I mentioned previously that at the very last moment I had to switch bikes for the 2014 Canada Day Populaire. The rear hub began making unusual noises and I didn’t want to risk a breakdown on such a long ride in remote areas. A few days earlier, I had ridden through some very heavy rain and, I suspect, the hub took on some water.
This weekend, I removed the wheel and disassembled the rear hub. What a surprise. On the drive side, the grease was dirty and there were 3 too few ball bearings. On the other side, the grease was fine but again, there were 2 ball bearings missing. Odd. I did not purchase these training wheels new. I bought them from a local racer, a friend of my son’s. They were in good condition when I acquired them and I have had 2-3 good seasons on them. And, there was no need to repack the bearings. They seem to spin nicely.
I repacked the bearings and added the missing ones as well. The wheel spins smoothly and quietly. There is a little pitting on the drive side cone but, since I am planning to replace the wheels later this summer, I did not bother it. The wheels will be fine for the time being.
The moral of this story is don’t assume new components are properly assembled.