Pictures Pic2 Pic3

This is a OEM wheel from a 2014 Salsa El Mariachi Single Speed, called a "Salsa 2, Singlespeed" hub, which I believe is made by Formula. The freehub body "wiggles" (the thing that my fingers are touching in the photos). I tried to show the wiggle in the last two photos, but it may not be perceptible in the photos; it moves by about 1mm. Do I need a whole new freehub body? If so, how can I find a replacement? Or do I just need to service the one I have? Or lord please don't tell me I need a whole new wheel!

  • I for one can't see any significant difference between the two photos, as they're not taken from identical positions (compare the position where the top spoke enters the hub). It would probably be more helpful if you indicated the amount of movement either as an absolute distance (e.g., "a few millimeters") or relative to something we can see (e.g., "about a quarter of the diameter of the freehub"). – David Richerby May 30 '17 at 19:11
  • Thanks for your reply. I would say it is about 1 mm of wiggle. Is some amount acceptable? – frito_mosquito May 30 '17 at 20:39
  • Confirming - the axle doesn't demonstrate any perceptible wiggle ? – Criggie May 30 '17 at 23:21
  • @Criggie That is correct, the axle does not wiggle. – frito_mosquito May 31 '17 at 4:26
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You don't say what brand of hub it is so I'm assuming it's a could-be-anything OEM singlespeed MTB cassette hub.

There is no universal answer. If you want to figure it out yourself and you have no other real information about the hub (which would usually be the case unless it's from an aftermarket hub maker), you have to take it all the way apart and see what there is to see. Some hubs, for example most Shimano cassette hubs, can be tuned for freehub play by permanently removing one of a set of very thin shims inside that are there just for that purpose, but one has to take the unusual step of completely disassembling the freehub body. It's also possible that play is occuring because a freehub cartridge bearing is destroyed, in which case can just replace the bearing.

Depending on the design of the hub, it's possible that this could be a simple adjustment, but that's not usually the case.

If you do find that you need a replacement freehub body, and it is an OEM wheel, they can be tricky to get hold of but it's possible more often than some might have you think. If it's branded by a bike company then the first place to start is a call to that company's warranty department, which in some cases might just have it laying around, especially if you know the exact model and year of the bike. If that doesn't get you anywhere, which is entirely possible, then it becomes a matter of pouring through images of all the Novatec, Formula, KT, King Kong/KK, Chosen, etc hubs of that genre that have ever been made, getting the model, and making contact with a representative of that company that speaks your language. At that point arrangements can often be made to get hold of a replacement freehub body. Since this is a singlespeed it's probably more of a longshot than usual that this plan will work, but it's worth trying.

  • It is the OEM wheel from a 2014 Salsa El Mariachi Singlespeed. It's a "Salsa 2, Singlespeed" hub, which I believe was made by Formula. I figured that the only way to know would be to take it apart. My apprehension stems from I cannot find specific disassembly instructions for these hubs. Is something like this a good starting point? – frito_mosquito May 30 '17 at 22:03
  • I don't think those instructions probably apply to your hub, more like their "named" hubs that are also available aftermarket. The good news is that once you get in there it will probably be pretty simple. Basically you're just looking for something adjustable or something broken/worn that explains the slop. Also don't hesitate to just call the number on their site, either now or if you discover you need a freehub. – Nathan Knutson May 30 '17 at 22:15

If its still riding okay then keep riding it.

Preemptive maintenance is fine if you have deep pockets, but if this part fails the worst I can think of is a rear wheel lockup, which may damage the rear hub.

More likely the chain will simply cease to drive the wheel and you'll be coasting. Since its Single-speed not Fixed, braking is not done through this part.

Once it fails (if ever) then start looking for a replacement freehub body, hub, or wheel.

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