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I have just picked up my bike from a full service - all parts were taken apart, cleaned, lubed etc. My ride home was really nice and quiet, and then I realised: my freehub is now completely silent.

I have read elsewhere that this could be a bad sign, and that the grease has gotten into the pawls? Should I be worried?

Any advice would be very much appreciated!

Thanks, Ben.

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  • There's an assumption that quiet freehubs are bad and loud ones are good. In reality there's no such link
    – Criggie
    Sep 3 '20 at 19:42
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    What Brand/Model hub is it, some are noisy by design, some are supposed to be silent and develop noise when in need of service.
    – mattnz
    Sep 3 '20 at 21:27
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This is common and not really controllable by the mechanic after freehub service. As long as it's engaging without issue it's fine. The click will work its way back eventually. Thicker lubricants cause more of this but it depends on the design of the hub as well. If too much lubricant or something too viscous was used, that's its own problem, but quieting the pawls down isn't necessarily an indication of that.

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The only damage grease could do in the pawls is that the freehub doesn't work. If your ride home went okay, I assume the freehub works at whatever temperature you did the ride in.

However, I find it hard to visualize how the freehub could have been greased. Opening the freehub body is not an easy task, if it's a Shimano freehub.

If they really greased the freehub body inside, given that it worked in your ride temperature, the only bad effect could be that it no longer works in freezing sub-zero-Celsius temperatures.

As a matter of fact, Shimano freehub bodies come from the factory with a grease that is not perfect in freezing sub-zero-Celsius temperatures. It barely works, but only barely.

More likely is that they oiled the freehub body, because unlike greasing which would require a full disassembly, oiling is possible without full disassembly.

Oil will do no harm even in freezing sub-zero-Celsius temperatures... unless it's a very very thick oil indeed.

Why won't you ask the shop what they did to the freehub body and ask for an explanation for it being quiet? Presumably as a reputable shop they remember what they did, and can tell you the exact weight of the oil they put into the freehub body, from which it can be estimated whether or not it works well in freezing sub-zero-Celsius temperatures if you choose to ride in such temperatures.

Besides, if the freehub is Shimano in well-lubricated condition it should be very quiet. You can hear it in quiet indoors environment. When riding the bike outdoors, it is barely audible. If there's any traffic noise you won't hear it.

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    I don't think this answer needs to opine on what the "best" free hubs are. There are many types of cycling and I can think of a few where many would strongly disagree with the opinions in the answer.
    – Paul H
    Sep 3 '20 at 18:48
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    -1: Opinion piece destroys an otherwise good answer. Will +1 if the opinion at the end is removed.
    – mattnz
    Sep 3 '20 at 21:25
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    The way to inject grease into a Shimano freehub is with a Morningstar Freehub Buddy. Sep 3 '20 at 23:00
  • Interesting. I have ridden Shimano equipped bikes in -20°C and while shifters and hubs had problems, freewheels always did work.
    – ojs
    Sep 4 '20 at 8:26
  • My information about the non-perfect grease is 12 years old, though. Perhaps Shimano has changed something in last 12 years?
    – juhist
    Sep 4 '20 at 8:29

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