Cassette/Free wheel


New Member
Jun 28, 2003
Whats the differance? Is a Free Wheel the old style that spins on instead of using a lock nut like a Cassette?
I could be wrong about this, but new cassettes are a single block of cogs that can't be taken apart. In the old days (not that old really) you could remove your cassette/free wheel, undo a couple of tiny bolts, and take the entire thing apart. That mean you could clean the cogs really well, not to mention replace a single cog or two. So if you road most of the time on your 16- and 17-tooth cogs, you could replace those cheaply. But I'm not certain if it was called a free wheel. Mine still slid on, but you might be right about the "screw on" part.
"cassette" refers to the rear set of gears. "freewheel" is the mechanism inside the hub that allows the wheel to turn when the cassette is not (what makes the ratcheting sound).
Actually, a freewheel is a set of rear cogs that has the ratcheting mechanism built in to the cogset. It screws on to the hub. A cassette is a set of cogs that slides onto a splined cassette body that houses the ratcheting mechanism. In the case of the latter, the ratcheting mechanism is attached to the hub body.

Cassettes replaced freewheels because of the decreased cost of replacing cogs without replacing the ratcheting mechanism as well as the increased axle stability that was attained by placing the bearings on the drive side more toward the outside of the axle.

I hope this answers your question.