While inspecting a used road bike ($200) I pulled the rear wheel off to check the hub. I twisted the axle to see if there was any damage.
It wasn't at all difficult to turn it, but there was a bit of "indexing" feel as though the hub was adjusted a little too tight.
The guy told me that bike had been ridden for a long time (at least 5k miles) without having any maintenance done on the hubs.
If the hub was overtightened originally it's impressive that it lasted this long.
If I take the hub apart, can I expect to find damage on the races? (more importantly the cups)
I got the guy to let me take the hub apart. The cones have some damage. The cups have damage too, but it's so, so slight that I didn't find it on the first round of inspection. It just so happened that I had time to look at it again, and noticed tiny pits, barely visible (I have better than 20/20 vision).
I think I'm still going to buy the bike, considering that the hub body must be made of good stuff to stand up as well as it did to the non-maintenence it received. I'll probably have to change the hub in another year or so. I think it's worth it.