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  1. #1
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    Pedaling won't move the tires.

    Hello! I'm a super noob and I'm in need of some help. Sorry for adding another thread, but I'm having difficulty researching the issue or finding any related posts.

    So now then. I've been biking off and on for almost a year. Got a nice little trail to newport beach that's 22 miles round trip and I try to do it 3 - 5 times a week. Oh, and I have a mountain bike. Specialized Hardrock from 1997. Nostalgia keeps me from moving on.

    So today I'm at the end of my ride (thank god) and it feels like the chain falls off. I stop the bike to find that the chain is still on, actually, which was hella confusing, cause I go to pedal and nothing happens. Well, to be more specific, pedaling moves the chain and gear assembly, but somehow there's a disconnect between the gears and the back tire.

    Is this a common issue? Should I hit the LBS? Or can I fix this in five seconds with a wrench?

  2. #2
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    It's probably a freehub issue. Given the age of the bike and that you live on the coast I think it's possibly caused by internal rust. In any case, given your limited skillset it calls for a visit to the LBS.

    But before you go in, give it s quick diagnostic by turning the pedals and seeing if the gear cluster turns without the wheel moving. If so, it's definitely a freehub issue, and should be a fairly inexpensive repair, often calling for only a clean and lube, though there's a good chance you'll need a new freehub.

    BTW- if you're good mechanically, this isn't an especially difficult job. If you want to give it a go, look up a tutorial on freehub repair, and work your way through it. Note that the method of servicing freehubs varies among different brand hubs, so make sure the tutorial matches your hub.
    FB
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  3. #3
    z90
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankrubis View Post
    Hello! I'm a super noob and I'm in need of some help. Sorry for adding another thread, but I'm having difficulty researching the issue or finding any related posts.

    So now then. I've been biking off and on for almost a year. Got a nice little trail to newport beach that's 22 miles round trip and I try to do it 3 - 5 times a week. Oh, and I have a mountain bike. Specialized Hardrock from 1997. Nostalgia keeps me from moving on.

    So today I'm at the end of my ride (thank god) and it feels like the chain falls off. I stop the bike to find that the chain is still on, actually, which was hella confusing, cause I go to pedal and nothing happens. Well, to be more specific, pedaling moves the chain and gear assembly, but somehow there's a disconnect between the gears and the back tire.

    Is this a common issue? Should I hit the LBS? Or can I fix this in five seconds with a wrench?
    It sounds like the pawls in your freewheel may not be engaging. Can you spin the freewheel clockwise with your hand without the wheel moving? (You shouldn't be able to)

  4. #4
    z90
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    Oops, FB beat me to it and did a better job. Your bike's not old enough to have a freewheel, I should have said freehub. Test it the same way

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    It's probably a freehub issue. Given the age of the bike and that you live on the coast I think it's possibly caused by internal rust. In any case, given your limited skillset it calls for a visit to the LBS.

    But before you go in, give it s quick diagnostic by turning the pedals and seeing if the gear cluster turns without the wheel moving. If so, it's definitely a freehub issue, and should be a fairly inexpensive repair, often calling for only a clean and lube, though there's a good chance you'll need a new freehub.

    BTW- if you're good mechanically, this isn't an especially difficult job. If you want to give it a go, look up a tutorial on freehub repair, and work your way through it. Note that the method of servicing freehubs varies among different brand hubs, so make sure the tutorial matches your hub.
    Thank you much! I'm more electronically inclined than mechanically, but I think I'll give it a shot. I can always take it to the LBS even if it's ten pieces, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by z90 View Post
    It sounds like the pawls in your freewheel may not be engaging. Can you spin the freewheel clockwise with your hand without the wheel moving? (You shouldn't be able to)
    Again, I'm a noob so bear with me, but I think yes, I can move the freewheel/freehub clockwise without the tire moving. Basically I'm grabbing and turning the collection of gears attached to the back tire and I can spin it without the wheels moving one bit.

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    That is almost definitely caused by the internals of the freehub not engaging.

    A new freehub (if it is a Shimano hub) costs about $40 or $40. You can change it yourself if you have tools. A bike shop might charge between $20 - $30 labour to do it for you.

    If it is a Specialized branded hub, well, good luck finding a replacement. Call a shop that sells Specialized and you might get lucky.

    Or you can try to repair the existing freehub, but that is not always possible.

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    Thanks for all the help guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post

    If it is a Specialized branded hub, well, good luck finding a replacement. Call a shop that sells Specialized and you might get lucky.
    Wait, are you saying it's possible, if I cannot find a specialized branded hub, that my bike has seen its last ride?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tom808's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankrubis View Post
    Thanks for all the help guys!



    Wait, are you saying it's possible, if I cannot find a specialized branded hub, that my bike has seen its last ride?
    No, your bikes not finished yet, but you may need to replace your rear wheel.

  10. #10
    Cyclist storckm's Avatar
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    At the very worst, you'd need to replace the hub or wheel.
    And you can always try repairing the freehub.

  11. #11
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankrubis View Post
    Wait, are you saying it's possible, if I cannot find a specialized branded hub, that my bike has seen its last ride?
    No. You should be able to get a replacement wheel pretty easily.

  12. #12
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankrubis View Post
    Thanks for all the help guys!



    Wait, are you saying it's possible, if I cannot find a specialized branded hub, that my bike has seen its last ride?
    He is saying that if the hub is a Specialized branded hub, you may have problems finding the freehub part as a replacement. And if you cannot find that part then will need to replace the hub (this means a wheel rebuild) or a new rear wheel. But if it is a shimano hub then you should be able to find a shimano freehub part.
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  13. #13
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    Cross your bridges one at a time as you come to them. There are lots of Specialized dealers, and there's more than an even chance you can find the correct freehub. That is if you even need one. There's also a good chance that your freehub can be saved simply by cleaning and re-lubing it.

    The worst case is that you'll need a new wheel, but if yours in in basically good shape it's worth making the effort to try to fix or replace only the freehub. Start there, then deal with complications only if and when they arise.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 11-14-10 at 11:11 PM.
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    Oh, thank the gods. I've had the damn thing so long it's like a pet. Thanks everyone! I'm taking it to the bike shop tomorrow.

  15. #15
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    It may just need to be flushed out and re-oiled. But it's a bit of work since you have to pull out the axle and wheel bearings first. And since it doesn't sound like you do that level of work it's time for a visit to the LBS in any case.

    I had one of the late 90's Hardrocks. I think it was one of the last of the CrMo frames. I wish I'd kept it now. It was a superb frame with some poor budget choice of parts on it. I upgraded about half the stuff during my ownership and the bike always improved more than could be explained by the additions. I think the frame is one of the great finds that's hamstrung by poor components. It won't be a world class XC racer but it's certainly better than what the wheels and drive train limits the frame to being.

    Fix it up and keep it. Maybe even upgrade on a budget as you can. The frame will deliver the goods up to a solid mid to mid high range of performance.
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    I have revived such freehubs by the rather simple method of flushing them out with WD-40 while spinning the cogset...
    Rarely do the internal parts on these break; they just get gummed up with dust and dirt and wont move properly.
    Used to be you could buy a device called a "freehub buddy" which allowed you to shoot the thing full of grease... Don't know if they still sell em.

  17. #17
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    The one time I tried to grease a freehub it was a disaster. The grease made the ratchet pawls gooey enough that they didn't want to catch right away. Instead I'd pedal about a quarter turn with no engagement until the pawls oozed down through the grease and caught. Flushed the mess out and oiled it instead. FAR better.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  18. #18
    Senior Member TassR700's Avatar
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    Best thing I have found for freehubs is Quicksilver synthetic lower unit lube. It is made for boat outdrives and is just the right viscosity for freehubs.

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