Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Hub bearings and rain

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Hub bearings and rain

Old 11-30-22, 02:39 PM
  #1  
utoner34
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 140
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 7 Posts
Hub bearings and rain

I have one wheel with a standard hub with cone bearings (that came with my Cube Nuroad bike), in good shape (in a sense it doesnt have play), and I open the hub ocasionally, clean everything and regrease (I use lithium grease) and the wheel is fine in the dry , however after the ride in rain, you get this grinding noise from the wheel (when you turn it stationary and listen).

1. do I use the wrong grease (lithium) so the water penetrates?

btw, I looked at the rubber rings on each side of the hub and they should definitely be replaced.

2. do hubs with cartridge bearings withstand water from penetrating better than cone bearings?
utoner34 is offline  
Old 11-30-22, 02:49 PM
  #2  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 8,038

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2165 Post(s)
Liked 1,389 Times in 885 Posts
Trailer hub bearing grease will stay put pretty darn well in the rain. When I was commuting I repacked the bearings annually, whether they needed it or not, and (just guessing) probably had 30-50 rain rides on them every year.

Shimano LX rubber seals are surprisingly good at keeping the bearings dry in any cloudburst I ever rode through, FWIW. Can't say anything about "cone bearing" hubs in general.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 11-30-22, 03:22 PM
  #3  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 9,640

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2372 Post(s)
Liked 2,658 Times in 1,621 Posts
1. - https://www.google.com/search?q=mari...hrome&ie=UTF-8

2. - Depends on the seals in the bearings, but in general, yes.
dedhed is offline  
Old 11-30-22, 03:31 PM
  #4  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 36,733

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 131 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4762 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 759 Times in 473 Posts
I have more rain miles than most (10,000+) including downpours and occasional floods.

All my hubs are traditional cup/cone design, greased with white lithium grease, at roughly 5,000 mile intevals. I've yet to experience a single premature bearing issue owing to rust.

The grinding you hear might be grit in the gaps between the moving parts. Even if some grit does penetrate deeper the rolling action will move it of the track where it remains trapped by the grease. (Think of the dirt lines at the ends of windshield wiper strokes).

So I add the OP's concerns to my very long list of things to not obsess over.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is online now  
Likes For FBinNY:
Old 12-01-22, 09:19 AM
  #5  
_ForceD_
Sr Member on Sr bikes
 
_ForceD_'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Rhode Island (sometimes in SE Florida)
Posts: 1,998

Bikes: Several...from old junk to new all-carbon.

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 868 Post(s)
Liked 596 Times in 319 Posts
The cone and/or bearings might already has very small pits on them causing the grinding sound. It’s happened to me before…that grinding sound. I’d swore they were still good. But, I had to thoroughly clean, and closely inspect them with a strong magnifying glass to see the small pits. Installed new and the problem was solved.
Dan
_ForceD_ is offline  
Likes For _ForceD_:
Old 12-01-22, 11:22 AM
  #6  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 6,558
Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5969 Post(s)
Liked 9,033 Times in 3,907 Posts
OP: If you are regularly opening the hubs anyway, you should be replacing the bearings (use grade 25 bearings in the appropriate sizes) and use high-quality grease. If you ride in the rain a lot, use marine grease. I pack my hubs with LOTS of grease, and let the excess ooze out through the seals. More grease = less room for anything else to get in there.

Also, are you really cleaning everything thoroughly, using degreaser or at least isopropyl alcohol?

And yeah, replace those seals.

If you don't like the maintenance, then yes, cartridge bearings can basically be run maintenance-free until they get rough, which will take a long time. But it's probably not worth buying a new wheelset, in my opinion.
Koyote is offline  
Old 12-01-22, 12:52 PM
  #7  
Dave Mayer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,277
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1012 Post(s)
Liked 304 Times in 192 Posts
Water can get into hubs, and yes, it is a very bad thing, particularly if left for days or beyond. Best way for water to get in: using a pressure washer to clean your bike, or driving on the highway in the rain with the bike on a rack. Both methods are guaranteed to kill every bearing on the bike.

Sealing: both cartridge bearings or cup and cone hubs can we well or poorly sealed. The single rubber air dam in your standard cartridge bearing is wholly inadequate to protect against water and the outside world. In contrast, mid-range and above Shimano hubs with cup and cone design are very well sealed, in fact better than any of the other of dozens of different hubs that I own and ride. My old Shimano LX hubs from the mid-90's are remarkable survivors, and have outlasted innumerable epic mud-fest trips and total water immersions. Excellent seals.

Best wet-weather hubs ever: Campagnolo Record old-school road hubs with no seals but with grease ports. Get caught out in the rain? A couple of minutes with a grease injector flushes out the old waterlogged grease and they are good as new.

Grease: a vastly overthought topic, particularly for low-demand applications such as bicycles. Low stresses, low temperatures and low RPMs. I use whatever petroleum-based grease I can scoop at yard sales for $1 a tub, and will then fit to my grease injector.
Dave Mayer is offline  
Likes For Dave Mayer:
Old 12-01-22, 02:27 PM
  #8  
Iride01 
more daylight today!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 12,225

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5008 Post(s)
Liked 3,514 Times in 2,439 Posts
You just get a grinding noise. Or do you also feel it grinding when you turn it by hand? If you only hear it, then it might be the water and grease along with some air attempting to mix together and the air giving a popping sound as it burst out of the other two unfriendly substances.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 12-01-22, 02:52 PM
  #9  
zandoval 
Senior Member
 
zandoval's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bastrop Texas
Posts: 3,561

Bikes: Univega, Peu P6, Peu PR-10, Ted Williams, Peu UO-8, Peu UO-18 Mixte, Peu Dolomites

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 607 Post(s)
Liked 955 Times in 620 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
...The grinding you hear might be grit in the gaps between the moving parts. Even if some grit does penetrate deeper the rolling action will move it of the track where it remains trapped by the grease. (Think of the dirt lines at the ends of windshield wiper strokes). So I add the OP's concerns to my very long list of things to not obsess over.
Yep... I was pretty surprised when I re-greased a UO-8 that I had been ridding in Galveston. I had occasionally ridden through deep clear water when it rained. After a year I pulled everything apart as I saw sand collections around the rim of the hubs. It looked very much like salt granules and may have been. After taking the hubs apart I was totally surprised at the amount of sand and grit just outside of the bearings. Yet I did not experience any change in sound or friction....

By the way, I use Marine Grease on everything, not that I really need it...
__________________
No matter where your at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)
zandoval is offline  
Old 12-01-22, 03:52 PM
  #10  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 16,996

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Mongoose Tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder, Stewart 650B ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3739 Post(s)
Liked 2,800 Times in 1,737 Posts
Well made cup and cone units with periodic maintenance do work well. I ran Campy NR hubs for years, overhauling 2 or 3 times a season motivated by rain/conditions ridden. I replaced a very few cones (I had a few bikes each year to spread the miles over), replaced the balls when they looked old, bent/broke a few axles (not the bearing design's fault) but never had a shell cup need replacing (a job I've done a few times for work).

It is that last bit that ls a basic difference. One replaces both the "cup" and the "cone" when replacing a cartridge bearing. But nearly no cup and cone hubs have replacement cups possible.

One can talk about which example of what design had this or that outcome for their riding all they want but the above difference remains as a real one and not some anecdote. Andy (who moved onto cartridge bears to not feel bad about not bothering to service them as often)
__________________
AndrewRStewart
Andrew R Stewart is online now  
Likes For Andrew R Stewart:
Old 12-01-22, 06:59 PM
  #11  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 25,862

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 138 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5254 Post(s)
Liked 2,824 Times in 1,666 Posts
Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Water can get into hubs, and yes, it is a very bad thing, particularly if left for days or beyond. Best way for water to get in: using a pressure washer to clean your bike, or driving on the highway in the rain with the bike on a rack. Both methods are guaranteed to kill every bearing on the bike.
Far too much to do is made about water infiltration of hubs. It’s not nearly as bad as most people make it out to be, especially with modern (post about 1995) designs. First grease doesn’t mix well with water. It is hydrophobic and does a damn fine job of keeping water out. Seals…even on cup and cone hubs…have drastically improved from the bad old days when the “seal” was against dust and fit poorly. The rubber seals on most wheels will keep out water even if you clean with a pressure washer.

Sealing: both cartridge bearings or cup and cone hubs can we well or poorly sealed. The single rubber air dam in your standard cartridge bearing is wholly inadequate to protect against water and the outside world. In contrast, mid-range and above Shimano hubs with cup and cone design are very well sealed, in fact better than any of the other of dozens of different hubs that I own and ride. My old Shimano LX hubs from the mid-90's are remarkable survivors, and have outlasted innumerable epic mud-fest trips and total water immersions. Excellent seals.
Ah, the old “my cup and cone bearings are better than those substandard cartridge bearing hubs” myth. The “single rubber air dam on your standard cartridge bearings” isn’t just a rubber air dam. These are bearings that are designed for far greater stresses and service duties than cup and cone could ever endure. The bearings used in bicycle hubs are standard bearings that are usually designed for automotive loads and automotive speeds. They last tens of thousands of miles in automobiles and will last a whole lot longer than in a light duty application like bicycles.

Additionally, you are comparing cheese to chalk. Generally a cartridge bearing is meant to be used until it doesn’t work anymore. You can do a little maintenance on them but, for the most part, they are meant to be replaced other than repaired. Replacement is relatively simple and causes no damage to the hub. Damaged cups…although rare…aren’t as easily replaced. And cones are much more susceptible to damage and more frequent replacement as well as having a greater need for periodic maintenance.

​​​​​​​Best wet-weather hubs ever: Campagnolo Record old-school road hubs with no seals but with grease ports. Get caught out in the rain? A couple of minutes with a grease injector flushes out the old waterlogged grease and they are good as new.
Maybe but cartridge bearings with they “single rubber air dam” seal stands up very well to water without any need for maintenance. Got several of them that have gone for tens of thousands of miles without having had to do anything to them at all.

​​​​​​​Grease: a vastly overthought topic, particularly for low-demand applications such as bicycles. Low stresses, low temperatures and low RPMs. I use whatever petroleum-based grease I can scoop at yard sales for $1 a tub, and will then fit to my grease injector.
I can agree with your sentiment but for different reasons. Not one of my bikes (13 mine and 4 my wife’s) has a loose bearing anywhere on the frames. The last tube of grease I bought was more than 4 years ago and it replaced a tube of grease from 20 years before that. I don’t use grease for anything other than threads. I figure I got 16 more years before I need another tube of grease. And I expect to be riding the same hubs, headsets, and bottom brackets when that tube runs out.
__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 12-02-22, 04:10 AM
  #12  
blamester
Blamester
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Ireland
Posts: 1,005

Bikes: Peugeot teamline

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 249 Post(s)
Liked 107 Times in 89 Posts
If you have serviced and inspected it and it isn't noticeable when you ride the bike I would say it is fine.
Everything wears out. Keep serviceing it and wait till it is properly worn or noticeable and then replace it. You will know when and get plenty of warning.
Hubs are simple. They last a long time.
Replacing barely worn parts for some attempt at perfection is silly.
blamester is offline  
Old 12-03-22, 04:56 AM
  #13  
hevysrf
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 86
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
Liked 50 Times in 20 Posts
1. Mercury T-4-C grease.

2. My former experience in industrial electric motor repair suggests a quality sealed cartridge bearing will last longer under severe conditions. Sturmey archer HBT30 for the front.
hevysrf is offline  
Old 12-04-22, 11:12 AM
  #14  
utoner34
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 140
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
You just get a grinding noise. Or do you also feel it grinding when you turn it by hand? If you only hear it, then it might be the water and grease along with some air attempting to mix together and the air giving a popping sound as it burst out of the other two unfriendly substances.
Hard to say now, the sound was only present immediatelly after the ride, not more the day after.

Next time I will check immediately.

I though it could be that the sand also gets in the axle? (I have through axle)
utoner34 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.