I am trying to learn the right way to remove bearings from a track hub. The bearings are cartridge bearings pressed into the hub. The axle has a ridge that prevents it from being removed while both bearings are in place.

track hub through axle

I know there are bearing pullers like this one from Enduro:

enduro bearing puller in case

But these require that the axle already be removed.

So what is the proper way to remove these bearings? I know that I can just tap the axle out with a rubber mallet and force one of the bearings out, but I think this would damage the bearing.

  • Moz....I think the point is, there is a step in the axle inside the hub butting up to the bearing. This is why the hammer method works. And why you cannot remove the axle but not the bearings. – acidohm Nov 8 '15 at 22:10
  • I think some bearing damage is implicit in the design. Unless the axle is somehow damaged, doesn't seem like there are many cases where you would be removing it that you wouldn't be replacing the bearings anyway. – Christopher Hunter Nov 29 '18 at 18:39

With a trapped axle like that you use a hammer, ideally a soft face one or I use a bit of wood as a pad. Hold the block against the axle, tap the block with a hammer. Holding the wheel in your hand rather than blocking it against a solid surface also reduces the impact. You will still probably damage the bearings, so preferably don't do this until you have the replacements.

Arts Cyclery have a video tutorial and the hammer appears about 70 seconds in.

In my experience this is actually easier than the removable axles, because even a decent bearing puller often doesn't work, or work any better than just using a hammer and punch. The small hole in a bike wheel bearing (10mm) is often too small for the puller.

Press the new bearings in carefully making sure you press the outer races not the inner ones.

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I've used the hammer method on my goldtec hubs back when I was a push bike courier in London.

Reckon my rear hub did something like 80,000 miles in 6 years, changed bearings twice...

I was definitely what you'd call a bush mechanic....but think hammer method is fine.

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This article on Cartridge Wheel Bearing Maintenance on the Art's Cyclery site says:

When it comes time to replace the bearings, every hub is a little different. For hubs like this one from Easton, the axle has internal shoulders that require one bearing and the axle to be removed at the same time. To do this, tap on the end of the axle with a soft-faced hammer to push the assembly out of the hub.

If the hub isn't built into a wheel and you have an arbor press, like the one below from Harbor Freight, I'd be inclined to use that if gentle tapping didn't do the job. They are relatively inexpensive (maybe $50-100 US for a new one) and generally useful if you like such things. When the wheel is assembled, a small arbor press won't be big enough to be useful.

Harbor Freight 1 Ton Arbor Press

The trick to working with an arbor press is to support the hub with something so that you have a space into which to press the bearing and axle. Sockets often work, as do pieces of key stock.

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  • It looks like moz deleted all of his comments so I'm not sure what you two were back and forth about. I'm inclined to upvote both your answers. So if you want to delete these comments that would be fine with me. – tir38 Nov 9 '15 at 21:04

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