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  1. #1
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    Resistance felt when pedaling backwards?

    I just got a CX bike to be my winter beater road bike / light duty trail bike. It takes 2-3x as much force to pedal backwards than my other bikes. It's still not a lot of force, but it just feels weird as I'm freewheeling it to lube the chain.

    I took the chain off and pedaled the crank with no chain and it felt fine so it isn't the bottom bracket. Could it be the derailleur or rear hub? I tried it in every gear combination, same result. The bike only has two rides on it and it felt the same with 0 miles as it did after two rides. There was not enough b-screw tension when I first got the bike (chunking sound in the biggest cog) but that has been fixed.

  2. #2
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    The single mot common cause of this is a sticky freehub ratchet. You can easily confirm by shifting to a middle gear so the chain is in line, and watching the RD lower pulley as you back pedal. If the freehub is sticky the lower chain loop will tend to pull the pulley forward against the spring, and you might see some sag in the upper loop.

    This will not detect slight stickyness, and might also give a false positive if, for example a pulley is sticky, so reconfirm by removing the rear wheel and spinning it while putting your thumb against the cassette to hold it. You'll feel the freehub drag this way, and it should be near zero.
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  3. #3
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    If propped up, the rear wheel will slowly move backwards too. Is that definitely the freehub then? These wheels are pig heavy so I might want to upgrade anyway but in the mean time it would be nice to see if I can fix it myself.

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    Park Tool Co. » ParkTool Blog » Freehub Service

    I've never done it, but I've read it can be a huge PITA if you start dropping the ball bearings.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    If propped up, the rear wheel will slowly move backwards too. Is that definitely the freehub then? These wheels are pig heavy so I might want to upgrade anyway but in the mean time it would be nice to see if I can fix it myself.
    Yes, the wheel rotating backward as you backpedal (off the ground) is another sign of a sticky freehub.

    There's usually no need to disassemble these. You just need to find a gap to wick some oil or solvent in, to soften the dried grease. The easiest way is to hin some oil with mineral spirits (the real stuff, not the green stuff), find a place between moving and non-moving parts (it's easier if you remove the cassette first), wick it in, and spin the freehub until it feels looser. The solvent will evaporate over time, leaving the oil in place.

    Odds are that solvent and oil will leach out the back, and all over the spokes, so be prepared to clean that up before riding, or it'll adhere dust and dirt.
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    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Yes, the wheel rotating backward as you backpedal (off the ground) is another sign of a sticky freehub.

    There's usually no need to disassemble these. You just need to find a gap to wick some oil or solvent in, to soften the dried grease. The easiest way is to hin some oil with mineral spirits (the real stuff, not the green stuff), find a place between moving and non-moving parts (it's easier if you remove the cassette first), wick it in, and spin the freehub until it feels looser. The solvent will evaporate over time, leaving the oil in place.

    Odds are that solvent and oil will leach out the back, and all over the spokes, so be prepared to clean that up before riding, or it'll adhere dust and dirt.
    I notice that if the bike sits for a day or so that it takes a decent amount of force to get the crank rotating backwards at all. Enough for the chain between the crank and cassette to sag a few inches before starting to freewheel.

    I took it apart and greased everything and the same thing still happens. This is with a pristine clean drivedrain... gotta be the hub I'm guessing. Just weird that it takes so much more force than my other bikes.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    I notice that if the bike sits for a day or so that it takes a decent amount of force to get the crank rotating backwards at all. Enough for the chain between the crank and cassette to sag a few inches before starting to freewheel.

    I took it apart and greased everything and the same thing still happens. This is with a pristine clean drivedrain... gotta be the hub I'm guessing. Just weird that it takes so much more force than my other bikes.
    Read my post no.2, and remove the wheel and check for freehub (freewheel) drag. If you do have drag, it might be related to your having greased everything. The hub bearings take grease, but the freehub ratchet, and bearings take oil. If you do use grease on the freehub unit, use only a thin film, or you will have drag.

    If the freehub ratchet has no drag when tested off the bike, check both pulleys, hanger alignment, chain routing through the RD cage, and the chain itself (no or dried oil/grease/wax). A stiff chain will cause the exact symptoms you describe.
    FB
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    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Read my post no.2, and remove the wheel and check for freehub (freewheel) drag. If you do have drag, it might be related to your having greased everything. The hub bearings take grease, but the freehub ratchet, and bearings take oil. If you do use grease on the freehub unit, use only a thin film, or you will have drag.

    If the freehub ratchet has no drag when tested off the bike, check both pulleys, hanger alignment, chain routing through the RD cage, and the chain itself (no or dried oil/grease/wax). A stiff chain will cause the exact symptoms you describe.
    It did it from when it was new... I greased it and that didn't help then took it to the bike shop and they cleaned it and oiled it with Phil Wood's and it's not any better.

    The drivetrain is all but frozen a few hours after the bike sits. You have to crank pretty hard to get it moving again, then it works normally aside from the drag when pedaling backwards. Very strange for a brand new bike with decent parts.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    It did it from when it was new... I greased it and that didn't help then took it to the bike shop and they cleaned it and oiled it with Phil Wood's and it's not any better.

    The drivetrain is all but frozen a few hours after the bike sits. You have to crank pretty hard to get it moving again, then it works normally aside from the drag when pedaling backwards. Very strange for a brand new bike with decent parts.
    OK, given that it's new it shouldn't be your problem. have the shop figure out what's wrong, possibly a swollen or poorly fitted seal, but who knows. Have them do the work because this isn't right, and would fall within the category of warranty.
    FB
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    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  10. #10
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    Alright I'll take it back. If it was an easy fix I would have just fixed it myself instead of going in and inevitably being without my bike for a while.

  11. #11
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    I took off the chain and spun the derailleur sprockets and the top one was sticking. I oiled it and it's better but still not perfect.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    I took off the chain and spun the derailleur sprockets and the top one was sticking. I oiled it and it's better but still not perfect.
    I guess my earlier posts (see Nos. 2-7) about localizing the problem to the wheel/freehub or the RD pulleys were wasted effort.

    BTW- I have to wonder about a shop mechanic that can't localize this kind of very basic issue.
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I guess my earlier posts (see Nos. 2-7) about localizing the problem to the wheel/freehub or the RD pulleys were wasted effort.

    BTW- I have to wonder about a shop mechanic that can't localize this kind of very basic issue.
    How was it wasted effort? I did exactly what you said to do. Thank you for the advise, it helped partially resolve the issue and when I get the motivation to do the rest, I'm sure it will help even more.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    How was it wasted effort? I did exactly what you said to do. Thank you for the advise, it helped partially resolve the issue and when I get the motivation to do the rest, I'm sure it will help even more.
    You're welcome to the help, but you could have saved time and effort by using the diagnostic process to rule the wheel in or out very early in the process. That would have led you to the pulley last week, saving you the trip to the bike shop, or at least back to them with the problem isolated.

    Sadly the mechanic also skipped the diagnostic process and "fixed" the wheel which wasn't the problem anyway.

    See my signature line. I'm a firm believer in not fixing anything until you know what's actually broken.
    FB
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    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  15. #15
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    The issue was still there so I took apart the hub again. There's a bearing on each side of the hub itself and another in the freehub body. The one in the freehub was dragging a lot so I added grease and it got better, but still there. Kind of at a loss as to what else to do. I oiled both cogs on the derailleur, the hangar is straight, all the bearings in the hub spin freely...

  16. #16
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    Well, as far as the proper functioning of the bike is concerned, it matters ZERO. When you're pedaling and going forward, these processes are not happening.

    Now, when you're coasting, the 'cassette hub' ratchets, relative to the rear axle, creating a clicking sound. Apparently with your bike, there's slightly more resistance here than usual. Enough to slow you down? I don't think so.

    In any case, my bet is that just using your bike will loosen up the grease in the ratchet mechanism, and the problem will disappear.

    (PS: Those bearings you serviced are the wrong ones, they are not relevant to the process in question. The bearings you looked at are the ones that deal with the rotation of the wheel relative to the frame. But you want the bearings that deal with the rotation of the cassette relative to the wheel.)
    Last edited by dizzy101; 12-08-14 at 02:40 PM.

  17. #17
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    It turned out one of the bearings in the hub was pretty dry. It still has a lot more resistance than any other bike I've had, but it's tolerable now.

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