Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sputnik Hub Coming in for a Landing?!

Sputnik Hub as she sits today.

In a previous post about trying to take apart a flip-flop wheel for sew-up tires, I tell of my foolishly conjuring up a disaster hub. I called it my Sputnik hub, because after removing the nipples and the rim I couldn't remove the spokes! They were jammed in by the freewheel and fixed cog.

Above is a photo of our friend, Kian, holding the monster Sputnik hub I had conjured up. He and his sister got quite the giggle out of my absurd misfortune!

Goofy me, I'd had a hard time removing the freewheel and fixed cog, so I preceded with spoke removal without finishing that step.

Oops. That meant that once I'd removed the tire and rim, I no longer had any leverage for removing the freewheel and fixed cog. When I last left this story I was headed off to a local bike shop. That was about nine months ago.

The bike shop guy told me I was out of luck. He also told me he only worked there once per week, and if I hung around for a while the owner would be back soon. The owner, he said, was much more experienced.

But alas, the experienced owner said I should resolve myself to the fact that I had a very beautiful paperweight. Nothing to be done but accept the lesson learned. Grrrrrr.

So, I've been ruminating on this for some time, and last night while watching Apolo Anton Ohno win his final Olympic medal (I used to get my hair cut at his Dad's hairdressing shop!) in my basement bicycle lair I hit upon it! I brought out my VAR vintage axle vise (VAR is a venerated French bicycle and motorcycle tool maker), and clamped in Sputnik.

Venerable VAR #117, Axle Vise

With a chain whip and freewheel remover, I was able to get leverage on the fixed cog so I could remove the freewheel. Voilà!

The photo at the top of the post is where I stand today. I can imagine ways to remove the cog somewhat violently that will leave my hub intact now, but I'm not giving up. I believe I can yet remove the cog with both the hub and cog intact if I can just get the right leverage.

Stay tuned: restored hub and fixed cog OR paperweight?

Keep it venerable,



  1. it is beautiful. i'm rooting for the paperweight.

  2. The "traditional" solution to this problem is to lace four or so spokes from the hub to a retired rim so that you can apply torque.

    Good luck!



    Will deRosset
    RUSA 2401
    Fort Collins, CO

  3. Thanks Will! I had been pondering something along those lines. Good to know I'm not the first person to put themselves in this bind.