Clean – Repack Hubs

Cleaning and repacking hubs is a little complicated, but not actually hard. If done correctly, it will prolong the life of your hubs. Problems are usually caused by worn bearings or the presence of water and dirt. Worn bearings can cause movement in the hub which makes the wheel rock side to side on its axle. Replace bearings every few thousand kilometres, or when the hub feels gritty or turns with difficulty.


  • Cone spanners – usually 15 and 17mm
  • Grease
  • A magnetic hex screwdriver or pick
  • A chainwhip and chain removal tool
  • Adjustable spanner
  • Degreaser
  • Paper cloth or clean rags

Cup / Cone Hubs

  1. Undo the lock nut on the non-driveside with a cone spanner. Hold the cone and use another spanner to loose. Remove the locking nut and spacer by hand. Note of the order of the nuts and spaces for easy re-assembly after.
  2. Hold the lock nut on the drive side with one spanner, then undo the non-driveside cone with the other and wind it off by hand. You should now be able to remove the axle from the hub.


  1. Remove the bearings from race with a magnetic screwdriver
  2. Clean all old grease from bearings with degreaser and rags
  3. Check bearings, the cups (pressed into the hub) and cones for wear – they might need replacing.


  1. Lubricate the bearing race in the hub. With a magnetic screwdriver, place the bearings in the grease.
  2. When all the bearings are in place, refit the axle
  3. Turn gently and check it is installed correctly.
  4. Remove the axle then repeat the process on the other side.

Return Axle

  1. Return the axle to the freehub side.
  2. Press it against the bearings
  3. Rotate and check it’s positioned correctly.
  4. Refit cone to the non drive side of the axle and tighten it until it touches the bearings.
  5. Spin the axle to make sure it rotates without snagging. Wiggle to ensure there is no movement.
  6. Return nuts and spacers to the non drive side of the axle
  7. While holding the cone in place, use a spanner to tighten against the locking nut.
  8. Check the axle rotates freely

Refit Cassette

  1. Return the cassette to the freehub body
  2. Replace the quick release skewer

Pro tip:

Bearings are fiddly things that are easy to drop. Make sure they’re free of all dirt or dust before putting them into your hub. Throw any that fall and use brand new ones – they’re very cheap to buy.

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