Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Exploding wheel

Ok, there aren't any exploding wheels in this post (as in KABOOM!!!!), more like disintegrating wheel, but exploding wheel just sounds more dramatic. A while ago, my commuter bike developed some play in the front wheel. I fiddled with the cone nuts, couldn't get it adjusted quite right, but rode it anyway. Not one to be content with something not being quite right, I fiddled again a couple of weeks ago, and the play was gone, but the wheel wasn't spinning freely....there was definitely some resistance. THEN, a couple days ago, I fiddled AGAIN, and again, there was some play, but now the wheel was spinning freely. That leads up to yesterday. On my commute home, my front wheel started to develop A LOT of play, which was followed by some creaking and grinding, and then some MORE creaking and grinding, which eventually stopped, but then it felt like I was biking against resistance the rest of the way home. I was praying that I'd make it home because I had plans to go for a ride after work and had to be home by a certain time.  I made it home, and inspection of my wheel revealed.....

The good side of the hub...notice how the bearing (red seal) looks. Essentially, it's intact.

The "exploded side", the seal has come off.

Close up. Where have the ball bearings gone?!?!?!? This is a sealed bearing, exploded and rusted (there's rust on the one ball). I guess that's what continuous commuting, including two winters in a row, will do to a bike. Before each winter, I slap a generous amount of grease on top of the bearings to keep salt, sand and water out, but I guess it wasn't enough. Looks like I'll be commuting on my cross bike until I get this sorted out.

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