Over the past month I’ve broadened my bike servicing skills to now include replacing the bearings on Hope XC and Pro2 hubs. For anyone who rides hard, or in particular rides the trails through winter, it’s become apparent to me that Hope are some of the best hubs available.
I thought you might like to hear some tips on the process if you run the same hubs and plan to do the work too. Having seen the inside of my hubs I strongly recommend you do so regularly and would say it’s one of the key things to making your bike feel like new again.
The benefits I’ve found from replacing the bearings have been much smoother tracking at the rear and significantly improved steering at the front of my Five, where I’d recently been progressively winding down the fork thinking the steering was rather woolly. After 3000 miles it now feels as good as new with the bearings replaced.
- Check out the videos on Hope’s own website for a clear demonstration of what you need to do. Also, YouTube has plenty of demos showing various ways to remove/replace the freehub/bearings etc.
- I found the information on servicing Hope Pro2 hubs at Cyclist No.1 to be very helpful.
- Invest in the proper Hope drifts for replacing the bearings; or, if you’re like me ponce them off a friend (thanks Colin!).
- If you haven’t taken the end-caps and freehub off for a long time (or never in my case with the XC3), this will likely be the hardest part of the exercise. They should just pull off but this turned into a two-man job.
- The end-caps can be very hard to get off. For the XC3 it ended up with three flat bladed screwdrivers levering against spare screws threaded onto the disc rotor mounts on one side and against the freehub body on the other. It’s easy to cause a lot of damage and hurt yourself so tread carefully.
- For freehubs that have welded themselves to the axle, also be very careful as you’ll need to knock out the axle against the friction from four or five bearings. You will need to potentially use a lot of force and this also runs the risk of permanently damaging the hubs.Make sure everything is properly supported and don’t hit anything directly metal-to-metal. An old bolt-on Halo skewer seemed to work very well as protection to the soft axle end once the ‘final solution’ of a 4lb club hammer was brought into play. Think every move through very carefully!
- Check your pawl springs too. I had a broken one on my Pro2 freehub, which had admittedly done a lot of miles.
- A bit of extra grease on the ratchet helps cut down the legendary Hope noise but don’t go mad – those pawls need to bite in after all.
- Once everything is back and working, make sure you regularly replace the bearings – once a year would make sense as it’s so cheap to do and the bearings and freehub will be that much easier to remove.
- Regularly pull the freehub off to clean inside and regrease anyway. This shouldn’t take longer than 15 mins really and I was surprised at the amount of dirt ingress after a traumatic D2D.
Hope that helps people. It’s not exactly for the novice bike mechanic but the key lesson is that preventative maintenance will make your life significantly easier long term. Based on the evidence I’ve seen, there’s no reason my Hope hubs shouldn’t last me 20 years if they’re properly looked after.
If anyone is interested I might be ‘persuaded’ to service other moles Hope hubs…