Replace bearing or a new wheelset?

Hello fellow commuters,

I tried the search function but it doesn't seem to work for me... If you have the links to any past threads related to this, it would be helpful, thank you.

I have Triban RC500 for just over 18months, purely for commute, reaching 4,000miles. I thought it was the headset but there's a play on the front wheel axle. Wheels are still true and otherwise working fine.

I never done wheel bearing replacement before, and at the same time I wondered if this is an opportunity to upgrade the wheelset.

The current wheelset is Decathlon's own Triban wheelset (6063T6 Aluminium, 622 x 17C, 25mm depth, 28 spokes, sealed bearings, QR, Shimano freehub, 6 bolt DB, 2,300g without QR). Currently on Marathon Plus 28mm (nearly 7,000miles) but may change to Durano Plus 28mm in the summer.

A quick search gives a few budget-end options:

  • Mavic Aksium
  • DT Swiss P1800
  • Fulcrum Racing 7

As it is a commuter bike, I'm not interested in speed or weight. Economical price, reliability and longevity are my priorities.

Few questions:

  1. Where do you buy a replacement, good-quality wheel bearings?
  2. Anything to be aware of when replacing wheel bearings (bearing spec, front/rear differences, adjustments, technical difficulty, etc.)?
  3. What are commonly favoured aftermarket wheelsets to consider if replacing the set?

Thanks and happy cycle commuting!

Comments

  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,041

    Don't use cycle shops for bearings as there are loads of suppliers for much cheaper. Just one example - https://www.thebearingcompany.co.uk/

    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • Munsford0
    Munsford0 Posts: 622

    Just replace the bearings if that's the only issue.

  • super_davo
    super_davo Posts: 1,166

    The stock wheels are pretty heavy but robust, no reason to change for any of the other wheels you quoted that are almost as heavy and only marginally more robust.

    Changing bearings is not hard at all. First take off the end caps, look for the size which is usually stamped in the rubber seal, type into Google and usually hundreds of different suppliers crop up.

    To do the change, you can knock out the existing ones with a hammer and drift (which can be a screwdriver - doesn't matter if you ruin the bearing you're removing).

    To install new bearings needs a little more care, I tend to put in place then tighten down nuts on a threaded rod to press into place (using conical washers to ensure central).

  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,627

    I'd definitely heard that the wheels, or more so the bearings, tend to be the weak point with Decathlon bikes - seen it myself on a Triban 300 Red if anyone remembers them - not sure if the build them with poor quality bearings, or forget to put grease in or what it is.

    That one we replaced with some Shimano R500 wheels, back in the day when you could get cheap wheels.


    Anyway, I digress - I'd deffo give it a go at just changing the bearings, as it is a commuter hack, so you don't really have much to lose, and only some skills to gain.

    *I would highly recommend the Durano Pluses over the Marathon pluses, ime very good grip and really solid.

    I've also had bikes (local commuters and town bikes) with Marathon pluses, and still have one in fact, and whilst they are perfect for the job, if you are covering some distance, you will be thankful for the Durano Pluses imho.

    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • accountdeleted
    accountdeleted Posts: 41
    edited May 2

    Thanks everyone, I didn't realise how cheap the bearings are! No brainer, I'm just going to replace the bearings.

    So I got the outer "nuts" out of the way and it seems that the axle is fixed. I'm assuming there's some sort of a flange / lip on the axle inside the hub to keep it in place:












    Is it matter of simply smacking the axle out with a rubber mallet? Which side do I hit; disc side or drive side?

    The bearing on the disc side has slight play. I found the culprit. Lifting the rubber seal showed brown/black grease. The drive side still has clean white-ish grease but I can also see some water droplets.

    The seal has 6000RS stamped on it. It seems to be a common bearing size for bike wheel hubs.

    Are all 6000RS bearings the same?

    Any sizing / spec variant I need to be aware of other than 6000RS inscription?

    I think it's a job for next weekend once I get the right bearings and figure out how to get the axle out. I plan to do the rear hub at the same time but I wonder if the freehub is going to make the bearing replacement a bit more challenging.

    Anyone with RC500 or RC520 who's done hub bearing replacement recently?


    Happy cycle commute everyone.

  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,041

    Youtube is your friend for this kind of work.

    I'm quite happy with NTN bearings being the sweet spot between cost and quality.

    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • accountdeleted
    accountdeleted Posts: 41
    edited May 3

    Thanks @pblakeney,

    I've been searching online for instructions on the exact wheelset but so far nothing that hit the bull's eye. The wheelset I have is no longer in production. I have the old 17c wide rim which Decathlon superseded with 19c width and different axle & locking nut as they responded to customer complain on difficulty with changing tyres. Rather hard to find any information. No luck on Decathlon workshop website either.

    The closet information I got that are persuading me to smack out the axles are:

    Trying to fix a freehub that spins both ways, but I can't get the axle out (Triban RC500)

    road bike - How to remove axle and bearings from a B'TWIN Triban Aero wheel - Bicycles Stack Exchange

    Checking the bearings on Specialized Hi-Lo hubs – T3mppu.kapsi.fi

    I'm happy to tap out the axles carefully, but not quite sure how to get the new bearings in with the axle in situ. I can tap one bearing using a socket (to sit on outer race) or DIY press (threaded rod, washer & nuts), but I'll need to find another way to inset the other bearing with the axle in situ (deep socket wrench?), especially for the rear axle.

    Any fellow forum users with RC500 or RC520 who's done hub bearing replacement?

  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 5,021

    That axel looks like it has an hex socket inside - so a key each side should unscrew it. Then wiggle and tap it with a mallet if needed.

  • accountdeleted
    accountdeleted Posts: 41
    edited May 3

    OK so I managed to get the axle out from the front hub. It was fairly easy to tap it out from one end. I forgot to take some photos...

    As I assumed, the axle is threaded both ends to where the bearings sit in the hub and then the rest is smooth rod. The diameter of the axle thickens to the middle of the axle to create a step for the bearings to sit. Pretty simple set up I think!

    I practiced putting the assembly back (new bearings ordered) and that took some thinking... the simplest and pragmatic way I think is to utilise the axle and the lock nut (more like a flanged track axle nut acting as a threaded dust cap) as the threaded press. One snag is that the lock nut has a small raised ring at contact with the bearing's inner race so its not completely flush to the bearing face, not good when pressing in. I didn't have anything, but a suitable washer (M10 penny washer or some 10mm ID-25mm OD) between the bearing and the lock nut should evenly distribute the pressing force. That should work without damage when installing a new bearing?

    Need to think about how to get around the rear hub bearings with the freehub in situ.

  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,041

    Only thing to keep in mind is to ensure that you are putting pressure on the outside race, not the inside race.

    The free hub should be reasonably easy to remove, and necessary. Possibly a circlip keeping it in place is the most complicated design AFAIK and some are even easier.

    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • accountdeleted
    accountdeleted Posts: 41
    edited May 4

    Yup, hence the washer that just about cover the outer race diameter when pressing.

    The casette is removed but the bearing is halfway deep on the freehub so I can't quite see just yet how the freehub is attached to the wheel hub. I'm hoping that it'll be as simple as a 11mm hex or spline socket at the base of the freehub. The freehub itself is actually OK, spinning well and pawls feel strong still so if I can, I'm inclined not to disturb it.

  • accountdeleted
    accountdeleted Posts: 41

    Some photos, mainly for my own future reference.

    Undo the locking nut and tap out the axle with rubber mallet (non-drive side to avoid disc damage, but either side works).

    Front axle 9mm, rear axle 10mm. Rear drive side has the smallest lock nut (without flange; wrong end in the photo). 6000RS bearings front and rear axles. Use the axles and M10 washer (there isn't enough thread to use old bearing as washer) for pressing the new bearings using M10 washer.

    The freehub is a bit of mystery how to remove it. Seems to fit 11mm hex from the drive side (11mm bi-hex splines?), but the no-drive side also has bi-hex splines (12mm?). Decathlon instruction states 12mm allen key, but not sure if it's for the wheelset (looks MTB wheelset). Can't figure out how it comes out, if it is indeed designed to come out.


  • accountdeleted
    accountdeleted Posts: 41
    edited May 14

    Ok, wheel bearings replaced and the wheels are ok.

    The freehub was indeed 12mm hex, exactly like the Decathlon video above.

    The rear axle can only go one direction (can't install from the freehub end, axle is too thick to pass through the freehub).

    The threaded axles and locknuts aren't suited to use as a press. They're not hard enough metal to withstand the force to press the bearings into the hubs; lock nuts got stuck and had to use a strip of old inner tube and mole grip to release once pressed - slightly damaged the threads by doing this and created another job to die and tap the threads...

    Not keen to do this job again on this wheelset; just because the axles are made to stay in situ to install the bearings. So when the bearings go next time, its either new wheelset or search for a standard QR straight axles that can be removed with bearings still in the hubs.

    Took much more time, effort and stress than I thought it would, but job done and some skill gained. Took the opportunity to deep clean the cassette, true the wheels, disc rotors and put new BB.

    Thanks everyone for the help. Happy cycle commuting.

  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,627

    Great result, I guess that is likely a fair part of the reason people replace these with other wheels.


    If you can find something like a Shimano R500/R550 or whatever the equivalent is, you'll likely be on to a winner, and easy to service.

    I recall back in the day when I bought a brand new set from Ribble I think it was for £60 delivered!

    Suspect you are looking at triple figures now, well unless you go 2nd hand, which could work well, as often people will replace stock wheels from new.

    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • Munsford0
    Munsford0 Posts: 622

    Me too; last wheelset I bought was a pair of R501 from Ribble for £70. Lovely accessible cup and cone bearings to faff with. (which reminds me I should give them a service now it's stopped raining. Oh, wait.... )

    But that was at least 6 years, a global pandemic and a war ago...

  • Thanks both @daniel_b and @Munsford0.

    £60-70 for a good new wheelset is no longer a reality... even for new old stocks! I haven't considered Shimano wheelset (WH-R500/501) so had a quick search. Argh, rim brakes and no disc brake variant? Maybe that's why I didn't see these on my initial search.

    I'm hoping that it'll last me another 3,000-ish miles, 18-24months so by then I'll be happy to upgrade the wheelset to DT Swiss (P1800?) / Aksium / Fulcrum 6~7 range set. Or could be upgrading to newer bike.

    money saved, new tools and skill gained.