Friday, August 24, 2007

Q&A: Cinelli Bivalent hub service


Great manual, I always refer to it. Good luck on continuing your streak of continuous days riding. This isn't possible in the Northeast. I was wondering if you have any suggestion to help me on this issue. I was able to recently obtain a set of wheels with Cinelli Bivalent hubs as NOS. Since they were not used for 30 years, the grease is dried out. I understand that these were made by Campagnolo for Cinelli. The dust covers that are on one side of the hubs look identical to Campy Nuovo Record. I have never needed to remove the dust covers when servicing the Campy hubs, but on the Cinelli hubs, the axle will not come out without removing the dust cover. I notice that there is only one small hole in these covers. My question is whether there is a special tool needed to remove the dust covers on the Campy Record hubs and what is the correct procedure to follow to remove these covers without damage due to prying? I am assuming that this will also work to remove the covers on the Cinelli hubs. I have the Campagnolo tool to remove the dust covers on C-Record hubs, but these seem to be different from the Nuovo Record design.

If you have a solution, I would appreciate your advice as I do not want to damage these Bivalent hubs in any way. Loosening the hub cone on the axle is not a problem, but the axle appears to only come out from the dust cover side and the cones unscrew from the freewheel side.

Thanks for your consideration.


Nice to hear from you, Gene. It's been many years since I worked on Cinelli hubs and I only did it once but I can tell you what I'd do. Those holes in the dustcaps are made to make it easy to add grease to your hubs. So, what I'd do is avoid the entire disassembly procedure and simply use the holes to flush the hubs thoroughly with some spray lube with a small straw/tube that you can poke in the hole. This will cut any old grease and grime while not stripping all lube.

Once the lube was running clear, I would let the hubs dry. If you have access to compressed air you could blow that in to clear any lube remaining, though it won't cause much problem if it's still a little damp inside. You can feel how you're doing cleaning by turning the axle and feeling for roughness. After a while the flushing should make it turn smooth though dry.

At that point, get yourself a cheap grease gun at an auto store and put your favorite bike grease in it. Make sure the gun has a needle tip. You then use that to squeeze grease into the hub through the hole in the dustcap and then do the other side. Don't put too much in — just enough to cover the bearings. If you do get too much in it will ooze out when you're riding. No big deal but you'll then want to carry a rag to wipe off your hub so the grease doesn't get flung onto your bike.

Using this technique you won't have to risk any wear and tear on the dustcaps, threads, locknuts, cones, etc. And you should end up with nice smooth regreased hubs. You can do this as needed in the future, too.

I hope this helps and let me know how it goes. FYI: If you were taking the hubs apart, my foggy memory seems to recall that you have to pry out those dustcaps and like Campy's they require patience to get back in perfectly. You have to mess around a bit. So, doing the regreasing the way I recommend should save you time, reduce wear and end up with flawless hubs when you get done.

Oh, congrats on finding those hubs, one of the holy grails of collectibles!

Please let me know how it goes,



Anonymous said...

Just re-greased a set of new hubs, removed the axles, never had to touch the dust covers.
Two 15/16 cone wrenches is all that's needed.

Jim Langley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Actually to be more precise, the cones on my "new" Cinelli hubs (they have about 100 miles on them) simply required two 15mm cone wrenches. Just now completely disassembled one again (play was a touch loose!)..
Vic World

Jim Langley said...

Thanks for the comments with the correct wrench size!