Mavic Ksyrium ES (Helium Anniversary Edition) Hub Overhaul and Other News

I thought it would be a good article to review a hub overhaul on a nice set of Mavic wheels before your spring riding season heats up (at least on the East coast).  Mavic wheels are quite popular today and the first important thing to remember is that with only minor variation, most Mavic hubs are built similarly and can use the same freehub body on any of their wheels (Occasionally an older freehub will need a sleeve included with new freehub bodies today, but otherwise is the same).  These wheels have a simple yet elegant design that holds up under a variety of riding conditions, is tubeless and 11 speed compatible, and resists corrosion and wear exceptionally well.  The Ksyrium (pronounced “Seerium”) is Mavic’s most prominent wheel and is competitive in both weight and ride quality to most other major wheel manufacturers.

However, despite all of these great points, the hubs still need servicing to remain in top shape and performance and doing so will greatly extend the life of the wheel.  A lack of maintenance can lead to a slower wheel, and when coasting, a high pitched squeal.  This is indication that the inside of the freehub body is dry as well as the rubber seal the freehub sits on.  Dirt and water can still invade the bearings even though they are “sealed” and the dirt can cause wear on an otherwise forever-lasting freehub body.  Most of the wheels that need the freehub body actually replaced are due to a lack of scheduled maintenance rather than it simply wear out due to riding alone.  Let’s dig in!

The front hub is really easy.  it requires the Mavic tire lever and a 5mm hex key.  On the end of the tire lever is a U-shaped curve with two pins on each side.  These pins fit exactly into the holes on the non-drive side of the front hub.  the 5mm hex key is inserted into the opposite side of the hub through the axle.  Loosen the axle with the 5mm hex key (CCW) while holding the tire lever in the preload cap with the pins.  When reassembling, we will discuss its purpose.  Once the preload cap is off of the hub the axle can be pulled out through the side with the hex key.  Inspect the bearings on each side as seen below.

Front Ksyrium hub with axle removedPreload cap for front hubYou’ll likely notice a bit of grease and dirt on the bearing seals. With a bit of isopropyl alcohol, clean the hub area around the bearings and then rotate the bearings to check for gritty spots or rough turning.  You should feel continuously smooth rolling with no drag points if the bearings are in good shape.  If they do need replacement, they can be ordered from your local shop and easily installed with a small bearing puller and bearing press.  This article doesn’t cover the actual replacement of the bearings, but a video is being planned to detail appropriate bearing removal and installation.

Continuing on, if the bearings are in good shape, use isopropyl alcohol to wipe down and clean the preload cap and the axle.  be sure to pop the end of the axle off that are fitted by compression using o-rings.  It is a great idea to apply a small amount of light grease to these so that they will not creak or be difficult to remove for cleaning.  Inspect the o-rings for cuts or abrasions and replace as necessary.

Axle and preload cap and end caps and quick release for front hubThis is the axle and corresponding cap and end cap for each side.  Note that the large circular caps have one with the preload pin holes and one does not.  The one that does not just slides onto the axle until it hits the lip on the right side of the axle in the photo above.  The preload cap with the pin holes threads onto the axle after inserting it through the hub.  be sure to grease the axle before so it installs easily. Using a 5mm hex key and the preload end of the Mavic tire lever, thread the cap on the axle until it starts to tighten up.  Then, back the preload cap off bit by bit will wiggling the axle to detect any play.  As soon as the play is gone, stop.  The hub now will spin as freely as possible without having bearing play.

Now, onto the rear hub!  The rear is a little more complex, but works on the same principles as the front for most of the axle assembly.  The rear hub also has the 5mm hex key opening on the drive side of the axle.  On the non-drive side the end cap can be pulled off with your hand.  It is fitted onto the axle with a compression o-ring, much like the smaller end caps on the front hub.  This is where greasing the o-ring will help greatly.  If the o-ring is dry, it may be difficult to pull off.  In that case I take a cone wrench slightly bigger than the cap and use it to pry the cap off.  Also, an axle vise works great in this case.  Drip a couple drops of Triflow on the cap so that the o-ring is lubricated.  Once removed, look at the inside of the hub.  You’ll see flats for a 12mm hex key.  Insert a 12mm hex key into the non-drive side and a 5mm hex key into the drive side and turn each CCW.  Reference the photo below.

Removing the axle for a Mavic Ksyrium rear hub. The non-drive side end capAbove is the removal of the axle and the non-drive side end cap removed from the axle.  The non-drive side of the axle will stay installed in the hub for the moment and you’ll notice the drive side of the axle threading itself out of the axle.  Once unthreaded, pull the drive side axle out and set to the side.  Then, carefully pull the freehub body off of the hub.  It usually does not take much pressure.  However, two pawls and springs that cause the ratcheting mechanism of the freehub body to work are right under the freehub on the hub shell itself and can spring right off into space if you aren’t careful.  If the springs somehow are lost, don’t even both searching for them unless you don’t have new spare ones.  You will literally never find them until your next shop winter cleaning.  Maybe not even then.  I have searched and searched for these things and generally come up empty-handed.  I mention this in such importance because it is easy to lose these springs.  For that reason, if you are a shop, buy spare parts for these wheels.  They can be used in all Mavic hubs and are cheaper than the time you’ll waste looking for the old ones.  If you are a home mechanic, buy some too, but put the springs upon removal from the hub directly into a magnetic parts bowl.  They will stay put and can even be cleaned easily in the bowl.  This is what the removal of the freehub body looks like.

Pawls and springs and hub shell Inside of the freehub body and drive side axle end.The top photo is of the hub shell under the freehub body and the bottom photo is of the freehub body inside and the drive side axle end.  Notice the dirt, grime, and dirty grease present on the white/tan bushing on the inside of the freehub body.  This bushing is identically machined to each Mavic wheel hub shell when they are made, which creates an amazingly amooth and wear free part.  The killer to the eternal lifespan though is allowing this bushing, the inside of the freehub body, and the pawls and springs to get dry and/or dirty.  Using isopropyl alcohol, clean each part thoroughly and inspect the bearing in the freehub body from wear.  This bearing is a #608 and another is on the outside of the drive side hub shell as seen in the top photo.  The non-drive bearing is a #6903.  Here is a photo of the pawls and springs removed for inspection and cleaning.

Pawls and springsThe left pawl is showing the outside edge.  Once cleaned, inspect this edge.  If there is a shiny wear mark , it is time to replace them.  If the coloring of the pawl is even almost out to the edge, they should be okay.

Freehub body sealOnce you have removed the pawls and springs, use needle nose pliers and gently pull the freehub body seal off of the hub shell.  When this is not properly lubricated, that is what causes the high-pitched squeal when coasting down hills.  It also keeps the mineral oil we will use for the freehub body to stay inside the freehub — allowing better lifespan and performance.  Clean the hub shell as well.

Using the 12mm hex key and the Mavic tire lever, insert the 12mm into the non-drive side of the axle and insert the preload adjustment into the preload cap.  Unthread the preload cap and pull the axle out of the hub shell.

Rear non-drive side hub shell and axleInspect this bearing as well and clean the axle and preload cap with isopropyl alcohol.  Be sure to add grease to the preload cap threads when reinstalling for smooth adjustment.

Rear non-drive side axle and freehub bodyOnce everything is cleaned and inspected, it’s time to reassemble the hub.  Insert the axle with a small amount of grease through the non-drive side of the hub shell and thread the preload cap on just a couple turns.  We will come back later to adjust it.  Tightening it down now will cause the bearings to bind when the drive side of the axle is installed and tightened.

Freehub body with fresh mineral oil from MavicMavic freehub mineral oil (15wt)Drip about five drops of mineral oil (15wt) from Mavic into the freehub body and set on its side so it doesn’t drain out.  Then, apply a bit of mineral oil to the washer between the freehub body and hub shell, seen at the bottom of the above photo and also again slightly set to the side in the photo below.

Freehub body washerIf this washer is not installed, the axle and bearings will bind terribly.  It spaces the freehub away from the hub shell properly so the compression of the freehub seal is not too tight.

Pawls and springs reinstalledNext, install the rubber freehub seal and the pawls and springs.  The springs fit over a pin on each pawls and then into a corresponding hole on the hub shell where they sit.  I usually drip a drop of mineral oil on these two and press them a few times to make sure they spring back open properly and smoothly.  Once these pieces are installed, slide the freehub body onto the hub shell.  When it hits the open pawls, use two fingers to depress the pawls and continue sliding the freehub body on.  Once fully seated, insert the drive side axle with a bit of grease or light loctite and thread into the non-drive side axle until tight (about 8-10Nm).  Turn the freehub body and listen for the correct and constant ratcheting of the pawls.

Installing the rear drive side axleFlip the wheel to the non-drive side and using a 12mm hex key and preload adjustment lever, tighten the cap down as mentioned in the front hub overhaul procedure and back it off until any play in the axle is gone.  That’s pretty much it.  Other than cleaning the rest of the wheel and truing it, the hub overhaul is complete and your wheels will be ready for another season of riding.  I am convinced that if you do this with your wheels before and after winter, you’ll keep your Mavics running for years and years without trouble.  As always, feel free to comment or send questions.

In the next few weeks, I am attempting to film some short repair videos and have had a request for one for the Dura-Ace 9000 front derailleur setup.  This will be the first one with clips on the variations in setup for the Ultegra and 105 level components.

– SNC

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What’s in the stand today?

This is what I was working on today….

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Specs are as follows:

Specialized SWORKS Shiv frameset with integrated aero brakeset, seatpost, and Sitero saddle.  This was a stock build I had etched up a few months back and it had been sitting on our Specialized wall with some grandeur.  It’s spec’d with a Dura-Ace 9000 groupset with time trial shifters.  Zipp Beyond Black stem was swapped for the standard stock stem setup in order to run a Zipp Vuka Bull base bar with TRP carbon brake levers and Fizik matte black tape.  The wheelset currently is a nice set of CXP80 Cosmics, but likely will be switched to Zipp 808s.  It’s a really great aero build that will be the epitome of stealth and craftsmanship.  Since I built it accordingly before, it’s been easy to set in the new cockpit and all that is left is to route the new cables and tune.  Other pressing projects intervened this build today including a Di2 upgrade on a Caad 10 Synapse frameset, a SWORKS lululemon Amira with Ultegra Di2, and an SWORKS hardtail Stumpjumper that needed a final bleed and hose replacement for Formula brakes front and rear.  That was also a great build last week that I should have a finals slideshow for tomorrow evening or Sunday.  Internal hydraulic routing and XX1 group with a nice tubeless setup.  Anyways, I’ve had a long week and got a lot of great projects out to happy riders and need some rest.  I’ll have a short article on some tech stuff that has been important to the industry lately tomorrow.  Thanks for checking things out!

-SNC

Park Tool Summit 2013 In Review

I was able to attend six of the eight classes offered at the 2013 Park Tool Summit.  They were the following: Campagnolo, Cane Creek, FSA, Fox, Mavic, and Shimano.  I am going to cover each one and what I thought were the best points to take and apply in the shop. Right below is a slide show of photos I took (sorry for fair quality with cell phone) before the summaries of each class.

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Campagnolo:

The same instructor, who deals with just about every Campy warranty and issue in the US department, was informative and innovative considering that a pallet of half the working material was still somewhere between the headquarters and the summit.  Inside views of the Romanian factories and the home factory in Vicenza, Italy.  Before recently, Campy was high on security and secrecy to protect larger companies from gaining insight on their special technologies and process.  Now, however, they have adopted a much more transparent view of both the parts diagrams and breakdowns and the environment itself in which the parts are produced.  Because of the demand for such quantities of these quality components, special precise training was exacted for the employees of their two Romanian parts manufacturing facilities dubbed Mechrom 1 and Mechrom 2.  Most of the final assembly of parts is done in these facilities.  They have a great traceability program to ensure that the products and parts are accounted for and distributed correctly.  For instance, every wheel built has a dot matrix code attached that contains information as to the individual that built the wheel and the exact final tension specs, ensuring the rider that the product is as perfect as possible.

Also, various innovations have been discovered and engineered by Campy that have spread to other industries because of the care and accuracy they hold their standards to.  NASA aerospace chassis designs, the formula for casting magnesium (a very very light material), and the first magnesium wheelset are but a few of them.

Great focus on chain design was taught.  Every chain created undergoes over 1200 lbs of force to “pre-stretch” them so they last longer and run smoother than any other chain.  No rider can exert this type of force which entails literally zero broken chain other than if the installer does not install it correctly.  Also, as a side note, installing a “quick link” voids the warranty as they believe only their chain pins meticulously pressed in will be strong enough to support it.  In addition, they recommend installing the chain in the smallest chainring and smallest cog to get the right amount of tension.

Cane Creek:

It was obvious for this seminar that Cane Creek is highly focused on connecting riders together and sharing their experiences for the best ride possible.  They seem to have an attitude of figuring out how to make each rider’s bike settings and technologies work best for that individual by developments in things like changing the angle of the fork and detail tuning their new Double Barrel rear shock.

One surprising note to mention in regards to their very successful headset sizing system (S.H.I.S) is that almost all headsets on the market have been narrowed down to 6 top bearings and 4 bottom bearings, making the system even easier.  As far as changing the angle of the fork mentioned earlier, bowl-shaped cups hold the bearings that are placed in eccentric matching cups in the headset for several different angles that they include as one set, so you can try different combinations for better climbing or better descents, etc.  Also, even with this new system, Cane Creek has a headset fit finder with a database of over 10,000 bikes already and adding new ones each day when submitted by mechanics and other in the industry.  This is awesome as it compiles so much data from so many companies and locates it in one place, leaving the guessing game far behind.

The biggest highlight for me was a detailed summary of their 110 headset.  From cutout diagrams, you could see the multiple seals keeping the bearings sealed up nicely and backing up the 110 year warranty.  Essentially, it is waterproof and to me, rivals the Chris King headset that is also popular by name and by its own sealed system.  I mainly think it is just good to have a choice of two almost indestructible headsets.  Plus, regardless of which one it goes with, they will quickly replace it if you somehow are able to destroy it.

The Double Barrel rear shock is a great product to explore as well and has so many options for fine tuning without problematic issues that usually arise with other rear shocks with leaking, etc.  Seal replacement was very easy and clear to understand and the hands-on experience of doing so really “sealed” in the information.

FSA:

FSA (Full Speed Ahead) was all about ensuring that their products get better and better and flaws and defects get smaller and smaller with genuine rider honesty of feedback and a willingness and commitment of the company to fix any problem.  They were the first company to develop a carbon crank with longevity.  Their SLK series has been continually refined with each season of testing as well as their Gravity line for downhill bikes.  Being that they are located near Whistler and other major downhill areas, the testing grounds put the equipment and research through extreme trials to bring us what we have today.  One cool addition for customer service was a placement of an office on the East Coast to help eliminate the waiting period of time zones to contact representatives.  This creates a faster turn around and closer connection of rider to mechanic to rep.

They also have a headset that was developed much like the one I mentioned earlier with Cane Creek, but their point of interest was to develop one that had fewer parts and a more robust interface that could be depended on in harsh conditions.  Great length was also taken to “creaks” and “clicks” in integrated bottom brackets, so naturally I wanted to turn a keen ear since I wrote an earlier article on bottom brackets and issues that arise.  Several things like the correct materials for installing bearings and retaining them with loctites and compounds that wasn’t as clear before as to how essential it is to choose the correct one.  Moving from so many different types of crank spindles and bottom brackets has led them to the development of their BB386 spindle and bearings that is the same size for all of their cranks.  They make different qualities of these, but all of the are the same so compatibility is a non-issue.

Fox:

Fox seemed to hold a different approach than any other class.  They split theirs into three separate mini-classes with hands-on working at each.  The groups rotated and gained insight on several areas from bushing and seal replacement on forks to lockout tuning and rebound damper adjustment.  The most useful in a business sense that they now offered is the bushing and seal replacement.  Developing a new tool with Barnett’s Institute, it allows bushing replacement on any fork including Fox and passes the ability to do some services at the shop level rather than always sending it to Fox to have work done.  This means that I can get a rider back out on the trail faster and that makes a happier rider.

After the first day of learning, I got to speak with the Fox rep at the social hour following the day.  He showed me a suspension unit that is installed on the new Raptor off-road truck.  I lifted it and it was quite heavy as trucks are far less concerned with being light rather than strong.  It led to something that I wouldn’t have expected.  He said that most people think that the bike fork technology and suspensions are derived from their larger parts on off-road trucks and ATVs, etc.  He said that this was quite the opposite.  The bike technology was hardest to innovate because it not only had to be really strong, but also light enough to ride and that this technology was what actually trickled up to ATV suspensions and then to off-road vehicle suspensions.  Pretty cool.  They also seemed to be having the most fun out of the other companies.

Mavic:

Mavic was, personally, a beautiful sight to see.  Slick blacked-out wheels and carbon spokes all over the place with matching yellow hinting everywhere was the realm of high-end wheels and superior technology.  Not only were several points of misconceptions I had cleared up, but it was also confirmation of several things I had been doing right.

Mavic has a philosophy that their wheels are made as a system from the center of the hub all the way to the ground — including the tire.  This is why all of their wheels are sold with tires installed.  From flashy animations of hub overhaul procedures to French dialogue speaking of dedication to ultimate advancement in technology, they covered essential procedures for replacing carbon spokes in two different wheels (R-SYS and Cosmic Carbone).  Plus, the guys teaching the class were the guys that fix the wheels or rebuild them when we send one back for service.  It was like finally meeting the guys who had done all the great work I see coming back in shipments and on display in the shop and getting a flavor of their standards and tips.

One thing that really stuck out that I didn’t know before was that they use mineral oil inside the freehub body with a bottom seal.  Mineral oil, they said, wasn’t some magical liquid, but just that it was exactly the right “weight” to stay inside and give the freehub years longer of usage and, in its absence, is why some riders have described a high-pitched squeal at times on fast descents.

Shimano:

While much of the material that was covered in the presentation part of the class was what I had recently just finished training on, it was still reinforcing and provided confidence in the hands-on tuning of the new Dura-Ace 9000 drive-train.  With its sleek machined appearance and unbelievably improved smooth performance, I have to contend that all three major companies (Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM) have narrowed the gap between each other and the game is at its highest level ever.

The new and improved cables and casing also surprised me to its superior feel and had me thinking they snagged the designer for the Gore Ride-On cables that were just discontinued.  Coming now in seven colors, the PTFE coating is uniquely applied so wear doesn’t affect performance nearly as much as before, allowing riders to use them for longer with better results.  The motto, “friction is the enemy,” really rang true here and great effort was placed into decreasing it and its effect on rider fatigue.

Summary:

All in all, as stated above, the technologies are getting more and more efficient and precise with faster rides and sexier designs.  It’s going to be really exciting to see how far they can go in the next couple years.

– SNC

Park Tool Summit 2013

Well, tomorrow is the first day of the 2013 Park Tool Summit.  This is a big convention of hungry coffee-loving mechanics and enthusiasts brought together by the biggest bicycle tool company in the US.  I attended one in Philadelphia about two years ago and am really looking forward to all of the tech knowledge and hands-on working that some of the major component manufacturers lead and discuss.  I am attending the following courses: Campagnolo, Cane Creek, Mavic, FSA, Shimano, and Fox.  From top-end wheels to overhauling complex suspension forks, it’s sure to be a blast.  I plan on taking many notes and recording the seminars with audio that I’ll post for those interested.  Prepare for a lengthy post on all of what I see there and learn.

While I will not be able to attend every class,  I intend to gain the knowledge from other mechanics my shop is sending there and pass it on to you.  May my attention be focused and my hands adept.  Being that I will probably have to share the knowledge ASAP, I may post small bits throughout the convention from my tablet.  Stay tuned.  There’s a ton of great things happening in the industry this year.