Some time ago I gave a 29" bike to a person for a ride. Someway he ruined the freewheel (it had a shimano freewheel) - the 2 smallest cogs were badly slipping. Now I put another freewheel (also shimano. it's second hand, but I tried it, and it was in perfect condition). I gave the bike to another person with the "new" freewheel, and by half a hour he ruined this freewheel - the smallest cog is badly slipping, and the second (i.e. #6) a little slipping too.

So here is the question: does the wheel size affect so much, to crush the freewheel in half a hour?

Edit: The bike was new. Just a few rides. The chain length is good - the derailleur is at right position. And yes, it is a freewheel, not cassette.
What caused me to think that freewheel ruined, is that I saw him using cog #7 at rear, and #1 at front. As mentioned, on first freewheel 2 smallest cogs were slipping. Others are just perfect. Can it be because the chain is ruined as @hillson wrote?

  • This seems unlikely. Either the freewheels (are they freewheels and not cassettes?) were broken beforehand, or the slippage is due to some misadjustment or wear in the drive train. How did you come to the conclusion that the freewheel is bad?
    – Batman
    Aug 19, 2014 at 22:30
  • 1
    I wonder if it's a chain length problem. Aug 19, 2014 at 23:20
  • This is not a problem with 29" wheels. Describe "slipping".
    – paparazzo
    Aug 20, 2014 at 12:12
  • This question is ineffective without added information: age and history of the bike (how many miles on the chain?), and close-up pictures of the drive train.
    – Kaz
    Aug 20, 2014 at 19:15
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    Okay. I'm with you now. Most people use the term freewheel to refer to the ratcheting system in the hub, and refer to the gear cluster (regardless of ratcheting system) as the cassette. I recognize that that's not strictly correct, but what are you going to do. That's the source of all this confusion. In that case, yes, I would agree with @hillsons that the chain is probably stretched out. This can cause gears to skip.
    – stranger
    Aug 20, 2014 at 21:25

2 Answers 2


I'm betting that you need to install a brand new chain and a brand new freewheel / cassette, at the same time, and out of an abundance of caution, make sure they're the same brand. I doubt your friend actually ruined anything, the more likely scenario is that the chain is old and stretched, causing it to slip ( or it's the wrong length as Daniel mentioned ). This isn't all that unusual.

  • The bike was just new, so I didn't think that he could ruin the chain. I'll check it.
    – Alexander
    Aug 20, 2014 at 20:53
  • Chain replace helped. It wasn't old, so probably not stretched, but maybe wrong length (thou it's length looked ok). Now I think that probably freewheel was usable yet, but I don't know where it is...
    – Alexander
    Aug 14, 2015 at 10:12

So, this is a new bike with 7-speed freewheel instead of freehub and cassette? Freewheels and anything 7-speed have been obsolete for about 25 years, certainly far before 29" bikes appeared. If you have a new bike with such components, it is likely to be extreme low end quality.

With the new freewheel, it is also possible that the chain is already worn out or out of spec even as new. It is a good practice to always replace the chain when replacing worn cogs.

  • Thank you, but I didn't ask for the quality of the bike, which is a very low level, and I know it.
    – Alexander
    Aug 21, 2014 at 17:02

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