Improvised Bike Hub Repair




The rear wheel on my bike recently became loose and wobbly. I removed the freewheel and found that the ball bearing cup completely broke away from the hub, so the axle was entirely unsupported on one side.

Instead of going through the trouble of replacing the hub or getting a new wheel, I made a quick fix by stacking a few washers over the hub, putting the freewheel back on to hold them in place, and then packing the balls inside along with plenty of grease. I added another washer between the cone and lock nut to keep out water and dirt. You also have to adjust the spacing of the lock nuts from both ends of the axle so that the wheel remains centered.

The wheel spins surprisingly smoothly, but of course this hack will most likely not last very long since the washers and interior of the freewheel are not designed to function as ball bearings.

The diagram is cropped from this Wikipedia image:

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    2 Discussions


    4 years ago

    have you tested this yet? because if the free wheel has sheared off it's not just support you've lost but drive to the wheel as well

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    After two and a half weeks of daily use, it's still holding up! The freewheel is threaded onto the hub pretty tightly, I think what will eventually happen is that the ball bearings will gouge the washers until there is too much friction for the wheel to spin freely. But it still gives me plenty of time to find a new wheel!