by shoulders as the axle is dead straight. I confess, I do wonder how you remove the cassete body on this hub. In the diagram, what do you suppose that part is just to the right of the 4-R5-004? Looks like it has some hex or torx head to it. Conitnue to wonder why the DS bearing is different on this Racing Sport than it is on their 7's, 5's or 3's.

  14. #14
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    The diagram's axle has two lines that could be shoulders. It's hard to tell. I think that hub diargram is incomplete as it does not show the DS bearing or the full set of spacers between the hub bearing or the disassembled freehub with its bearings and spacers.

    If the freehub pulls off (after removing an axle cap, possibly coming with the axle) you could read the numbers printed on the seal of the DS bearing. But the shop should be able to deal with it.

  15. #15
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    Thanks, Eric. I have had the axle out and it is straight, no shoulders. I can see that the NDS is a 6001RS but the DS has a seal which doesn't remove straight away and I don't wish to tear it. I am beginning to thing that you have to remove the NDS bearing so that you can get a large hex in to remove the freehub body. By the way that doesn't sound that smooth either, as if the pawls have been gummed up. I suspect a seal on the freehub body failed allowing contamination of the DS bearing and the freehub body.

    In any event, called the "LBS" 60 miles away and they said they would be happy to help.

  16. #16
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    Over time and with some cone nut adjustment, the wheel is spinning more smoothly. I am now convinced that there is no drive side bearing. There certainly is a 12mm cone nut on the non-drive side that seats inside the 6001 cartridge bearing, but on the drive side there is no such cone entering what I thought was a cartridge bearing inside. Instead the 9.85mm axle is supported inside the freehub body just by itself. Look again at this parts diagram and you will see what I mean.

    Problem with Fulcrum Racing Sport-fulcrumracingsportrearhub.jpg

  17. #17
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    GKSki,

    Am I understanding you correctly in saying there is only 1 bearing in the whole rear hub assembly? On the NDS hub itself only???

    I'm not a mechanical engineer nor a world cycling component guru, but as far as I understand hub design, there HAS to be some sort of bearing on the DS. Otherwise, the ratchet pawl mechanism, when it grabs and releases, would not spin at all as the freehub cassette would be in lockstep motion with the spinning hub. You'd essentially be riding a fixed wheel rear hub with no coasting ability. Can you coast? If so, there is either another bearing in the DS hub body, or there is some sort of cased bearing in the cassette body itself, the one that you says supports that axle. The freehub, yes, can ride on the axle, (and I may be wrong here) but there's no way it can both support the weight of the rider and also allow the pawls, both engaged and not engaged, to function without some sort of ability to spin independently of the whirling hub. When the cassette releases, what in heck is it spinning freely on? Air????

    You took that axle out? You diassembled everything, yes? I just watched this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RvHCM4_J9k .....it is the same hub that you have on your Fulcrum Racing Sports (in fact, from what I can tell, nearly all of Fulcrum's hubs have the same basic design). Note the TWO bearings he ends up removing, one from the NDS, the other from the DS.

    I guess I could be completely screwed up on this, sorry if so. But I am just having a hard time understanding how the DS feehub body doesn't have any sort of bearings in it all, or the DS of the hub body doesn't have a pressed-in bearing (just like the NDS). I wish someone would explain to me how the cassette freehub can work without any sort of bearings in the DS hub body and/or cassette freehub anywhere. Resting and supported on the axle just doesn't make sense.
    Last edited by BelgianHammer; 05-21-2015 at 12:08 PM.

  18. #18
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    I exagerated just a little bit, but not much. These Racing Sports are as the diagram suggests, completely different from all of their other wheels. I almost think that they did not make this model. The video you referenced could not come close to how this Racing Sport is assembled/disassembled. There must be a bearing, I agree, but I believe it is part of the freehub body. And I have never seed cartridge bearings used where there wasn't what we used to refer as a cone nut that seats inside the inner diameter of the cartridge supporting the axle. That is true for the non-drive side hear, but on the drive side the axle thickens to 10mm and is supported directly. No cone nut entering the inside diameter of this apparently 10mm bearing. Very strange construction and no wonder my issue.

  19. #19
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    There are bearings inside the freehub body. It turns on the axle.
    The DS of the hub also will have a bearing. The diagram just doesn't show those bearings. You will have to take it apart to see them.

    The "cone nut" you adjusted is the preload adjuster.

  20. #20
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    Eric, that simply is not true with this particular model. Their diagram is quite accurate. Yes there is a 10mm ID bearing at the end of the freehub body that the axle turns on directly. That is it. And there is no preload going on, just the old fashioned cone and locknut. Are you speaking from having these Racing Sports in front of you?

  21. #21
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    It would be impossible for the hub to function without a bearing towards the DS of the shell.

    Once you have the freehub removed it will become apparent.

    Campy has the habit in it's drawings of not showing parts that they don't believe should be owner servicable. Their drawings are not a complete description of the assembly. Don't take it literally.
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  22. #22
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    I keep saying that the 1 DS bearing is in the freehub body outermost. I can look through the freehub body, through the hub shell and out the other side and that is the only DS bearing. I big point I was trying to make is that this DS bearing supports the axle naked. There is no cone seated inside the cartridge bearing ID as I am familiar with from the early days of cartridge bearings, and as is implemented on the NDS. By the way, I have never found any instruction anywhere, either on Fulcrum's website or any cycling site, on who to remove the freehub body and the "cone" on the NDS is not a pre-load. I agree that the Fulcrum Racing 7s down to their better models implement a preload and use matching cartridge bearings.

  23. #23
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    Hubs (think about a front hub to avoid confusion) need two bearings. Deep groove ball bearings can't handle much side load. A single one would have a very short life. Angular contact bearings can handle side loads but only from one side, so you need two of those as well. Classic cup and cone bearings are angular contact bearings, with the bearing preload adjusted by turning the cup on the axle threads.

    Freehubs (and freewheels for that matter) also need two bearings for the same reason. That makes four bearings.

    Most modern freehubs have the hub on a common axle with a freewheel, with the freehub driving the hub via pawls on the freehub that engage the teeth on the hub. There's no other contact between the two parts.

    A few hubs leave off the NDS side freehub bearing and instead have a bushing between the freehub and the hub there. There is not enough room for a ball bearing and if the bushing is between the hub and freehub it's only turning when the rider is coasting, so there's not much pressure on it. Some Mavics and some Extralight hubs do this.

    Earlier Shimano DA freehubs had the freehub turning on the hub instead of on the axle. The advantage to this is that when the wheel and pedals are turning there are only two bearings turning, rather than four on the common axle approach. (when coasting, four are turning where only two are in the common axle design). But it is more complex and heavier than the common axle, and ball bearing friction is so low that it's not worth doing.

  24. #24
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    Update: The LBS swapped out the drive side cartridge bearing that is located at the end of the freehub body as they said the old one was seized. That seems to help the axle rotation a lot, however the freehub body is still making a lot of noise on freewheel or rotated backwards. I'm amazed how very little backwards crank rotation can get the rear wheel spinning counterclockwise. Going to take it out on the road and see if this freehub body can sort things out.

  25. #25
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    Did you lube the freehub paws? Since you fixed one big issue, the next one is presenting itself.
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