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How would I figure out the correct replacement for a 7-speed Schwinn Jaguar cassette?

I'm newer to working on bikes (but lots of automotive experience).

Got this bike inexpensively. Chain keeps coming off. I gave the chainwheel a little adjustment with the hammer, looked like some of the teeth were out of alignment. Replacing the chain. The cassette looks pretty chewed up as well.

I see some $18 7-speed Shimano cassettes online. How would I know if I was getting the right one?

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    I'd be willing to bet this uses a freewheel, not a cassette.
    – Batman
    Jun 22 '16 at 3:20
  • 4
    Hammer?? Definitely an car guy!
    – Criggie
    Jun 22 '16 at 8:39
  • Totally a car guy.
    – 6716
    Jun 23 '16 at 2:13
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Clearly this post is in regards to a newer Schwinn rather than the originals from the '50s and '60s, as the latter were all equipped with Sturmey Archer internal-gear hubs. Searching for "Jaguar" on the Schwinn website yielded nothing so apparently Jaguars aren't manufactured anymore. Getting a little more desperate, I consulted the Walmart website and found what I figure is a reasonable facsimile of a Jaguar and downloaded its manual, which suggests that what you're dealing with is in fact a freewheel, not a cassette. The manual offers no insight into the brand, but you might look for a brand on the rear hub--the freewheel will have to match the hub, so matching brands there should get you what you need. You might also look at the freewheel's tool interface (see Sheldon Brown link) to spot brand differences.

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You need to figure if the chain is falling off the right, the left, or sliding forwards over the teeth. And at which end the sliding happens. Replacing the chain is a good idea, but if its been left too long then the teeth on the cassette can be worn to fit it. At extreme cases the chainrings can also wear with the chain.

Most good bike shops will sell you the right part, and if you rock up with the cleaned wheel in hand they'll likely fit it for free too.

Freewheels require one special tool, which 90% of the time is a shimano one. Freehubs have a bit more range, but the shimano one does about half of them plus you need a chain whip. Not expensive but if this is a once-off then buying the tools might make on-line ordering cost too much.

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