I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction on this.
I have a 2011 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er. (Basic 29er hardtail with hydraulic brakes, no other fancy stuff). On average, I ride it about twice a week, five to eight miles or so of cross country type riding. After 2 1/2 years of this, plus a recent jump in use due to a knee injury that's keeping me from running, I am starting to see some wear on it finally. Any suggestions on what I should do about the following?
1. Rear wheel has a wobble to it, I believe it is "slightly out of true". In addition to this, the rear "freehub" is extremely loud when I place the bike upside down and pedal it by hand, then allow it to coast. The cassette has a few millimeters of play when I rock it back and forth by the largest sprocket. I have removed the cassette and determined that at least half of this play is in the freehub itself, the rest seems to be play between the freehub and cassette, I have tightened the cassette, no difference.
Is it worth having the wheel "trued" and possibly replace the "freehub"? I have found what appears to be a basic (stock for my bike) freehub for around 40-50 bucks. Or should I buy a new wheel fully assembled? I do not need/want/can't justify high end wheels on this $1,000 bike, stock should be fine, although part of the reason the wheel is out of true may be from me riding a bit too fast through the rocks on occasion, so maybe a slight upgrade would be justified. What would you experienced guys do?
2. I have read about repacking hub bearings. I do have the type of hub that uses loose ball bearings, not sealed press in bearings. Is this needed? Worth it?
I have managed to remove my drivetrain, clean and reinstall it, replace the bottom bracket (noisy), replace my chain, adjust cables, etc. I do think that trueing a wheel will be a bit much for my level of patience, I would have someone do that. Swapping a freehub is probably doable for me though, I am losing my fear of screwing anything up on this bike, and starting to learn more about it.
I should say that the bike rides and shifts great. My motivation here is maintaining the bike's reliability and not getting stuck hiking five miles home in the dark this winter.
I can't hear any noises from the drivetrain while riding, I don't think. Both wheels do not have any bearing play in them that I can detect (compared to car wheel bearings, they seem fine). I am hearing some clicking on hard uphill climbs that I believe is loose spokes, they are definitely not all tensioned the same.
I am not a hardcore rider by any stretch of the imagination. I just want a safe reliable bike to get my exercise in on, but I do let it fly on the downhill, just a bit at times.