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It is a 1978 Schwinn Traveler 3, original "Normandy" rear hub (reads Schwinn 'Approved' 36-78 Made in France).

Rear hub

The bearing cup has broken into four pieces that fell out. I just stuck them back in, reassembled it all and I'm riding on it (30-40 miles per day (50-65 km)). The wheel has a bit of lateral wiggle and increased drag, but neither is noticeable while riding.

This damage was likely caused when the axle broke and subsequently worsened when the temporary repairs failed. I got 165 and 120 miles (265 and 195 km) on the first two and the third is on the bike now. The new axle appears to have been lost in the mail.

A new wheel is $63, but the bike was valued at $75. I'm ordering a new bike, but I plan to ride this one for groceries, etc., until it fails completely.

It looks like there isn't any way to replace the bearing cup, so is this wheel (and bike) just 'totaled'?

The opening in the hub is 25.7 mm, so maybe a sealed bearing would fit, but I'm guessing I would need a different axle that likely doesn't come in the right size. Unless someone knows how to do this, I'm assuming it's not an option.

I'm considering trying to glue or epoxy the pieces to keep them from moving around, in the hopes of reducing wear a little and getting more miles.

Any better ideas?

Is there a chance of this failing catastrophically or am I just looking at wobbly grinding that will gradually increase until it's intolerable? I've been scared to go more than 4 or 5 miles from home.

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  • How much do you value originality ? Do you have access to ebay / gumtree / similar webselling sites ?
    – Criggie
    Sep 2, 2022 at 20:28
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    Any part that fits is fine, no need for "new old stock" or anything like that. I boycott Ebay and Facebook but any other site is fine. Unfortunately sites like craigslist don't cover this area because it's too rural.
    – user66598
    Sep 4, 2022 at 15:47

2 Answers 2

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Indeed a wheel with a broken or severely damaged bearing cup needs a new hub since the cups of a wheel's hub are not replaceable. Because the cost in time and effort--whether through a wheel builder or even if you're able to DIY it--to lace a new hub into that wheel is not cost effective. It would be far cheaper to purchase a different wheel--even new--than would be the cost to replace the hub.

There is some danger in riding the bike like that. Should you be up to speed and race decides to disintegrate and that locks the wheel up, the sudden and unexpected skid could easily cause a loss of control. If this happens in traffic, it could be very bad even if the loss of control was momentary. I just don't see an upside to taking such a risk.

I advise spending the $63 (and I believe one for that model of bike could be had for less), and enjoy safer and reliable biking. What price for peace of mind and the freedom to go further from home and riding safely back?

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  • $63 is a Wheel Master wheel on Amazon (27x1-1/4, QR, fits 5sp freewheel and has 126mm OLD). I always have trouble finding parts for this bike. If you know a better deal please share.
    – user66598
    Sep 3, 2022 at 18:17
  • @user66598 Here is one result of a Google search for "27 x 1¼ wheel". I have no affiliation with nor experience buying from that particular store. Another good source is Facebook marketplace where I often see someone with a large collection of wheels and older bike parts they are willing to sell very cheap.
    – Jeff
    Sep 4, 2022 at 4:46
  • That wheel has a bolt-on axle and only fits a 1 speed freewheel. Bike Parts USA has exactly what I need (Wheels Rear Wheel Master 27x1-1/4 Road, Rim Alloy, Hub W/M AQ-1000, Gears 5/6/7s FW, # 6404) for only $34 but their website hasn't accepted orders for at least the past few weeks.
    – user66598
    Sep 4, 2022 at 11:10
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Most basic cup and cone hubs have cups that are pressed into a cylindrical bore in the shell. You could use a punch to knock out what's left of the cup on yours to corroborate that's how it's put together. If so, you could find another of the same Normandy hub to use as a donor, remove the cup carefully with a punch or whatever bearing extractors you have handy, and press in the new one.

Cup and cone hubs aren't convertible to cartridge.

Not wanting to pour money into an old bike is understandable, but using the $75 dollar number as a litmus for whether the bike is totaled is false logic when the basis for the $75 in the first place is the assumption that the bike has junky, old wheels on it. Putting new wheels on bikes of this sort is a normal and reasonable thing, because the ones they came with wear out and weren't great in the first place.

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  • That's a very good point about new parts raising the value, but this bike is 44 years old and I just don't know if I'm better off replacing the wheel and continuing to deal with little problems, or if I'd rather get a newer clunker. It's just for groceries and maybe the dispensary 15 miles away. I live in a rural area and have very few local options so I'd probably have to buy online and I doubt anything used under $200 would get posted or be worth mailing for most people. Not sure what I'll do.
    – user66598
    Sep 3, 2022 at 18:33

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