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Heliocomatic hub rebuilding??

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Heliocomatic hub rebuilding??

Old 06-22-21, 04:35 PM
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Heliocomatic hub rebuilding??

I have just purchased a little used 1983 Peugeot UO 14 with a replacement rear wheel. Also included was the original helicomatic wheel with the nice Weinmann concave rim. Unfortunately the hub was destroyed with 4 bent spokes and 3 that ripped out the rim. The 13-30 freewheel looks nice as does the classy rim. I was gifted a Park truing stand for Christmas. Why would I not want to buy an eBay hub and try my first wheel rebuild on my first French bike? I see a couple at reasonable prices considering what the bike cost me. I’ve probably done more stuff that was less advised, and then there is the simplex drivetrain while I have a bunch of Suntour stuff. My time is cheap, and education is fun and reliability is not much of a concern. Thoughts?
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Old 06-22-21, 04:51 PM
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Teaching yourself wheelbuilding is a great idea. You should do it

Helicomatic is not a great system. See Sheldon Brown's article on it.

So the hub is broken? Why not rebuild the wheel with a freehub? That would modernize things nicely. Spread the frame to 130 or 135 and bob's your uncle, you have a modern machine, impervious to axle breakage and relatively future-proof. Shifting will improve too, with a hyperglide cassette. You can even find 126 spaced freehubs for hyperglide, if you look hard enough. You can take 7 of 8-speeds or 8 of 9-speeds and put them on there, to get a nice modern drivetrain with 126 spacing.

If you REALLY want to go ahead with Helicomatic, I think I have a couple hub shells and a cone or two I can send you if you make me a shipping label. Don't spend real money on that stuff!
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Old 06-22-21, 04:55 PM
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-----

​​​​​​https://www.borgercompagnie.com/heli...c/history.html

​​​​​​Maillard Helicomatic System from Yellow Jersey



-----
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Old 06-22-21, 05:12 PM
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That would make too much sense

Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Teaching yourself wheelbuilding is a great idea. You should do it

Helicomatic is not a great system. See Sheldon Brown's article on it.

So the hub is broken? Why not rebuild the wheel with a freehub? That would modernize things nicely. Spread the frame to 130 or 135 and bob's your uncle, you have a modern machine, impervious to axle breakage and relatively future-proof. Shifting will improve too, with a hyperglide cassette.

If you REALLY want to go ahead with Helicomatic, I think I have a couple hub shells and a cone or two I can send you if you make me a shipping label. Don't spend real money on that stuff!
Oh yes, the spokes ripped out 3 spoke holes in the flange. Perhaps something got caught. I would gladly accept your offer of a hub. This bike looks like low miles as does the weinmann rim. I have not attempted anything French yet. This looks to be perhaps half French as in French Canadian. I have been learning wheel truing, and this would be a perfect place to learn wheel building.

Hub is marked 82 for a 1983 UO 14 with a 6 speed 13-30 freewheel. The freewheel lock ring came off easily with a small strap wrench. I have a bit nicer stuff and do have one freehub, but thought this would be a nice learning experience. I have many vintage bikes and like to experience what the OEM product was in the day. This bike with the magnalite tubing, alloy wheels, mafac racers, and stronlight 99 crank seemed to be well equipped. I am even going to resist replacing the Simplex with Suntour stuff. I would gladly purchase what you have. Not sure what I need to do for a shipping label, but point me in a direction and I will learn. Thanks much.
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Old 06-22-21, 05:26 PM
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sd5782,
Is this what you are looking for:

I can ship it to TOO LEE DOO in a small flat rate box for around $9. PM me with shipping details or call me, smiles, MH (812-336-3283)
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Old 06-22-21, 05:26 PM
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There are different versions of the helicomatic hub, the later version would be the better project. See this thread for more info
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...-question.html
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Old 06-22-21, 05:54 PM
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Thanks for the helpful posts. Mine looks like an earlier version with just a simple oval heliomatic sticker. I will get some pics out tomorrow. It is a 6 speed with 126 spacing from 1982and the has black nuts. I will take the tire off first also to make sure the rim isn’t damaged. The whole project wouldn’t be worth doing without the matching rear weinmann concave stock rim. Several damaged spokes to go along with the ripped out hub, so I need to check the inner spoke holes too. Thanks all.

edit added for typo, hub is 1982

Last edited by sd5782; 06-23-21 at 01:57 AM. Reason: Info
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Old 06-22-21, 06:00 PM
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Hehe, as usual @Mad Honk has better crap than I do!!

If you want my hub shells and a cone, you can have 'em, but his looks much better, in that it is a whole hub. I think mine have the small bearings on both sides. I don't know if that makes them later or earlier, but I know I harvested the axles and spacers and threw away the bad cones from them.
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Old 06-22-21, 06:16 PM
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I like the UO 14 a lot. If it were my bike, I’d go with 700c wheels though. I’d swap the inner 38 out and replace it with a 34 on the strong light crank.
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Old 06-22-21, 08:05 PM
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If your rims are good, I'd find a nice thread on freewheel rear hub, used, lace that up, and say good by to that helicomatic hub and freewheel. Good riddance. Maybe even get all new stainless spokes, too.
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Old 06-23-21, 02:07 AM
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Yes and yes to both sensible suggestions on 700s and freewheel hubs, but trying something halfway French isn’t supposed to be sensible from what I read. I will likely go that route eventually. I might as well keep the simplex rd that is on it for now too rather than a superior Suntour. The bike shows little use so should clean up decent and give a good representation of the French flair. Since I have a bunch of bikes already with several superior to this, I may as well start stock just to see, and yes, a 34t cog may be in the future.

Eventually though this one may get changed around as has my Frejus. Good way to learn either way.
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Old 06-23-21, 02:25 PM
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You might actually do better selling the Helicomatic freewheel, lock ring and axle innards to some Helicophile (Helicomaniac?) out there, and putting those proceeds into a conventional freewheel-hub build as suggested. A less sentimental, but ultimately more logical, application of that nice concave Weinmann.

Check out some of the $$$ Andy gets (or got) for various Helicomatic parts on the YJ site.
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Old 06-23-21, 02:54 PM
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Pics

All those suggestions make too much sense, but I may ultimately get there in the end. As we all know, the various paths enlighten us, and occasionally we glom onto something that we wouldn't have unless we went a crazy direction in the first place. So French Canadian it is for a bit until I learn better or get tired of banging my head into a wall.What fun is it doing things the sensible way anyhow. Once I learn some stuff, I will then be educated at least a bit into things from another dimension.



Dirty, as purchased 1983 UO 14



Pretty drivetrain



Even going to try the Simplex RD



Not too pretty modern hub



Doesn't match the front one


That was as received. Bike is probably very functional after some cleanup and lubes and such. Who can stand mismatched wheels on a vintage bike though?



Ouch on a few spokes



Time to learn some wheel building



The rims were very nice front and back


So that is where I am. Initial investment was cheap. A used hub is cheap. Education is priceless, but often costly. In this case though education cost will be minimal in $$$ but just a bit of time.
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Old 06-23-21, 03:58 PM
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As those are non drive side spokes, you can just straighten them and reuse them. That will make your learning experience even cheaper!

Can the spoke nipples be turned easily? Often old wheels don't come apart with much ease because the nipples can stick. But usually you can get them to turn by heating them a little with a torch.
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Old 06-23-21, 05:08 PM
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Weird, that's the kind of damage you usually see on the drive side, from a chain overshift. There must have been a major incident with a pannier or rack strap or something. Was there a rear rack on the bike?
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Old 06-23-21, 05:21 PM
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I haven’t put a wrench to anything on it yet, but judging by condition it should be fairly easy to disassemble. I don’t think the wheels or hub had many miles, and looked to have been stored out of the weather. The 13-30 freewheel looks very nice too. A donor heliocomatic hub will be coming soon from kind member Dave. It looks like a pretty straightforward wheel build for a first try. It seems like those concave Weinmanns are well respected too.

I will probably update this post with tear down pics and rebuild pics too for anyone interested. It may be useful in case I or anyone come into one of those nice vintage Treks with this hub. As a first note, I did not need a tool for lock ring removal. I wasn’t going to go at it with a pliers, but did try a small strap wrench and it came right off. Looks like a fun project and perhaps a worthy restoration.
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Old 06-24-21, 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Weird, that's the kind of damage you usually see on the drive side, from a chain overshift. There must have been a major incident with a pannier or rack strap or something. Was there a rear rack on the bike?
No sign of a rack, and the bent area in the spokes doesn’t line up with the kickstand. I don’t know any history on this bike. I will have to check alignment and such too when I finally get it apart.
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Old 06-27-21, 12:36 PM
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Update on damaged hub

Just for fun, I disassembled the damaged hub to see what lies inside for educational purposes. As the bike looked to have low miles and the damaged wheel had been swapped out in the past, I expected the cones and races to maybe be salvageable. The grease inside wasn’t all that bad looking after locknut removal. My Park 13mm cone wrench was too big but it worked to disassemble. Hub was already bad, so I wasn’t being overly careful with things.

13 bearings on each side; 5/32”. Surprisingly to me, the drive side cone had mild pitting around 75% of its circumference. A couple balls looked questionable but not really too bad. A bit better on the non drive side with pitting on perhaps half of the circumference. I drove out the cups, and they were perfect. Soft cones maybe? I have a new hub coming from another kind member, so I hope that is fine, or I will be in search of cones or perhaps even a non heliocomatic hub as suggested.

Half the fun of this hobby is learning stuff. Even once repaired, I wouldn’t possibly put too many miles on this bike, so the plan still is heliocomatic.
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Old 06-27-21, 12:50 PM
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Step one: detension all spokes
Step two: cut out all old spokes
Step three: rebuild old rim with new spokes and any Shimano freehub you can get your hands on.
The cheapest Shimano unit with many miles on it will serve you better than a NOS top end Heliccomatic unit. Been there a few dozen times--my old workplace sold many Helicomatic equipped Treks and that system just wasn't ready for prime time.
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Old 06-27-21, 01:09 PM
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Lol.
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Old 06-27-21, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by sd5782 View Post
13 bearings on each side; 5/32”. Surprisingly to me, the drive side cone had mild pitting around 75% of its circumference. A couple balls looked questionable but not really too bad. A bit better on the non drive side with pitting on perhaps half of the circumference. I drove out the cups, and they were perfect. Soft cones maybe? I have a new hub coming from another kind member, so I hope that is fine, or I will be in search of cones or perhaps even a non heliocomatic hub as suggested.
The undersize balls and sub standard cones combine to self destruct in fairly short order. And you wont find any replacement cones that will work, except from another helicomatic, and they'll likely be pitted too, unless they weren't ridden.
The helicomatics came in three qualities, that I know of: Sport, Luxe, and 700 professional. I have a Trek 720 with the 700 helicos, and they feel quite nice, but the bike wasn't ridden very much. I may leave them on the bike to see if they're any better than the others, but regardless, they still have that funky freewheel. I will try to find a conventional freewheel hub with close to the same flange diameter and swap them out eventually, using the same spokes. I think the Maillard front hubs will work ok. I've had three bikes with the Sport Helicomatic rr hubs, and despite being diligent with keeping them freshly greased, the cones were all toast within less then a year of regular use.

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Old 06-27-21, 03:19 PM
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All sounds encouraging. Kinda sad really as the idea seemed good. As an aside, the French and British cars have quite the checkered reputation too.
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Old 06-27-21, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by sd5782 View Post
...Half the fun of this hobby is learning stuff. .
Yes, sometimes it is easy, sometimes not so much.
But on the positive side, it keeps me from having to take up ice fishing.

Helicomatic= Vegomatic.
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Old 07-05-21, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Hehe, as usual @Mad Honk has better crap than I do!!

If you want my hub shells and a cone, you can have 'em, but his looks much better, in that it is a whole hub. I think mine have the small bearings on both sides. I don't know if that makes them later or earlier, but I know I harvested the axles and spacers and threw away the bad cones from them.
Sam,
It appears I have been "DeJoyed" yet again! I sent that hub out over two weeks ago and it has not arrived. I have one shell left here that I send out to him but no axles, spacers or cones or lock nuts. I am going to send the shell to him as he may be able to make it work. But I think you may need to help out with some small parts. Smiles, MH

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Old 07-05-21, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
Sam,
It appears I have been "DeJoyed" yet again! I sent that hub out over tow weeks ago and it has not arrived. I have one shell left here that I send out to him but no axles, spacers or cones or lock nuts. I am going to send the shell to him as he may be able to make it work. But I think you may need to help out with some small; parts. Smiles, MH
Oh boy! That's too bad, but I appreciate you letting me know, as I was about to throw out a bunch of stuff. I will keep it around pending a possible need.

I just took inventory of what I have. I have two hub shells with cups that look ok. One's obviously better than the other. Both are for small bearings on both sides. I have two good cones. I have one bad cone and one cone that is from some Shimano hub but looks like it'll work for this. These all thread onto the m10x1 axle. I also have a spare lockring, but it's not in great condition, and a freewheel body. @sd5782 , let me know what you want. Can probably ship USPS flat rate for like $8.
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