I have an old bike with a cassette and chain that needs replacement. The problem is that I can't identify what kind of cassette it is or how to remove it.

There are 14 teeth on the smallest cog and 28 teeth on the largest cog on the cassette. How do I remove it? There are only two nuts.

Will the bike take any Shimano chain (that matches number of links of the current chain?)

enter image description here enter image description here

From comment:

I took the wheel off, i watched the video from Parktool but couldn't see any groves inside the cassette enter image description here

  • The following answer explains the difference between freewheel and freehub+cassette: bicycles.stackexchange.com/a/21406/30402
    – gschenk
    May 9 '19 at 15:17
  • I took the wheel off, i watched the video from Parktool but couldn't see any groves inside the cassette imgur.com/61f0FZ2
    – Aindriú
    May 9 '19 at 15:32
  • The grooves should be in there. Did you try inserting a freewheel tool yet?
    – Swifty
    May 9 '19 at 19:00
  • No not yet, I think the tool is Park Tool: Freewheel Remover Uniglide/Shimano Tool, I will order one on Amazon but I seen a video on YouTube take cassette off with hammer and chisel.
    – Aindriú
    May 9 '19 at 19:06
  • The Park Tool video has some very useful info on identifying which tool you need. Ensure you install the new one with grease or anti-seize on the threads.
    – Swifty
    May 10 '19 at 8:44

If you are replacing the freewheel anyway. I would personally not buy the tool as you can easily remove a freewheel with a light hammer and a punch or screwdriver if you don't have a punch/drift. Look at the two recessed dots on the face of the freewheel. Place the punch on one of the dots and strike down it in a clockwise direction it should easily come loose without damage and save you buying a tool you may never use again. As long as you don't hit too hard you won't cause any damage to it and if you are replacing the freewheel anyway it seems the best option to me.

  • Yes I saw a video on YouTube about that youtube.com/watch?v=WsVL1XqZve8 since I'm throwing out the cassette anyway maybe buying the tool isn't worth it, but I would have to get the correct replacement cassette
    – Aindriú
    May 9 '19 at 19:31
  • I have a chain tool for tightening a cassette (maybe it will work with a freewheel). I saw in the YouTube video a person holding brake and standing on pedal to tighten. Which 5 speed freewheel though ? Are they all the same ? Its a Shimano
    – Aindriú
    May 9 '19 at 19:40
  • Sorry I meant chain whip. Ok I will try tightening with hammer and punch. Just have to get a freewheel 5 speed. I think its this Shimano Compatible 14-28 5 Speed Screw On Freewheel amazon.co.uk/Shimano-Compatible-14-28-Speed-Freewheel/dp/…
    – Aindriú
    May 9 '19 at 19:46
  • do you think I should try a 7 speed ? I think there is enough room
    – Aindriú
    May 9 '19 at 20:22
  • 1
    You're welcome. Best of luck!
    – David
    May 9 '19 at 20:34

If it's 5 speed, it's probably a freewheel rather than a modern style cassette that slides on a freehub.

Park Tools do a tutorial video on how to change one:

Additional information can be found on the Park Tools blog

  • Is it possible to embed videos here on bicycles? If so, please educate me how!
    – Andy P
    May 9 '19 at 15:03
  • 1
    If the video is on YouTube, which this one is, you just include the link as a bare URL -- click edit to see the source. May 9 '19 at 15:23
  • 1
    Cheers, every day's a school day :)
    – Andy P
    May 9 '19 at 15:28

Regarding the replacement chain and freewheel (as many people have pointed out you have a freewheel not a freehub and cassette):

The interface between hub and freewheel is standardized so any 5 speed freewheel with the appropriate sprocket sizes will work.

Chains are sold with more links than needed then cut down to size and joined, so you don't buy one with the proper number if links. Chains are specific to the number of sprockets on the freewheel/cassette, you will need a 7 speed or less chain (5, 6 and 7 speed chains are the same, the differences start at 8 speed).

Here's a Park tool Video on chain sizing and joining



Having spent some significant time taking bits of bikes apart when I was younger, my experience is the opposite of David's. My experience is that freewheels are very reluctant to move when applying a hammer and drift to the "two dots". Especially if the wheel and freewheel have had years of being married together, they'll seriously resist divorce. And if you hammer in the wrong direction, that plate with two dots is a cover for the ball races and you'll have a floor full of tiny ball bearings.

I'm going to give you a slight frame challenge instead. If this is an old bike, I would not be at all surprised if the wheels were steel, or at best some low-grade alloy. The spokes are probably in a bad way, and you don't really want to be stuck with an old-style freewheel anyway. If you're planning on chucking the freewheel anyway, why not chuck the whole thing and buy a decent new alloy wheel and cassette? No need to remove anything.

Don't forget that you want a new chain as well, whatever you do. Chains wear into the geartrain, so if you change the cogs then you should change the chain too. They're pretty cheap anyway. You'll need a chain remover tool if you haven't already got one, of course.

  • 1
    But there's no such thing as a five-speed cassette, right? So they'd have to get something like an eight-speed, and then they'd need a new shifter and derailleur and, by that time, they've probably spent more than the bike is worth. May 9 '19 at 22:25
  • The derailleur can usually accomodate a 7-speed without any problems. Fair point on the indexed shifter though, although a replacement isn't generally that expensive. Or the OP could just accept (at least short-term) that only 5 of the 7 cogs are available.
    – Graham
    May 9 '19 at 23:23
  • @DavidRicherby They could get a 7-speed, and most derailleurs will handle that. Fair point on a suitable indexed shifter, although those are pretty cheap. Or the OP could accept that that they've only got 5 of the cogs. Anyway, TBH with most old bikes you're probably spending more than the bike is worth just by getting a new chain, brake blocks and tyres, so we probably have to assume it's worth their while (for whatever reason) spending a little to get it up to scratch.
    – Graham
    May 9 '19 at 23:27
  • Why would you care about knocking the ball bearings out if you are throwing it away? I think it may be partly technique and mechanical intuition. I have never failed to remove a freewheel with that method no matter how old it was or how long it had been paired to the wheel. Admittedly the ball bearings occasionally will drop out before the freewheel is off but that's not common in my experience. And they will fall out anyway as soon as you remove the freewheel regardress of the technique you use unless you invert the wheel when it's loose and lift the wheel off the freewheel.
    – David
    May 10 '19 at 10:25
  • There's spending a little and then there's buying a new rear wheel compatible with freehub. A free hub as they don't always come together. A cassette, a chain, a derailleur and a new shifter. Then you have to fit it all or pay someone just to realise you now don't have a matching wheelset! And you have spent probably at least double what you initially paid for the bike. Don't forget all these better quality more modern components cost a lot more than the equipment the bike originally has fitted.
    – David
    May 10 '19 at 10:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.