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How to Overhaul Your Hubs

You will need:

  • Two cone wrenches
  • Pen magnet
  • Grease
  • Rag

This guide covers how to take hubs apart, clean everything, and regrease them. (This focuses mainly on unsealed hubs. Sealed bearings usually do not require service, but eventually they will need replacement.)

1. Remove wheel.

Start by removing the wheel from the bike, and then remove the quick release and set it aside.

Also, remove any rubber cover that may be covering the cone and/or locknut.

2. Lock driveside locknut in place.

When you work with hubs, you only need to adjust one side – the other side’s cone and locknut should be locked in place. (The locked side should be the driveside, although it doesn’t really matter on a front wheel.)

To do this, put one wrench on the cone and the other on the locknut. Turn the cone counter-clockwise while turning the locknut clockwise.

3. Remove left cone and locknut.

Remove the left cone and locknut from the axle by turning them counterclockwise. Also remove any spacers from the axle.

Make sure to keep these in order, so you can put them back on correctly!

4. Remove bearings.

Slide the axle out of the hub (to the right side.) Watch for any bearings that might fall out.

Count the bearings on each side of the hub, so you know how many to put back in, per side.

Now take your pen magnet and pick all the bearings out of the hub, and place them off to the side with the axle.

5. Clean it out.

Now it’s time to clean everything. Take a rag and wipe off the axle, cone, bearings, and the inside of the hub, specifically the bearing races. A dry rag will work, although using a little degreaser is fine.

6. Grease.

Apply a big bead of grease in the hub shell’s bearing cups. Each side should be packed with grease.

While you’re at it, lightly grease the axle threads.

7. Put bearings back in.

Carefully place the bearings back into the hub, pressing them into the fresh grease.

Put some more grease on top of them, too.

8. Replace axle.

Now you can slide the axle back into place.

Reinstall the cone, locknut, and any spacers on the left side.

9. Adjust the hub.

Now you can adjust the hub, put the wheel back on your bike, and ride!