A Clean Ring Drive is a Happy Ring Drive

By: Brandon Feb 26

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It should come as no surprise that we are fans of the products coming out of Portland from Chris King. It's hard to fault their durability, but in recent years it seems people are taking "durable" to mean "no service needed".

Of course, that's not true, and their R45 hubs are no different. I've seen them go years on end without service and look brand new inside, but I've also seen them get pretty nasty in a single season. Rather than wonder how yours are doing, take a little time, clean them up, and know they'll last well beyond their 5-year warranty.

One of the greatest aspects of a basic cleaning of the R45 hub is how few tools are needed. A 2.5mm and 5mm hex wrench, and a tiny flat-head screwdriver. That's it. Compressed air, some WD-40, and RingDrive lube should also be on hand, though.

Up first, loosen the adjusting clamp screw (shown below) holding the adjusting clamp tight.

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Up next, after loosening the adjusting clamp and pulling off the end cap, you'll see your axle and non-drive-side bearing as shown below.

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Once the adjusting clamp is off, the entire axle assembly will slip right out.

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Now that your axle is out, you'll be looking at the bearings ready for service. First you'll need to remove the silver snap ring with your small flat-head screwdriver. This can be a delicate process, take your time. I've seen more than a few people mangle this tiny snap ring or destroy the rubber seal below it. Below you'll find some pictures of the snap ring, the rubber seal below it, and the exposed bearing last.

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Cleaning the bearings from here is simple: carefully apply some solvent-base spray, like your WD-40, and make sure of one thing: NOTHING CITRUS-BASED. Scrub the bearing down with a soft-bristled brush (I like a toothbrush). Flip your wheel and do the same to the drive-side bearing as well as the RingDrive. Once everything has been scrubbed down, apply a bit more of your solvent, then blow clean with compressed air.

Once clean, reinstall the rubber seal, then the snap ring. Carefully ensure the snap ring has clipped completely into place. Next up, apply some synthetic oil to the driven ring inside of the hub body, it doesn't take much. A couple drops of Tri-Flow onto the o-rings on the axle, and slip the axle back into the hub body. Rotating the axle as you press it into the hub will allow it to snap into place.

With the axle installed, apply a little grease to the adjusting clamp and adjusting clamp screw, then thread both onto the non-drive-side of the axle.

Rear hub adjustment is simple from here: clamp a 5mm hex in a vise with the "L" end pointing straight up. Slip the drive-side onto the "L" of the hex so the non-drive-side is facing up. Press down on the hub shell which compresses a spacer spring and ensures the bearings seat properly. Now, while continuing to press down, tighten the adjusting clamp until it stops against the bearing, but do NOT over tighten. Tighten the adjusting clamp bolt to 1.1 Nm.

Install the wheel back into the frame and check for bearing play. If adjustments need to be made, repeat the last paragraph until you're satisfied.

Maybe a bit more reading than you were expecting? Don't worry, once you've done this a few times it's a breeze. The R45 major hub and bearing overhaul is much more complex, and requires the King tool kit. Don't attempt that at home, let your mechanic do it.

photos and words by Brandon Elliott



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