Servicing Hubs

1. The first thing to do is to take the wheel off the bike. Release the brakes first, and then loosen off the quick release or the bolts. If it is the rear wheel, take the freewheel off too.

2. Now, get two 17 mm wrenches and put one on both of the bolts, (now that the quick release or the bolts are off the wheel) and loosen them off. *Remember the order that you take these thing off in.

3. Remove any spacers.

4. Now get some 15 mm cone wrenches (really skinny wrenches) and remove the cones, and hawl the axel out.

5. Be very careful now. Have a doubled over cloth below the wheel, because the bearings will probably fall out. If they don't fall out take them out with your fingers or a screwdriver.

6. Clean up the bearings, the axel, the cones, and the inside of the hub.

7. Now take grease, (I use white lithium grease in a syringe, but it's up to you) and apply a 2 mm or 3 mm layer of grease inside the cups of the hub.

8. Place an equal number of bearing in each side. Don't force them in, but they should either fit perfectly or have a small extra gap. If your bearings are damaged, get new ones at any bike store (make sure that they are the right size).

9. Scew one of the cones about a cm on to your axel. Slide the axel through the hub, screw the other cone on the other side. They should be equal, or the outer parts should be equal once you get the the spacers and everything else on.

10. Here's the hard part. Tighten the cones just slightly. Now spin the axel and then wiggle it. It shouldn't wiggle, but it should not have ANY resistance.

11. Once you get that done, put the spacers and the outer bolts on. OH NO! Now you have to get these bolts VERY tight, and still keep the cones perfect.

12. Use your cone wreches on the cones, and your normal 17 mm wrenches on the outer bolts and screw around with it for a long time. The first few times you do this, it will take a long time, but soon, you'll be able to do a wheel in about 15 - 20 minutes!

Redoing Gears and Cables

1. First off, do not take apart rapid fire gear shifters. You'll be screwed if you do. Grip Shift can be taken apart, but the rapid fire shifters will not work again if you do. You can take them off the hadlebar and remove the cable, but don't push your luck.

2. Get a chain breaker or a pin extractor or what ever you want to call it, and remove the chain and clean it in grease remover. I find that gas works just fine. Do NOT use a hammer and nail to remove the chain it will damage it too much.

3. To put the chain back on, feed the chain through properly, (make sure it's on the proper side of the frame), then slacken off the chain breaker and push the pin back through using it. This might take time and a lot of patience. Set the pin an equal distance out from each chain plate. Now wiggle the chain and make sure it isn't stiff. If it is,oil it and frig with the pin until it pivots smoothely.

4. Loosen the cable bolts on the two derailers. It might help with some derailers if you make a mental note of where the cable goes, it can get confusing.

5. Remove the derailers. You might have to take the wheel off to do this, but if your gears need frigging with this badly, it's probably time to do your wheels anyway.

6. Now take a rag to both derailers. This is mainly for looks, but the less dirt around the pivot points, the better your derailer will work, and the longer it will last.

7. The front derailer needs very little work. Oil the pivots, and the grasp it in your hands tightly and try to move it the way it does on your bike. It should be stiff, but not unmovable.

8. The rear derailer needs a little more work. Again oil all the pivots. Then spin the two wheels. If they grind or are stiff, remove the bolts, and clean the wheels well. Greasing is not necessary, and can attract dirt. Replace the wheels.

9. Now for the cables. They aren't too expensive, so replace them as you feel necessary. Make sure you get the right ones with the right heads, and make sure they aren't to thin or thick. When cutting them, use proper cable cutters, and press hard and fast, and not until they are already placed and bolted on the bike. You should leave about an inch and a half of access cable.

10. The cable casings are just as important to replace as the actual cable. They might look fine, but a lot of water can get in them and cause rust. Line them up with the old casing and cut them exactly, or about a cm (half inch) longer if you aren't too sure. Proper cable cutters are also recomended, and then a file to smooth the inside of the casing to reduce friction.

11. The next thing you should do is to take off the cranks. Pop off the little dust caps then remove the bolts inside. Now you need a crank extractor. Do NOT use a hammer. An extractor is about $5-$10 and is worth it. Screw in the big part, then tighten the other part. (You'll know if you have one). It will be tight for a second, but will become easy. Now inspect the cogs for broken teeth and clean it with a rag. When you are ready, tap it back on with the HANDLE of a hammer, then put the bolt back on and tighten it as much as you can.

12. To remove the free wheel, just get the proper freewheel tool, stick it into the freewheel, and turn counter clockwise. To put it back on, turn clockwise.

13. Now to adjust the gears. When you tighten the cable, make sure the shifters are at their slackest setting. (Small Wheels). Then pull the cable very tight and tighten the bolt. Just put it a little past snug because you don't want to stip it. On every derailer there are two screws, so go through your gears and make sure it goes far enough both ways, and not too far. If there is a problem with the distance, play with the screws a bit, you find out which one does which. I'm not going to tell you which direction does what, because if you can't figure it our for yourself, you can probably just barely ride a bike.

14. That was just for the distance. Now if the chain isn't hitting the cogs exactly, frig with the little screws on the shifters where the cable protrudes. You should be on the bike when you do this, because weight does make some difference to

Servicing Bottom Brackets

1. The first thing you need to do is get the chain off the cranks. You don't need to remove it from the bike, but if you simply lift it off the front cogs and lay it on the bottom bracket tube, it will save you a lot of trouble.

2. The next thing to do is remove the cranks. Pop off the little dust caps then remove the bolts inside. Now you need a crank extractor. Do NOT use a hammer. An extractor is about $5-$10 and is worth it. Screw in the big part, then tighten the other part. (You'll know if you have one). It will be tight for a second, but will become easy. Now inspect the cogs for broken teeth and clean it with a rag. When you are ready, tap it back on with the HANDLE of a hammer, then put the bolt back on and tighten it as much as you can.

3. Now, you have to figure out if you have a conventional bottom bracket, or a closed cell bottom bracket. A closed cell has several small grooves on the inside of the circle on both sides, and a normal one is much flatter and doesn't cave in or any thing like that.

4. Both types of bottom brackets are extracted in the same fashion, but you need different tools to remove them. A closed cell can not be worked on and if it breaks, it has to be replaced, but a normal bottom bracket can be fixed. It may not sound right, but a closed cell is much better, it will last much longer, and water can't get into it.

5. To remove the bottom bracket, turn it CLOCKWISE on the CHAIN side, and COUNTERCLOCKWISE on the (?) NON-CHAIN side. To replace it, just do the opposite.

6. With a closed cell, just wipe it off, clean out the bottom bracket tube, put anti-seize compound on the threads, and screw it back in.

7. A normal bottom bracket has to wiped off and the bearings cleaned up. (If the bearings are in cages, get some new ones from a bike shop and put them in loosely. They should not be wedged in, but there should not be too much space. You might have to get more bearings than were in the cage.) Now grease everything up with preferably white lithium grease and replace the axel. (Long part on chain side.) Then tighten the two cups until the axel no longer wiggles, but there is no friction. (This might take a minute.) Now screw on the lock ring until it is very tight. Test the axel for tightness again, and if it has changed, you will have to frig (I love that word) with it until you get it right. It isn't as difficult as your hubs but it HAS to be perfect or else you will waste a lot of power.

Servicing Headsets and Forks

1. You don't have to do this, but if you want to remove the handlebars, you will have to disonnect all the cables, take everything off the handlebar, loosen the stem bolt, and carefully pull the handlebar through. I would suggest you only do this when you are replacing your handlebar, or something on it, because it is a pain in the butt.

2. To remove the stem, there is a bolt either on the top of the stem (closest to the seat), or it is down inside. Get an allen key (probably 5mm) and loosen it as much as you can. Now, put the front wheel between your legs, grab the handlebar, (if it is still on) and twist it. Once it moves, you should be able to haul the stem right out of the steer tube.

3. Now that that is done, get a 32mm headset wrench and take off the first bolt that is holding the fork in. Now remove everything else with your hands and lay it down in an order that you can remember. Oh yeah, hold on to the fork, because once you remove all the bolts, it will come crashing down. There should be a bearing race in the top cup and the bottom cup. Clean the bearings (or get new ones), grease them up and put everything back how you found it.

4. Tighten the cup just like you do your hubs. Tighten so there is no play, but make sure it still turns loosly. Now clamp down the other bolt and wiggle it again. This might take a little bit of work to get it right.

5. Slide the stem back in, line it up with the wheel, and tighten the bolt inside and BOOM. Your done....

Truing Wheels

Note: Let me just start out by saying that truing wheels is more like an art, rather than a skill. It's not something you just learn over night, and many people, like me, may learn this the wrong way by completely ruining a $400 rear wheel... Good Luck!(little side note, that incident was a while back, I have since improved at truing wheels)

1. Spokes should be tight enough so that, when plucked, they emit a musical note (not a buzz) somewhere below (C above middle-C). Some variation (to pull the rim/tube/tire into concentricity) is inevitable, but a spoke that won't pluck (just buzzes) is almost always too loose, and one that's too shrill is too tight.

When truing a wheel, "pluck" the spokes that you are considering tightening/loosening, plus one extra spoke in either direction. Select the spokes you actually adjust to try to get all spokes into the low-note area of tension/tone.

2. Invest $40 or so in the machinist's tool called a "Test Indicator". This is a nifty little jeweled instrument that measures position/motion between two very nearby objects with great accuracy. Mine is a Fowler, cost $37, has two jewels, and can repeatedly measure motion of .0005 inch (yes, one half of one thousandth of an inch, or .0127 mm for our metric friends). The hitch is that it has a max range of only .060 (+- .030 inch)

To use the test indicator- clamp the indicator's mounting bar to a convenient place on the bicycle (the brake post is a good place) and flex it around till the tip bears against the rim and the needle indicates approximately center-scale. You will have to move the indicator between the radial and lateral truing steps (see below).

2A. There's another kind of indicator called a "dial indicator" that measures to within a few thousandths, over a distance of about one inch. Dial indicators are a little more expensive, but you may want to get one of those instead.

3) When truing a wheel, first true it radially- that is, get the rim-to-center distance to be constant (or near constant). You want this accurate to within about .020 (+- .010) inch. You can do this with the tire on, off, or just deflated.

When radially truing the front wheel (no dish offset) count turns and always put the same number of turns (tighter or looser) on a PAIR of ADJACENT spokes (one will go to the left hub disc, the other goes to the right hub disc). Thus, the radial truing will not greatly disturb whatever lateral (L/R) true remains in your wheel.

Try not to turn any given spoke pair more than two full turns before having checked every other spoke pair on the wheel. The typical "unit" of adjustment during radial truing is one full turn on a pair of adjacent spokes.

Tighten up any spoke that's actively loose to the "barely tight" state. Likewise, loosen any spoke that's so tight it sounds shrill when you pluck it. This will untrue the wheel somewhat but wheel truing is iterative and the problem will be fixed later.

4. "Relieve" the wheel by grabbing adjacent pairs of spokes on the SAME side and squeezing them together with the hand. Do this with every pair of adjacent spokes, on both sides of the wheel. The idea is to firmly seat the spoke against the hub and against the rim, stretching the spoke just a bit and compressing out all of the play that burrs on the drilled holes, etc. will cause in a few miles of riding.

5. Repeat step 3 (radial truing)

6. Relieve the wheel again. Check radial trueness. It should be essentially unchanged. Continue to check/adjust/relieve until the wheel remains radially true despite

7. Remount the test indicator so it indicates lateral (left-to-right) imperfection. Also mount and inflate the tire to operational pressure.

8. True the wheel laterally. Again, make adjustments only on adjacent pairs of spokes, and count/balance turns, but

I) The typical adjustment during lateral truing is about 1/4 turn. Don't turn a spoke pair more than 1/2 turn before checking every other spoke pair on the wheel.

II) for FRONT wheels, every quarter turn of a spoke tighter means ONE of the two adjacent spokes (which go to the other side of the hub) must get one quarter turn looser. (or you can split it- BOTH adjacent spokes get 1/8 turn looser).

III) for REAR wheels, you have to compensate for the "dish" (the space where the freewheel goes) if it's a derailleur rear hub. This compensation is typically 2:1 ::

Each turn of a FREEWHEEL-side spoke must be compensated by one HALF of a turn of an adjacent spoke on the non-freewheel side.

IV) You can "cheat" 1/8-turn adjustments and not compensate them- just don't do it more than once on any spoke on any adjust/relieve/test iteration.

9. "Relieve" the wheel again

10. Test and retrue lateral.

12. Keep at lateral/relieve/test until the wheel is laterally true within .010 (+- .005), as measured on the rim. This makes it easy to adjust your brake pads for maximum effectiveness without rubbing.

13. Just for luck, recheck radial trueness. It should be fine.

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