Sticky and Slow – the Tale of a Star Nut, Fat Tires, and a Sealed Bearing Race Stuck in a Hub.

I know larger tires work against you when comparing rolling resistance, gear calculations, and overall effort… but since putting on the Kenda Nevegals I’ve felt like I’ve been riding with both front and rear brakes dragging. Sure, they certainly are not the 28s I ride on the IF, nor the 35s I used to ride on the CrossCheck, nor even the 42s I started with on the Soma…

Yes, I know they are not that wide...

Yes, I know they are not that wide...

This morning I heard a chirping sound. Damn! I was dragging a brake. Cool. I can fix that. Except that even with the brakes wide open I still heard it. Then I spun the rear wheel by hand. I made it about 1/4 revolution before stopping. Bearings must be mal-adjusted. Picked up the appropriate sized cone wrenches, spun off the single speed side, and loosened. Nope. Bearings were shot.

Off to the internet. Plenty of instructions on removing sealed bearings from Surly hubs. These have served me for 3 winters… rain, snow, salt, dirt roads – pretty much everything. Pulled the axle. Tap tapped the bearing as instructed in lieu of a fancy bearing puller. The innards popped out and I now have a collection of tiny steel balls rolling around on the garage floor.

Which leaves the problem of how to get a sealed bearing race out of a hub shell. Dirt Rag provided the answer. I opted to not hammer the star nut from the opposite side, and instead applied a bit of finesse (in short supply at this moment in my caveman actions thus far) with a bolt and socket. Success. Now to wait for some new bearings – and to let the LBS pull the opposite side.

1" star nut tapped into place.

1\

A wide socket and stack of washers...

A wide socket and stack of washers...

A few turns of the bolt...

A few turns of the bolt...

Out!

Out!

Success!

Success!

3 Responses to “Sticky and Slow – the Tale of a Star Nut, Fat Tires, and a Sealed Bearing Race Stuck in a Hub.”

  1. jim says:

    Nice work, that is using your noggin and resources.

  2. patrick says:

    swapped out some cogs last night (chainwhips are really gratifying to use, by the way), and was really hoping my surly hub was in good shape after your ordeal. alas, it’s a little crunchy. will probably ride through this winter before replacing bearings, but don’t lose that star-nut!

  3. jason says:

    ahh mike, I was looking forward to a challenge today! I had the same thing happen on a customer’s bike last week, except the bearing was tiny, half the size of the surly’s. literally took all day.

    But thanks for that tip, I have never heard of it, and now is in my tool box of things to try!