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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 01-08-10, 12:17 PM   #1
scattered73
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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?
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Old 01-08-10, 12:41 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 01-08-10, 12:45 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 01-08-10, 01:03 PM   #4
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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
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Old 01-08-10, 01:12 PM   #5
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Is it possible to break open a single speed freewheel or should I just replace?
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Old 01-08-10, 01:29 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 01-09-10, 12:19 AM   #7
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You're in Houston - don't worry about it for the few times you might go below freezing
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Old 01-09-10, 11:02 AM   #8
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switched to fixed until we get past this cold weather
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Old 01-09-10, 01:03 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 01-09-10, 01:40 PM   #10
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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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