How often to re-grease hubs

flyby
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How often to re-grease hubs

Postby flyby » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:57 pm

Hi all,

Another n00b question. I searched and read up on this on here and generally and now need clarification.

Both Sheldon Brown and Zinn suggest that you must regularly overhaul and repack your hubs for hub longevity and smooth rolling.

Nowhere can I find what exactly regularly means. Can I get an idea of how often I should be doing this - I assume this figure will be in kilometres rather than time.

My hubs are sitting on about 4000kms I would guess, and I'm wondering if it is time once I get my pot of grease in the mail.

rustychisel
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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby rustychisel » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:56 pm

When it's time is the correct answer really...

when they need it. More often if you ride a lot in rain and grit, if the bearings feel crunchy, or are notching (dragging). I've got wheels that are more like 10,000 - 12,000km without a regrease because I'm lazy, over-taxed and can't be bothered. And the wheels just keep on going and owe me nothing.

But you should do it soon, just to check on progress and see how the wearing is going. Funny thing is lots of hubs etc ship as new with bugger all grease, or have very old dry grease in them when shipped, so I am in the habit of giving wheels a damn good overhaul before I put them on a bike. That way I know how they were when they started out and that they were greased properly from the get go. You should satisfy yourself on that score too before the wheels get any older.

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elStado
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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby elStado » Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:26 pm

I just did my front wheel hub the other week. Was installing new brake pads and noticed the front hub was a bit noisy. Pulled it apart, cleaned out all the dirt and grease, re-packed and adjusted it.

Took me almost an hour though to get the hub adjusted properly, kept overtightening so there was too much resistance. I always have issues with this, so just be aware if you don't have experience - it can get pretty frustrating.

I've only done maybe 2000km max on that bike, but a lot of it was in wet and dirty conditions. Plus it was a cheap OEM wheel, so not the best job done from the start.
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il padrone
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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby il padrone » Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:57 pm

Front hub - Schmidt dynohub: sealed bearings, strict instructions not to service.

Rear hub - Rohloff Speedhub 500/14: sealed bearings, not to be serviced; return to Rohloff for any necessary service (ie. extremely unlikey)


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HappyHumber
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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby HappyHumber » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:20 pm

Are you sure your bearings are loose ball and not sealed?

Barring consistent or prolonged immersion in water, or them being compromised by any solvent like degreaser or kero - sealed bearings should still be fine after this time.

Pull the wheels off the bike and turn the axles in with your fingers whilst holding the rim stationary. All being well you won't' feel any points of resistance or apparent grit.

flyby wrote:My hubs are sitting on about 4000kms I would guess, and I'm wondering if it is time once I get my pot of grease in the mail.


Grease is cheap enough from your local Supa-cheap auto or preferred Auto spares store. Don't pay postage or be duped into thinking you absolutely need something bicycle specific - therebypaying a premium. Most people swear by marine grade (for water repellant qualities). I'll try a tub of that when I finished the tub of regular, general purpose stuff I bought about 11 years ago and still barely halfway through. It comes in little 500g tubs.
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elStado
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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby elStado » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:42 pm

HappyHumber wrote:Grease is cheap enough from your local Supa-cheap auto or preferred Auto spares store. Don't pay postage or be duped into thinking you absolutely need something bicycle specific - therebypaying a premium. Most people swear by marine grade (for water repellant qualities). I'll try a tub of that when I finished the tub of regular, general purpose stuff I bought about 11 years ago and still barely halfway through. It comes in little 500g tubs.


Agreed. I bought a tub of Castrol boating grease for $10 (on your recommendation if I recall correctly) and it lasts forever as you only need a small amount. Used it when overhauling my headset, wheel hubs, bottom brackets and more. Works perfectly, and as a bonus it is anti-corrosive and repels water.
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flyby
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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby flyby » Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:06 am

elStado wrote:Took me almost an hour though to get the hub adjusted properly, kept overtightening so there was too much resistance. I always have issues with this, so just be aware if you don't have experience - it can get pretty frustrating.


This doesn't sound good! Zinn rated it as a level 2 (medium) job, so I thought I'd probably be able to do it but might leave it for the pros.

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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby HappyHumber » Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:55 am

flyby wrote:
elStado wrote:Took me almost an hour though to get the hub adjusted properly, kept overtightening so there was too much resistance. I always have issues with this, so just be aware if you don't have experience - it can get pretty frustrating.
This doesn't sound good! Zinn rated it as a level 2 (medium) job, so I thought I'd probably be able to do it but might leave it for the pros.


It's a technique that takes practice. I wouldn't pretend I am expert at it, but I am wary of the pitfalls. No description in a book by a industry professional, like Zinn or a forum by enthusiastic amateurs can replace the tactile experience and action of trying it for yourself.

Read, absorb and try young Padawan. Don't wuss out to your LBS; unless you have a good enough relationship with their staff (read : you spend money there and you're comfortable talking to them) to ask for tips and pointers.

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How often to re-grease hubs

Postby singlespeedscott » Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:29 am

Don't give up as everyone is saying. Do it a few times and you'll be a pro. As for when to service them. I do it when they feel gritty. I run 35 year old Campagnolo Record hubs on my commuter and they are still on their original bearings, cups and cones. I service them when they need it. I usually do the rear every 3 or 4 months. The front I haven't needed to touch in nearly 3 years! I guess the rear gets sprayed with more crap of the front tyre in the rain. I probably wouldn't need to do the rear as often on a more modern hub as they are sealed better but because these old hubs roll so smoothly and they are so easy to service I just can't see the point.
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DarrylH
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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby DarrylH » Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:44 pm

Depends a lot also on the hubs you are running. Bottom level with no seals require frequent servicing, high level cup and cone with good seals require much less and sealed bearing hubs require none until the bearings have to be replaced.

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HappyHumber
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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby HappyHumber » Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:42 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:Don't give up as everyone is saying.

Who said give up? Don't think it was "everyone" :P
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elStado
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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby elStado » Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:49 pm

HappyHumber wrote:
singlespeedscott wrote:Don't give up as everyone is saying.

Who said give up? Don't think it was "everyone" :P


I think SSS was reiterating everyone saying to not give up.

I agree. It is a bit of a finicky job, but you do get better at it over time as you get a feel for it. I only have to deal with cup&cone bearings once every 6 months so I don't get enough practice.

The secret is to to make sure you aren't in a rush, take your time, feel it out and maybe have a cup of herbal tea to keep you stress free while you do it. It's easy to become flustered and angry with it when you are first figuring it out and it isn't working for you after a few tries, but if you stick it out you'll get it sorted, even if by fluke as I usually do. QR also throws a spanner in the works as other have mentioned and I have found out the hard way.

Practice, practice, practice!
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Mitchell N
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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby Mitchell N » Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:21 pm

Most if not all bike hubs are sealed bearings and I doubt they will give you much trouble over the life of the wheel.. maybe if the bike sat stagnet for 2 years you might find that the bearing might start to deteriorate or start to develop flats on the balls themselves.

I find how ever that overtime the free hubs are much more of an issue, I have Zipp 404's and if they are used in the rain the freehub actually develops a creaking noise as the water washes the grease out and over a few hundred Km rides it'll eventually creak, so I generally overhaul and re-grease the freehub body every 8 - 10 months and it's a very easy job. Anyone who knows how to use two allen keys will be able to do it!

P.S If you ever develop a bottom bracket creak and servicing it doesnt fix the issue, check the free hub! i spent 2 years chasing and researching ways to fix a creak around the bottom bracket area and it turned out to be the freehub! Good old Zipp forums! :wink:

Hope this helps!

Mitch

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il padrone
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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby il padrone » Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:19 pm

Mitchell N wrote:Most if not all bike hubs are sealed bearings and I doubt they will give you much trouble over the life of the wheel..

I could be mistaken but it is my understanding that all or most Shimano hubs still run serviceable ball bearings.
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rjl3175
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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby rjl3175 » Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:37 pm

il padrone wrote:
Mitchell N wrote:Most if not all bike hubs are sealed bearings and I doubt they will give you much trouble over the life of the wheel..

I could be mistaken but it is my understanding that all or most Shimano hubs still run serviceable ball bearings.

yep

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Re: How often to re-grease hubs

Postby rdp_au » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:07 am

rjl3175 wrote:
il padrone wrote:
Mitchell N wrote:Most if not all bike hubs are sealed bearings and I doubt they will give you much trouble over the life of the wheel..

I could be mistaken but it is my understanding that all or most Shimano hubs still run serviceable ball bearings.

yep


Not in my experience either. Yet to come across a sealed bearing.

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