I have a new rear wheel (Shimano Ultegra WH-6800) and the freehub has about 1mm-2mm of play in it. When the cassette is installed and the wheel is on the bike I'm getting a lot of wobble which is noisy and affects shifting. The cassette is installed correctly. All the spacers are in place as per the Shimano manual and the lock ring is tight. The wobble is so bad that the chain moves laterally while pedaling which is causing all the noise and slippage.

My old wheel had no play in the freehub at all. I've canvased my friends and one guy who's always had problems with shifting said his freehub had play but everyone else said their freehubs have no play. I've taken the wheel to the LBS and one mechanic said that there shouldn't be any play but another said that there is always some play and it seemed OK to him. There is also conflicting information about this on the wider Internet.

Is it common for a freehub to have 1mm-2mm of play?

  • Perhaps I should have asked this as part of the first question but they are actually two different questions. This is asking if the pay is usual. The other is asking if the play is fixable. I though it would be clearer to keep them separate?
    – yothenberg
    Oct 18, 2015 at 19:33
  • In that case, no, it is not usual to have play, certainly not to the extent that the ride is affected. Ultegra is high level equipment and you'd pretty much expect perfection.
    – PeteH
    Oct 18, 2015 at 19:38
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the OP already answered the question by asking friends.
    – andy256
    Oct 19, 2015 at 2:31
  • 1
    Canvassing my friends is enough to make this question off topic? There is conflicting information on the wider Internet about this issue. Even after talking to my friends I was unsure having taken it to the LBS and had a mechanic there tell me it was usual to have play. Having an authoritative answer to this questions would certainly have helped me so I asked it here. If I had simply asked my friends and left it at that how would others have benefitted from this site's collective wisdom? I'll edit the question to reflect the wider confusion. Perhaps that will help?
    – yothenberg
    Oct 19, 2015 at 18:37
  • Another data point. I went to another LBS this morning and they had a set of Ultegras and the freehub had the same amount of play. I tried lots of other wheelsets (cheap to expensive) in the shop and none of them had any play. Perhaps this is shoddy Shimano QC or that is how Ultegras are supposed to work?
    – yothenberg
    Oct 19, 2015 at 20:23

1 Answer 1


No, this sounds like way too much play, even though the lock-ring is tight it could be tightening up against the freehub and not the cassette. If you can wiggle the sprockets apart a bit, or slide them along the freehub then the cassette is not being held properly by the lockring. Then you just need to add some spacers. Shimano lock-rings should "click" loudly as you tighten them up usually. I install several a week and would be concerned if even the cheap ones had as much play as you mention.

  • Gidday and welcome to SE Bicycles. Your answer is good quality and contains relevant info, so thank you. I look forward to your future contributions.
    – Criggie
    Oct 20, 2015 at 20:59

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