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I changed my MTB tyres to a slick set to use on road and also to connect to a turbo trainer.

After changing the tyre, I put the wheel back in, and see that the pedals are moving the chain and the freewheel around the back wheel but the wheel itself does not move at all. If I sit on the bike seat and try to pedal, I don't feel any resistance to push against.

What have I done wrong? Any tips please.


Many thanks everyone, great experience of community helping here. In my case, I managed to take it to Halfords and fortunately they were able to diagnose the problem, that it was freewheel problem but great that they fixed it too. I am really delighted. Many thanks.

  • How many gears does your bike have? Can you confirm you mean freewheel not freehub. – Warren Burton Mar 28 at 18:46
  • It is apollo kanyon MTB, about 7-8 year old MTB. I think it has freewheel but i will need to check, I am new to technical aspects of cycling. it has 21 gears... 7 at the back and 3 in front – ankar Mar 28 at 18:48
  • am from UK just in case you do not know the bike.. it is from halfords – ankar Mar 28 at 18:49
  • I will need to see again if this is a freewheel or freehub.... – ankar Mar 28 at 18:51
  • thebikelist.co.uk/apollo/kanyon-mountain-bike-2010 acc to this link, it is a steel disc hub – ankar Mar 28 at 18:55
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Halfords Apollo 7 speed bike, likely has a freewheel unit screwed onto the hub. For this repair that would be beneficial in its simplicity.

As the rear cogs are turning, while the wheel does not and you can pedal freely, it seems the freewheel has stopped working. It is not cost effective to try and repair this because replacements are so cheap, so you need to replace the freewheel with a similar spec - temporary workarounds exist. You'll want to know that it is seven speed (check) and then the number of teeth on the smallest cog and the largest cog of the freewheel. Maybe something like "11-28" or "14-28" - you just need to count them or look for a model code yours. Most freewheels you come across now, with the age of your bike, are standardised enough that you can buy any matching spec you come across, touch wood.

Replacing a freewheel instructions are easy to find, or you might be able to find a shop open at the moment... Not guaranteed! There is (naturally) a very good page on Park Tool's website here.

If it happens to be a freehub design then it's the freehub of the wheel that needs replacing to achieve the same fix, which is a little bit more involved but instructions should be simple to find. The harder aspect would be finding a freehub that matches your existing one, designs vary more, and the way to find it out is by dismantling the wheel some.

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  • Thanks a lot. I will report back once I diagnose and fix the issue. – ankar Mar 28 at 22:40
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In addition to @Swifty 's excellent answer, there are some short-term bodges you might use to "get home" (or to get through the 2020 C19 lockdown)

  1. Hit it. Tap the center of the freewheel/freehub with a hammer. This shock might release one or more of the pawls that are otherwise not descending. Avoid hitting the teeth of the cogs.

  2. Blast it with solvent/cleaner. The pawls are stuck in the "coasting" position probably by dirt or coagulated grease. If you can wash that out somehow it will move more freely.
    I once got 6 months more life out of a wheel by doing this, but it gradually deteriorated again.

Note these are temporary workarounds only.

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