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Lateral Play in Front Hub - How much is unsafe?(11 posts)

Lateral Play in Front Hub - How much is unsafe?TNSquared
May 2, 2003 8:13 PM
With the wheel centered in the fork and the quick release fully tightened, I can still wiggle the wheel side to side about 1mm.

I disassembled the hub and the cartridges and seals look fine, so I tightened the end caps as much as possible and still can't get the play out. I can see the hub shell sliding side to side over the axle.

There's not enough play to cause the rim to hit the brake pads, so should I even be worried about this? Is it safe to keep riding or should I be looking for a new wheel?
re: Lateral Play in Front Hub - How much is unsafe?ctheronj
May 2, 2003 10:33 PM
I'm not sure exactly what you describe so first I'll say this: the quick release MUST BE VERY TIGHT, SECURING WHEEL TO FORK or your bike is potentially UNSAFE.

That being said, a hub with some play is not unsafe but it is going to cause serious wear on a part that has the potential to outlast just about anything else on your bike.

Any idea what type of hub it is? If you tore it all the way down and found cartridges (not ball-bearings) then it's a cartridge style hub. If you've got play, you'll need to reinstall new cartridges.

If you didn't really disassemble the hub but only removed the quick-release, maybe you do have the (more common) cup-and-cone style hub. Play is easily adjusted out with the right tools. You'll need some metric open-ended wrenches (or an adjustable wrench) and special yet inexpensive "cone wrenches" of the proper size. You'll also need patience and a source of fix-it information. I recommend the outstanding "Zinn and the art of Road Bike Maintenance" by Lennard Zinn. You can also check out the park tool website: but it's a little harder to follow than Zinn.

If you're not a do-it-yourselfer, take the wheel back to the bike shop and they should be able to fix it for you easily. If it's free, great (and it should be if you bought your bike there) and otherwise, just realize that you're helping your hub last longer. You're also getting a bit smoother ride in the process.
Sounds like there is a little play in the bearings.the bull
May 3, 2003 4:44 AM
The main problem with this is it would be hard to true the wheel.It probally is not dangerous at all.But if you have any doubt you should have someone who is experinced have an actual look at it.It would be wise not to listen to the advice from people you dont know on the internent esp. when it involves your safty and well being.
re: Lateral Play in Front Hub - How much is unsafe?curlybike
May 3, 2003 5:44 AM
If there was no shake for a period of time, and now there is. That could be a sign that one or both cones in the hub are damaged. If they are replaced quickly than the hub cups should not be damaged. If not, the metal from the cones will mix with the grease and make a lapping compound that may destroy the hub. If the hub has always been loose, then it probably just needs adjusting. Make sure that you have the q/r pretty tight. Add a little tightness to the q/r and see if the shake diminishes. If not, follow the above.
Hmm did not know that when cartridge bearings gothe bull
May 3, 2003 8:38 AM
bad that they could ruin the hub!I was under the impression that the whole bearing could be replaced.
Hmm did not know that when cartridge bearings gocurlybike
May 4, 2003 5:10 PM
Well I dumb assed myself and missed the cart. specification. It is very common for some sealed cart wheels to have a little shake. Most use a wave washer to preload the shake out a little, he might have lost the washer so the shake is more noticable. What I said earlier is for standard hubs.
You just answered my questionTNSquared
May 5, 2003 10:10 AM
I didn't ask very well, but what I needed to know is whether it is normal for sealed cartridge hubs to have a little movement. Didn't lose any washers, though. All I can figure after tightening the end caps is that it's as good as these inexpensive Bontragers will get(see next post for better description.)

I don't like it, but I can live with it if it is normal. Thanks. Course, I'm still lobbying at the family dinner table for the Kysiriums!
Thanks, I'm an aspiring DIY'er (have the Zinn book)....TNSquared
May 3, 2003 9:46 AM
so I'd really like to figure this out, but the bike is still under warranty so maybe I'll give in and take it to my LBS.

Just to clarify, it is a lower end Bontrager (not made by DT Swiss) with cartridge bearings and only about 600 miles on them. I did remove and inspect the cartridges, and I didn't see any wear or damage. When I re-assembled, I tightened the end caps with cone wrenches as much as possible but the play is still there. It isn't a matter of the quick release being tight enough, either, as I always make sure the QR's are secure.

Again, it's not dramatic amount of play and I can't say I really notice it while riding. I don't know how the long the play has been there. I only found it because I was pulling on the wheel to check the headset adjustment. Still, as noted in a prior post, I'm incredibly anal and like to check everything out.
I knew you were not stupid....the bull
May 3, 2003 9:56 AM
enough to be leaving the QR loose if you had taken the hub apart and knew that you had cartrige bearings!!
1mm of play is not that bad but it is still some play!
I like to have no play in my wheels I am very picky as well!
I would take the wheel back and have them fix it.
Well, thanks. Will you tell my wife?TNSquared
May 3, 2003 10:25 AM
Thanks for the feedback. A couple of the replies mentioned the QR, which I admit I did not mention in my first post.

Maybe fix it...........maybe tell my wife I need new wheels "cuz these are broke" are get some Kysiriums or Eurus!
Go for the kyrsriums!the bull
May 3, 2003 1:00 PM
Trust me!They are sweet!