24. How to Replace A Freewheel

Demonstrates how to remove and install a traditional thread-on freewheel cluster.

IMPORTANT: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
How to Replace A Freewheel
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  • 01:21 - Apply a thin layer of grease to the hub threads before installing the freewheel.

In this tutorial we’ll learn how to remove and install a freewheel on your bike. You may remember a while back when we covered cassette removal and installation. For this job you’ll need a notched freewheel remover and a large wrench or vise clamp.

Here’s how the two systems differ: a cassette is a series of gears that slides onto a freewheel unit. This is a better system because it allows you to replace worn sprockets without having to replace the freewheeling component (freehub body). A freewheel on the other hand, contains both the sprockets and freehub in a single unit that threads onto the outer flange of your hub. We’ll be covering removal and installation of this style today.

Click on this image to visit Sheldon Brown’s page on this topic:
Cassette Freewheel

Freewheel Removal

First you’ll have to remove the rear wheel from your bike. Then in some rare cases the axle nuts will be too big to allow the freewheel tool to slide into the freewheel, so you’ll have to overhaul the hub to remove them first. Now slide the freewheel remover into the freewheel and loosen it with your large wrench by holding the wheel on the firmly on the ground and turning your wrench counter clockwise.

If your freewheel is really tight, you may need to mount the tool in a vise clamp so that you can use the wheel as leverage. I don’t have a clamp to demonstrate this, but once mounted in the vise, you can easily turn the wheel counter-clockwise to loosen the freewheel.

Freewheel Installation

Before installing the new freewheel, inspect the threads on the hub to make sure they aren’t damaged. Be careful threading the new freewheel on, as you don’t want to cross-thread it. If it feels unusually tight right away, back the freewheel off and try again until it threads on smoothly.

Tightening

To tighten a freewheel, all you have to do is get it finger tight and then re-install your wheel and go for a ride. The freewheel will tighten itself while you’re pedaling!

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Discuss this topic in the Drivetrain Forums

10/21 Question about chain length

Hi I have bike called specialized secteur 2013
Did on it 4500 miles and wanted to replace a few parts. Chainring, cassette and chain

I replaced cassette from 12-25 to 11-28, chainring will stay the same I mean 50t. And new chain kmc x9

Can someone please tell me how long chain should be for 11-28 cassette and 50t chainring?

Rear Derralieur is standard sora.


Thanks... Read more >>

10/14 Shimano MF-HG20

Does anyone know how I remove this freewheel?

I can't figure out what park removal tool is required. Is there something more that is necessary?... Read more >>

10/07 Crankset compatibility

Hi, I've currently got a shimano crank-set with shimano 6-speed rear and front derailleur. Is it possible to use a different make if I replace the crank-set, for example if I brought a suntour crank-set? thanks for any advice you can give. Also my current crank-set/drive-train has a wobble in when I rotate the peddles, it's not loose or anything, it just doesn't rotate in a straight line, has a slight wobble to it, is there a way to fix this? thanks.... Read more >>

10/01 Loose chain on high gears

Hi,

I have been doing some work on my bike to get it back in shape. Everything is working perfectly except when im using the high gears the chain become loose.

I also notice that it occurs when im only resting my feets on the pedals. But when I remove my feets from the pedal I notice that the slack from the chain goes away but my pedals are moving forward of it's own. I think that is the problem. Because the whole pedal section should be still and not moving forward of it's own when im in motion.

What could be wrong? The casette? The chain?

... Read more >>

09/30 Bike chain

I am trying to rehab an older model 3 speed sturmey archer bicycle but the chain keeps breaking. Is this a special chain, for example is the linkage metric. Could I go to a local USA bike shop and get a replacement chain? I've tried an Internet search but just keep getting sites for the indicator chain.... Read more >>

09/26 Use Quick Links

There is an alternative to pressing rivets in and out of your chain to install and remove it. It is called a "Quick Link". This can be installed instead of the pin. Remove the opposite pin and install the quick link, as tension is put on the chain the quick link will click into place. The pliers above are the quick link removal pliers. To remove the quick link simply squeeze the pins with the pliers and disassemble the link and remove the chain. The quick link is reusable so you can use it to remove the chain for cleaning also. Take a quick link with you while riding. If your chain breaks, ju... Read more >>

09/24 Triple crankset to Single crankset

I have an old mtb that I would like to change from a 3x8 to 1 1x8. I use the bike as a commuter and have no need for the extra gears. It has a Sakae xr100 crankset wit the gears riveted on. Otherwise I would just remove the inner and outer gears and keep the middle gear scince it is a low enough range for my needs. Can I use a Shimano crankset on this bike? Checking the specs on line says the pedal spindle is square taper and is 124.5 wide. Hope this info helps... Read more >>

09/17 Saving a 1995 Mongoose Alta! - full drivetrain replacement

Hello all,

I have ridden my bike, a 1995 Mongoose Alta, for the past 20 years and replaced just about every component on it except for the frame, FD and front wheel. Gone through 3 RDs, several chains, rear hub, both shifters, etc. I'd estimate it's lasted at least 30k miles. I put road slicks on it and use it as my daily commuter, going 10 miles/day now. Love the bike!

Last week, the chain started skipping when I pedaled har... Read more >>

09/15 Chain slipping on a self-repaired bike

I'm stuck with a problem of chain slipping on my old bike that i wanted to fix myself.

I changed the whole drivetrain and maybe this is as simple as a mismatch since i have about zero experience in bike maintenance, i tought you would know for sure.

Here are the components i chose to put on based on 8 speed compatibility and cheapness:
Front Derailleur: Shimano Acera FD-M360-6
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Acera RD-M360-SGS
Front Chainset: Shimano Acera M361 triple set square taper (42-32-22)
Cassette: Shimano Acera HG41 (11-30)
Chain: Sram 8 ... Read more >>

09/05 Chain slipping when shifting

My old nishiki bike was having some troubles with the chain, when I pedaled hard it would slip and gear shifting was rough so I inspected it and found a seized link and replaced the chain. When shifting (non indexed shifter) sometimes if I'm not being careful the chain will go between 2 gears and spin freely when shifting to a lower gear. My assumption is that my rear freewheel/cassette needs to be replaced, is this the case or is it possible that I did a poor job adjusting the derailleur?... Read more >>

09/02 How To change a Suntour Cassette to a Shimano

Hello All,

I have a 1992 Trek 6000 with the original Suntour AP II 12-30 7 Speed Cassette.

It's now time to upgrade the cassette to something newer. Is it possible to change the hub as well as the cassette with another Manufacturer?... Read more >>

08/31 Help specifying replacement rings set/crankset?

Hi All:
My first post. I have a 2004 Fuji Del Rey Hybrid with stock parts---> http://www.bikepedia.com/quickbike/BikeSpecs.aspx?year=2004&brand=Fuji&model=Del+Rey

I picked up another bike for the puropse of taking this bike off the road for overhaul. It is my utility bike-has a big rack, etc.

I love this bike, it is incredibly comfortable and very upright and safe for city maneuvering and wish to keep it, but... Read more >>

08/22 Mongoose XR 75 Chain Replacement

I recently pulled my Mongoose out of storage and i need to replace the chain, tubes, tires, and grips (i think that's all :/)

I started taking the chain off before i realized what all was involved. I got the back section of the chain off, then I saw that there is a piece above the pedals that holds it in place. How exactly do i take this chain off? I tried to find a master link on the chain but they are all the same. Where do i break the chain? Can i just snip the chain and buy a new one with a quick release since I have to replace it anyways?... Read more >>

08/12 Shimano drivechain help required

I have a 2011 specialized secteur that came with sora groupset on it.
I always keep my bike properly cleaned and lubed.
recently my chain started skipping round every so often on certain gears when I push hard through the pedals such as hill starting, but this would also happen randomly mid pedal strokes, say on the flat. I messed with cable tension and new cables etc but no joy and the cogs started to show signs of being damaged.

I checked with the chain wear indicator and it wasn't yet even worn to 0.75 but I made the decision to replace the 9 speed hyperglide hg50 ... Read more >>

08/10 When to lube new chain?

I installed a new Shimano chain 2 weeks ago and before each ride I wipe the chain dry with a clean rag until no oil transfers to my finger when I touch it. After my ride, the chair leaves a black smudge when I touch it. So far all my rides have been in dry conditions

I take this to mean that the factory lube still suffices and I can put off,applying additional lube as long as the chain continues to exhibit an oily film after each ride.Am I correct in this reasoning?... Read more >>

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