Wednesday, December 15, 2010

a really surly hub re-build

My Surly hubs are a constant pain in the ass. I've spent more time screwing around with my fixed gear wheelset than my Hope Pro IIs or Industry 9s. Anybody who says fixed gears are maintenance free is delusional. Or they ride a really creaky bike.

Anyway, before the Gnar Check was a Gnar Check, it was just a plain old lime green Cross Check.

I raced cross on it for a few months, and while I was doing the Dirty Dozen fixed, the rear hub died. Tim Carson pulled it apart, and found the bearings entirely smashed. He put some ceramic bearings in. We hoped that would solve the problem forever.

It didn't. The hubs are super finicky because they're adjustable cartridge bearings. Too tight and the wheel won't turn, too loose and rim wobbles side to side. The other day my back wheel stopped turning again. So I pulled it apart.

I didn't take any pictures of disassembly, but it's pretty simple. Unscrew all the stuff on one side of the axle and slide it out. I don't have any cone wrenches, so I used needle nose pliers.

The naked axle:

The end caps fall out when the axle is gone, and the bearings are exposed. I carefully pried the seal off the front of the bearing with a razor blade. It was very crunchy inside.

Wiped out all the crap, then packed it with a shit ton of grease. It's gonna be a long winter. The road salt'll wash out all the extra.

I worked the grease into the bearings by spinning it with my finger, then popped the seal back on and pressed it down with my finger nail. Boom. No more crunchy bearings.

Set the end cap back on the hub.

Greased the axle and slid it back in.

Then screwed everything back onto the axle.

I screwed everything together with my fingers. A wrench will make the bearings too tight when they're clamped down in the frame.

While I had the wheel off, I cleaned up my dropouts.

Same brush I use to get knots out of my hair.

Then I achieved proper chain tension by wedging a big Made in USA (Chinese round things won't work) round thing between the frame and the tire.

And then I made sure the axle nuts were tight. But my wheel always manages to slip forward at the worst times, so I went crazy and made doubly sure that everything was tight.

I stepped on that shit. With my foot. (I'm not sure how else you would step on something, but I still felt the need to specify.)

And now it's tight.

(note- You'll probably crush bearings if you step on wrenches. The torque settings on my foot are just calibrated better than most peoples.)


John said...

Hey, stranger (really, don't know you). Is that Crosscheck a 56? If so, could you measure the distance from BB to front axle? Thnking of buying one soon and want to check it against a frame I have...thanks, the interweb karma gods will surely smile on you.

Paul said...

Great post, nice pics and nice mug. I learned about 3 useful things... especially the screwdriver trick!

I'm repacking my own Surly hub, I concur that these are a pain. Mine hold tension for about a week after tightening the cones and then the wheel starts wobbling again...