What to do about my hub?

So… my Shimano M525 rear hub seized up last night. I have not opened it up to see what happened yet but I can only assume it is massive carnage going on inside the hub.

I have some options:
replace wheel and hub together (likely expensive, but seconds hand might be doable)
order a replacement M525 hub and try an lace it myself up to the point where it just needs truing.
order a fancy Hope hub and try an lace it myself up to the point where it just needs truing.

What do I even look for in a hub? More engagement points might be nice for climbing and ratcheting.

What do I look for in a wheel? The current DT Swiss E540 is 27.9mm wide do I go wider?

Any thoughts?

The DT rim is suitably wide and as long as there are no major hops or whoops in it, you could keep it.

I’m a big fan of Hope hubs, although I have had to replace the bearings in my Evo 2s twice a year which is not an inexpensive proposition. It’s pretty easy work though, and Hope stands behind their shit. If it’s a rear hub, you need to understand dishing–they’re not as simple to lace up as a front hub, so I’d personally suggest just ordering the hub and spokes and have an experienced wheelbuilder do it for you. Maybe bring a few beers and ask if you can watch and learn while they do it. I understand that Roger at the shop on Almon is a pretty good wheelbuilder. I’ve always had Klue do mine, but I don’t think he’s at a shop any longer.

The Hopes have a nice high end clicking sound, but if you want something super buzzy, you could try a King or Industry 9 hub. All depends one what you want to spend, really.

1 Like

Shawn @ Velolab is exellent as well.

1 Like

How old is your current wheel? What is the condition of the rim?

If it’s not too old and in good shape, I would say at a minimum upgrade to an XT hub for a very small amount more (comparing online prices). A hope hub would be ~5 times the price of an XT.

If you stick with shimano, you should be able to re-use the same spokes. A different hub may require different length spokes.

I prefer sealed cartridge bearing hubs myself, but apparently shimano doesn’t offer that, only loose ball bearings.

My formula/dmr hubs on my Norco have been going for many years now and I have never had any issues, including never having to replace a bearing.

The more engagement points in a hub is a bit nicer, and sometimes helps on technical sections, but they cost quite a bit more than ‘standard’ hubs.

Good point. Spokes are quite pricey too.

I think my rim is in ok shape. It’s a rough life they live though.

[quote=“brightwhite, post:2, topic:5061”]I understand that Roger at the shop on Almon is a pretty good wheelbuilder.

This^. Everyone I talked to when I was looking to get a set of wheels built suggested Roger at Halifax Cycles.

I assembled the wheels and slightly tightened the spokes, and then I got Roger to do his magic and make them true and round. I’ve been riding them for a few years now, and over the winter I got Roger to give them a once over and they required very little tweaking. I only saved a little bit by assembling the wheels myself, but I mainly did it just to say I ‘built’ a set of wheels.

I’ve since built and trued the front wheel on my fat bike. Maybe it’s a bit more forgiving, but so far it is still nice and round and true (knock on wood). I may drop it off to Roger at some point just to make sure it’s all good.


Likely just the pawls in the freehub that are stuck in the engaged position. Simply disassembling, cleaning and lubricating could do the trick, or the freehub might need to be replaced. I’d definitely look into that before going for a whole new wheel or replacing the whole hub.

Freehub service

Rereading your post- is the wheel seized? Or it just stays engaged all the time so that pedalling backwards makes the wheel turn backwards?

EDIT* updated that link to go right to the hub service article


Yes wheel seized and freehub still turning on back pedal .

Shoot… that’s definitely a bit more trouble.

Probably still worth pulling it apart to see if it’s just disintegrated bearings or if the races are toast too.


Yeah, I think so.

This might come in handy-

Cup and Cone Hub Overhaul

I also updated the Freehub service link in my earlier post, had the wrong link the first time.

1 Like

Big fan of Shawn as well. Didn’t know he did good wheel builds, but it doesn’t surprise me.


@JeffV if I recall you’re on 26" wheels? If you need something to ride in the meantime, let me know- I’ve got a few spare wheels kicking around and happy to lend you something. Most of what I have are regular 135mm/QR but I’ve also got one thru axle 142x12 rear.

My wheel builder refused to reuse spokes, though it was on a front wheel.

1 Like

Thanks for the offer, @gtrguy!

I can pillage my wife’s hardtail until I get my ride fixed.

1 Like

I pulled the hub apart last night and it freed up once I loosened the bolts.

Nothing inside looked bad. The disc side still had white grease while thee drive side had blacked some. No foreign objects either.

I’m wondering if it is possible that the axle bolts can tighten somehow while I’m riding to the point where it locks up.

I’m going to get Bike Pedaler to repack it to ensure it is done right and see how that goes.


Good thing I had them pack it, thanks @bent6543!

Turned out the freehub inside exploded and bits of it were jamming up the axle/hub shell. With freehub still kinda working.

I would have been scratching my head on that one for sure.


Very odd! Glad you got it sorted!

1 Like

That has happened to me quite regularly. When I bust a freehub I usually end up with a “fixie” - the wheel won’t freewheel. Sometimes though, the freehub won’t lock up and I’m basically running chainless. When I ran Deore-level hubs, I’d break a freehub every 6-12 months. Usually repaired by having the shop replace the freehub body. Eventually, I’d upgrade to XT or XTR freehub bodies to try to get a little more durability. Since I’ve been running the Mavic wheels, I get 12-24 months before a freehub would break, and usually score my hubshell, often requiring a new hub.