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  1. #1
    Justin scattered73's Avatar
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    Freewheel not engaging in cold weather??

    I got off work around 1am last night and it was below freezing here wich is very odd for Houston. I usually bring the bike in at night off the rack once administration leaves but we got busy and never got around to it. It is a singlespeed and when I got to pedal it like I am back spinning after a few rotations it engages as long as I keep constant pressure on the cranks it stays engaged as soon as I coast same deal a rotation or two before engagement. Bring the bike in my apartment now the problem is gone. Is this common with singlespeeds freewheels?
    Do what makes you happy.

  2. #2
    12mph+ commuter
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    It's probably your bike. I ride in -20 weather and my freewheel is always fine. It's a 7 speed though, I'm not sure if that makes a difference.

  3. #3
    <3s bikes Re-Cycle's Avatar
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    The grease in the freewheel congeals and keeps the paws from springing back in to action. Really I can't think of any reason single speeds would categorically be more prone to this then a multi speed freewheel.

    Freewheels are cheap, you could try a different one or go with the sure fire solution which would be a fixed gear cog.
    A wild man once explained to me how bicycles came from sailboats.

  4. #4
    The good looking one Bikehead's Avatar
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    I had that problem, I flushed out the grease with wd-40 or smiple green. Than used Phil Woods Oil
    or a similar oil. I haven't had any problems down to -20, even with bike sitting outside all day. I re-
    apply the oil about once a month, more if the weather is really damp.
    There is a lot of other reading, by doing a search on it. It's a question that comes up every cold
    weather season.
    That should help with your problem, now go out and enjoy your communtes
    Bikehead
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  5. #5
    Justin scattered73's Avatar
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    Is it possible to break open a single speed freewheel or should I just replace?
    Do what makes you happy.

  6. #6
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I've heard it's a problem, especially if your freewheel is lubricated with grease, which can get very stiff and cause the pawls to not want to engage. I've never had it happen to me. I'd flush with WD-40 to try to get the grease out if it started happening, then probably some kind of light spray lubricant like DuPont teflon+wax

    Teardown is possible, but could be tricky.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  7. #7
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    You're in Houston - don't worry about it for the few times you might go below freezing
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  8. #8
    Justin scattered73's Avatar
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    switched to fixed until we get past this cold weather
    Do what makes you happy.

  9. #9
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Re-Cycle View Post
    The grease in the freewheel congeals and keeps the paws from springing back in to action. Really I can't think of any reason single speeds would categorically be more prone to this then a multi speed freewheel.

    Freewheels are cheap, you could try a different one or go with the sure fire solution which would be a fixed gear cog.
    If you want to see paws spring back to life, try catnip.

    Seriously though it's pawls, not paws. Re-Cycle is right about the grease.

  10. #10
    Winter commuting mode Tequila Joe's Avatar
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    This happend to my winter bike before, it was due to moisture in the free wheel; probably from riding in the rain / washing. The pawls stick shut when its cold enough for it to freeze and then operate fine when it is warm. As others said, flush it out with WD-40 then re-grease with Phil's Tenacious or similar.

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