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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 09-03-11, 08:17 AM   #1
DizzySpinner
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Pedals go round when I push my MTB (not a single speed bike!)...

Hi Guys/Girls,

I have a problem in that my pedals seem to go around with my wheels (rear wheel). I can be pushing my bike along and the pedals spin in time with the wheels.

Any ideas on the cause? I do have a slight stiff link in the chain that causes jumping every few pedal revolutions. I can still change gear but I can't keep my feet on the pedals if I have to stop or slow down. As soon as I do the pedals lock!

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-03-11, 08:25 AM   #2
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The freewheel mechanism is frozen due to dirt or corrosion or has a jammed pawl. Remove the wheel and place it cog side up. Then drip thin oil into the gap between the shell that's supposed to rotate and the core that isn't. If it's just dirty that may free it up. If that doesn't or there is a broken part inside, you will need a new freewheel or freehub body depending on the type of hub you have.
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Old 09-03-11, 08:42 AM   #3
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Thanks for that. I'll give that a go. I'll have to wait for the rain to stop - but I'll report back.
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Old 09-03-11, 09:47 AM   #4
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Before you take the freehub apart, check behind the cassette for string, grass, weeds or other debris wound around the hub. It's common for stuff to get caught on a spoke and wound around the hub, and thereby bind the cassette to the wheel. Sometimes you can clean it out with a stick, but it's usually easier to remove the cassette.

Otherwise, it's a question of flushing and lubing the freehub body as Hillrider said.

BTW- your freehub and stiff link issues are related and both the probable result of poor maintenance and lubrication. If you don't change your habits you'll be spending more money than necessary to keep your bike going.
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Old 09-03-11, 12:26 PM   #5
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Low blow FBinNY! (Just kidding). I do keep the bike lubricated and cleaned, I just don't have any of the specialist tools to tighten things up or the chain tool to fix the damaged link. No excuse, I know. It is what it is.

There is nothing obviously caught in the freewheel that I can see. I've only been off work one week (I use the bike for commuting) and I went to use it yesterday and found the above problem. It has been stored in the shed for a week. The only thing I can think of is maybe my housemate who also keeps a bike in the shed has been a bit rough putting his bike away and knocked something on mine. Probably just a coincidence though.
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Old 09-03-11, 12:37 PM   #6
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Then it's back to the flush and lube. I was only suggesting you check behind the cassette to save you some unnecessary work.

It's likely that the time in storage allowed some water in the freehub time to do it's magic. You'll know when the flushed lube comes out red. Often this clears the problem, though you can't remove any rust damage. When you ride a commuter every day the constant motion stays ahead of the rust and the mechanism will stay free even if it's slowly rusting internally.

In most cases you shouldn't need a chain tool to clear stiff links, and pushing the pin to relax the pressure can cause a weak rivet leading to a future chain failure. Most sitff links today are caused by grit between the plates, and/or rust within the chain causing binding. A good wash and lube usually solves the problem. More important is maintaining good lube to prevent it in the first place.
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Old 09-03-11, 12:48 PM   #7
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Thanks for that. I didn't think about the constant motion not letting the rust settle. It makes sense.

Thanks both for your help. I know now what I have to do. I'm just hoping it's not so far gone that it needs a new cassette and therefore new chain. I shall report back.
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Old 09-03-11, 01:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DizzySpinner View Post
Thanks for that. I didn't think about the constant motion not letting the rust settle. It makes sense.

Thanks both for your help. I know now what I have to do. I'm just hoping it's not so far gone that it needs a new cassette and therefore new chain. I shall report back.
No, it won't be the cassette. That has no moving parts. You'll need to remove it anyway, and might clean it while it's off, but that isn't where the problem lies. It's in the freehweel mechanism which is within the freehub body, or between the freehub body and hub depending on the hub. The second type which is more common in non-Shimano hubs is easier to service, but most Shimano hubs are of the first type where the self contained body with ratchet mechanism is attached to the hub, and the unit rides on bearings at each end of the axle.
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Old 09-04-11, 11:41 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Before you take the freehub apart, check behind the cassette for string, grass, weeds or other debris wound around the hub. It's common for stuff to get caught on a spoke and wound around the hub, and thereby bind the cassette to the wheel. Sometimes you can clean it out with a stick, but it's usually easier to remove the cassette.
Or possibly the spoke protector disk has broken free of its mooring and is freewheeling between the cassette cogs and spokes.
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Old 09-04-11, 12:08 PM   #10
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I do have a slight stiff link in the chain that causes jumping every few pedal revolutions.
Suggests you are slacking on the maintenance, clean and re lubricate the works.
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Old 09-05-11, 11:19 AM   #11
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Or possibly the spoke protector disk has broken free of its mooring and is freewheeling between the cassette cogs and spokes.
Bingo my friend. Thank you.
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