I've just gone through the london winter and both my bikes now have a slipping freehub. Admittedly my mountain bikes' freehub is quite old and probably worn out, but I'm wondering if they are seized up inside and I can apply some lubrication to stop it from slipping? Anyone got any good advice?

3 Answers 3


It can happen that the pawls get sticky and cleaning helps. Here's a couple of guides:

http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/freehub-service http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/workshop-how-to-overhaul-your-freehub-23757/

Cold also makes it worse, but this covers much worse temperatures that the UK: http://www.icebike.org/Equipment/freehub.htm

(And while it's true that "flushing with solvent has not been a reliable substitute for full disassembly", if the freewheel isn't engaging at all, just drenching it with WD-40 can work as a short term fix until you get round to a proper job.)

  • 2
    Agreed. Just to add to the list of possible workarounds, after flushing it with WD-40 I would "remove" it flushing with some volatile solvent (kerosene is my favorite), to remove dirt and rusty substances, then slowly embalm its inside with high-viscosity oil (gearbox oil is my favorite, it's like appropriate for this application "by definition"), which is thick enough to work as a freewheel lubricant, and at the same time fluid enough to go inside the freewheel by gravity and capilarity. Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 12:34

Hello Everyone Please pass this on. I had a free hub I thought was slipping. It's not the freehub. It's steel. It's not the chain, it's new. Theres no way the front drive is slipping, the chain is wrapped around.

SO I put a mark on my freehub spline position. Quess what??

The Rear Wheel Drive spline is Pressed IN, and it slips. So before you spend money... take apart the assembly, remove the freewheel, mark the spline position to the wheel. Go slip it. Teardown look at the marks. If they moved..you need a new wheel. OR Here's a trick. It's aluminum. Where the two are pressed together, drill right on the interference diameter and hammer a brad into the interface, 2 places. The washer on the free hub will keep it from coming out.

This applies to NEXAVE FH C500 on TREK3900. I got the bike because they couldng fix the slip. Crazy, everyone's replacing the Wrong PART! Please share!!!!!

  • Do you have a picture of the operation you suggest? The visual would make your idea easier to understand, and everything's better with pictures.
    – DavidW
    Commented May 30, 2020 at 4:24
  • I don't understand at all
    – Swifty
    Commented May 30, 2020 at 7:37
  • It would be a very cheap hub in order for the cassete body mount to be stripped on the hub and a brad or other type of pin would shear off under pedaling forces Commented May 31, 2020 at 3:22

If it's sticky pawls, often the syptom will be freewheeling while attempting to pedal forward immediately after coasting. Check for tight chainlinks and excessive cog wear if it skips under load. If it is the cassette body and it's been skipping for awhile, you may well have damaged the pawls and ratchet to the point where the cassette body requires replacement. This is a job of moderate difficulty.

First, though, get the chain completely slack and rotate each link to check for smoothness. If you installed a new chain recently, but not the cassette, that's likely the source of your skipping.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.