Saturday, January 19, 2008

Stinkin Surly Hub

Before you read this post, see my follow up -- where upon I realize what a dolt I am -- there is a right way to remove and install these bearings. When I wrote this, I didn't know the right way. That is the core issue here -- not the hubs.

The hub on my fixed Trek 720 is screwed up. I put the new forks on the bike last week and took it for a spin around the block. Immediately it was obvious that something in the rear wheel was screwy. Turns out I shot the bearings already.

This is the "new" Surly Fixed/Free solid axle; 135mm hub. It takes the Enduro 7901 RS bearings.

Well. I've not even had this hub for a year, so it's kind of lame that the bearings are shot already. And it's not like this is my only bike and it's got thousands of miles on it.

But to be fair, I am hard on my bikes. I don't really maintain stuff as I should. I barely keep the the chains in order. This time of year I tend to take notice of my chains only when they are orange with rust. So I'm certainly not out in the garage fussing with the bearings in my hubs. And since these are sealed bearings, why should I? Right?

So, it's not a huge deal that I busted the bearings already. I can kind of live with that. But the problem is, the bearing races are stuck in the hub. The hub is aluminum and the races are steel and they're seized up. Therefore, I can't swap in new bearings until I can unlock the old ones. Nice. Now that is cheesy.

This means that when the hub was manufactured either no grease was applied to that interface, or not enough grease was applied. The dust cover on the hub is great to keep out dust, but the world is wet too.

So I've learned my lesson.

If I buy a Surly hub again, I will pop out the bearings first thing and grease up the inside of the hub. And then apply a big fat layer of grease under the dust cap to ward of the wetness.

Meanwhile, I'm applying some harsh petroleum-based hazardous poison anti-rust stuff to the hub. If that doesn't work after a few days -- I'm getting out the torch.

I like Surly stuff. But this bugs me. I can't help but think of the too-cool, super hip Surly dudes building this stuff and then forgetting details like this. It's the execution! The details. Come on guys.

It's like the bottle-opener on the TugNutt -- it's really cool -- cause it shows that you drink beer, but it gets in the way of fenders. And I know how hip and cool it is to wear the mud tail of shit up your back after you ride in the rain, but frankly, you shouldn't be drinking beer if you must have a bottle opener attached to your bike to do so. Errg.


Anonymous said...

Sheldon made a comment on the BOB list once about the Surly hubs not having shoulders on the axle to locate the bearings:

He claims that this can cause them to trash bearings faster than the alternative designs. So what makes the Surly hub nice (the ability to swap the axle with a Shimano QR one) is also what makes it hard on bearings. I guess you can't win.

zoovegroover said...

that said...I wonder how difficult it would be to fabricate a sleeve to fit over the axle and act as a shoulder for the bearings from the inside? The sleeve would not have to be rigidly attached to the axle....

Tarik Saleh said...

I don't know the deal on the Surly hubs, but I think the problem with the tugg nuts is that you are actually using them. Once you stop using them, there are no more problems with tugg nut interference.

John Speare said...

Tarik: i came to the same conclusion and ditched the tugg nut last summer. i will cut off a finger if i don't get your bike out this week.
alex: you have a couple weeks to wait for your cranks before i start hacking off digits

Anonymous said...

I don't know Surly ( I thought it was an attitude) but if the hub is alloy and the races steel can't you warm the hub and then tap out the race? The alloy will expand faster and more than the steel as it is warmed.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar problem, talked to Martin at who guided me in the right direction.... said...

Spokane, did you ever get this surly hub problem sorted? I've got exactly the same problem right now.

How did you do it?

Hearing the hub up? Did you really use a blowtorch (I haven't got one).

What penetrating stuff did you use? I'm just using GT85.

Any help would be great.


surly hubs said...

I hear ya. I found a site that actually gives a good breakdown of Surly hubs, sizes, dimensions, etcs. check it out.