Forgive my ignorance, but I have a 2011 Bianchi Pista that I've always ridden fixed. I knew that it had a flip flop hub, but now that I'm looking at it, it appears that I need to actually buy a freewheel to switch it over to freewheel since there is no cog on the other side. Attached photos of each side of the hub.

Fixed side

Freewheel side

  • I agree with Mσᶎ, but just to chip in that I've found the quality of freewheels to vary enormously, so deciding which one to go for may need some thought. In particular cheap ones off eBay didn't impress me. In the end I shelled out for a White Industries Eno freewheel, but this was about the fourth one I tried and was far more expensive than the other three.
    – PeteH
    Jul 13, 2014 at 7:04

1 Answer 1


Yes, you need to buy a freewheel. It's almost certainly a standard one so you can go into any LBS and grab whatever they have.

The main thing to know is that it should screw on easily by hand. If it doesn't you've either not got the thread started properly, or the thread is the wrong size. Ideally put a tiny bit of grease on it so it'll come off more easily when it wears out. Chain lube is better than nothing if you don't have grease.

This is one of those things where it's a trivial task that takes less than a minute, but if you stuff it up you have to live without a freewheel or buy a new hub, which usually means a new wheel. So it might be worth paying a bike shop to do it (they should do it on the spot if you bring in the wheel rather than the whole bike, since it's quick and easy).

Getting it off is where you need a special tool. The ratchet mechanism means that putting it on the wheel is the non-rotating direction, but getting it off means having a tool that locks on to the central, non-ratcheting part of the freewheel.

  • I probably wouldn't use chain lube - probably white lithium grease or the valvoline red stuff, but grease is important whenever you have threads meeting. Park tool has good instructions in their help section.
    – Batman
    Jul 13, 2014 at 1:55
  • Grease should be required, and chain lube is better than nothing.
    – Batman
    Jul 13, 2014 at 2:23

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