Freehub failure: cause?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Pete Biggs, May 1, 2003.

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  1. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    The second freehub on my brother's mountain bike is failing. The original one stopped freewheeling
    and the same thing's starting to happen to the replacement (only replaced a couple of weeks ago) -
    getting "catchy" on occasion, plus it's making strange noises under strong load.

    The bike is a basic mid-price ~3 year old Trek 820 with unbranded cheapo hubs (definitely
    not Shimano).

    There were no problems at all for the first year or so, but my brother thinks the failure could be
    connected with the fact that bar-ends have recently beeen fitted and he's riding much harder now (as
    part of a fitness drive!) and the extra force applied to the freehub whilst climbing is damaging it
    (pawls?). Does this theory hold water, or is something else likely to be the cause? Or are these
    kind of hubs just generallly crap and he's having all the bad luck now?

    Is the same kind of thing likely to happen to a Shimano freehub (we're considering replacing whole
    hub/wheel)? Are the low-end Shimano MTB hubs reliable? Any model recommendations? (Weight is not
    important).

    Thanks for any help. ~PB
     
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  2. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > The second freehub on my brother's mountain bike is failing. The original one stopped freewheeling
    > and the same thing's starting to happen to the replacement (only replaced a couple of weeks ago) -
    > getting "catchy" on occasion, plus it's making strange noises under strong load.
    >
    > The bike is a basic mid-price ~3 year old Trek 820 with unbranded cheapo hubs (definitely not
    > Shimano).
    >
    > There were no problems at all for the first year or so, but my brother thinks the failure could be
    > connected with the fact that bar-ends have recently beeen fitted and he's riding much harder now
    > (as part of a fitness drive!) and the extra force applied to the freehub whilst climbing is
    > damaging it (pawls?). Does this theory hold water, or is something else likely to be the cause? Or
    > are these kind of hubs just generallly crap and he's having all the bad luck now?
    >
    > Is the same kind of thing likely to happen to a Shimano freehub (we're considering replacing whole
    > hub/wheel)? Are the low-end Shimano MTB hubs reliable? Any model recommendations? (Weight is not
    > important).
    >
    > Thanks for any help. ~PB
    >
    >

    They're just generally shit! ;-) Seriously, they shouldn't be damaged under normal use, but I have
    broken a pawl and munged the freehub body on a Shimano Deore hub. I'm not a particularly strong or
    agressive rider so I don't think this type of thing is that unusual. I do a lot of serious off-road
    riding with some pretty short, steep, rocky uphills that I tackle hard in the granny gear (almost
    like trials jumps) and perhaps this hastened my hub's demise. I did notice that on the hub, there
    were 3 pawl locations possible and only 2 pawls (the third location was unmachined) so I suspect the
    better hubs have 3 pawls and are probably more durable. You can ask about this before you buy. If
    you want something really good, you can get aftermarket hubs that are quite durable but cost bucks.
    The only thing that could cause freewheeling in the forward direction either grease in the freehub
    or poor maintenance that could cause the pawls to stick down for some reason. If you are fairly sure
    it's clean and lubed with oil (no grease) than you might be a candidate for a hub upgrade.

    Cheers,

    Scott..
     
  3. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > The second freehub on my brother's mountain bike is failing. The original one stopped freewheeling
    > and the same thing's starting to happen to the replacement (only replaced a couple of weeks ago) -
    > getting "catchy" on occasion, plus it's making strange noises under strong load.
    >

    >
    > Is the same kind of thing likely to happen to a Shimano freehub (we're considering replacing whole
    > hub/wheel)? Are the low-end Shimano MTB hubs reliable? Any model recommendations? (Weight is not
    > important).

    I weigh 230, and often pull a 100 lb trailer load up steep trails, and I haven't had any freehub
    failures in several years. I use exclusively Shimano, LX mostly. LX hubs are probably the "sweet
    spot", very rugged, pretty cheap. Another real advantage of Shimano hubs and drivetrain components
    is interchangeability. When I did have a several year old road freehub (rather low-end Shimano)
    start skipping (after at least 20K miles), I just swapped it out with an LX MTB freehub.
     
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