Tag Archives: service

Park Tool pin spanners and three newsworthy repairs you can do with them


One of my favorite bicycle wrenches are Park Tool pin/peg spanners. It’s because they are handy, strong, cheap and simple tools but also because of the different coloured grips that break the monotony of any tool wall display.

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Spanners are made of hardened carbon steel to ensure long life while the handle is vinyl coated

My own experience tells me they are not on a daily basis tools anymore, but still esential for any all-round workshop that services freewheels or old fashioned bottom brackets for example.

The green handled SPA-1 fits the adjusting cup on many old three pieces cranksets. The pin ends are round with a diameter of 2.9mm.

The most popular repair you can tackle is a cup and cone type bottom bracket service.

Mural Park Tool SPA-1

Wherever there are two holes with the right size the Park Tool hanger cup pin spanner will allow you to do different repairs. Adjust the tension of the chain by turning the eccentric BB, removing a dustcup and so on

On the other hand, the SPA-2 red spanner has 2.3mm pin diameter. Due to its smaller size fits better a wider range of hole widths. It releases retaining rings on Shimano and Campagnolo crank bolts and the adjusting cone on most freewheel clusters.

A very interesting repair suitable with this tool is the removal of certain type of non-serviceable freewheels that don´t have an extraction tool option. A freewheel destructive removal method will require this spanner to get rid of the lockring.

The Park Tool cluster cone pin spanner is ideal for several repairs where a lockring needs to be removed, on self extracting or one-key release crank bolt systems or even if you need to fit/extract the guides of the BB facing tool inside the frame

The Park Tool cluster cone pin spanner is ideal for several repairs where a lockring needs to be removed, on self extracting or one-key release crank bolt systems or even if you need to fit/extract the guides of the BB facing tool inside the frame

The third and last peg spanner I own is the discontinued yellow SPA-4. It has a flat section designed to uncrew the adjusting cone of one-piece cranks. This is virtually the only repair you can do with this tool, the service of entry level cranksets on BMX’s and department store bikes.

The tool engages two notches of the adjustable left bearing cone. Rare cup and lockring cartridges BB's can also be serviced with the yellow spanner. The cup is run up to the bearings and then the lockring is secured. Note there is no bearing adjustment in this system

The tool engages two notches of the adjustable left bearing cone (2nd pic). Rare cup and lockring cartridges BB’s can also be serviced with the yellow spanner (3rd pic). The cup is run up to the bearings and then the lockring is secured. Note there is no bearing adjustment in this system. Nowadays the best use I found for it was while wrapping the handlebar of a road bike (4th pic)

At this point you might wonder what happens with the Park Tool reference SPA-3. Does it exist? Well, it does. But I haven´t seen one so far. It took me a lot of time to find a presentable picture of this tool and some information.

Blue and black peg spanners are top-rarity Park tools. SPA-3 has the ends facing one to each other. I don´t know the intended use for both tools. It seems the blue one can be used for adjusting old french bicycles headsets and the black for extracting crank bolts dust cups/retaining rings

Blue and black spanners are top-rarity Park tools. SPA-3 has the ends facing one to each other. I don´t know the intended use for both tools. It seems the blue one can be used for adjusting old french bicycles headsets and the black for extracting crank bolts dust cups/retaining rings

Meanwhile SPA-6 uses replaceable pins of approximately 2.2mm in diameter. The distance between the pins is adjustable, allowing use on virtually all hanger cups using pin holes. I have to say I do prefer fixed pegs as they are faster and more comfortable to use.

I have never faced a situation where you need to use the pin spanner wrench with such a distance between pins on a bicycle as in picture 2. Pin holes are likely to be close one to each other and thus more convenient a regular pin/peg spanner

I have never faced a situation where you need to use the pin spanner wrench with such a distance between pins on a bicycle as in picture 2. Pin holes are likely to be close one to each other and thus more convenient a regular pin/peg spanner

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Swapping a Shimano Mavic Aksium freehub wheel to Campagnolo


The next repair will show how to upgrade a Mavic rear wheel that do NOT use QRM+/QRM SL technologies, just the standard QRM hub, to a different Shimano or Campagnolo freehub type. It’s also helpful if you just want to service the hub to clean&refresh with oil the pawls, replace bearings and so on.

Road wheels cassette-freehub interfaces are not universal. If a rider changes his mind and decide to switch from Shimano/SRAM to Campy and vice versa on his equipment, he will have to decide what to do with the wheels. Get a new whole wheel or replacing the freehub are the options.

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Mavic freehubs are a ripoff. An Aksium wheelset is around £150, £90 for just the rear and… £40 for the freehub! Campagnolo left, Shimano right

Mavic entry level wheels do not implement the famous QRM+ micro adjustment features, just the standard QRM design. As a result, the hub construction is totally different affecting how to precisely tweak the bearings or remove the freehub body, for example.

Mosaico tecnologias QRM estándar y QRM+

Top: QRM standard hub assembly with just a large hollow axle type. Bottom: QRM+ hub diagram that implements and axle end and a screw type axle

If you type on YouTube Mavic freehub removal or Mavic freehub service you will come across with some videos about how to dismantle it. But nobody has considered to do it with the cheapest version of the FTS-L hub, or at least I have not seen it.

In this year 2013, Mavic offers three road models (Aksium S, Cosmic Elite, Ksyrium Equipe) and one off road (Crossride models for 9mm axles) with the cheap hub and axle version.

Mosaico bujes sin tecnología QRM+

Aksium S, Ksyrium Equipe, Cosmic Elite and Crossride QRM standard wheel freehub

The procedure to take apart the freehub is similar in all of these wheels. Even if they belong to different seasons. Mine is the Aksium Race model sold during 2010-2012.

We can recognise a QRM standard hub wheel if there are not small holes to fit the Mavic specific hub tool in the left flange of it. Otherwise you can spot a 17mm hex nut on the right axle end. On QRM+ this nut is circular.

Mavic SL

Mavic R-Sys rear wheel

We need a stiff/long 5mm hex wrench and one 17mm hex combination wrench for the freehub body removal.

Park Tool 5mm P-handled hex wrench and 17mm socket type tool. It appears 15mm engraved but in the other side is also a 17mm one

Park Tool 5mm P-handled hex wrench and 17mm socket type tool. It appears 15mm engraved but in the other side is also a 17mm one

Fit the 5mm key inside the axle. Grab it with your left hand and keep stationary the axle. Turn only counterclockwise the red tool. Make sure you fit the wrench straight not to damage the nut. If you use an open end spanner it is likely to happen that the tool will slip under preassure. My advice is to get a combination wrench where you can hold the nut in all of their 6 sides with the box end of it.

Removal 1

Undo with your fingers the nut once is loose and keep it in a safe place. A magnetic parts tray is perfect for wheel repairs.

Shimano M10 freehub units need a specific spacer to fit 8/9/10 cogsets compatible with Shimano or SRAM systems. Remove it to have better grip while you are lifting with your fingers the base of the hub body. Do it slowly. If you are lucky none of the two pawls will pop out.

Removal 2

The last picture tells that one off them did not stay in place. Nothing mayor as you will have to double-check them after swapping over the bodies

By the way, the removal and installation process of the Campagnolo ED10/ED11 freehub is identical to the Shimano M10 version.

After taking off the freehub body clean the inside and the pawls. You can use light mineral oil. If you are desperate lube it with chain oil but remember to clean it regularly.

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. In my case everything was spotted on as the wheel has only spinned for 500km

Notice about the existence of the washer in the next mosaic. It is in between two bearings, the one inside the freehub in the axle end and the one in the hub shell that appears in the picture. I reckon it has the right dimensions to fit the width of the bearing units. We need it to remove any undesirable play.

Fit both pawls securely. At this point, choose the freehub wanted.

Installation 1

Never install the new freehub without the washer. It must be fitted like in pics 2 and 3

Compress both pawls with you left hand so that you can slide in the freehub body with the other one till the end. Then thread the nut back.

Installation 2

Use the same tools to secure the hex nut properly to10Nm by fixing the blue one in place and turning the red one clockwise

After all we have the wheel in working order. This repair should take around 5 minutes. The time necessary to grab the tools.

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Mavic Aksium Race 2012 with Campagnolo ED10 freewheel

The new wheels in the 2013 range feature a new axle size and thus a different freewheel bearing dimension. On these wheels, freewheel bearing has an inside diameter of 9 mm (instead of 8 mm on earlier models) and the freewheel bearing protection cap is silver (instead of black on earlier models).

The old freehubs M10 M40592 and ED10/ED11 M40591, with bearing diameter of 8 mm and a black bearing protection seal are not compatible with the 2013 range.

The new models HG11 30871101 and ED11 30871301 feature both Shimano and Campy 11 speed cassette systems. A shouldered washer is included in the freewheel kits to ensure the compatibility of these freehub bodies with wheels marketed prior to 2013.

2013 wheel range 9mm bearings

Discard the old washer and fit the new one provided in any type of hub (QRM, QRM+, QRM SL)

It must be used instead of the flat spacer M40066 to install these new freewheels on the old wheels, whose axle (QRM standard hub) or axle end screw (QRM+ or QRMSL hubs) have a diameter of 8 mm.

Sun Ringlé Dirty Flea front hub inspection


A friend of mine dropped few bits for me to build a new 29er wheelset.

Before the lacing process I had to keep an eye onto the front hub as one of the bearings had popped out from its original location and as a result the axle was moving back and forth. Time to take a look at a typical modern CNC hub that uses industrial bearings.

The tools you need are very basic. You will find these sort of hubs are even more simple than classic cup and cone units. The homemade bearing press consists on a threaded axle, washers and nuts. It is operated by adjustable spanners.

To service a rear hub you only need a couple of 5mm allen keys and wet lubricant on top to service the freewheel

To service a rear hub you need a couple of 5mm allen keys, a circlip plier and wet lubricant on top to service the freewheel

The first thing to do is pry out the end cups from the axle. I did with my nails :mrgreen:. Now the bearings are exposed, tap any side of the axle ends gently with a mallet or rubber hammer. Bearings are pressed inside the hub shell, that’s why we need to tap. A much more clever method like a bearing puller won´t help because there is no room. After tapping, the oposite bearing and axle will come out together. Take apart bearing and shaft. You are going to fit the axle inside the hub and bearing bore again to take this one off the same way.

Full front hub dissasembly

Full front hub disassembly. Notice this hub comes with a 9mm axle type

As you see, the axle supports the fork in their 9mm ends and is also perfect to remove bearings because it has a barb that protudes a little to push out the bearings. The 6001RS bore is 12mm, quite uncommon by the way if you are planning to look for them in a hardware shop.

You can upgrade the front hub with ceramic or hybrid rollers, but in my opinion it does not worth the price. It is possible as well for silly money to convert the hub to a 15mm Thru Axle. In that case, new size bearings and caps are mandatory.

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15mm axles are easier to produce and at the same time noticeable stiffer

Checking that everyting was OK and after cleaning the shell I proceeded to put the parts back together.

Because bearing’s cage are made of steel and the hub from aluminium, I applied some anti-seize compound sparingly to the hub to avoid galvanic corrosion.

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Finish Line copper based anti-seize paste

My cheap homemade press is essential not to screw up bearings when fitting them back.

I’ve got lots of washers to play with different bearing sizes

Once one of the bearings has been installed we can fit the axle. Thankfully the axle doesn´t go so tight inside the bearings as the outer race of them do against the hub. With just our fingers we will manage to insert the axle to the bearing that has been already pressed and then do the remaining one, this time without pressing.

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At this stage there is one bearing left to be put on

Without the possibility to use the homemade tool anymore, washers and surprisingly helpful spanners will  ease the task of fitting the last bearing.

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The hole of both spanners are perfect to tap the end caps safetely by buffering the 9mm axle ends

With only two washers on hand I decided to use the spanners to conceal the axle as I did with the washers on the other side of the hub. Otherwise the bearing would not go in.

Remember the axle middle section barbed design is made so that it helps to pop out bearings and hold the inner roller exactly at the place the stepped wall machined shell stops the outer bearing race. We start off fitting with our hands the bearing carefully so that it goes straight, and finally we put on the end caps and washers. Tap on top of the pile (picture 4) until you notice the bearings reach their final position. Washers will push the end cap, and this one, will do the same with the bearing. If we use enough stack height to hide both axle entries we should end up after tapping with both bearings inserted till the end.

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This is a good weight for a front disc hub. Not a extreme light part but perfect for a bombproof wheel

If you’ve ever wondered how is it the Sun Ringlé Dirty Flea rear hub I will show you:

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Yes you are right, the circlip is missing and the splines sheared off

We are done!

Brompton brake levers and cables replacement


I’m on a roll :mrgreen:. Second repair this week for the old Brommy… and still planning more upgrades.

It’s now time to get sort out the dodgy brakes by replacing levers and set of cables. Don´t be surprised if I tell you old Brompton brake levers have very poor braking power and quality construction. They are made of cheap materials and lack of spring return. Very nasty indeed.

1999 Brompton lever

1999 Brompton lever

Because my budget is low I decided to install a pair of Tektro levers suitable for the actuation ratio of the side-pull calipers that came originally with the setup. They get on well with u-brakes and road type calipers, such us side-pulls, dual-pivots and so on… and not compatible with linear pull brakes.

Cast aluminum Tektro lever. It's not compatible with linear brakes

Cast aluminum Tektro lever. Clamp bore 7/8″ (22.2mm)

These particular levers are found on many reasonably priced BMXs, and because they are small, match perfectly with Brompton tiny bars. Sure not the best choice but they do the job. Better anyway than any brake lever made by Brompton until the new 2013 models were unveiled.

Left: former brake lever Right: 2013 design

Left: former brake lever. Right: 2013 design

There is nothing much to be said about the brake cables. Then again, I decided not to use Brompton spares and go for cheaper inner and outer cables. The original housings are known to be more flexible to accommodate sharp radii when the bike is folded and also more durable. With dry weather the difference should be negligible.

I’m not bothered about getting dual-pivots. Old side-pull brakes still work fine despite superior dual-pivot design. Original Brompton’s calipers are pricey, £65 the brakeset. An alternative would be the Shimano R450 57mm drop calipers. Even tough, I’m really tempted to get new ones. 2013 bikes must brake amazingly with new aluminium brake levers, machined double walled rims, dual pivots and better pad coumpoud.

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Final result

A quick wheel truing and brake pads adjusment brought the service to an end.