Saturday, August 25, 2012

What's in the Stand: Shimano Nexus Hubs

I thought that I would try something new with the blog. I'm privileged to work at Campus Cycles in Denver, a great shop where I get to see a lot of really interesting bikes, parts, and riders. I thought that I would add a semi-regular feature where I showcase something that I saw in the repair stand recently that caught my eye.

First up is a Shimano Nexus 8-speed hub that came in for service. These hubs are great for commuters and people who desire a really low-maintenance bike. This hub was on a Breezer town bike that was getting a pre-winter tune up with some new tires brake pads, and a deep clean on the drive train. The hub was a little grumbly so I thought that it would be best to service it, especially since the rider is a 365 day a year commuter who tends to work the early, early morning shift at our local public radio station. The snowy streets of Denver at 2:00 in the morning demand smooth, reliable shifting.

This was a neat repair since these hubs rarely need servicing. The maintenance interval for Shimano internal hubs is something close to 10,000 miles and very few people will get anywhere near that total in the course of normal around town riding. After I gave the bike back to the customer he told me that he had rolled over 10,000 miles on this hub long ago so it was certainly due!

Servicing the hub is very easy. The hub internals come out of the hub shell in a very straightforward manner. After a quick dunk in the parts washer to get the old grease out of the works the hub gets soaked in Shimano's special internal hub oil for a while.  Per the really great instructions I got off of the Golden Wrench's blog I painted the bearings and the roller clutch with some lithium grease and put it all back together. The result was a noticeably quieter and smoother hub and a happy customer.

 I really enjoyed working on this bike. There are certain perks to working on finely tuned race machines or the latest full-suspension gear, but I like to see a bike that has been ridden, really ridden, in all kinds of weather and all year long. I blame it on my years spent at Tip Top Bike Shop, Oakland, California's commuter bike superstore. The other mechanics warned me that this customer was a little picky and was very involved with his bike, but after meeting him I realized that he's just a committed cyclist who loves his ride. I was happy to work on it and glad that it left the shop in better shape than when it came in.

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