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Cassette/Freehub “Bite”

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Cassette/Freehub “Bite”

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Old 08-09-18, 07:37 PM
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Cassette/Freehub “Bite”

Cassette/Freehub “Bite”

It’s likely that more than a few of us have had a cassette “stuck” on a free-hub body so badly that extreme measures had to be taken to remove the stuck cassette. I know I’ve been there. It may happen less often that a cassette doesn’t “bite” into the free-hub body effectively and causes a much different kind of problem.

I recently bought an aftermarket cassette that was CNC machined out of a single block of alloy. It is a beautiful piece of machine work. And, it operates quite poorly when installed on my bike. I compared the performance of that cassette to a stock Shimano cassette using the same bike with all the same components. The Shimano cassette performs quite well even though it’s got a few thousand miles on it. Both are 11 speed configurations.

After much testing of the new alloy cassette, the results are about the same as above.

My theory of the poor performance of the aftermarket cassette is that it doesn’t effectively “bite” the free-hub body, which would otherwise help to lock it in place.

I torqued the lock-ring on the alloy cassette towards the higher end of the spec range, 50 Nm.

It’s pretty hard to test or measure how the cassette may be moving while on the free-hub, but I’ve been able to repeat specific types of failure that never happened using a standard replacement cassette.

I’m somewhat strong for my age, 62 years, but am not nearly as strong as a 30 year old sprinter. Not even close. I'm 5' 11" and weigh 162 lbs.

I can provide more info if anyone is interested. Thanks for reading and for any input you might have.
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Old 08-09-18, 10:26 PM
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What's the question?

The bite you're talking about is due to the cassette digging into the alloy freehub, get a Steel. Titanium or alloy one designed with an anti-bite guard (like Novatec ABG) and there is no issue.
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Old 08-09-18, 10:58 PM
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Those alloy machined cassettes from unknown Chinese brands shift like garbage in my experience, so it may not have anything to do with how it meshes with the freehub body. If it's machined from a single piece, it shouldn't matter if there's a little slop with the freehub body.
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Old 08-10-18, 02:11 AM
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Sounds more like an issue with the pawls in the freewheeling mechanism not engaging cleanly or consistently. If it really was the cassette slipping and turning on the freehub body that bad, it’d be chewed to bits in a few miles.
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Old 08-10-18, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
The bite you're talking about is due to the cassette digging into the alloy freehub, get a Steel. Titanium or alloy one designed with an anti-bite guard (like Novatec ABG) and there is no issue.
Take a moment to re-read my first paragraph, particularly the last sentence. I essentially said, too much bite, bad, too little bite, also bad. I've read that a certain amount of the cassette "biting" into the free-hub body is a good thing. I happen to agree.
Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
What's the question?
The question is, 'has anyone reading had issues stemming from too little bite.' Also, I'm welcoming any input that moves the discussion forward.
Originally Posted by dabac View Post
Sounds more like an issue with the pawls in the freewheeling mechanism not engaging cleanly or consistently. If it really was the cassette slipping and turning on the freehub body that bad, it’d be chewed to bits in a few miles.
It can't be a freewheel [sic] issue, as I've used a different cassette on that same wheel/free-hub set up, and with no issues.
Originally Posted by cpach View Post
Those alloy machined cassettes from unknown Chinese brands shift like garbage in my experience, so it may not have anything to do with how it meshes with the freehub body. If it's machined from a single piece, it shouldn't matter if there's a little slop with the freehub body.
I appreciate you sharing your experience with one piece alloy cassettes. The one I have was apparently manufactured in Taiwan. I purchased it from a vendor that I've been using for a couple of years. Up until now, the quality of the components I've received from them has been outstanding.
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Old 08-10-18, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by on the path View Post
Take a moment to re-read my first paragraph, particularly the last sentence. I essentially said, too much bite, bad, too little bite, also bad. I've read that a certain amount of the cassette "biting" into the free-hub body is a good thing. I happen to agree.
I am not certain how incurring damage ("Bite") to the freehub can be advantageous.
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Old 08-10-18, 06:34 AM
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To effect shifting the cassette would have to move transversely (side-to-side) on the freehub body and, unless you left out a spacer or have the wrong cassette, a properly torqued lockring should positively prevent this. Having the cassette "bite" into the freehub splines is totally unnecessary. I expect it's poor machining of the cassette that's the problem.
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Old 08-10-18, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
I am not certain how incurring damage ("Bite") to the freehub can be advantageous.
I and others believe that under certain conditions a nominal amount of "bite-in" can be and is advantageous. We could be in the minority, but that wouldn't necessarily make us wrong..
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Old 08-10-18, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
To effect shifting the cassette would have to move transversely (side-to-side) on the freehub body and, unless you left out a spacer or have the wrong cassette, a properly torqued lockring should positively prevent this. Having the cassette "bite" into the freehub splines is totally unnecessary. I expect it's poor machining of the cassette that's the problem.
I don't agree that it would have to be axial movement to cause shifting and other problems. I do agree that it could be poor machining and/or design of the cassette that is causing the problems I'm noticing.
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Old 08-10-18, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by on the path View Post
I and others believe that under certain conditions a nominal amount of "bite-in" can be and is advantageous. We could be in the minority, but that wouldn't necessarily make us wrong..
Please explain, I like learning things.
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Old 08-10-18, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Please explain, I like learning things.
I detect a bit of snark, but I'll go ahead and explain.. briefly. The cassette should adhere to the freehub in a way that it essentially becomes a single, essential part of the drive train. Torque spec of the cassette lockring @ 40-50 Nm ensures the that the cassette won't come loose prematurely under normal, and even very heavy use. The torqued lockring will not guaranty that the cassette and freehub act as one (see second sentence above). If the cassette bites into the freehub body, it will do much to make them act as a single unit, as opposed to being 2 components that could move independently of each other.

If you don't understand that explanation, there's not much I can do for you. If you understand it but think the concept is invalid, that's up to you, and I really don't care. Again, this isn't something I thought of on my own, but had read previously. I do believe I'm dealing with negative effects caused by the cassette and freehub body moving independently of each other. It doesn't have to be a lot to cause issues, especially under the loads those component endure.
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Old 08-11-18, 05:50 AM
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Interesting explanation, thanks..
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Old 08-11-18, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by on the path View Post
I and others believe that under certain conditions a nominal amount of "bite-in" can be and is advantageous. We could be in the minority, but that wouldn't necessarily make us wrong..
List the others that believe this as well.
Also, you engineering credentials.
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Old 08-11-18, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by on the path View Post
Take a moment to re-read my first paragraph, particularly the last sentence. I essentially said, too much bite, bad, too little bite, also bad. I've read that a certain amount of the cassette "biting" into the free-hub body is a good thing. I happen to agree.

The question is, 'has anyone reading had issues stemming from too little bite.' Also, I'm welcoming any input that moves the discussion forward.
It can't be a freewheel [sic] issue, as I've used a different cassette on that same wheel/free-hub set up, and with no issues.

I didn’t say freewheel, I said ”freewheeling MECHANISM”. The one-way clutch thingy with the pawls and ratchet etc that makes coasting aka freewheeling possible.
All but one of my wheels have steel freehub bodies. If by ”bite” you mean the individual sprockets digging into the freehub body, none of the steel ones show anything of that kind. And lack of ”bite” isn’t a problem.
Why would ”bite” be a good thing? There’s a lockring keeping the stack of sprockets compressed and in position sideways. No need for ”bite” to serve that purpose.
All ”bite” does is make cassette changes slightly more difficult.
It means that torque that would otherwise have propelled you forward has instead been used to deform metal.
If yo were to use loose - as in not mounted to each other - sprockets on a f/h soft enough to display significant ”bite”, the sprocket may eventually cut through the splines of the body entirely, and start to turn ”freely.
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Old 08-11-18, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by on the path View Post
...The cassette should adhere to the freehub in a way that it essentially becomes a single, essential part of the drive train. Torque spec of the cassette lockring @ 40-50 Nm ensures the that the cassette won't come loose prematurely under normal, and even very heavy use. The torqued lockring will not guaranty that the cassette and freehub act as one (see second sentence above). If the cassette bites into the freehub body, it will do much to make them act as a single unit, as opposed to being 2 components that could move independently of each other.....
If the hub didn't have a freewheeling mechanism this explanation and claim might have some validity to it. But it isn't fixed, there is a freewheeling mechanism therefore this claim is plain silly and wrong.

The cassette is mounted to a freewheeling mechanism that can't move the cassette in both directions. Once the cassette is properly tightening via the lockring there isn't any movement about the axle axis. Once the cassette is loaded against the splines it can't move forward any further and it can't move back because the freewheeling mechanism dosn't allow it. So with or without "bite" the freehub's splines and the cassette are effectively tied together. "Bite" just means there's some deformation on the freehub splines that may or may not make removing the cassette difficult depending on how much "bite" occurred. Thinking that "bite" makes thing better shows a lack of engineering knowledge and common sense....
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Old 08-11-18, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
List the others that believe this as well.
Also, you engineering credentials.
I expected a certain amount of trolling. Thanks for showing up!
Originally Posted by dabac View Post

I didn’t say freewheel, I said ”freewheeling MECHANISM”. The one-way clutch thingy with the pawls and ratchet etc that makes coasting aka freewheeling possible.
All but one of my wheels have steel freehub bodies. If by ”bite” you mean the individual sprockets digging into the freehub body, none of the steel ones show anything of that kind. And lack of ”bite” isn’t a problem.
Why would ”bite” be a good thing? There’s a lockring keeping the stack of sprockets compressed and in position sideways. No need for ”bite” to serve that purpose.
All ”bite” does is make cassette changes slightly more difficult.
It means that torque that would otherwise have propelled you forward has instead been used to deform metal.
If yo were to use loose - as in not mounted to each other - sprockets on a f/h soft enough to display significant ”bite”, the sprocket may eventually cut through the splines of the body entirely, and start to turn ”freely.
I've explained my theory extensively. As far as making a cassette difficult to remove, I alluded to my experience with same in the OP. I've had a cassette stuck so badly that the only way I was able to get it off was to destroy the freehub body. I understand that situation very well. I'm standing by my theory.
Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
If the hub didn't have a freewheeling mechanism this explanation and claim might have some validity to it. But it isn't fixed, there is a freewheeling mechanism therefore this claim is plain silly and wrong.

The cassette is mounted to a freewheeling mechanism that can't move the cassette in both directions. Once the cassette is properly tightening via the lockring there isn't any movement about the axle axis. Once the cassette is loaded against the splines it can't move forward any further and it can't move back because the freewheeling mechanism dosn't allow it. So with or without "bite" the freehub's splines and the cassette are effectively tied together. "Bite" just means there's some deformation on the freehub splines that may or may not make removing the cassette difficult depending on how much "bite" occurred. Thinking that "bite" makes thing better shows a lack of engineering knowledge and common sense....
If the cassette mated poorly enough with the freehub body it most certainly could move independently. Other than at the crank/bottom bracket, what other bike component endures more load than where the chain meets the cassette? No amount of pressure exerted by the cassette lockring could overcome that scenario. Can you imagine a cassette that fit so badly that it moved independently of the freehub visibly and measurably? I can. I think that's the problem here, maybe time to think of possibilities rather than dogma.
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Old 08-11-18, 02:34 PM
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Shimano's next gen XTR group was shown recently and the well established hyperglide freehub mounting system is being updated to more of a helical spline set up to hold up better to torque from the cassette I presume.

One question I would ask folks pertaining to the cassette body/cassette interface is : do you assemble dry or with a light grease coating? I have tried both ways but I think I do notice a slightly quieter drivetrain when I apply a light coating of grease to the leading and trailing edges of the freehub splines.

I have checked out "BeDop" brand of cassettes - I believe they fall under the "cheap Chinese cassette copy" category - but they are built on a sub-carrier that looks very nice - as if it could prevent "bite" problems all together.
Personally I use Dura Ace 7700 hubs with their titanium freehub body. So long as you torque the lock ring correctly - bite issues are pretty minimal for me.

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Old 08-11-18, 04:37 PM
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Any “bite” is caused by a design flaw, which is that the splines are too short to handle the stress so they deform. To repeat, it is a flaw, not a feature.

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Old 08-11-18, 04:40 PM
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[QUOTE=on the path;20500890]I expected a certain amount of trolling. Thanks for showing up![quote]
It's not trolling. Your concept appears to have no engineering basis so your credentials are somewhat suspect.

Originally Posted by on the path View Post
I've explained my theory extensively. As far as making a cassette difficult to remove, I alluded to my experience with same in the OP. I've had a cassette stuck so badly that the only way I was able to get it off was to destroy the freehub body. I understand that situation very well. I'm standing by my theory.
Stand by it all you want, it still appears to be nonsense. The best explanation for your original problem seems to be a poorly made cassette.
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Old 08-11-18, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
Any “bite” is caused by a design flaw, which is that the splines are too short to handle the stress so they deform. To repeat, it is a flaw, not a feature.
I didn't say it was a flaw or a feature. I just said it can be helpful. It can be a flaw and helpful. Yes, both can be true. Think outside of the box.
Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Your concept appears to have no engineering basis so your credentials are somewhat suspect.
Stand by it all you want, it still appears to be nonsense. The best explanation for your original problem seems to be a poorly made cassette.
I never said I was an engineer. And since when does one have to be an engineer to identify something that's been poorly designed...by an engineer? I use and have used countless products... tools, machines, cookware, cars, electronic devices, software, etc. When something is very poorly designed, by an engineer, it's pretty apparent, to me anyway. Again, countless items. To list them, I wouldn't know where to begin. The cassette in question, I believe was poorly engineered. It was CNC machined, a very accurate process. I wouldn't say it was poorly made, but poorly engineered.
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Old 08-11-18, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
Shimano's next gen XTR group was shown recently and the well established hyperglide freehub mounting system is being updated to more of a helical spline set up to hold up better to torque from the cassette I presume.

One question I would ask folks pertaining to the cassette body/cassette interface is : do you assemble dry or with a light grease coating? I have tried both ways but I think I do notice a slightly quieter drivetrain when I apply a light coating of grease to the leading and trailing edges of the freehub splines.

I have checked out "BeDop" brand of cassettes - I believe they fall under the "cheap Chinese cassette copy" category - but they are built on a sub-carrier that looks very nice - as if it could prevent "bite" problems all together. Personally I use Dura Ace 7700 hubs with their titanium freehub body. So long as you torque the lock ring correctly - bite issues are pretty minimal for me.
I do appreciate your response. I don't know if you agree with me or disagree. It doesn't matter. You added your knowledge and some valuable information. You're 3rd paragraph is pertinent..
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Old 08-12-18, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by on the path View Post
I didn't say it was a flaw or a feature. I just said it can be helpful. It can be a flaw and helpful.
The way you've explained, and for all I can think and imagine - it's not helping at all. I'll try to explain the way I see it, correct me if I've missed something:

Cassette is held in place, tightly, by the lockring. Back pedalling produces no significant reverse torque on the splines, because of the freehub (clutch) mechanism. The only torque is the one pushing it one way against the splines, when pedalling. Lockring prevents it from moving back. If there were some reverse torque (fixed gear, no freehub), or if there were no lockring preload, then there would be some movement back and forth. This way - cassette stays where it is. Apart from elastic deformation - which is what it is, with or without "bite". The only thing that bite does, when it happens, is to spend some torque on ruinging the freehub, istead of propelling the bicycle forward.

With a properly torqued lockring, there's no side play (there can be some freehub wobbling, but that's the same with and without bite) whatsoever, except, like said, elastic deformation - which depends on the cassette chainring strength and the torque applied by the rider.
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Old 08-12-18, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
The way you've explained, and for all I can think and imagine - it's not helping at all. I'll try to explain the way I see it, correct me if I've missed something:

Cassette is held in place, tightly, by the lockring. Back pedalling produces no significant reverse torque on the splines, because of the freehub (clutch) mechanism. The only torque is the one pushing it one way against the splines, when pedalling. Lockring prevents it from moving back. If there were some reverse torque (fixed gear, no freehub), or if there were no lockring preload, then there would be some movement back and forth. This way - cassette stays where it is. Apart from elastic deformation - which is what it is, with or without "bite". The only thing that bite does, when it happens, is to spend some torque on ruinging the freehub, istead of propelling the bicycle forward.

With a properly torqued lockring, there's no side play (there can be some freehub wobbling, but that's the same with and without bite) whatsoever, except, like said, elastic deformation - which depends on the cassette chainring strength and the torque applied by the rider.
Much of what you say is correct. See below:

"Cassette is held in place, tightly, by the lockring." Yes, this is correct. However, the lockring mates with the cassette, flat surface to flat surface, presses (loads) in only one direction, which is across the plane of the bike frame. The chain pulls the cassette with the plane of the bike frame, or roughly 90° from the pressure of the lockring. As I mentioned previously, the chain can exert tremendous pressure at the cassette, and again, at a 90° angle from the direction of pressure of the lockring.

In a perfect world, everything stays put. But, with poorly designed and/or manufactured components and/or with inferior materials, things can go wrong. One extreme is that the cassette becomes prohibitively stuck on the freehub. The other extreme is that the cassette and freehub mate poorly and those parts move independently, and maybe only slightly, but enough to cause other problems, including poor shifting, energy loss, and possibly other problems.
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Old 08-12-18, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by on the path View Post
Much of what you say is correct. See below:

"Cassette is held in place, tightly, by the lockring." Yes, this is correct. However, the lockring mates with the cassette, flat surface to flat surface, presses (loads) in only one direction, which is across the plane of the bike frame. The chain pulls the cassette with the plane of the bike frame, or roughly 90° from the pressure of the lockring. As I mentioned previously, the chain can exert tremendous pressure at the cassette, and again, at a 90° angle from the direction of pressure of the lockring.

In a perfect world, everything stays put. But, with poorly designed and/or manufactured components and/or with inferior materials, things can go wrong. One extreme is that the cassette becomes prohibitively stuck on the freehub. The other extreme is that the cassette and freehub mate poorly and those parts move independently, and maybe only slightly, but enough to cause other problems, including poor shifting, energy loss, and possibly other problems.
Could you provide photos of some examples of the “poorly manufactured materials” you are referring to? What brand of hub are you using? What material is the Freehub body made from? What brand of cassette are you using?

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Old 08-12-18, 06:03 PM
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AnkleWork
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Help me cut through the noise and get specific.

Originally Posted by on the path View Post
My theory of the poor performance of the aftermarket cassette is that it doesn’t effectively “bite” the free-hub body, which would otherwise help to lock it in place.
So you're saying that the hundreds of millions of steel on steel cassette/freehubs perform poorly. That's big news.


Originally Posted by on the path View Post
It’s pretty hard to test or measure how the cassette may be moving while on the free-hub, but I’ve been able to repeat specific types of failure that never happened using a standard replacement cassette.
So please tell us about those repeatable failures. Exactly what failed repeatably?


Originally Posted by on the path View Post
I can provide more info if anyone is interested. Thanks for reading and for any input you might have.
Please do provide more info. You are welcome.


Originally Posted by on the path View Post
I'm standing by my theory.
Without evidence it's only a hypothesis.


Originally Posted by on the path View Post
If the cassette mated poorly enough with the freehub body it most certainly could move independently. . . . No amount of pressure exerted by the cassette lockring could overcome that scenario. . .
How do you know? Did you measure it? How much?

Originally Posted by on the path View Post
However, the lockring mates with the cassette, flat surface to flat surface
Flat? What about the serrations on both the lockring and cassette?


Originally Posted by on the path View Post
maybe time to think of possibilities rather than dogma.
So please, offer more than dogma and claims.

Last edited by AnkleWork; 08-12-18 at 06:08 PM.
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