After nine years, thousands of miles and absolutely zero maintenance, I finally got around to servicing the Deore LX rear hub on my all-rounder bike. Over the past few weeks I’d noticed a little play in the rear wheel and figured that the bearings had started to wear and/or the last of the grease had finally wormed its way out, after the hardest winter that the bike had faced.
I set at the hub, first removing the cassette, before going at it with the cone spanners. A brief yet concerted flurry of spanner wielding and cleaning with a rag revealed absolutely no wear whatsoever – to the bearings, cones or races – just a light track on the cone where the bearings made contact. The play in the rear wheel was traced to a driveside locknut working loose.
It’s easy to take Shimano’s engineering excellence for granted, especially that of their less showy, less feature packed components. However, the bag-per-buck factor of the LX hub cannot be ignored. The longevity of this component – due to ultra-tight manufacturing tolerances and superb labyrinth sealing, is really impressive.
So I reassembled with fresh automotive grease, re-using the original, perfect bearings, adjusted the cones and tightened everything down. The result – one silky smooth rear hub, no play, no grinding, no doubt ready for another nine years of almost daily riding.
Within the Shimano component hierarchy, LX is right at the price/durability sweet spot. For daily use on a fine bike, there’s no reason to pay more.