Replace bearing or hub?????

OK, I think the bearings in my 26" Surly Large Marge/Larry wheelset need replacement. Here’s my question:

    Do I replace the bearings (If so, how do I pull them off and put the new ones back on without busting them?) or do I just replace the hub?
  • If I replace the hub, I will have to buy a new one, buy new spokes/nipples (a wise wheel builder told me not to re-use spokes) and rebuild the wheel. This is not appealing to me right now.
  • I would love the opportunity to upgrade the bearings to ones that will last a while. Any suggestions?

Sometimes you can get the bearing off with a flat screwdriver and just pry them off, but take care to avoid putting marks into the hub or bending the flange.

I had to use an automotive bearing puller to get the bearings off a KH Ti hub, it was just too tight. Putting them back on is best with a piece of lead pipe, the soft pipe avoids denting the bearing case. Plastic pipe might work okay too.

I wouldn’t replace the hub unless you really want to build another wheel.
Reusing spokes is fine, only reason to trash spokes is if the threads are bad.
My LM is on it’s third build (Profile, KH Ti, KH ChrM), same spokes and same nipples each time, does just fine, needed to clean the threads before re-assembly.

New bearings are nice, KH or UDC, same quality and design.

Sweet… I don’t want to rebuild the wheel…

Where do I get new bearings?

UDC has bearings. These might work:


No need for a new hub, just replace the bearings.

Another Portland rider that rides his 36er everywhere (no car) rain or shine -has to change his hub bearings every 6 months or so. I think the UDC ISIS bearings are pretty low quality. I took one to a local bearing distributor and found that they are a spacial bearing that one would need to have custom made (in like 500+ quantities) if you wanted a better quality bearing.

Anyway, I have a small bearing puller to remove the old bearings and a special brass tubular drift to reinstall the new bearing on the shaft. You are welcome to borrow the tools Tim. The bearings are a “light” press fit that might just yield to a screwdriver prying as well, but the puller is more reliable.


Thanks buddy, I went out and bought a puller today that fits just fine. I was going to use a deep socket a hammer and a washer to protect the bearing and install it. What is your special brass tubular drift? I will have the bearings next week and will install them ASAP.

A KH seatpost works perfectly to install the new bearings. It only hits the inner race and is just the right size to fit over the axel.

Its just a bearing spacer, but I like the seat post bit that Eric just posted even better. the bearings should go on pretty easily - and not require much hammering.

Also, Be sure to make a plate or disk that will keep/hold the threaded end of the puller from actually going inside the axle and buggering up your axle threads.

I’m going to try the seat post in and try using my arms first then hammer if needed. I am either going to just screw the Allen bolt back in or use a dime to cover the hole. Thanks for the tips :slight_smile:

As everyone has already said the bearings can be replaced without too much problem.

Good luck with the bearing swap. Another tip for the bearing installation is to let the bearings warm up on your furnace for an hour or so, while your wheel is sitting outside. That will make the bearing slide on more easily. It should still be a press fit, but not as much work.

I just want to comment on the spoke reuse topic.

It used to be common to rebuild wheels with existing spokes. Sometime back Wheelsmith entered the game, and all kinds of odd ideas about wheels started to circulate. One being that you should never reuse spokes. This myth was propagated by the spoke manufacturers, and it has been spread as gospel by bike shops across the land. I have built many, many (possibly hundreds) of wheels, and I have reused spokes on quite a few. If spokes are straight, and without visible trauma they are fine to reuse. In fact I would say that new spokes are more of an unknown. I have seen plenty of new spokes that have failed due to poor manufacture.

This is a general rule. If I noticed that a wheel was over tensioned to start with I may be a bit more concerned about the spokes. This wasn’t a real issue back in the day when rims weren’t nearly as stiff as they are now.