Using a freewheel and a cassette



Paul Hatherley

New Member
Sep 6, 2018
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Hi I've bought a new wheel to go on my bike. So that i can just change my bikes rear wheel when i use a turbo trainer and then use the other on the road. But i didnt realise that the new wheel bought had a freewheel, not a cassette. ( i was clueless till i researched it!) So can I use the wheel with the freewheel on a turbo and then still use my other wheel that has the cassette on to ride on the road? Also my cassette is 13-26 and the freewheel is 13-28. Can I use the same chain or does it need another link in it?
 

dabac

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
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F/w generally start at 14.
But yes, you can interchange f/w and cassette wheels.
Does the number of gears match?
Does the dropout width match?
Try changing into big-big while turning the pedals by hand. You’ll see if you have enough chain before damaging anything.
If the chain is too short, simply refrain from using the lowest gear on the trainer. Can’t see why you’d want to do that anyhow.
 

Paul Hatherley

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Sep 6, 2018
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thanks for the Info. I stupidly bought a rear wheel with a freewheel not a free hub, as I didn't know there was a difference. I bought it online. So sending it back would cost me a bit. Yes its an 8 speed the same as my bike and the same size tyre size. So I just wanted to be able to change the wheel quickly from road to trainer with out no fuss.
 

dabac

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
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You MIGHT need a small derailer adjustment when you go from one wheel to the other. A half-turn on the barrel adjuster or so.
 

cyclintom

Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2011
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thanks for the Info. I stupidly bought a rear wheel with a freewheel not a free hub, as I didn't know there was a difference. I bought it online. So sending it back would cost me a bit. Yes its an 8 speed the same as my bike and the same size tyre size. So I just wanted to be able to change the wheel quickly from road to trainer with out no fuss.
Generally there's no difference. On the trainer you usually train in one or two gears. Going from a 26 max to a 28 max it would be a good idea not to go into the big ring/big cog but that is good advice under any conditions for 8 speeds. The 10 and 11 speed chains are more flexible so you can do that if the chain has sufficient length to accommodate it.

Now, freehubs usually have the correct spacing from the end of the cassette to the pickup part of the axle. This is NOT the case with Freewheels. These have to have the axle properly spaced for an 8 speed freewheel and many of them are spaced for 6 or 7 speed freewheels. This means that the alignment of the gears can be such that it is off-center on a gear. Do not adjust your rear derailleur in this case but rather take the wheels into a bike shop that is competent with wheels to space the Freewheel axle properly.
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
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Depending on the bike and the gears being used you may have worries about hub and axle spacing which may need either a spacing washer or spread the stays a bit, along with the possibility of redishing the wheel to make it work; and it's possible that the derailleur won't work. And then switch everything back when you ride outdoors...yuck, not my cup of tea to be doing every season.

Did you buy this wheel new? if so why can't you simply return it and get the right wheel? That would remove a lot of headaches to just one headache and that's returning it. Once you use the wheel, depending on where you bought it, they may not allow you to return it.
 

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