How to Lubricate Bike Wheel Bearings – 5 Steps

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As a biking enthusiast, there’s nothing more important than understanding the value of proper maintenance. This is what will ensure you enjoy each ride without unnecessary breakdowns and that your bicycle will serve you for a long time.

One of the parts that require regular maintenance in the form of cleaning and greasing are the wheel bearings. You should perform such maintenance every 500 miles for regular bikes and 100 miles for mountain bikes.

Read on to learn how to lubricate bike wheel bearings.

How to Lubricate Bike Wheel Bearings

Before you begin any maintenance task with your bike, always confirm that you have all the necessary items for the task. This reduces the risk of losing small parts as you move around.

When lubricating bike wheel bearings, you will need the following:

  • An old cloth
  • Bike grease
  • 17 mm wrench
  • 15mm cone wrench
  • A socket tool (optional)
  • Soap and water
  • A magnet (optional)
  • A new pack of ball bearings (optional)

Step 1: Remove the Wheel

If you do not know how to remove a bike wheel, you may be getting ahead of yourself if you want to grease the bearings. Fortunately for you, it’s not that complicated.

Since removing the front wheel is easier, always begin with it. Start by releasing the rim brakes and cantilever brakes to release the tension.

Flip the bike over and then remove the axle or open the quick release and lift up the wheel to remove it. You’ll do the same for the back wheel once you have greased and reinserted the front wheel bearings. 

Step 2: Remove the Locknut

Once the wheel is off, you can now proceed to remove the locknut. Take the adjustable wrench and use it to locate the wheel’s locking nut.

With the wrench firmly holding the locknut, begin to loosen it gently. As you do this, it is important that the wheel is on the floor and you hold on to the bearing cone.

Doing so ensures that the components are not shaken unnecessarily as you loosen the locknut. At this stage, you should not attempt to open the bearing cones.

From the side that is still attached, hold the axel firmly. Proceed with unlocking the locking nut until it nears coming off completely. 

Move the axel to one side to begin unlocking the bearing cone. For this, you will need the 15-millimeter cone wrench. Unscrew until it becomes loose enough to remove by hand.

Remove the axel from out of the cylinder or hub and set it aside. 

Step 3: Remove and Clean the Bearings

At this stage, you can easily see the bearings. Although you can use your fingers to remove them from the well of the hub, it will be much easier with a magnet.

While cycling, dirt and other debris can find their way into the axel and hub well. If left unchecked, this will affect the performance of your bicycle.

Before applying lubricating bicycle bearings, it is essential to get rid of such dirt. At this point, you can use the cloth to wipe grease and dirt off the hub, cones, and bearings. 

Use the cloth to wipe the grease and dirt off the hub, cones, and bearings. Once you are done, inspect the bearings for rust and the hub and cones for cracks and damage.

If the bearings and the other parts have rust or any form of damage, it’s best to replace them. This will ensure that your bike can serve you efficiently after maintenance. You can find bearings and parts such as the axel and hub at bike shops near you.

Step 4: Lubricate the Bearings and Other Parts

Using an applicator or your hands, if you do not mind getting your hand dirty, apply grease generously to the well that holds the bearings. Do the same with the bearings and place them inside the well. 

Applying grease inside the well and on the bearings will offer maximum lubrication when you cycle. Ensure that you do the same for the bearings on the other side of the hub. 

Step 5: Reassemble 

Once you’ve cleaned and greased everything, you can now reassemble the components. Begin by screwing in the bearing cone, making sure not to tighten it too much. 

To know if you have screwed in the cone correctly, test whether the bearings will roll without any issues and weird sounds.  If it’s okay, proceed to screw in the locking nut back in place and check the bearings again.

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