b/w picture of a shiny ENO hub, with a lockring and cog

Whoo-hoo, the cog is off!

I rode down to the Bike Peddler on the Bontrager, with the stuck-cog ENO Eccentric hub in my handlebar pack. Truth to tell, I chose the Bontrager because I bought it from NorCal Bikesports back when it was called “Dave’s,” and I thought I might have a better chance with my weird request if they recognized a bike they’d sold. Ten years ago half the employees at both shops had owned one of these closeout Privateers.

When it was my turn at the repair counter, I produced the hub, with the cog and lockring still attached, and said, “What I have is in the nature of a challenge. Is it possible to remove this cog? And… how much would it cost?”

The mechanics laughed, and said, “you’re supposed to remove this before you cut out the spokes!” I told them I bought it, and they said, “I hope you didn’t pay too much.” I said, “It depends on how this goes.”

Untitled, originally uploaded by BikeTinker.

It went well. Two guys, four tools and a vice. As one of the attending mechanics said, “It’s easy if you have the right tools.” He looked at the setup in the vice, “Or in this case, the wrong tools, used appropriately.”

taking a cog off an unlaced hubThe hub goes in the vice, the pin spanner* fits into two spoke-holes, and is held in place with vice-grips or locking pliers, so it can’t jump off the hub. Chainwhip goes on the cog, with a cheater bar for more leverage. The pin tool also has a cheater bar. Two strong men lean into it, and the cog spins off.

The mechanic picks up the cog and wipes down the threads, “Who wants to call it? $10?” Well worth it. Ten minutes, and 100 years of experience, vs two hours and something broken, if I’d done it myself.

b/w picture of a shiny ENO hub, with a lockring and cog

*The pin spanner! This is the key element I didn’t see anyone online recommend. A cog-removing pin-spanner with several pins and a self-gripping feature would be a dynamite tool… Problem Solvers?


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UI/UX Designer, bike nerd, artist.

6 thoughts on “Whoo-hoo, the cog is off!”

  1. Well played, sir!

    I’ve been following this conundrum with interest. What a heart-warming ending, skillfully told!

  2. Thanks! I was amazed the phone pictures came out so sharp. I’m glad it was a success. I hoped to learn something, and what I learned was “take it to the pros.” Of the tools they used, I have a lightweight pin spanner and a single vice-grip. No vice, no chainwhip, nada.

  3. Well done Philip!

    As the prior owner of the hub, maybe I could say a few words to put the snafu in context.

    I bought the hub as part of a fully built wheel (laced to a Mavic Open CD4). The wheel was built terribly, though, and most of the spokes were not up to tension. I broke a few spokes with my own use, and I accidentally replaced them with spokes of a lower gauge, which threw the tension and balance off even further. The wheel was eventually such a shambolic mess that I just didn’t feel comfortable selling it in that state to anyone. So focused was I on the spoke situation (I truly felt like I was liberating the hub from a terrible wheel) that I never even bothered to think about the cog. So snip snip snip (x32) feeling smug — and only when I was trying to shake the spokes out did I realize what a hash I’d made of everything.

    Anyway, cheers to Philip, his LBS, and to a newly liberated ENO eccentric hub!

    Have a blast with it (I’m sure you will),

  4. I don’t understand what the pin spanner does that using a few spokes laced up to to a rim doesn’t. …because previously you wrote some people that tried using spokes have exploded the hub itself. Thanks.

    1. That’s an excellent point – you could do this by semi-spoking the off side of the hub. I just got so excited by the tool-hack. It reminded me of removing a brake drum from my Volvo 122, with pullers, giant clamps, and a torch. The exploded hub was a Shimano road hub, so probably much more slender than this White Industries popeye’s-forearm of a hub. The pin spanner does have the advantage of speed, I think, and not needing a spare rim and spokes.

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