You can replace a bicycle wheel hub with basic household tools and a few minutes of patience. The important element of the process is the sequence in which each step is done. Learning how to replace your own hub means you save time and money from all the trips to the bike shop you no longer have to make.
Components of a Bicycle Wheel Hub
The four main parts you need to deal with to replace your hub are the cone nut, ball bearings, lock nut, and axle. The bearings move around the axle inside the hub, the hub and cone nut keep the bearings in place, and the lock nut keeps the cone nut in place.
Disassemble the Hub
To begin the disassembly of the hub, gather a 13-mm spanner, an adjustable spanner, degreaser, and grease. To start, use the adjustable spanner to unscrew the lock nut. Different bikes have different size lock nuts, so you probably need to adjust your spanner. Next, loosen the cone nut with the 13-mm spanner, as the 13-mm cone nut size is universal among all bikes. Be careful when you remove the cone nut, as underneath is a cluster of ball bearings. If done too quickly, small, hard-to-find ball bearings might end up on the floor around you. With the cone nut off, remove the ball bearings and pull out the axle. To finish, wipe every part with a rag and degreaser. You might want to wear gloves to avoid getting grease on your hands.
Lubricate All Moving Parts
Take a fingertip full of a bike lubricant or grease, and apply it to every part of the hub that moves. This includes the hub, ball bearings, and axle. Too little grease allows for friction, which damages the hub. Add grease to the hub shell, and make sure dirt and dust do not get in the grease. Sediment that mixes with the grease and ball bearings speeds up harmful erosion. Lastly, add grease to the smooth area of the axle. It is usually the cleanest portion.
Reassemble the Hub
Screw the cone nut on one side of the axle, and slide the axle through the hub. With the axle pointing up, insert the ball bearings. Add the second cone nut and screw it tight. Flip the bike over, secure the ball bearings, and tighten the last cone nut. Lastly, look down the tyre to ensure it is in straight and screw on the lock nuts. These do not need to be as tight as possible but just snug enough to stay in place.