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I need to build a new bicycle (others are gone, stolen :( ). Good thing is, I have two spare wheels of decent quality in my basement.

These old wheels took quite a beating though, when I was younger. No truing, many jumps and crazy stuff. I even remember my front wheel popping out of the fork during a jump. The landing was bad for the wheel, trust me. The quick release skewers are bent, and probably scratched (or worse) the inside of the hub when I removed them.

Now I'd like to reuse these good old wheels (both front and rear). But before that, I want to make sure they're still safe to use. The wheels are old anyway, so I figured I'd take the hubs apart to lubricate them.

So, three questions:

  1. can I take my (front + rear) hubs apart while it is still attached to the spokes?
  2. is it good enough to visually inspect the hub axle, and decide whether it's safe to use based on that?
  3. any other safety concern?
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    Yes, you can disassemble the hubs while still attached to spokes and wheel. But generally disassembly is not necessary to assess general hub condition, as you can "feel" the condition fairly easily. (You do of course have to disassemble to lubricate.) When examining a disassembled hub you mainly inspect the cones and races for any sign of scoring or pitting. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 25 '15 at 12:13
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can I take my (front + rear) hubs apart while it is still attached to the spokes?

Yes, of course you can.

is it good enough to visually inspect the hub axle, and decide whether it's safe to use based on that?

Well, there's not much else you can do, so yeah, I'd call it good enough. If there's any doubt, I'd just replace the axles.

any other safety concern?

  • Cracks in the hub body, especially at the spoke holes.
  • Cracks in the rim.
  • Rim so badly out of true that it can't be fixed. Not really a safety thing, but it could make the wheels useless.

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