When I returned from the KVR adventure, one of my priorities for Tuesday was to get that wheel of Rozzy’s repaired.
[I have now added several more photos to that post, thanks to Rozzy and Tess!)
Disassembling the wheel, it became clear that the cotton bearings had lived up to optimism and held things together while keeping all the metal edges from grinding inside the hub.
I bought replacement bearings. Forty two bearings for the inner ring and thirty six for the outer ring for a total of $2. I packed them with grease and put the wheel back together. The whole process, including cleaning out all the shredded bits of cotton, took about an hour. The newly assembled wheel spun freely enough for me to be satisfied and bring it home.
That should be the end of the story. Shamefully it is not. After I got home, I was inspecting my work and decided that the freewheel was not spinning as freely as it ought to. I thought I should at least look up the cost to replace the unit rather than just run the wheel on my rebuild. The price of a new freewheel at MEC was $12. Six times the cost of the bearings, but still a tiny cost! Perfect, right? I just walked over and bought one.
I attached the special freewheel removal tool to the hub and gave it a turn. The tool snapped and bent the axle as it came off the hub. Now the wheel is useless again and the damage is far worse than when I started. It needs a whole new hub. Oops. I felt frustrated and incompetent.
I found a different bike for Rozzy to use while she is visiting as this one is out of commission for a while.
No good deed goes unpunished.