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How to Grease Bike Wheel Bearings

Taking apart and greasing your wheel bearings is a good project for the intermediate bike repair hobbyist.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Remove wheel Take the wheel off of your bicycle and lay it on a hard surface covered with an old cloth.
  • TIP: Start with the front wheel, which is easier to disassemble. Taking apart the rear wheel requires additional bike-specific tools such as a socket tool to remove the gear cluster.
  • Step 2: Remove locknut Loosen the locknut with a wrench while holding the cone-shaped piece still with a cone wrench. Then remove the nut.
  • TIP: If you don't have a crescent wrench in the right size -- typically 17 millimeters -- then use an adjustable wrench.
  • Step 3: Remove cone Loosen the cone-shaped end piece with the 15 millimeter cone wrench. Then remove the cone.
  • Step 4: Remove axle Pull the axle out of the hub or cylinder and set it aside.
  • Step 5: Remove bearings Use your fingers or a magnet to extract the bearings from the well of the hub.
  • Step 6: Inspect and clean Wipe the bearings, hub, and cones free of grease and dirt. Inspect the parts for cracks or defects.
  • TIP: If the bearings are rusty, damaged, or misshapen you can replace them with new bearings purchased from a bike shop.
  • Step 7: Lubricate Pack a generous amount of grease into the well that holds the bearings. Then coat the bearings with grease and replace them in the well.
  • Step 8: Grease opposite side Repeat the process of cleaning and greasing the bearings on the opposite side of the hub.
  • Step 9: Reassemble Reassemble the hub by reversing the process of taking it apart. Adjust the distance of the cones from the hub to make it fit securely.
  • Step 10: Clean up Wipe away any excess grease and wash your hands with soap and water.
  • FACT: Ball bearing production facilities were major targets for Allied bomber forces during World War II.

You Will Need

  • An old cloth
  • A bicycle wheel
  • 15 mm cone wrench
  • 17 mm wrench
  • Bike grease
  • Soap and water
  • A Socket tool (optional)
  • An adjustable wrench (optional)
  • A magnet (optional)
  • A box of new ball bearings (optional)

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