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2020 Schwinn Axum 29'er

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    Yeah I can confirm there should be 9- 1/4" balls on each side, front and rear. Glad it was just the brakes causing your grinding noise. These disc brakes can be fickle, the wife and I did a 28 mile ride Sunday and my brakes were squeaking for the first time in over 1,000 miles. I suspect it's because I'm using them more downhill than normal, my wife says she loves to go fast downhill but I'm not so confident in her skills and since she always follows me I regulate my speed to keep hers down. But I did end up just doing a break in procedure and it got rid of the squeak.

    This was the first ride on the Squirt lube and I was impressed that it does keep the chain quieter.
    I do have to check my rear brake cutoff sensor, halfway through the ride I had to unplug it because it was staying activated. I would have to flick the brake lever to get it to work. We were in town and crossing busy streets so I couldn't take the time to do that non stop. The sensor is epoxied to the lever and hasn't moved, I could feel the magnet was still in position so possibly a magnet cracked or the plating chipped off. I wasn't going to dig in my bag to put my glasses on to investigate the problem when the connectors are easily accessible in my top tube bag. And I have the brake connectors marked with silver sharpie for quick identification.

    The Axum calipers that I put on the wifes bike worked perfectly, absolutely no pad rubbing. And once the $11 pads that I use bedded in they were strong and silent.
    Name brand Tektro calipers=garbage
    Bargain basement no name calipers on a Walmart Schwinn=Flawless.

    We went up and then down a hill that is 1.5 miles long and without using brakes I've been over 50 mph, the brakes on both bikes performed flawless keeping our speed below 20 mph. No pad fade and no rotor warping.

    Incase anyone wonders these are the pads that I use with the stock Axum calipers. I use the semi metallic version, the Axum had them for 900 miles and they were only at about half thickness.

    These are the Zoom dual action calipers that I have on the Axum now,

    And these are the pads that I use with the Zoom dual action calipers. They are the same compound as what I use with the stock calipers. Again I use the semi metallic versio. Once bedded in they are silent, unless you glaze them over.

    And these are the rotors that I use. 203mm on the Axum and 180mm on the wifes XP. They don't warp both pair came flat and required no adjustment. They are laser etched Avid G3.
    Last edited by Dshue; 05-16-2022, 11:08 AM.


      I have got a few rides in lately and I think I finally got my noisy front brake sorted out. I tried a new Avid rotor I got with my brake set that were new takeoffs. It had just as much run out as the Schwinn one I was replacing and I didn't do anything with the pads so I got the exact same results. Squeaks based on the run out in the rotor or all the time if I adjust em in so they are slightly rubbing all the time. Pulled it apart again and this time lightly sanded the pads then put the old rotor back on. Only took a couple tweaks of the adjustment and all seems well again. The squeaking started on one of the winter rides where there was a lot of salty slush around. Guessing that got into the surface of the pads and that was what was causing the squeak.

      I ended up riding both bikes today. First was the Pug at the MTB park. Felt pretty good and not sore at all when I got back from the park then I needed to run to a friends place a couple miles away so I grabbed the Axum and that is a much more solid ride and my ass hurt right away. Ya its 2.5" tires vs 4" but I also wonder about the steel vs aluminum. For a comfort E bike I'm really thinking steel is the way to go.


        There is a difference between steel and aluminum in ride quality. Aluminum will always be a harsher ride.
        My Axum is comfortable, I ride with the rear tire at 25 psi and that prevents the harsh bumps from impacting my spine and the Schwinn comfort seat helps as well.
        Now that I've ridden my wifes Lectric XP with the Cloud 9 seat that I bought her I will be getting myself one. It is comfortable and has urethane elastomer springs that actually function. My Schwinn comfort saddle is a few years old now and has a couple of tears in the cover, it's still comfortable but it doesn't have any suspension beyond the squish of the gel padding.


          Finally took the time to dig into my rear hub. Grease was somewhat discolored but didn't really seem crunchy. One of the cones has some pitting starting on it. I marked it on the nut with the idea I would make sure that was pointing down but my markings rubbed off while I was adjusting the cones so I don't know where that spot is now. Because if that damage I wasn't going to replace the bearings which I didn't think I had enough of anyway but while cleaning them it kinda looked like maybe they were plated and some of the plating was flaking off? Very strange but it was hard to tell for sure what I was seeing since I can't hardly see any real detail anymore anyway.

          The seals are kinda worthless and the non drive side one didn't seem to want to come out so I had to carefully work around it. Drive side just fell out so I guess its up to the grease on that side to keep it in and crap out. 1500 miles on it now and all I did when it was new was add some grease and properly set the preload. I guess that ain't bad for a fat guy on a walmart bike. I would guess that is about 1400 miles more than they expect to be put on the average walmart bike.

          Freehub dodad is a little crunchy and likely where I think I am getting most of the grinding feel from but I don't have the correct tool to remove it and at a glance it doesn't look like any of the tools in the park catalog not to mention no idea if its any sort of standard that is easily replaced so I guess its not worth worrying about since I know its days are numbered just due to the cone wear issue.

          I have a couple deore rear hubs that are in good shape but they are 32 holes and the Schiwnn is a 36. I should probably just keep an eye out for a similar looking rim in a 32 or a 36 hole hub or just a similar looking complete wheel. It would be nice to just have it on hand so if/when it gets worse I have it ready. I hope to get it through this summer and then the winter then start with something new in the spring.


            This is my only lead on a 36 hole, QR, 141mm spacing hub Click image for larger version

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            There are other options for using thru axle hubs with end caps to convert to142mm QR but that's a deep dark rabbit hole.


              I never looked at the freehub attachment on my hub but I assume it's like any other a long hex wrench works to unscrew it.


              • 73Eldo
                73Eldo commented
                Editing a comment
                Nope nothing in the hole but there are some slots in the outer edges of the bearing cup so my guess is there is a specific tool that engages those slots that lets you unscrew the cup. 2 slots like an old Suntour freewheel but I can't find that tool plus I think the slots on this are not as wide. That not appearing to be a common standard made be think even if I did get it off the way it attaches to the hub may not be common either.

              It's been a couple of months so I figured I'd check in here.

              The Axum is now at 1350 miles and still holding up well. The only issue I'm having is with the rear hub. The axle was slightly bent which lead to a wear spot in one of the cone races. I have alleviated some of the roughness by running the bearings a little looser than normal. It's been doing well for the last 200 or so miles.
              I need to decide if I want to buy a new rim from Schwinn or lace in a new hub. Either way I will convert to a solid axle.
              I don't think the issue is quality so much as it is the load I'm putting on it. I'm 260 pounds and then my 13 pound battery and 10 pound pannier bag is on the rear rack. That's a lot for any 9mm QR axle. I bet any engineer for any top of the line bike manufacturer would say it's too much weight. If I can find a hub with 142 spacing and 12mm thru axle then I'll go that route. I know that some owners have successfully converted to 12mm thru axles and I have an idea of how to do it better.

              The squirt chain lube seems to be doing good. I have not reapplied it at all and it's got about 300 miles of use.

              The $39 dual action Zoom calipers are doing great as well. Zero problems.
              And the Axums calipers are still working perfect on the wifes Lectric XP.
              Believe it or not her bike with the 180mm rotors and those small 20x3 tires has more aggressive braking than those same calipers with 203mm rotors on my 29x2.6 tire bike. I never really considered the rotor diameter to tire diameter ratio before.

              I was hoping to more than double the mileage on the Axum this year but life has gotten in the way.
              But now I'm dieting and trying to exercise more so I'm riding more. I want to get down to about 220 pounds or so. Hopefully by this time next month I'll be down to 230 or so. In 2019 I did the same thing but then I quit eating healthy and gained it all back. I still exercised by riding bikes but I had a shoulder problem and wasn't exercising my upper body enough.
              I typically lose 1 pound a day minimum when I eat right and exercise. Saturday I dropped 2 pounds eating 1570 calories and riding the Axum 20 miles then walking 2 miles. Since I started walking a lot I have noticed a big improvement in my pedal effort. So I think I'll continue walking every day just to help my leg strength. I was considered skinny until I was about 38 years old. Now at just shy of 46 I want to get back to that body size and hopefully keep it there. Though it will be hard. I used to have a really high metabolism, I used to eat as much of whatever I wanted and wouldn't gain any weight, that's no longer the case.
              The upside to losing weight is the reduced load on my rear wheel. Losing 40 pounds will help significantly!
              If I can manage to drop 40 pounds and keep it off then I may just use a stock replacement Axum wheel because the original held up to this weight for over 1,000 miles.

              Now I just need the weather to cooperate with me. Next to no rain all summer when I couldn't ride much and now that I'm able to ride more it 30% chance of thunderstorms most days... I'm tall and my normal walking speed is 3+mph so it's easier to get a 3 mile walk in on days with high chances of thunderstorms.


                I don't know how many miles on mine now, haven't been getting out as often as I would like to and have been trying to do more single track on my other bike but when I get out I'm pretty happy with the current setup. I really like the Surly fork, huge improvement in ride quality over the original. I'm still happy with the Surly ET tires. I think the Big Apples roll slightly easier and smoother but the little extra size I think makes for a softer ride and I like having a little bit of tread. Squirt chain lube has been working fine for me so far. Other than the first time I have not cleaned it at all. It is kinda crusty looking if you look close but seems to be working great. I re apply around ever 100 miles.

                Rear axle being slightly bent could be my cone issue too. I have not had any luck finding another rear hub or wheel. Most places are showing out of stock. I contacted the ones that didn't say out of stock and they checked and said no ETA. Guessing this style hub isn't that common but is common to the high end big box bikes or low end bike shop bikes which I assume have been strong sellers the last couple years. Since that level bike doesn't likely get a ton of miles on average not a lot of people are needing replacements so almost all production is going to new bikes.

                I really don't understand how you could convert to a 12mm through axle. I know there are through axle hubs that can convert to QR which is easy to comprehend because its smaller stuff so you just use spacers and bushings. How you can make bigger stuff fit in smaller holes is harder to pull off especially when through axle doesn't fit into slots, it goes through holes in the frame one of which is threaded.


                  I think I wrote 9mm QR axle but the Axum actually uses a 10mm. What people do is thread the non drive side drop out to take the 12mm thru axles. That's a little jenky to me so my idea is to make a longer thru axle from a 12mm 150 spacing axle that will thread into a nut on the outside of the drop out. Effectively making a 12mm QR.
                  I'm pretty confident on my diagnosis of user abuse. The cup race in my hub still looks good but the cone has a divot. With the bent axle the balls stay in one place on the cone and just roll there, I'll bet the bad spot in the cone was at the high point of the bend meaning only that one ball was really tight.

                  And an update on the Vittoria Mezcals they have about 700 miles on them and still have good tread.