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· So. Calif.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I removed a wheel from my wife's relatively new (<250 mile) Dolce Elite bike, I was not at all happy with the setup of the hubs.

The front hub axle had a pronounced gritty feeling and dragged. Rear hub axle turned smoothly but dragged significantly. Specialized's literature just calls the hubs "Specialized forged alloy, 24/28 hole, double sealed bearings, straight pull spokes".

Took both wheels back to LBS. The front hub seems OK now -- LBS said the hub was "missing a ball bearing" (?! WTF).

Rear hub still seems to have excessive drag. Feels as if an extremely thick viscous grease was used, but the bit of grease that has oozed out seems "normal" weight.

LBS claims "that's about as good as rear hub will get" and shrugged.

>> Am wondering whether to have another Specialized dealer look at rear hub , do a cone/seat adjustment myself, or accept LBS's opinion ??

By comparison, my bike's mid-range Shimano WH-R500 hubs are very free spinning -- no drag, no play.


I also read at Park Tool's website,
http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=105
Quick release hubs have hollow axles that flex slightly when the quick release is closed. Hub bearing adjustments must account for this extra pressure. When a quick release hub is not clamped tight in the frame, there should be a slight amount of play in the axle. This play disappears when the hub and wheel are clamped in the frame.

The Specialized rear hub has No play when it's out of the bike -- so maybe the cone/seat is too tight and should adjusted looser ??

Or could some rubber grease seals simply be inherently tight ?? -- which might free up as the seals wear.

TIA.
 

· So. Calif.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
More reading ... Sheldon Brown's website also states:
http://sheldonbrown.com/cone-adjustment.html
... quick-release mechanism compresses the axle slightly when it is tightened. If you adjust the cones so that they feel just right off the bike, they will bind up when you tighten the quick release. You must set the cones so that there is a little bit of play when the hub is off the bike ...

Both my front and rear hubs have absolutely no play, off the bike.

Me thinks tomorrow I will buy some cone wrenches and work on it, myself.

It seems increasingly plausible that both Specialized & LBS did not set up hubs correctly.

I'm annoyed that Specialized didn't take the time to properly set up hubs on a $1300 bike. I'm also annoyed that LBS didn't bother to twirl hubs by hand, before assembling the bike ... this is not a subtle problem.
 

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the most cost effective way to upgrade a bike is a good wheelset. I would save your pennies. You will drive yourself mad trying to make a bad set of wheels feel nice. Even very expensive bikes come with mediocre wheels. The dolce fits in that category. I would look at ROL wheels or wait for the easton wheels to show up on chainlove.com.
 

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+1—waste of time.

The instructions you posted were written for high-quality angular contact bearings. The hubs you're dealing with roll on economical, quick-install industrial cartridge bearings. No amount of fiddling with the axle nuts will make them feel smooth to your fingers. As long as the bike rolls smoothly down the road, be content. As said, you need to get better wheels if you want smoother cartridge bearings. Or go back to angular contact, cup-and-cone hub bearings and adjust until you've got them absolutely perfect. :)
 

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I thought the same thing about the Fulcrum hubs on my new Specialized. After about 400 miles, they now spin as free as my Campy hubs.
 

· So. Calif.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
wim said:
...The hubs you're dealing with roll on economical, quick-install industrial cartridge bearings. No amount of fiddling with the axle nuts will make them feel smooth to your fingers. ...
No, the hubs are definitely cup&cone, not cartridge bearings.

My own bike's hubs are a mid-range (or "low-end", depending on what one is accustomed to!) Shimano WH-R500, and they turn very freely. I'm just trying to achieve a comparable performance in the Specialized hubs.

$700-$1000 wheel sets may be nice, but right now that's not in the household budget ;-)
 

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tom_h said:
No, the hubs are definitely cup&cone, not cartridge bearings.

My own bike's hubs are a mid-range (or "low-end", depending on what one is accustomed to!) Shimano WH-R500, and they turn very freely. I'm just trying to achieve a comparable performance in the Specialized hubs.

$700-$1000 wheel sets may be nice, but right now that's not in the household budget ;-)
Well, you might be able to get them to feel better then.

I've got a set of WH-R500s and I agree, they have good hubs which are easy to adjust and get just right. I've got about 2,000 miles on them, with the rims as true as ever and no broken spokes. IMO, they're much better than their reputation would have you believe. Of course, I'm a cheapskate and would never spend more than $300 for a set of wheels :)
 

· Cycling induced anoesis
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wim said:
Well, you might be able to get them to feel better then.

I've got a set of WH-R500s and I agree, they have good hubs which are easy to adjust and get just right. I've got about 2,000 miles on them, with the rims as true as ever and no broken spokes. IMO, they're much better than their reputation would have you believe. Of course, I'm a cheapskate and would never spend more than $300 for a set of wheels :)
Same with my RS-10's. I think they get a bad rap, but for mid priced wheels, they're easy to maintain and are pretty durable. I'm also much more comfortable with the cup/ cone arrangement, then again, I'm old. :)
 

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I own three Specialized bikes, and my experience has been that their house-brand stuff is pretty low quality. The brakes that came on my '05 Allez were downright dangerous. And while the rims on that bike were Alex 400, the hubs were Specialized; absolutely terrible. As Wim points out, you may be able to get them to feel a little better, but they'll probably never feel like Shimano hubs. I really like Shimano hubs a lot. You don't need to break the bank to get a significantly better set of wheels. You can find Shimano Ultegra-level WH-R600 wheels for $250 (http://www.ecyclingstore.com/fs_sho...pg=PHPSESSID=b01e756780a67664215e38f8299068d0). In 2006, these were pretty common on "Expert"'level Specialized bikes. They came on my Roubaix Expert. I put 11,000 miles on them until I cracked the rear rim, but they were still spinning and rolling as true as the day I got the bike. Definitely not racing wheels (too much lateral flex for my taste), but nice riding wheels. Just something to keep in mind. I'm sure others here can recommend wheelsets in the $250-300 that would be a big improvement.
 

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Dr_John said:
I own three Specialized bikes, and my experience has been that their house-brand stuff is pretty low quality. The brakes that came on my '05 Allez were downright dangerous. And while the rims on that bike were Alex 400, the hubs were Specialized; absolutely terrible. As Wim points out, you may be able to get them to feel a little better, but they'll probably never feel like Shimano hubs. I really like Shimano hubs a lot. You don't need to break the bank to get a significantly better set of wheels. You can find Shimano Ultegra-level WH-R600 wheels for $250 (http://www.ecyclingstore.com/fs_sho...pg=PHPSESSID=b01e756780a67664215e38f8299068d0). In 2006, these were pretty common on "Expert"'level Specialized bikes. They came on my Roubaix Expert. I put 11,000 miles on them until I cracked the rear rim, but they were still spinning and rolling as true as the day I got the bike. Definitely not racing wheels (too much lateral flex for my taste), but nice riding wheels. Just something to keep in mind. I'm sure others here can recommend wheelsets in the $250-300 that would be a big improvement.
What he said...the hubs on my 06 Roubaix were as yours. The rims were Alex AT 400's. Jonque. I replaced mine with a handmade set by Mike Garcia of OddsandEndos. Just a good set of Shimano Ultegra hubs, and Mavic Open Pro rims would be plenty good enough. You won't regret it.
 

· So. Calif.
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Dr_John said:
I own three Specialized bikes, and my experience has been that their house-brand stuff is pretty low quality. ... the hubs were Specialized; absolutely terrible. As Wim points out, you may be able to get them to feel a little better, but they'll probably never feel like Shimano hubs. I really like Shimano hubs a lot. You don't need to break the bank to get a significantly better set of wheels. You can find Shimano Ultegra-level WH-R600 wheels for $250 .. .
Doggity said:
... What he said...the hubs on my 06 Roubaix were as yours. The rims were Alex AT 400's. Jonque. ... .
Hmm ... thx for the advice & suggestions.

I'm going to do a cone adjustment on wife's Specialized Dolce Elite bike this weekend, figuring it probably can't hurt and may help. If that fails, and I am still unhappy with hubs, well maybe we'll reconsider some Shimano WH-R500 or R600 wheel sets down the road.

My own bike is an REI "house brand", Novara Strada model [ http://www.rei.com/product/760863 ], and while Novara doens't seem popular on this forum, it has been an incredibly good value. Actual design & manufacture is possibly outsourced to Giant or similar.

For $1100 less 20% discount & less pedals, it has Shimano WH-R500 rims & hubs, 105 series front & rear derailler, carbon fork & seat stays, and a rather comfy saddle.

For those having 'typical or 'average' body dimensions (Me), it was easy to find a good bike/frame fit at REI. Unfortunately that doesn't describe wife ... tall & long legs ;-) ... or we may have stuck w/ REI for her.

Makes me wonder what a comparable Trek or Specialized bike would cost ...
 

· So. Calif.
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update

Did a very minor adjustment on Specialized front hub - probably just a few degrees loosening -- and am pretty happy with it now.

Followed technique Sheldon Brown website suggested -- two 13mm cone wrenches on left & right cones, only. Even against the friction of the outer locknuts, it's possible to loosen (CCW rotation) both cones by a few degrees. That's all it took.

Will tackle rear hub tomorrow -- appears a bit more effort may be needed.
 

· So. Calif.
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Rear wheel completed

Finished cone adjust on rear wheel this morning, bearings feel really sweet now ;-)

There remains a slight drag from the rubber weather seals that are on each end of rear axle (front didn't have seals). I expect these seals will gradually wear and the drag will reduce.

I did remove the cassette to get access to the right-side 17mm locknut, but left the free-hub in place -- therefore couldn't directly access the 15mm cone. Did all adjusts from the wheel's left side.


Using the Sheldon Brown technique made the very fine adjustments, easier.
http://sheldonbrown.com/cone-adjustment.html
...To loosen a [front] hub, I put a 13 mm on each cone and back them apart, simultaneously tightening them against the locknuts. To tighten the hub, I use the two 17 mm wrenches on the locknuts. I rarely have to loosen the locknuts, this procedure is very fast, which is a good thing, considering how large a percentage of bikes have too-tight cones ....
... For cassette hubs, or conventional rear hubs that I want to adjust without removing the freewheel, I use a thin 15 mm wrench and the two 17's.

note: My standard automotive 17mm open end wrenches worked fine for the outer locknuts, "cone" style unnecessary.

Previous posts slamming these wheels/hubs were overly harsh & pessimistic, I think. "Decent wheels" might be a more apt description.

In summary, the wheels just needed some careful setup. The LBS , sadly, seemed unwilling to do anything but a "quick & average" job.

Unless I think a problem might be a warranty-related issue, I will prefer doing my own wrenching from now on.

<!-- (I don't always use the cone wrenches for this, because I have a Zog's 15/32, which is intended as a pedal/headset wrench. This wrench is thinner than the usual pedal wrench, and makes an excellent long-handled 15 mm cone wrench.) -->
 

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tom_h said:
SNIP!

In summary, the wheels just needed some careful setup. The LBS , sadly, seemed unwilling to do anything but a "quick & average" job.

Unless I think a problem might be a warranty-related issue, I will prefer doing my own wrenching from now on. SNIP!
Maybe the wrenches at your LBS have never been taught how to properly adjust a set of wheels. It might be interesting if you told them you solved the problem yourself and give them the URL for the adjusting instructions on the Sheldon Brown web site. Just be nice about it and see how they react. ;-)

Jay B.
 
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