Over the last few months, the ratchet noise from the Hope Pro 2 rear hub on my Prince Albert had really started to get on my tits. In fact, being fortunate enough to have a choice of bikes, I realised I had begun to avoid using it and just running with the Pitch or Inbred, both of which are blessed with much quieter freewheels.
I’d also noticed the freewheel was binding a little and whilst the front wheel did spin quite nicely, there was a side play and a sort of crunching sound as it turned.
Clearly time for a service and when I found out the labour charges from 3 local shops, I could feel a tinkerage session coming on. Like most of us, I like an excuse to buy some more tools so a brief browsing session saw me purchase the necessary kit from ,The Bicycle Doctor. Head for the Hills supplied the bearing kit, consisting of 2 front and 2 rear hub bearings, plus the 3 bearings needed for the freehub body for £40.
I’m not going to bore you with the detail but suffice to say, this really is a job anyone (with a bit of common sense) can take on, particularly with the help of the excellent video on the Hope website. The front bearings took me a matter of minutes to replace and whilst the rear took longer as the freehub had seized on the axle, it wasn’t a difficult job. It really is a case of simply drifting out the old bearings and replacing them. You could use your drift to seat the new bearings instead of the Hope tools but risk damaging the seals if you slip.
The beauty of doing it yourself is you can spend far longer on cleaning and prep than I’m sure the LBS guys can afford to (and that’s no disrespect to them). Its fair to say inside of the freehub resembled Yoghurt Pots on a bad day so I spent a fair while removing the pawls and springs and cleaning everything thoroughly.
Now the wheels run beautifully smooth and there’s no play or notchiness and the noise is significantly less. I didn’t even notice it on Sunday-the first time in ages. Matt’s however is a different story and is in need of similar attention.
The only drawback being that I’ve lost one of my excuses… ‘yeah Tony, but I would have wasted you on that climb if my hubs weren’t binding…’
Things for the job (after removing the cassette):
* Nylon hammer
* Vice for removing the rear hub spacers (molegrips will do)
* Blocks of wood to support the hub when drifting bearings in/out
* Hope tool kit (regulars feel free to borrow it)
* Suitable small metal bar with a flat end to use as a drift
* Grease-fairly light weight and not too much in the freehub