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I hope i am asking the right question. Question is how do you know when to change the bearings in your wheel hubs. I am new at this type of maintenance. Help appreciated.
 

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When your wheels are off the bike, try turning the axle with your fingers. Many hubs feel like they have some drag, which is from the seals. That's not a problem. Turning the axle should feel smooth, whether there's a lot of resistance or a little. If it feels rough, you need to service your hub. What that means, exactly, depends on the hub.
 

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I normally replace the balls in my cup and cone hubs when I do an overhaul, usually once per season unless I've been in the wet a lot. Cheap peace of mind IMO.
 

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Too many variables

spinnertsaf said:
I hope i am asking the right question. Question is how do you know when to change the bearings in your wheel hubs. I am new at this type of maintenance. Help appreciated.
As AndrwSwitch described, if you have a binding or grittiness feeling when you turn the axle with your fingers, then at a minimum you need to clean things and relube with grease. Many wheels use cartridge bearings that have to be replaced as a unit and are not really something you can maintain.

As to Mike Prince's advice to replace the bearings every year, I say no. My current hubs have 60,000 miles (97,000 km) on them and the bearings are just fine. These are not cartridge bearing hubs, so I clean and re-grease once per year. No need to replace anything unless it is exhibiting the symptoms noted above.
 

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Are you talking about hubs with cartridge bearings, or a good quality hub with ball bearings?

I replaced bearings, and a cone, on a rear, built with a 7400 8 speed hub, last year......so.....15 years.

None of my 7400 front hubs have been touched.

I try to change the grease in them every 7-8 years.

Back in the 80's, hubs had crappy seals. I had to rebuild every year......sometimes more often.
 

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Kerry Irons said:
As AndrwSwitch described, if you have a binding or grittiness feeling when you turn the axle with your fingers, then at a minimum you need to clean things and relube with grease. Many wheels use cartridge bearings that have to be replaced as a unit and are not really something you can maintain.

As to Mike Prince's advice to replace the bearings every year, I say no. My current hubs have 60,000 miles (97,000 km) on them and the bearings are just fine. These are not cartridge bearing hubs, so I clean and re-grease once per year. No need to replace anything unless it is exhibiting the symptoms noted above.

I agree with this if they are ball and cone hubs (Shimano etc), repack with grease once a year. No need to replace bearings unless they feel rough, then also check cones. You will see the pitting in the cones. You will also need special cone wrenches, which are thinner than normal wrenches. The tricky part is the re-adjustment. tight enough so they are not loose yet not too tight that they bind. I just bought some 7900 DA hubs which have a click to adjust mechanism, which is supposed to be wrench free. I'll find out next summer. Hopefully no finicky adjustment for me from now on.

Cones and balls can be had from AEbike.com, it's a good exercise in patience to rebuild hubs and satisfying at the same time (if you like stuff like that).
 
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