Splined hub and crank maintainence

Hi All.

 Well, I finally got a set of profiles. So, since I now own, a set, logically, I will now have to maintain them. I deeply envy those who don't. So, anyways, I'm starting this thread as a splined hub maintinence Q and A. I hope to kinda focus on profiles, but I figure it doesn't really matter, and I dont' care if anyone decides to post about some other splined hubs. 

Anyway, I’ll start. I’ve had my profile wheel for a whopping day and a half now. When I got the wheel and put it in the frame, I noticed I needed to move the spacers around. So I took the right crank off and moved the spacers (after much effort and pulling). I decided to rotate the wheel (relative to the cranks) in the process, so I put the right cranks back on at a 90 degree-ish angle to the left, untouched crank. This worked fine, except I couldn’t get the left vrank off.

So, I waited a day, and took it to the best DH shop in 50 miles (which happens to be a mere 7 miles away :slight_smile: ) and asked them how to take the crank off. They gave me a profile crank tool for free (except it didn’t come with the sleeve) and showed me how to put the tool in and just tap it until the hub falls out. It worked great, and all went well. I greased up the splines, and put the cranks back on with a new spacer arrangement. I cinched down everything, and headed out. In the proccess of doing all this, I notice that the hub came with the axle shifted a bit to one side on it, so the bolt on the left crank wouldn’t quite tighten down all the way on the crank. I said whatever and ignored it. Bad mistake (I think).

Today I switched out the gazz on it for a fireball so i could ride some uni basketball, and all seemed well, except the fireball is an awful tire, and shold be condemed to face burning in a giant burning tire yard. But that’s beside the point. After basketball, I did a bit of trials, and had one 2’ drop where I was going over the back of a park bench and came down hard on the cranks. I happily noticed a lack of creaking or play where my onza would’ve made all kinds of sounds.

I went home, and on the way home I noticed that there was about 1/2 mm of play in the right crank (on the left spline, had reversed them). I turned pale, and walked all 4 blocks back to my house from the bus stop. I got home and re-reversed the cranks on the axle, and the play seems to be gone on the right crank, and the left one seems fine too, except for when I’m very still and i try to feel for play I can feel an ever so slight bit of play in the crank. So, my question is, can I leave the splines alone, the play doesn’t matter, or should I deal with this. Can I just add a soda-can spacer to the left spline so the bolt engages the crank better? Thanks for reading.

Also, my advice is to anyone who hasn’t already, always ask for the profile crank tool when you order profiles. It’s indespensible. The local DH shop also probably has some, and would probably be willing to give one away, as was the case for me. For the curious, it’s not that complicated, just a massive (24mm?) bolt head attached to some threads that fit the profile axle, so that you can hammer away at it without any bad consequences. It also comes with a sleeve, which I think isn’t that important, as the cranks just seem to slide on for installation. But be careful, you can move the axle in the hub by hammering to heavyily on the axle, or by overtightening one side before tightening the other side, which is what I think happend with the previous owner of my current hub.

As for my observations on the prfile setup, here are some early ones. First, this is the first unicycle I’ve ever had that’s basically silent. Not creaks (I tensioned the spokes twice today) and almost no play. It’s also massive, though. My muni went from a suzue with an intense tire and rhynolite rim (4-cross spokes) with a yuni frame and zuzu pedals, and monty cranks and a KH saddle-about 13lbs. Now, the frame and saddle are the same, but the wheel is now: Gazz tire at time of weighing, dx-32 rim (3-cross spokes), profile hub/crankset 170mm, and B-37 pedals-a bt over 15lbs. A 2 pound increase in weight, which I could feel at first, and a bit when hopping seat out, but otherwise it’s fine. Heavy and strong is better than light and weak when it comes to munis.

happy trails (and the inevitable maintainance)

P.S. Today I learned that there are actually 3 different types of profile cranks: the normal ones, the SS ones( thicker tubing-much stronger-much heavier) (the last two are 48 spline), and the DH cranks, which are pretty much the same, I hear, as the SS cranks, except they have more than 48 splines. Just a random fact.

Re: Splined hub and crank maintainence

Good to hear you have some Profiles, pity they are giving you trouble. I started a Splined Crank Maintenance thread a while back and some of the issues were discussed, including the Profile tool. While it is designed for removing Profile cranks on bicycles, it is not quite as ideal for removing Profile cranks on unicycles because of the way the hub works. You would have to be very careful, the Evercraft bearing puller is much better for removing Profile cranks. I had a similar problem to you when I went to put Anti-seize on my splines, one of the cranks came off easy and the other one wouldn’t budge, so I ordered a bearing puller from USA (Unicycle.com). Check out the FAQ of splined unicycle hub maintenance, it is relevant to this thread. I’m sorry I don’t have any suggestions about the spindle being off-center, I hope you can figure out a way to remedy it. Good luck!

You can try to recenter the spindle in the hub. Having it slightly off-center is not a big deal unless it interferes with tightening down one of the cranks.

You can recenter it using a big bar clamp (or a press) along with a 4" or so piece of pipe. A vernier caliper with a depth gauge will help you measure both sides so you’ll know when it’s recentered. This option takes some time and if you fiddle with pushing the spindle back and forth too much you could develop some premature play in the keyway.

The easier option is to put an additional spacer on each side. This will add a little bit to the Q-factor, but is not that big of a deal on a muni used for freeride style riding. Add a big enough spacer on each side so that the crank on each side can be tightened down without bottoming out on the end of the spindle. Your bike shop may be able to hook you up with some extra Profile spacers.

I’d go with the additional spacer on each side of the hub. It’s easier and less invasive than trying to recenter the spindle.

Don’t forget to put anti-seize on the crank bolt threads. Both the splines and the crank bolt threads should get a slothering of anti-seize.

Check the tightness of the crank bolts before every couple of rides. They’ll work themselves loose slightly as you ride.

Thanks a bunch, John. I too, am going with adding spacers, as I’ve already tried to move the axle, and it’s not possible. Mine has a really tight fit, wich is nothing to complain about. It just mean I’ll just have to add a couple of spacers. Can i just add one spacer to the offending side? Or do I have to keep it symetrical. Also, can’t I just use bike grease? I used a bunch on the splines, although the threads are pretty dry. Still, I was cranking down on the wrench to tighten it with a rubber mallet, so it’s in there pretty heavy. Does the anti-sieze not squirt out of the splines like bike grease or something? I’m very curious.

You’ll want to keep the crank spacing symmetrical. Put the same number and size of spacers on each side.

Anti-seize works better than bicycle grease on the splines and on the crank bolt threads. Bike grease squirts out and gets really thin when the pressure gets high (when the two mating parts squeeze together really tight). Anti-seize is designed to work in high pressure applications and will continue to lubricate even when the parts are squeezing together really tight.

You can get a little 4 oz jar of copper anti-seize at your local NAPA auto parts store (or other auto parts store). It will be in the $5 range. 4 oz will be a lifetime supply. You don’t use a lot of it.

A little anti-seize on your Onza would also be good and might get rid of some of the creaking.

So anti-seize is basically the ambrosia of lubricants:) ? Also, I’m wondering if I did any permanent damage when I rode it while it was loose. As for my onza, I may as well just sautee it in anti-seize for the next month. Then it may begin to shut it’s yap. Lately though, it’s been relatively free of play in the drivetrain, although it does make the occasional spoke creak and crank creak. Funny, the play has been really bad just before both muni weekends I went to, but the it’s miraculously solved it’s self the week before the muni weekend. It’s like it doesn’t want to be left behind. My Onza is decietful:( .

Alright, last Q for the moment: What should I apply the anti-seize with? Brush, specific type? Thanks.

The 4 oz jar of anti-seize will have a brush in the cap. Just brush it on. It only takes a little to get the splines painted a nice copper color.

Have an old rag handy to wipe up any excess that squeezes out when you put the crank back on. And keep the anti-seize off your hands. It’s hard to wash off your skin and will make you look like the tin man if the tin man was made of copper.

I smell a halloween costume;) . Will pumice grease hand wash stuff get it off?

Hey Rowan, thanks for those links. I use the profile tool to remove the cranks the same way Ben Plotkin-Swing described. I hold the crank to support the entire wheel, and have the wheel about 1/2" from a support area, so when it falls the tire catches it, rather than the crank and the crank tool. It works really well. BTW, for the price I got the profiles at, the trouble is an afterthought. They even had the nub on them, so I’m very happy. So what if I have to wait a day for some spacers to arrive at the LBS, it’s better than snapping my montys on a ride I know they won’t take.

And I’m still wondering if I did any permanent damage when I rodse the hub loose? Also, doesn anyone else feel play in their cranks when the bolt is loose but the crank is on all the way?


I bought a tube of Copper anti-seize, and it didn’t come with a brush, so I apply it with my fingers. It’s not hard to wash off, or no harder than grease. Just use a bit of dish-washing detergent and it comes right off. It might not be good for you to have copper on your skin for a long time, but a short exposure probably won’t be harmful.

You’re welcome. I don’t feel play in my cranks when the bolt is undone. I might feel slight play in my right 170mm crank when it is loose because the fit is not as snug as my other three profile cranks. I don’t think you would have done any major damage on the hub, just keep it tight and lubed and it should be sweet.

You didn’t damage the splines or the cranks by riding it while one of the crank bolts was loose. You’d really have to ride it hard like that to do any damage.

As Rowan said, it’s really not that hard to wash off anti-seize from your hands. It’s just amazing how it manages to paint your skin a nice copper color. The silver colored anti-seize makes you look like the tin man when it gets on your skin. Hand wash soap designed to wash off grease will clean the anti-seize off your hands.

Thanks, I can’t wait for halloween!

Arrgh! I’m on spring break with a uber cool profile muni, but I have to wait until thursday night to get the spacers! I can’t wait! Torture. I’ll just have to ride my onza and commuter extra hard now. The fireball looks cool on my old wheel. It might make a cool low-level street uni, except it’s really weak and monty cranks don’t particularly like cement. But it’s super fast! I hit my fastest speed ever on it today. Somewhere around 13mph. Fast. The fireball sucks for anything but a straight line, though. I gotta glide it.

The Fireball is very fussy about tire pressure. Too much pressure and it doesn’t ride very well. Too little pressure and it doesn’t ride very well. Just a few PSI difference is enough to make it suck. Experiment with tire pressure till you find that ideal pressure and then memorize that tire PSI.

Thanks. It also looks sick. Can’t wait to try it on a ride to school It feels so much smoother and faster than my luna tire.

Hey John, I got the anti-seize. Eleven bucks for a pound of the crap! It’s the silvery stuff. I put it on my onza, and it seems to quiet things down. Also, now the bolts tighten easier. I’m waiting for the spacers before I apply it to the profiles.