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Cup & Cone — Simple & Durable or PITA & Outmoded?
#1
Cup and cone hubs have long been considered simple, durable, easily maintained, and reliable.

Having messed around with a couple of older hubs tonight, I ended up looking at my sealed-bearing hubs with increased fondness.

I'm wondering what other people think. Should we old farts just accept that modern hubs with cartridge bearings are the way forward?
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#2
I do think they are advanced in some respects, but for a lot of wet riding, or harsh conditions like snow, I honestly feel like you'll be better off with classic cone hubs.

It's less trouble dealing with the washout from harsh conditions than it is pulling and pressing new sealing bearings.

This is why I don't run sealed bearings on my winter bike.
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#3
Use a dial gauge indicator and measure an axle's end play (at normal operating temperature) with sealed bearings. I prefer to adjust my bearings to my own specs, and I can put a properly "broken in" loose bearing set to the same or tighter tolerance then I can with a sealed bearing (except possibly those designed to more exacting tolerances which are quite expensive!). Plus, even with some wear, loose bearings can be adjusted back to within a suitable tolerance over a similarly worn sealed bearing assembly. Nothing wrong with either set-up though; but I prefer a more hands on approach to adjusting my bike's performance.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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#4
I appreciate the rugged simplicity and easy maintenance of cup and cone hubs, I've found myself increasingly drawn to the reliability and smooth performance of sealed-bearing hubs on the demanding trails I ride. Sure, there's something satisfying about tinkering with the inner workings of a classic cup and cone hub, but when it comes down to it, I want my bike to perform flawlessly in all conditions. Sealed-bearing hubs offer me the peace of mind that my wheels will keep rolling smoothly, even through the mud, grit, and abuse of rugged mountain terrain
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#5
Some great answers here!
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