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Old 10-21-10, 11:02 AM   #1
Leaozinho
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Freewheel problem

Hi guys, I'm new here and am having a problem with the freewheel on my 1993 Specialized 7 speed road bike. At least I think that it's the freewheel...

Yesterday while riding whenever I started coasting or pedaling backwards the chain would slacken to the point where it hit the chain stay. When I started walking the bicycle the pedals were rotating with the bicycle so this makes me think it is the freewheel..is there any way to be sure? My other question is how to tell whether I have a freewheel or freehub. And if this is indeed the problem, how do I go about solving it?

This is a great site - thanks for all your help!!!
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Old 10-21-10, 11:26 AM   #2
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Leaozinho, post a pic from the side of the wheel and freewheel, and people will probably be able to determine whether it's a freewheel or freehub/cassette combination. From that year, it's likely a freehub, though I can't remember. Is the freewheel or cassette making a loud ticking when you turn the cranks or you're walking the bike? You can try cleaning it out by spraying WD-40 into the body of the freewheel or cassette, then following with some chain lube or oil after it's soaked in a bit.

As always, Sheldon Brown can give you in determining this question, as well: Read here and here.

Another potential cause of the problem could be a sticking chain. Run the chain and make sure it's not catching on the pulleys of the derailer or on the chainrings. If there are any stuck links, they could be causing your problems. If the chain's also from 1993, it's very possibly corroded and the links are sticking, or it's just very dirty and the buildup of road grime and gunk is stiffening the links.

Last edited by peripatetic; 10-21-10 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 10-21-10, 12:39 PM   #3
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freewheel or freehub, they both could use some cleaning and re lubricating the internals, occasionally.
Maybe just give the mech a bit of oil?
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Old 10-21-10, 12:50 PM   #4
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freewheel or freehub, they both could use some cleaning and re lubricating the internals, occasionally.
Maybe just give the mech a bit of oil?
That's another good point--you should make sure the jockey wheels and springs on the derailer are working properly, also. When you turn the cranks forwards and backwards, you should see everything on the derailer spinning smoothly, not jumping or suddenly popping forward, etc.
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Old 10-21-10, 01:01 PM   #5
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funny things happen with backpedaling on a derailleur bike,
and the pulley is not directly under the cog.

Just don't backpedal fixes that.
you can backpedal a single speed, and IG hub, though..
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Old 10-21-10, 01:40 PM   #6
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As you state it happens coasting as well there must be a problem with friction, whether it be freewheel or cassette. Check to make sure there is not spokeguard interfering, then lubricate.
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Old 10-21-10, 02:04 PM   #7
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As you state it happens coasting as well there must be a problem with friction, whether it be freewheel or cassette. Check to make sure there is not spokeguard interfering, then lubricate.
I am very inexperienced...how can I know if the spokeguard is interfering?

Also, as the first reply said, if I do notice a ticking sound when walking the bike or turning the cranks, what does this mean? Thanks for all the help so far!
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Old 10-21-10, 02:35 PM   #8
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The ticking they are referring to is the rachet mechanism inside of the freehub or freewheel.

Last edited by bikeman715; 10-22-10 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 10-21-10, 07:46 PM   #9
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Another thing to check for is to see if anything (string, etc.) might have gotten wound around the area between the hub (either type) and the axle, or on the inside, next to the spokes. That will act as a 'friction brake' of sorts, causing what you describe.
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Old 10-21-10, 11:53 PM   #10
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The ticking they are referring to is the racket mechanism inside of the freehub or freewheel.
He meant "ratchet" mechanism. The ticking is always there, but on older bikes, it gets louder as the lube/oil/grease inside the freewheel/freehub dries up or eventually drips out of the bottom. Re-lubing sufficiently should make the ticking get softer in quality. Read those Sheldon Brown links, esp. where he describes how to lube a freewheel.
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