Nuts ‘n’ Bolts: Wheel Hub Rebuilds Made Easier

[[image:hub_mini.jpg::inline:1]]Wheels are the most significant part of a bicycle. The nature of the wheel determines, to a large extent, the look, feel, and operating characteristics of the bike.

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Published January 2nd, 2006 by C.I.C.L.E.
Contributed by HarvPhoto by Josef

Wheels are the most significant part of a bicycle. The nature of the wheel determines, to a large extent, the look, feel, and operating characteristics of the bike. So important is the wheel that early bikes were simply called "Wheels"; riders were called "Wheelmen"; and riding a bike was referred to as being "Awheel".

At the Bike Oven ( www.bikeoven.com ), it has become apparent that wheel problems and their solutions are the primary focus of attention on the old and well used bicycles that roll through our doorway. Here, we are going to take a closer look at facilitating that all important wheel hub service.

Two simple-to-make devices have proven invaluable. Some of us have already done it. We strip an axle to rebuild the hub, arranging the various nuts, washers, spacers, and cones on a work surface, trying to keep them in order. More often we lose track of what went where. Hmmm, did this spacer go on the right or the left? Was this washer inside the locknut or outside? Or we decide to not complete the job right now and just scoop up the bits and worry about it later.

Here is the exclusive Bike Oven development: The Axle Parts Organizer. With this, you simply drop the axle parts onto the appropriate peg in the order of disassembly. You can then stash the whole device on a shelf if not immediately needed, and the order of assembly will be preserved. Fabricating the organizer is very simple.

•Cut the heads off of two quarter-28 three inch bolts and grind or file the cut edge smooth.

•Tap quarter-28 threads into two 3/16 fender washers.

•Drill clearance holes three inches apart in a wood block, and counterbore underneath to recess the nut.

Assemble as shown in photo.

[[image:axlepartorganizer_copy4.jpg::left:1]][[image:axlepartsorganizer2_copy4.jpg::left:1]]

Anyone who has done hub service has had the experience of fishing out the ball bearings and have them bounce and fly around the work area. How you remove the bearings has a lot to do with this problem. You can easily make a simple magnetic bearing extractor to pull out those bearings in a single cluster.

Just hacksaw the tip off of an old screwdriver and epoxy or hot-glue on a small magnet. Now you have something that is easy to grip and won't get lost in the clutter.

[[image:hub1_copy1.jpg::left:1]][[image:hub2_copy1.jpg::left:1]]

How did you ever do without this? Any small magnet will do. If nothing else comes to hand, you can use Radio Shack rare-earth magnets, part number 64-1895. This tool can also be used to extract loose ball bearings from bottom brackets, headsets, and pedals.

With the magnetic ball bearing extractor and the axle parts organizer, wheel hub rebuilding is made quicker, easier, and neater. When you do as many hub rebuilds as we do at the Bike Oven, you need all the help you can get. Some day we may get to build a hub with cartridge bearings. When that day comes, I will be thinking about the best way to do it. Meanwhile, we have to keep those loose balls under control.

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