I recently picked up a new project bike, an early 2000s Fondriest steel-carbon hybrid road bike, made of super-light Dedacciai EOM 16.5 tubing. Like most strays, this one looked rather sad and in need of attention to resurrect the goodness!
On its first decent test ride (56kms, 760m climbing, 65km/h descents) I noted a couple of issues to address.
The first of these was a twitchy rear cassette while coasting, which made me wonder if I had a bent axle. On removing the cassette it was immediately apparent what the issue was. Thankfully not a bent axle, but instead…
…a most interesting bodge by the previous owner! Realising the cassette “didn’t fit right”, they jammed some electrician tape in there to fill the gap. Unsurprisingly, that doesn’t work! Surely if you have the tools and know how to remove a cassette, you can install a spacer? On installing a 1mm spacer at the hub, problem solved and the cassette is solid as it should be.
The second issue I noted was an unusual “chirruping” noise at speed, coming from the rear wheel. After some initial confusion, it became clear it was the rear spokes, which at high speed (>60km/h) sounded more like a fan than a wheel (I’m exagerrating a little…). With the Mavic Aksium Elite wheelset having bladed spokes, it’s crucial they’re properly aligned and presumably a previous truing bodge by the former owner had misaligned the spokes. Given I don’t have the requisite tools, my local bike shop sorted that for me.
Finally, I also previously noticed the wheels weren’t running as smoothly as I’d like and the rear wheel would turn if suspended and pedalling backwards. Too much internal friction and time for an overhaul.
Somewhat daunted by my previous experiences with Mavic wheels (e.g. bladed spokes and proprietary spoke nipples), I thought I’d nonetheless attempt a hub service on these Aksium Elite wheels.
Spoiler alert, it’s a doddle!
I watched a couple of helpful videos from Dan and Simon at GCN and was amazed to find how easy it is. I even stripped the freehub and serviced the pawls, which is a first for me. Also I’m now a total convert to cartridge wheel bearings, which are so much easier than faffing about getting perfect adjustment on a cup and cone bearing.
All you need to overhaul your Mavic Freehub and sealed cartridge bearings are:
- 17mm spanner
- 13mm cone spanner
- 5mm allen key
- Chain whip
- Shimano cassette removal tool
- Large adjustable spanner
- Thin screwdriver
- Sharp knife
- Shimano mineral oil
- Kitchen paper or rags
With an abundance of caution and care, this took an hour for both wheels. Both are now running much better, smooth and free.
It’s pretty rare that a job you never did before, on unfamiliar gear, ends up being much easier than expected. That’s definitely the case here and I’m most grateful for it! I’d encourage anyone to have a go.
Now I wonder how many watts I just recovered? 🤔😂