Freewheel wobbling



lol168

New Member
Feb 8, 2013
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Hi cyclists,
I recently finished reinstall shifter/brake and all cables for a friend of mine, but during my installation, I found out that her mountain bike freewheel would wobbling a little bit when the bike was on bike stand and I looked at it from rear.

This is probably beyond my ability to fix it, but I'm just curious:
1) What is the most common reason(s) that would cause a freewheel to start wobbling??
2) Since the wobbling is minor, would it cause any safety issue if one keeps riding on flat roads??

Thanks for any advise!!
 

daveryanwyoming

Well-Known Member
Oct 3, 2006
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The two most common reasons for a cassette to wobble is that the lockring is not tightened down or the cassette is a Shimano and lacks the very thin spacer that should be placed between the cassette body and the freehub.

The third less common reason is that the freehub itself is loose which means the hub needs an adjustment.

That all assumes it's a modern, cassette - freehub design. If it's actually a freewheel design then either the freewheel itself has wobble issues (unlikely) or the hub has wobble on the axle and needs adjustment.

Freehub or freewheel wobble is typically not a safety problem but it can cause poor shifting between gears.

-Dave
 

CAMPYBOB

Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2005
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Worn cassette body or freewheel bearings (or worn bushing in the case of some Mavic wheels) will cause the mounted gears to wobble. Like Dave said, if not completely tighten down at the locking ring if a cassette system, the gears will wobble.

Freewheels are self-tightening under load. Do inspect the axle for straightness.
 

lol168

New Member
Feb 8, 2013
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Thanks Dave.

The entry level mountain bike is not cassette style, it's actually a freewheel design with 7 gears at back and 3 gears at front. The bike had totally frayed rear shifting cables attached to it and missing front shifting cable when it was handed over to me.

I did several spin under as is condition, and didn't notice any wobbling. At that time, the gear was: Front-middle chainring; back-5th cogs. Chain shows no wear yet (according to the wear indicator), and I observed no noticeable wear on the chainring nor freewheel itself.

Since it was equipped with quick release, so I took the wheel off and cleaned the rear freewheel first.... anyway, long story short, now that I've set it up all new cables (done with proper adjustment/test ride/ shifting is fine although not 100% perfect), the wobbling is very obvious. I just don't understand how I could missed the wobbling the first time?? ....

Could it be during my cables setup, or ... when I put the wheel back I messed up something that contribute to the wobbling(??)... but I watched a lot of other YouTube videos - hope I'm right - I don't think the wobbling can cause by setting up the cables or removing/re-installing the wheel (it tight and snugged in the dropout), am I correct??
 

lol168

New Member
Feb 8, 2013
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Originally Posted by CAMPYBOB .

Worn cassette body or freewheel bearings (or worn bushing in the case of some Mavic wheels) will cause the mounted gears to wobble. Like Dave said, if not completely tighten down at the locking ring if a cassette system, the gears will wobble.

Freewheels are self-tightening under load. Do inspect the axle for straightness.
Freewheel wobbling - is it a very common problem? I mean, another friend of mine who purchased a new entry level "so-called" mountain bike from a big box store, and it wasn't even ridden but I can see the freewheel is wobbling already.

I read something online that freewheel is not as durable, and prone to problem when under load.....but since the price of it is very competitive, hence they put it on "entry-level" mountain bike with enough gears to just call it "mountain bike"...

Based on my limited experience, I wouldn't recommend any of friends on entry level bike that comes with freewheel setup.

Please let me know if I'm mistaken anything here.

and thanks, by the way :)
 

ambal

Well-Known Member
Oct 15, 2010
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its probably worn or just need s tighten up. I've also had a similar problem when the freehub body cracked, replacement was cheap and easy.
 

oldbobcat

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2003
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Originally Posted by ambal .

its probably worn or just need s tighten up. I've also had a similar problem when the freehub body cracked, replacement was cheap and easy.
It's a freewheel, not a freehub, and all freewheels wobble to some extent, the cheaper models a bit more.

If the freewheel spins when you're coasting and ratchets quickly and positively when you engage the cranks, and there is minimal play between the core (the part that threads onto the hub) and the body (the part that holds the cogs), then it's doing fine. Just clean it and drip some thin oil (like Tri-Flow) into the moving parts once in a while.
 

ambal

Well-Known Member
Oct 15, 2010
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat .

It's a freewheel, not a freehub, and all freewheels wobble to some extent, the cheaper models a bit more.
Right you are, i need to lay off the hot sauce.
 

CAMPYBOB

Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2005
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That's a hellova jump down into granny!

"the wobbling is very obvious"

Like OBC stated, a little wobble is typical. Lots of run out...not so much.

Freewheels have adjustable bearing clearance/preload adjustment and can be snugged up if you have the tools. Most people just buy a new freewheel.
 

abdularo26

New Member
Oct 13, 2013
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Hi, i had installed a shimano non series hub about a month ago,, then recently this morning i have noticed my freeweel is wobbling a little bit.
i overhauled the free wheel , i saw there was no broken bearings, i thightened up the freewheel lock but it is has still sthe same problem,,.

please help me.. is it normal?? or should i by a new one??
 

dabac

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
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Quote:Originally Posted by abdularo26 .Hi, i had installed a shimano non series hub about a month ago,, then recently this morning i have noticed my freeweel is wobbling a little bit.
i overhauled the free wheel , i saw there was no broken bearings, i thightened up the freewheel lock but it is has still sthe same problem,,.

please help me.. is it normal?? or should i by a new one??


It is entirely normal, and caused by the threads where the freewheel attach not being cut in perfect alignment with the hub/wheel axle. Unless it's bad enough to mess with shifting, ignore and ride.