Possible to service Shimano 15mm front hub without TL-HB15 tool?

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  • Possible to service Shimano 15mm front hub without TL-HB15 tool?
  • Premier Icon Leku

    Do I really need one of these to service a SLX 15mm front hub? £40!

    I had assumed I just needed a 23mm cone spanner..


    I’m on my phone ATM but from what I can tell its just an adaptor (spoke lacing tool) to fit the wheel into a truing jig.
    Is that right? It does say ‘cone adjusting tool’ as well though. But I can’t work out how it’s used for that. My guess is that cone spanners should do the job but I’d be interested to know for sure. 🙂

    Premier Icon Leku

    it seems to be the only way to pre-load the bearings before you clamp off the one side. Its not like any other Shimano hub I’ve seen…

    Before I moan, FWIW I looooove riding on and working on shimano hubs, but I still think they didn’t think their 15 and 20mm ones through properly.

    Leku you are right, this tool it is the only effective way of holding the axle still whilst you do the cone and lockring up on the other side. You would do this on a shimano qr hub using a vice or third cone spanner on the opposite side to the one you are working on, to hold the axle still as you tighten the outer nut against the cone. Of course on shimano 15 and 20mm hubs there are no spanner flats to be able to do this, and so the £40 tool is there to hold the axle still in a vice or the jaws of an adjustable spanner.

    You can do it by ‘trial and error’ ie start with the cone a bit too tight and expect it to loosen itself a bit as you tighten the lockring a bit. That is a bit of a faff requiring several attempts to get it just right, and doesn’t always work or stay put very well (in my experience of no problems whatsoever with lovely shimano qr hubs and plenty of grief with the slx and xt 20mm hubs I had.)

    You can also do what I resorted to doing and write off your warranty by sawing a 2mm wide by 3mm deep slot into the disc side of the axle. Then put a spare cone spanner (or anything else made of <2mm hard steel) in a vice with a bit sticking out of the top of the jaws of the vice, and put the slot you have cut in the axle on the exposed bit of spanner. This way you can tighten the cone and locknut onto each other without the axle rotating.

    What a shame that to service these hubs properly yourself you have to spend a total of £51 on unusual tools, (the slx, zee and xt hubs all cost less than that! What other hubs are there that require you to spend more on the tools than you did on the hub?!) or £11 on just the massive cone spanner and saw a slot in the hub. 😕

    Premier Icon Leku

    Would a something like an oil filter wrench work? It would hold the one end firm while you adjust the other end?


    Oil filter wrench like the one pictured is going to be much to big for the outer diameter of the 15mm axle. Rubber strap wrench: possibly. Worth a try and they are pretty handy and inexpensive tools to have around even if you buy one and it doesn’t work. Trouble is you have to stop the axle rotating even the tiniest but whilst exercising some serious rotation on the other end as your tighten the locknut and hold the cone still with the comedy oversize cone spanner. My experience with strap wrinches is that its quite hard to grip a smooth surface well enough. I use a boa constrictor strap to undo air shocks but then its ok if/when the strap slips a bit before it really grips on. To get a good grip with the rubber strap you have to be turning it against something first, which is fine with a shock body held in a vice (or oil filter in car etc etc) but you are trying to immobilise a rotating axle before you start working on the other end of it.

    Only other thing would be to see if someone with a lathe will machine you up a copy of the shimano hb15 tool, or just the cups from it: you need to be able to pass an old rear axle or similar through the middle of it so you can do it all really tight and then clamp the disc side cup in a vice or adjustable spanner.

    I know his world view a bit unpopular with some on the chat forum (but if you don’t know anyone else to ask) Kaseae/katec bearings has made and sold his own bearing presses etc before: it might be an idea to ask him for a quote: I have bought a few bits from him before and he was very quick and helpful.

    Premier Icon Leku

    And the answer is..

    I used a dremel to grind two flat spots on the disc side of the axle. 20mm spanner now fits.

    Just serviced hub and was able to nip it up no problems.



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