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Old 10-15-10, 04:05 AM   #1
cynergy
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Raleigh Marathon - free wheel hub

Hi All,

I bought a Raleigh Marathon 12 speed bicycle from our town dump for only $30. It is in awesome shape and it looks like the previous owner never road it. I replaced the shift cables, which were a little rusty (although I probably could have just cleaned up the original cables with some oil and they'd be OK).


Yesterday, while I was tuning the bike, I noticed that the rear wheel makes noise when rotating. It sounds like the freewheel mechanism has a lot of friction. When I had the bike on the work stand, if I cranked the pedals, the rear wheel would turn, and then when I released the pedals, the wheel would continue to rotate, but I could hear some friction sounds and the rear wheel would pretty quickly come to a stop. I also noticed that when I turned the pedals backwards, the rear wheel would rotate backwards with the chain instead of staying put (if I started pedaling when the wheel was at rest)!

I road the bike for a few minutes, then put the bike back on the stand to do some more tuning. I tested the freewheel again and this time, when I pedaled backwards, the wheel didn't turn backwards, but there was still significant friction and noise and whenever I stopped pedaling, the rear wheel would come to a halt pretty quickly.

Does this sound like a problem with my freewheel or is it something to do with the rear hub? Do you think it would help to remove the freewheel and then clean and lube it? The front and rear hub on the bike look like they are in good shape. I'm wondering if maybe I need to lube the freewheel or something, or if I have to replace the entire hub/freewheel combo.

Any advice on what to check?

Thanks!
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Old 10-15-10, 10:07 AM   #2
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Odds are that the freewheel has either dried, thickened grease in it, or possibly a bit of rust.

You can tell if it's the hub bearings or the freewheel by taking the wheel off and spinning it forward in your fingers. The freewheel will spin with it so if it's noisy it's the hub. Then while it's still spinning stop the freewheel with a finger, and if in now makes noise it's the freewheel.

I'm betting it's the freewheel, so remove it. Be careful, it may be very tight after all this time so be sure the freewheel remover is very secure as you break it loose. Soak the freewheel in solvent, rinse in fresh solvent, then sake it dry and set it aside to dry for 24 hours. Run some oil into it rotating it to help penetration, let excess drain and it should run fine.
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Old 10-15-10, 07:31 PM   #3
cynergy
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Thanks FBinNY. I checked the hub bearings and they spin OK (not great, but good enough). I also bought a freewheel tool and removed the freewheel. You were right. It was probably just gummed up with gried grease. I used some Citrus bicycle degreaser/cleaner and then WD 40 (the citrus cleaner ran out) and cleaned the freewheel. Then I used some oil and tested the freewheel. It worked much better. I cleaned it up some more and then relubed it and it works well now!

Thanks for your help. I just have to true the wheels and readjust the brakes and the bike will be all ready. Too bad it's a little small. I can ride it but it is better suited for a smaller person. I am going to save it for my kids or if my wife wants to use it (she already has a touring bike and mountain bike) she can use it as well. It's in really nice shape and a very made bike.
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Old 10-15-10, 08:37 PM   #4
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I know the freehub system is, from an engineering standpoint, a better system. I don't care: Freewheels 4ever! So much nicer to deal with on a day-to-day basis, up to 7 speeds anyway.
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Old 10-15-10, 08:48 PM   #5
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Just hit it with a bunch of WD-40 around the seam between the rotating and non-rotating portion. I had a Marathon for a couple years- got it free from a dumpster. Not the best bike on the planet but I loved riding it. Unfortunately I had a mishap that resulted in frame damage so it's retired. When I got it the freewheel was messed up, plus the hubs were terribly gummed up with dried, dusty grease. Once I cleaned it up it ran great.
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