Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hubs Are Harrrrrrrrrrrrrd

This is a hub that's been disassembled, cleaned, bearings packed back in, in the process of adding more grease, and prepared to be adjusted.  Please be suitably impressed, thanks.
Sunday night's class was All About Hubs and, while there is ever so much to learn and do and see and discuss about hubs, allow me to condense it all down for you into one succinct statement: Hubs are freaking hard, and I suck at them. The end.

The hub is the center of the wheel, see, and it doesn't LOOK like it should be so hard. But it is! I swear to god, and I can't even say exactly why they're so fiendishly difficult. They just are. Apparently every hub is a little different, so that adds to the stress. It takes a lot of practice - you do 10 hubs and then you'll start feeling more comfortable, apparently, more familiar with the assembly of innards. But even if you get good at it, it's terribly time-consuming and there are a lot of rotating bits all coming together in one little centralized spot and it's just complicated.

Do you have an internal gear hub? Then I can't help you, that's a whole other class. Were you under the impression that the scary cassette thing (above, to the right, all them teeth) was the hardest part? You're wrong, it's pretty easy - and might even be fun if you get to use a chain whip.

Yes! A chain whip! It sounds and even looks like some sort of advanced AP sex toy:

I feel like this should be part of a Halloween costume.

Anyway, I found it all very complicated and confusing and I just need to do it several more times. You have to adjust the hubs so that they're not too loose or too tight (and you should really check yours, because that happens a lot), and the adjustment is just a bitch. Plus, none of the ball bearings are caged, so that's always fun when you open everything up and ping ping pingpingping there go your wee little silver balls everywhere.

Also apparently if you have long hair, it is absolutely inevitable that your hubs will have hair in them. It's just a law of bicycle physics: long hair + spinning wheel = hair wound up in hub. Gross, yes. But at least you know.

Overall, this is the one thing we've done where I am not 95% confident I could do again on my own without supervision. I think I'll come in and practice on other wheels, to get used to it.

I feel like I need to admit that I now want to basically be a bike mechanic. Or at least I want to take apart people's bikes and put them back together again, a lot. Aside from me generally being a Little Mis Fix-It by nature, I think it's super addictive because of the huge variety in bikes and parts and potential problems - and the vast array of goofy-looking tools. So anyway, consider yourself warned: if you're around me and there's anything I can detect wrong with your bike, I will undoubtedly beg you to let me take it apart.


Anonymous said...

Oooooooo.. Chain Whips... I love it!!

- Dan

Anonymous said...

Hey! Kevin is taking his with him to NIU and will be using it A LOT! Do you want to use his bike as a Guinea pig and get it ready for heavy use?

- Dan

Beth said...

Ummmm... YES. If I have time, I don't know how long until he leaves. I'll call you tonight and we can plan!

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