Lateral play in front wheel hub

by giobox   April 17, 2014  

Looking for some mechanical advice! 200 miles or so ago I recently stuck a pair of Reynolds Assault wheels on my bike. Today the front hub has developed a small amount of lateral/side to side play, maybe 1 to 2mm. This can be reduced, but not eliminated, by tightening the QR way beyond what I would consider normal.

The hubs have sealed bearings and appear to have no preload adjustment to remove the slop. My old Fulcrum wheel set had sealed bearings too, but had a nifty little 2mm allen key bolt that adjusted preload. How do you fix this on hubs that don't have this feature?

Annoyingly the wheel rattles a little if the front end of the bike is lifted 2 to 3 inches and dropped to the ground. I've confirmed its not the bike or headset by switching back to the old Fulcrum and doing the same thing. I'm assuming this could be related to the lateral play i'm seeing in the hub?

Given the lack of adjustment I was wondering if reseating the bearings might help? I would hope that after 200 miles the front bearing isn't shot. I would normally visit my LBS for help, but I've recently moved and have yet to find a decent one here.

5 user comments

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I would contact Reynolds and see what they say, I have a similar issue with my track bike, but no so much as you, but the wheels have done the same distance. The advise I had from some very experienced track riders was that its ok and fairly normal, but the track and road are 2 different beasts

posted by jason.timothy.jones [291 posts]
17th April 2014 - 8:28

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I'd say over-tightening the quick release will probably just cause the bearings to fail more quickly, so I wouldn't use that option. I wouldn't have thought reseating the bearings would help either. Unless the whole sealed unit is loose, any play that has developed will be between the bearings and races.

You can try and force some grease into the bearings to help reduce the play. Other than that, you might need new bearings, but that shouldn't actually be expensive - pop the existing ones out, read the reference number on them and search for a set on the interweb. Cycling suppliers charge a massive premium for them, but most bearings are not cycling specific and can be had for a few quid elsewhere (assuming they are a standard stainless bearing and not a ceramic one). You can often get better sealed ones too, which would give you a longer life.

posted by step-hent [652 posts]
17th April 2014 - 13:31

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You most likely will not be able to force grease into cartridge bearings as they have sealed by dust covers. As others have said some use a grub screw that you undo, shuffle the bearing and it's locking collar back towards the shoulder of the axle and do the grub screw back up. If it's not that system it may be like the old Mavics that require you to do the wheel up in the fork with the quick release and tighten the cartridge locking nut with a cone spanner until play goes away. I would go to the manufacturers site to be sure though, look for a drawing for that hub. It's only a cartridge bearing hub which sounds a bit posh but is in fact much easier to maintain than cup and cone.

https://www.reynoldscycling.com/uploads/files/2014-Owners-Manual.pdf

Looking at the drawing it looks spookily similar to a DT Swiss hub which is a grub screw job, which is probably no accident as they make hubs for a lot of people.

posted by MKultra [197 posts]
17th April 2014 - 16:14

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You most likely will not be able to force grease into cartridge bearings as they have sealed dust covers. As others have said some hubs use a grub screw that you undo, shuffle the bearing and it's locking collar back towards the shoulder of the axle and do the grub screw back up. If it's not that system it may be like the old Mavics that require you to put the wheel in the fork with the quick release done up and tighten the cartridge bearing locking nut with a cone spanner until play goes away. I would go to the manufacturers site to be sure though, look for a drawing for that hub. It's only a cartridge bearing hub which sounds a bit posh but is in fact much easier to maintain than cup and cone as they are nearly all push fit. If you need a third hand to hold all the gubbins together while you re tighten the grub screw then again you can use the QR to do this with wheel in the fork.

https://www.reynoldscycling.com/uploads/files/2014-Owners-Manual.pdf

Looking at the drawing it looks spookily similar to a DT Swiss hub which is a grub screw job, which is probably no accident as they make hubs for a lot of people.

posted by MKultra [197 posts]
17th April 2014 - 16:20

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Thanks all for the help. I thought exactly like MKUltra has said, that there would be a grub screw or mavic style adjustment. Annoyingly it has neither! It's very frustrating as this is a really simple adjustment on the Fulcrum/Campag wheels I've used with sealed bearings. Same apparently with Mavics as you have mentioned.

Agreed that it looks spookily like a rebadged DT Swiss effort, I think the design is basically a cheaper knock off of the 240 hub, which also has no preload adjuster. Like the 240 and some older Zipp hubs, it seems to rely on the clamping force of the quick release to tighten everything together, which is not working in my case. Took it to a bike shop today, I'll see what they say!

posted by giobox [241 posts]
18th April 2014 - 1:24

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