How bad of shape am I in?
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  1. #1
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    How bad of shape am I in?

    Something I just noticed today, when repairing a tube in my front tire, was that the front bearings on my bike have a LOT of play in them. The tire/rim can actually move about a quarter inch side to side, while the axle and skewers stay in place. The play seems to be coming from the bearings or hub. My back wheel does not do this. Is this something that can be repaired, or am I totally boned and in need of a new wheel?

    For reference, the wheelset is a 700c/29" MTB Weinmann set that I've used for everything from road riding to cyclocross and light XC MTB'ing.
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  2. #2
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    Hub needs to be adjusted. Nothing more, nothing less. Just a couple of cone wrenches is needed and a little time.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    Something I just noticed today, when repairing a tube in my front tire, was that the front bearings on my bike have a LOT of play in them. The tire/rim can actually move about a quarter inch side to side, while the axle and skewers stay in place. The play seems to be coming from the bearings or hub. My back wheel does not do this. Is this something that can be repaired, or am I totally boned and in need of a new wheel?

    For reference, the wheelset is a 700c/29" MTB Weinmann set that I've used for everything from road riding to cyclocross and light XC MTB'ing.
    If it's cup and cone, get out the cone wrenches, take it apart, put fresh grease in it, adjust it to the point of no play, and go. When apart, check the bearing surfaces and balls for cracks with a magnifying glass. But you knew that, right?

    Press fit sealed bearings? You're screwed. Why would anyone put sealed bearings in a wheel? To save money.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    If it's cup and cone, get out the cone wrenches, take it apart, put fresh grease in it, adjust it to the point of no play, and go. When apart, check the bearing surfaces and balls for cracks with a magnifying glass. But you knew that, right?

    Press fit sealed bearings? You're screwed. Why would anyone put sealed bearings in a wheel? To save money.
    Screwed? How so? Take the worn bearings out and replace them. WTF? And the OP had 1/4" of play and never noticed it? Jesus...talk about oblivious.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Screwed? How so? Take the worn bearings out and replace them. WTF? And the OP had 1/4" of play and never noticed it? Jesus...talk about oblivious.
    Come on man, it's his front wheel, it's not like he can see it oscillating while riding the bike.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    Come on man, it's his front wheel, it's not like he can see it oscillating while riding the bike.
    Or hear it rattling around every time he hits a bump? Or moves his bike around before or after a ride? Or does literally anything with the bike?

    I'm still wondering about the cartridge bearing comment too. No one has ever replaced those.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Screwed?
    Ahah. So if it develops play it isn't a sealed bearing? OK, case closed.

    If it were a sealed bearing, who's got a collection of sealed bearings in his toolbox and the tools to press them in? How much does it cost, when all you need are two cone wrenches and some grease? Are they still standard electric motor bearings designed to handle loads at high rpm in a straight line? The best Shimano and Campy hubs are still cup and cone, aren't they? Sez it all.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Ahah. So if it develops play it isn't a sealed bearing? OK, case closed.

    If it were a sealed bearing, who's got a collection of sealed bearings in his toolbox and the tools to press them in? How much does it cost, when all you need are two cone wrenches and some grease? Are they still standard electric motor bearings designed to handle loads at high rpm in a straight line? The best Shimano and Campy hubs are still cup and cone, aren't they? Sez it all.
    You are sorely mistaken if you think you can fix a hub that's had that much play w/ some grease and a couple of cone wrenches.
    Does everyone have the correct size balls and the right cones? Your argument is poor.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    You are sorely mistaken if you think you can fix a hub that's had that much play w/ some grease and a couple of cone wrenches.
    Does everyone have the correct size balls and the right cones? Your argument is poor.
    Well, ok, if the thing was loose for a while the balls get crushed and races destroyed. A locknut comes loose; the cone loosens up; and rider finally feels it. How long and how many miles does that take?

    I've adjusted many a cup and cone hub back to silky smooth when rolling in the hands, if it only had a few miles on it while out of adjustment. But yeah, I'm an optomist!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Or hear it rattling around every time he hits a bump? Or moves his bike around before or after a ride? Or does literally anything with the bike?
    How do you think those bikes you work on that are fried get that way? Slowly, gradually, in ways owners don't notice until it is really bad.

    I check my hubs whenever I tighten my skewers, old habit. I also notice them loose when I check air, but then I hold the bike and pinch the tire, so I feel something. If I were like many and leaned the bike and used a pump with a gauge, I might not notice for a while.

    Riding with a loose hub is not as bad as you might think. The main symptom is difficulty holding a line in a turn, since the wheels are out of alignment given the wheel flop for one wheel. You might get brake rub in turns. Other than that, in a straight line they ride fine. Noises hitting things can come from all sorts of places. It is actually easier to ride and not notice than most people think. At least if they loosen slowly over time. If they get really loose on a single ride, people are far more likely to notice the changes.

    I know this because I had a bike that started to have hub loosening problems, and needed to get the rest of a season out of it before a new bike. It had to be adjusted JUST right, and even then might loosen on the road. Might be fine for weeks. Might not. And since the whole bike was getting into one horse shay territory, I just stuck it out and waited for end of season sales to replace it.

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  11. #11
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    Since this thread is from a poster with 7,500 posts, I suspect he's trolling us. I mean, adjusting a bearing cone is the sort of basic maintenance that any 10 year old knows how to do.....
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    How do you think those bikes you work on that are fried get that way? Slowly, gradually, in ways owners don't notice until it is really bad.

    I check my hubs whenever I tighten my skewers, old habit. I also notice them loose when I check air, but then I hold the bike and pinch the tire, so I feel something. If I were like many and leaned the bike and used a pump with a gauge, I might not notice for a while.

    Riding with a loose hub is not as bad as you might think. The main symptom is difficulty holding a line in a turn, since the wheels are out of alignment given the wheel flop for one wheel. You might get brake rub in turns. Other than that, in a straight line they ride fine. Noises hitting things can come from all sorts of places. It is actually easier to ride and not notice than most people think. At least if they loosen slowly over time. If they get really loose on a single ride, people are far more likely to notice the changes.

    I know this because I had a bike that started to have hub loosening problems, and needed to get the rest of a season out of it before a new bike. It had to be adjusted JUST right, and even then might loosen on the road. Might be fine for weeks. Might not. And since the whole bike was getting into one horse shay territory, I just stuck it out and waited for end of season sales to replace it.

    For the one horse shay reference: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_D...7s_Masterpiece
    Bingo. While yes, I do generally do a rudimentary maintenance check just about every time I ride the bike, that's mostly just about checking tire pressures and ensuring the rims are true, and is performed with the bike upright on the ground. It wasn't until I had the front wheel off to replace a tube that I noticed any play around the bearing...it became apparent because there was no weight keeping the bearing in line. The reason I even posted here is because I was interested in getting a few opinions free of charge, since this site helped me immensely when I was sourcing parts and building up the bike. But, I've apparently committed a mortal sin by not devoting hours of tear-down and rebuild time every single time I want to go for a bike ride.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    Bingo. While yes, I do generally do a rudimentary maintenance check just about every time I ride the bike, that's mostly just about checking tire pressures and ensuring the rims are true, and is performed with the bike upright on the ground. It wasn't until I had the front wheel off to replace a tube that I noticed any play around the bearing...it became apparent because there was no weight keeping the bearing in line. The reason I even posted here is because I was interested in getting a few opinions free of charge, since this site helped me immensely when I was sourcing parts and building up the bike. But, I've apparently committed a mortal sin by not devoting hours of tear-down and rebuild time every single time I want to go for a bike ride.
    If the hub was that far out of adjustment you'd notice (you should notice) the play anytime you touched the bike. Lift it up to move it, you'd notice. I see bikes all the time w/ headsets that are wayyyyy loose and the rider has no idea. I guess maybe I'm wrong.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    If the hub was that far out of adjustment you'd notice (you should notice) the play anytime you touched the bike. Lift it up to move it, you'd notice. I see bikes all the time w/ headsets that are wayyyyy loose and the rider has no idea. I guess maybe I'm wrong.
    With 1/4" travel I would think brake rub would be pretty noticeable as well unless the OP likes to keep the pads wide.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Opus51569 View Post
    With 1/4" travel I would think brake rub would be pretty noticeable as well unless the OP likes to keep the pads wide.
    i generally keep my pads as wide as possible, meaning lock up close to lever-against-bar.
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  16. #16
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    In and among all the bickering in this thread, did anybody ask Old Fuji what kind of hubs these are? The wheels are Weinmann meaning the rims are Weinmann. Weinmann doesn't make any of the other components in their wheels.

    Are they cup and cone bearings (Shimano) or cartridge bearings (just about everything else)? I am perplexed by all the advice on bearings given here without knowing this.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    Bingo. While yes, I do generally do a rudimentary maintenance check just about every time I ride the bike, that's mostly just about checking tire pressures and ensuring the rims are true, and is performed with the bike upright on the ground. It wasn't until I had the front wheel off to replace a tube that I noticed any play around the bearing...it became apparent because there was no weight keeping the bearing in line. The reason I even posted here is because I was interested in getting a few opinions free of charge, since this site helped me immensely when I was sourcing parts and building up the bike. But, I've apparently committed a mortal sin by not devoting hours of tear-down and rebuild time every single time I want to go for a bike ride.
    Wouldn't you need to lift the wheel off the ground, by the handlebars in the front or the seat tube\post for the rear, and spin it to ensure the rim is true?
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  18. #18
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    I think he should tear the bike down before every ride and check it!
    Every little component, cause, definitely he is out of touch. He needs to get with one with his bike!
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Press fit sealed bearings? You're screwed. Why would anyone put sealed bearings in a wheel? To save money.
    Why wouldn't you want a seal? Don't your cup/cone bearings have seals?
    Or do you actually mean... Cartridge Bearings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    If it were a sealed bearing, who's got a collection of sealed bearings in his toolbox and the tools to press them in?

    Are they still standard electric motor bearings designed to handle loads at high rpm in a straight line?
    You're waaayyy confused on how cartridge bearings work. No need to stock them in your toolbox. They're readily available anywhere. I could go right down to the local bearings and drives shop and get them off the shelf. Or from Amazon in 1-2days. Or the LBS.

    In the time it takes you to take apart your cup/cone bearings, inspect, clean and grease, re-adjust, I can knock out and press in a cartridge bearing. It's not that difficult.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Why wouldn't you want a seal? Don't your cup/cone bearings have seals?
    Or do you actually mean... Cartridge Bearings?

    You're waaayyy confused on how cartridge bearings work. No need to stock them in your toolbox. They're readily available anywhere. I could go right down to the local bearings and drives shop and get them off the shelf. Or from Amazon in 1-2days. Or the LBS.

    In the time it takes you to take apart your cup/cone bearings, inspect, clean and grease, re-adjust, I can knock out and press in a cartridge bearing. It's not that difficult.
    Ok, so the sealed motor bearing available at the local hardware store gets wobbly, you press a new one in, and go. You can change wheel bearings as quickly as a chain or tire, no big deal. That's great.

    How does the scheme hold up? Do they handle the torsional flex with precision and give you a nice firm ride? How long do they last? How fast do they self destruct when the races are shot? What do they feel like spinning in your hand after 30,000 miles?

    Cup and cone bearings are so much more substantial. And you can adjust them perfectly! Nothing smoother, stronger, better riding, than a good ole cup and cone hub. They've stuck around at the highest quality levels for a reason.

    They have washers press fit into the hub around the axle, that prevent dirt from getting in. There are no plastic washers that gummy up the works. The wheel spins completely freely on the substantial balls and races. Spin a sealed bearing wheel and a cup and cone, and see which stops first!

    Repacking and adjusting the bearings is a rewarding way to spend a rainy winter afternoon. The next ride is magical.

    Cup and cone hubs are honest and out front. There are no faults cleverly hidden to ruin your day. They last longer than any other moving part on the bike if you take care of them.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    In and among all the bickering in this thread, did anybody ask Old Fuji what kind of hubs these are? The wheels are Weinmann meaning the rims are Weinmann. Weinmann doesn't make any of the other components in their wheels.

    Are they cup and cone bearings (Shimano) or cartridge bearings (just about everything else)? I am perplexed by all the advice on bearings given here without knowing this.
    They're definitely not Shimano hubs, so they're likely cartridge bearings

    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    Wouldn't you need to lift the wheel off the ground, by the handlebars in the front or the seat tube\post for the rear, and spin it to ensure the rim is true?
    I normally just look downward at the tire/rim while I'm rolling it into the driveway and see how it tracks between the brake pads.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    Something I just noticed today, when repairing a tube in my front tire, was that the front bearings on my bike have a LOT of play in them. The tire/rim can actually move about a quarter inch side to side, while the axle and skewers stay in place. The play seems to be coming from the bearings or hub. My back wheel does not do this. Is this something that can be repaired, or am I totally boned and in need of a new wheel?

    For reference, the wheelset is a 700c/29" MTB Weinmann set that I've used for everything from road riding to cyclocross and light XC MTB'ing.
    Is the wheel like this one? There's a lock nut on the end of the axle, but what its screwed onto is covered by the ubiquitous rubber dust shield. Could be a sealed bearing or cup and cone. If you pull back the rubber cover, you could see the flats on a cone nut, or a spacer or the sealed bearing.

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    Last edited by Fredrico; 05-30-2019 at 09:30 PM.

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