Cup & Cone – Why?

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  • Cup & Cone – Why?
  • Premier Icon ahwiles

    ah, the mythical drift.

    that’s it? – that’s the correct tool? This is considered a better solution than care and spanners?

    a hub that costs £150, and you have to fix it every couple of years by belting it with a bit of metal that you found/made to be a convenient shape and size? hoping that the edge hasn’t rounded enough so it wont ‘sit’.

    the engineering is weak in this solution.


    It’s such a simple operation that precision tools aren’t needed.

    This of course makes it inferior for many.


    I like cup and cone, it doesn’t bother me how long
    It takes to get right, at least I can do it myself for pence.
    My fuel 9 rear wheel, with through axle had to go
    To the trek shop. Not possible to do at home.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    ahwiles – Member

    i’ve learned, from many expensive, time consuming mistakes, to use the right tool for the job.

    i have been able to knock a bearing out with a screwdriver, but usually with some ‘collateral damage’.

    Nothing wrong with a screwdriver as a drift, you’ll only cause “collateral damage” if you do it wrong, and you can do it wrong with any tool in the world.

    I use a motorbike axle mostly, it’s a great size and heft for the job. I do own some “proper” drifts and punches from the personal stock of Baron Alfred Krupp, but I almost never use them, they’re not as good (except the one I bent, which is really handy sometimes. Oh and the tapered one is good for shattering small bearings, makes them easier to get out of my hemlock)

    Refitting, sockets are perfect.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    You have to admit there is a knack to getting C&C tightened up properly. It takes a bit of experience to get it right.

    But then, there’s also a knack to replacing cartridge bearings too.

    Big advantage of cartridge imo is that the hub can always be made good as new. Eventually the races in C&C will get damaged, requiring a new hub.


    So you’re saying that for intensive use, you should use good quality grease in good quality hubs? Well I never!

    no – I am saying that good quality grease and good quality hubs aren’t enough in some situations and you end up with a trashed hub.


    Maybe it’s because Shimano sell all over the world, to people and places where it’s not so easy to rush out and buy new cartridge bearings and fit them in the luxury of your own bike shed?

    Cup and cone are far easier and cheaper to maintain if you’re prepared to (or have no choice but to) invest the time and effort to keep them running.

    Cartridge bearings are better if you’re happy in a throwaway culture.


    Eventually the races in C&C will get damaged, requiring a new hub.

    No, do read the thread!


    I’m a big fan of c&c hubs and use old xtr ones on my winter hack bike, 4 winters and counting and still super smooth
    For me the key is good grease and high grade balls not the tat most shops sell in little bags on a big card

    Nothing beats just how fast a nice record or dura ace hub rolls on the road

    Premier Icon ransos

    no – I am saying that good quality grease and good quality hubs aren’t enough in some situations and you end up with a trashed hub.

    Only if you don’t service them. Which, if you use a good quality hub and grease, doesn’t need doing very often.

    Where cup and cone goes wrong is in the availability of spare parts. Can you get a spare rubber seal for a Deore hub? can you bollox unless you buy a complete spare hub. Therefore the seal perishes, then the race gets damaged and the hub is trashed. Most people fail to service cup and cone hubs regularly resulting in damaged cones and races. At least with cartridge bearings it’s not too late to save the wheel when you feel play in the bearings with C+C 8 out of ten times it is and you have to replace the wheel, which is just a huge waste of resources.

    I just bought a complete brand new deore hub from CR for the huge sum of £14. Including a nice shimano skewer . You couldn’t buy one decent sealed bearing for that.
    My RS81 road wheels don’t use cone spanners any more. You just need 2 X 6mm allen keys. Its easier than ever now. CnC give far less resistance that a hub with sealed bearings. My old Pro 2 crap hub had 5 of the buggers, which would need changing up to 3 times a year, which amounted to a far old lick of money.
    As a rule, cartridge bearings are better for off roading but CnC are better where lower rolling resistance is needed.

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    Cup and cone are rubbish.

    Why just the other day, I checked the cones on my 1932 Sunbeam and there was evidence of slight pitting. I had to put new balls in and regrease it.

    So I checked my other Sunbeam, a 1937 model. The cups and cones were perfect, but now I just know it’s going to let me down in only 5 years time when it’s 82 years old.

    Luckily I have some spare balls and grease.



    I ‘upgraded’ to cartridge hubs years ago but I’ve since realised that the things I didn’t like about Shimano hubs were the poor sealing (M475s) and crappy freewheels (all the ones I used), which I seemed to kill with alarming regularity and which cost more on their own than an (admittedly relatively cheap) entire replacement hub.

    Actually, front Shimano hubs pretty much last forever IME; it’s the rears that need careful watching and TLC.

    I really like the idea of a quality C&C MTB hub with grease ports and hex key adjustment. Does such a thing exist?

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