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Recently I noticed a ball bearing had almost fallen out of the hub so I took the wheel off to find out what’s wrong and the cone that covers the bearings just fell off the wheel! Not the one but both. I took a closer look and noticed there was another piece inside that the QR goes through, but that was loose as well and it almost fell out of place when I touched it. So i’ve put everything back in place and put the wheel back on my bike and left it alone.

Can anyone tell me if it has snapped or what’s wrong with it?

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    Looks to me like the end of your axle has broken off. – Daniel R Hicks May 5 '19 at 22:34
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Yep, axle is broken.

Do not ride the bike with the broken axle! The axle is supposed to support the frame on the wheel, but you are now asking the quick release skewer, which has much less material and strength, to do that. If the skewer fails, the wheel will come straight out of the dropouts and a nasty crash will likely ensue.

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    It looks as if a lot of dirt and grit has already gotten into the hub and has formed together with the grease a nasty abrasive paste. The cups may be ruined alsready so that simply replacing axle, cones and bearings won't do it alone. Have this inspected at your LBS. – Carel May 6 '19 at 7:07
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As @Danial said, you have a broken axle. Apart from the safety aspect, if you continue to ride the bike with the axle broken you are likely to destroy the hub cups.

Axles are cheap, You need to make sure you get the correct cones for your hub. If its not been broken long, the cones may be reuseable, but I would recommend new axle,cones and bearings.

Broken rear axle. Why does it happen and is it worth trying to repair? will be worth reading.

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  • Conceivably one can also damage the frame, bending the dropouts ("Ausfall-Enden"), at least in the case when the wheel really comes off, but conceivably even earlier because the whole wheel-frame assembly now is unstable, effecting torque on the frame. – Peter - Reinstate Monica May 6 '19 at 10:39
  • Can I change this to a thru axle? – William tredwin May 7 '19 at 8:11

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