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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 06-02-16, 04:41 PM   #1
barkersoldbean
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Shimano free hub notching on Rolf Tandem wheels

I wondered if anyone has a solution to the free hub notching I discovered on our Rolf Prima Tandem rear wheel?

We are running a 9 speed 12-32 rear cassette and when I removed it for cleaning today, noticed a series of indentations all along the hub body.

The cassette works fine and slides on and off the free hub, but it looks a bit disconcerting!

Wheel has done ~ 3,000 miles and we probably output a modest 3-400 watts, so no massive strain that I can see?
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Old 06-02-16, 06:57 PM   #2
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We have experienced the same thing, plus we have sheared teeth off of freewheel cogs, sheared tips off of free hub pawls, broken cassette spiders and broken chain links. We too are not a powerful team, but you can exert some rather large instantaneous forces that cause damage. I attribute it to the use of mechanicals that are engineered for the forces encountered in single bikes and not for the forces experienced with a tandem.

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Old 06-02-16, 07:52 PM   #3
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We have experienced the same thing, plus we have sheared teeth off of freewheel cogs, sheared tips off of free hub pawls, broken cassette spiders and broken chain links. We too are not a powerful team, but you can exert some rather large instantaneous forces that cause damage. I attribute it to the use of mechanicals that are engineered for the forces encountered in single bikes and not for the forces experienced with a tandem.

Quick link on a tandem rather questionable.
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Old 06-02-16, 08:01 PM   #4
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Quick link on a tandem rather questionable.
Hmmm.... The bike came stock with a quick link, though we sheared one link plate and it just happened to be next to the quick link.

Please elaborate?
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Old 06-02-16, 11:31 PM   #5
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Yes, the notching is quite common. The more cogs there are on a carrier in the cassette, the less notching. Some cassettes are better that way than others. Some hubs are harder, SS rather than aluminum.
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Old 06-03-16, 07:15 AM   #6
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Quick link on a tandem rather questionable.
10 years on ours both 9 and 10 speed chains. Never an issue.
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Old 06-03-16, 10:00 AM   #7
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I attribute it to the use of mechanicals that are engineered for the forces encountered in single bikes and not for the forces experienced with a tandem.

In this case its just a crap design. Happens on singles too. Hard steel cassettes are cutting into softer aluminum free hub body. As mentioned, cassettes with multiple cogs on a single carrier help. Also, American Classic makes a part to prevent this.

From the Tandem Link:

However, its nothing to worry about. Only problem is that it can make it difficult to remove cassettes. If it ever gets to the point that it becomes a problem, replacing the freehub is relatively easy and not that expensive.
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Old 06-03-16, 10:11 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by barkersoldbean View Post
I wondered if anyone has a solution to the free hub notching I discovered on our Rolf Prima Tandem rear wheel?

We are running a 9 speed 12-32 rear cassette and when I removed it for cleaning today, noticed a series of indentations all along the hub body.

The cassette works fine and slides on and off the free hub, but it looks a bit disconcerting!

Wheel has done ~ 3,000 miles and we probably output a modest 3-400 watts, so no massive strain that I can see?

That happens with single bikes too. Hub mfgs are using Al freehub bodies because of weight weenies, and the steel cogs cut into them. Go to a hub with a steel or Ti body or you can try the American Classic clips or a different cassette that doesn't have individual cogs.

Or live with it and replace the body when it becomes a problem. Usually they dig in 1/8" or so and stop.
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Old 06-04-16, 10:13 AM   #9
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In this case its just a crap design. Happens on singles too. Hard steel cassettes are cutting into softer aluminum free hub body. As mentioned, cassettes with multiple cogs on a single carrier help. Also, American Classic makes a part to prevent this.

From the Tandem Link:

However, its nothing to worry about. Only problem is that it can make it difficult to remove cassettes. If it ever gets to the point that it becomes a problem, replacing the freehub is relatively easy and not that expensive.

Actually, I think those American Classic pins and clips are for correcting issues with cassettes like Ultegra 10spd which are missing engagement teeth at each spline. We had this issue with the Ultegra 10spd, but the 9 speed cassette (M771) in question does have the full set of engagement teeth.
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Old 06-04-16, 10:19 AM   #10
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That happens with single bikes too. Hub mfgs are using Al freehub bodies because of weight weenies, and the steel cogs cut into them. Go to a hub with a steel or Ti body or you can try the American Classic clips or a different cassette that doesn't have individual cogs.

Or live with it and replace the body when it becomes a problem. Usually they dig in 1/8" or so and stop.
Rolf and Spinergy wheels have Ti freehubs (or have available as an option). Though, if seems some are using softer Ti if that is possible. We have marred some in the past. However, the current White Industries Ti bodies seem to be holding up very nicely.
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Old 06-04-16, 04:21 PM   #11
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Quick link on a tandem rather questionable.
We have notched a couple of freehub bodies. Our Ventana off-road tandem came with an aluminum freehub body, we did change that out for stainless steel I believe it was. It took a while to really get cut into, but I did keep it as a spare.

As for quick links, I suppose run what you believe in, we run quick links off-road and without doubt are spinning less and working the chain pretty hard. We have been lucky so far I guess.

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Old 06-06-16, 01:39 PM   #12
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^ we've had no issue with 10 or 11 speed quick links.

I'll take my chances with a quick link over a pin, given how thin modern chains are. I've seen chains fail where they were pinned together because the pin was inserted too far, or not far enough. I've yet to see a quick link fail.
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Old 06-06-16, 02:06 PM   #13
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^ we've had no issue with 10 or 11 speed quick links.

I'll take my chances with a quick link over a pin, given how thin modern chains are. I've seen chains fail where they were pinned together because the pin was inserted too far, or not far enough. I've yet to see a quick link fail.
^^^ +9,999.

KMC MissingLinks are what we have used on 9, 10 and 11spd chains. I reuse the 11spd version (dubbed "non-reusable") maybe 6 times or so before replacing it. The inner retaining shoulders do get easier and easier with each reinstall but the actual pin slot seems to stay quite tight until it succumbs to normal wear. This is also a nice way to add/remove links for vastly different size cassettes.
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Old 06-07-16, 07:54 PM   #14
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No problems with 9-speed KMC quick links.
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Old 06-07-16, 10:23 PM   #15
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Haven't heard of too many issues with broken chains in recent years. I remember in the 80's and 90's where it was more common, enough to warrant carrying a chain breaker on every ride. I still do, but haven't had to use it since going to quick links. Obviously I carry extra quick links too.
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Old 06-09-16, 04:26 AM   #16
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Haven't heard of too many issues with broken chains in recent years. I remember in the 80's and 90's where it was more common, enough to warrant carrying a chain breaker on every ride. I still do, but haven't had to use it since going to quick links. Obviously I carry extra quick links too.
This reminds me of one of those Simpsons "Doh!" moments while cycling. A fellow rider snapped a chain and asked if anyone had a quick link. Always priding myself as the one that is always prepared, I proclaimed that I did and proceeded to dig it out of the very bottom of my saddle bag and I proudly handed it to him.

Then he says "Does anyone have a chain tool?" Turns out, a quick link is only useful to join 2 inner links.

So, if you carry a quick link, be sure to carry a chain tool.
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Old 06-10-16, 02:54 PM   #17
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I recently built a single cyclocross bike, for which I bought a Mavic MTB wheel. The aluminum freehub body came with a sticker warning against the use of cassettes with individual cogs (as opposed to a single carrier with all cogs attached) because of the potential for notching. I installed a road cassette with individual cogs, so I've voided any warranty and will probably get notching--how much I haven't checked yet.
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