Brian's Blog

…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World

Cup & Cone Woes

My bike occasionally emits a light grating noise from the rear axle – it comes and goes now and then through some rides – I’ve stripped it down, cleaned it out and replaced the grease and bearing to no avail – doing this made no difference. I thought I would have another crack at it… and share with you the almost certain culprit…

One side of the non-drive-side rear cup: smooth and shiny... rotate the wheel 180 degrees... not so smooth and shiny.

One side of the non-drive-side rear cup: smooth and shiny… rotate the wheel 180 degrees… not so smooth and shiny.


I’m pretty sure I spotted the blemish in the non-drive-side cup last time I serviced it, now it seems more obvious and I see now the pitting in the cone – it reminds me of the Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9’s impact with the planet Jupiter back in 1994, you see the impact zone and then the shrapnel as it travels the circumference. It looks to me like the result of hitting a pot hole or dropping off a cub too heavily with a heavy load on my rear rack/panniers – one of the bearings took the brunt and sank into the cone (all bearings seemed fine so they must be of tougher stuff). I’m pretty sure my impact event occurred well over a year ago now.

The complete solution is to fit a complete new hub and axle set and since I really don’t think dismantling my wheel is something I want to attempt, it would mean not only paying for the new hub but paying someone to fit it – I really can’t justify it so I will ride this one out – what’s the worst that can happen? – the hub completely gives out or becomes gradually unrideable and I need a new hub – the end result is the same.

This was only part of my woes; even though I have stripped down the axle once before, on watching Youtube videos on the process this time and then referring to my own bike it seems my axle is ‘the other way round’ to most with my lock nut on the other side and I could never see the point of undoing the lock nut to remove the axle – I just undid the other side *shrugs* plus I don’t have a cone spanner, and doing it the way I did I never needed one!

For now I will consider re-dismantling the hub, measuring the cone and ordering a replacement (and cone spanner) – there’s a plethora of options available it seems – then putting it all back together so I can continue riding it in the meantime until the part arrives, dismantling it again and fitting the new bit. Oh fun! Doing this will only address half of the problem but it may be sufficient to see the hub through some more years and miles yet.


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This entry was posted on 24 February, 2016 by in Cycling and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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