Question: Freewheel coming off when cleaning cassette

Hi all,

Absolute newbie when it comes to bike maintenance. Degreasing the chain and re-applying chain lube was the highlight of my cycling maintenance career so far.

Today I ventured into removing and degreasing cassette and - while messy and awfully slow - feel like succeeded up and until installing it again. To remove the cassette, I had to use a cassette removal tool and a chain whip.

So I had put it back on, tightened again using the cassette removal tool. The moment I wanted to remove the tool which was still inserted into the cassette, I suddenly held the whole freehub incl. cassette in my hand, which say at least was unexpected.

  • From my youtube research, I thought that the freewheel would be somewhat fixed to the wheel by some other nut, or whatnot.
  • I probably pulled quite hard as there was some resistance, but still, I was able to do it with my hand.

Before I get back out there riding my bike: Is this normal or did I make a mistake somewhere putting it together incorrectly?

Few pieces of probably useful info:
Giant Propel, Shimano groupset, thru-axle in the back

Thanks in advance for all useful feedback.

Photo of the mishap attached:

Not normal, there should be a freehub holding bolt which secures the freehub onto the wheel and is totally separate to the cassette lockring which secures the cassette onto the freehub.

Not familiar with the Giant wheels, but I think the most common way of removing/securing the freehub to the wheel is by removing the axle and then using an Allen key inside the body of the freehub, or sometimes from the non drive side. Can’t see how you would have removed it by accident unless you were following some very strange instructions for removing the cassette! So guess it was maybe never secured properly in the first place. Definitely should be secured now before you ride your bike.

Some brands of freehub will come off that way, i.e. can pull off by hand, DT or Zipp for example.

If it’s DT you just push it back on, it’s held together by the end cap (as is all pinned together by the axle when fitted on bike).

With Zipp there is an irritating little seal that can get pinched and needs to be in the right place to refit.

Looking at that I suspect you push back together and the end cap will hold it semi-tightly until reclamped on bike. Just watch out for any seals before you do so, not that I can see any there.

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Had a quick look at specs, if your bike runs SLR-1 wheels they are indeed DT hubs, therefore the cassette is fine to remove like that and will push back on. Looks like a 370 hub.

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Thanks!

Yes, I also googled after your first post and this is the freehub on my bike:
https://www.giantbikespares.com/Giant-DT-Freehub-Body-11-speed-road-3-Pawl-Drive-System--147O-DT360R-601/product_detail/3-43290

And this instruction says it can be pulled off by hand.

Feels much better now and happy I’ll be able to hit the road again!

Thanks for your help!

Thanks. Turns out my freehub can be removed by hand…

Thanks anyways! Cheers

Didn’t know that, learn something new every day! Eyeing up some DT Swiss wheels at the moment, so will file that nugget of info away for future use…

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Personally I put a layer of waterproof grease around the freehub body seal and the endcap ‘seal’ on DT wheels (not on pawls or inside ratchet mechanism, that is supposed to use a specific DT grease).

Only problems I have seen with DT 370 hubs is from water ingress, both to freehub bearings and the spring rusting and restricting pawls. Both seem resolved with sensibly applied grease.

Whole rear hub is home serviceable with a few socktets, few bits of wood, bit of grease and half an hour, plus can be converted to virtually any axle system (OEM wheels don’t usually have replacement end caps but they are available).

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another thing, the cassette can rotate and bite into the splines of the hub if not torqued up tightly and especially with lightweight wheels using lighter materials for the hubs (aluminium i think instead of steel).

This will prevent the cassette from sliding off unless you get the cassette properly realigned with the splines. It probably won’t be the whole cassette but some of the individual cogs.

Not a great picture but hopefully gives an idea of what I’m talking about.