I slowly realized the hubs of the 16” balance wheels are too narrow. The setup was strange from my perspective. I’d always seen the cones on the axle go up against the cup on the hub, sealing the grease and bearings between the cup and lower part of the cone. I’ve built that part of a wheel, and prior to that, 40 years worth of random tire tube changes requiring wheel removal and mounting, & the setup was always similar. These cones were smaller than the cup; one side was hiding deep inside so I thought it was missing (but my latest ride vibrated it out). The bearings are not loose; rather, they are in a cage which when aligned fits snug between the cone and cup leaving the spacer in tack. However, the hubs are too narrow for the forks of the BikeUSA Stabilizer Wheel Mounts. Being inexperienced per narrow hubs with standard forks, I assumed BikeUSA sent me parts that worked together considering the high price they charged. I installed them as is per their instructions. The mounts are solid, but the wheels only rolled smooth for ~100 miles.
The side pressure of turns in the wider forks degraded the wheels. Now the cones slide out of the cups, so the wheels wobble and metal grinds (cups to cones without bearings). When this first happened, I asked BikeUSA about it and they sent me a replacement wheel. It only rolled smooth a couple miles before degrading; now both wheels grind/wobble… the lock nut does not have a cone to tighten up against; I was tightening daily and they held up for a few miles but even short 25 mile rides were uncomfortable with all the shaking from wobbly wheels and metal grinding. With these mounts, most of the ride is on three wheels so one balance wheel is causing problems. Sometimes I’ll ride like 5 miles on two bike wheels, but then 10-15 miles on three wheels with more wobble/metal grind. It just isn’t right…
During the last phase, I tried some large washers; my though was if the washer is larger than the cup, it’ll give the lock nut a wall for support while keeping it out of the cup; because the cone is too small for that purpose on this setup. It worked, but still getting wobble. The lock nuts on each side were coming loose because of the space; although the axle is tight with the axle nuts on the outside, the movement of the hubs turning the cups/cones would loosen the lock nuts. For that reason, they must fit in the forks snug. Because BikeUSA sold me narrow hubs and standard forks, I tried using more washers to take up the gap. That worked, but with the wheels already destroyed beyond repair, I ordered some new wheels from BikeWorldUSA. Hopefully they’ll fit snug. Measurements of hub width from other customers range from 3.75-3.9”. My space is ~4”, and the forks flex in a little… ETA is 1.5-2.5 weeks, so I’ll find out when they get here. They are just wheels: rims, spokes, hubs, axle and hardware. So I’ll use the OEM tires and tubes and plan to be rolling smooth again.
The past week++ I’ve been riding my old adult trike. It is so much more work and harder on my joints. My knees feel the extra stress the most, so I’ll be excited to get back on my bike! It’s been a rough 4 months getting back on a bike, but it is slowly getting better! These new wheels will lead the way to smoother riding… finally.