This is basically a follow-up of my previous question.

I am talking about the nut between the frame and the cassette (see attached image). In other words not the "external nut" which fixes the axis to the frame.

This nut was loose, but I realized that tightening it too much locks the axis together with the hub/cassette: in other words when the cassette was rotating, it was also moving the axis along itself, which of course is not supposed to happen.

So what I ended up doing was tightening this nut by hand, just enough so that the hub can still move freely, without taking the axis with it. However, I'm not sure this is the right thing (maybe you are supposed to tighten it all the way, and something is wrong with my wheel and that's why doing so locked the hub and the axis together?)

So the question is: what is the proper way and amount to tighten this nut? (Also, if it has some more proper name than "internal" nut, I can gladly edit the question.)

enter image description here

  • 1
    I don't have time for a full answer - parktool.com/blog/repair-help/hub-overhaul-and-adjustment should be a good start for you,
    – mattnz
    Jun 9, 2021 at 21:03
  • Ok, if I understand correctly, the key sentence is this: Tighten the axle nut inside the dropout that is holding the wheel. In other words, I was doing it wrong by tightening it against the cassette, I should have tightened it against the frame, or "losened" it from the cassette's point of view. Is that correct?
    – Attilio
    Jun 9, 2021 at 21:22
  • Because the task of the task of the axle nut ("internal nut") is not to hold the cassette (which is done by the lockring), but it is to lock the axle against the frame, to make sure the axle won't start rotating, right?
    – Attilio
    Jun 9, 2021 at 21:24

3 Answers 3


Let's get our part names clear

From Sheldon Brown enter image description here

The nut in the posted question pointed at with the red arrow is the locknut on the freewheel/cassette side.

The side of the axle with the large spacer - the left side in the picture above is the freewheel/cassette side.

First remove the freewheel/cassette.

Tighten the locknut against the cone by:

  • using the correct size wrench on the locknut
  • the correct size cone wrench (a thin wrench designed to be used on the narrow surface of cone flats)
  • and tightening them against each other

Note: Steps one and two answer the question - how is the locknut tightened.
However, it's important to get the cone adjusted correctly so that the hub turns smoothly on the bearings with no play as part of the tightening process.

Then re-install the freewheel/cassette

Cone wrench set
enter image description here

  • Thanks for the reply. One thing is not clear to me though: how does the cassette go "through" the locknut (+spacers) when removing/re-installing? And if it does "go through" (i.e. locknut is pressing directly against the cone anyway) then why is it necessary to remove it?
    – Attilio
    Jun 10, 2021 at 9:29
  • I found this video, and now I think I get it: it is necessary to remove the cassette because otherwise the cone and the locknut are not accessible. (The cassette has a "hole" in the middle, and the locknut/cone are inside that "hole".)
    – Attilio
    Jun 10, 2021 at 14:06

So one way to do this is taking the multiple freewheel off. That has been covered by the other answers, but let's say someone is doing this at home and for some reason they have cone wrenches but not the correct tool for removing a freewheel (you could always disassembly it, wrench it off, and reassemble or replace it).

What you can do is remove the lock-nut and cone from the other side, pull the axle through, tighten it outside the hub, and put the axle back in, and then tighten the non-drive side.

Be careful with the ball bearings, there are nine 6.35 mm (1/4″) ball bearings on each side. Now would be a good time to grease everything. I recommend just taking the freewheel off, but figured I would give an option for if someone came across this post in a pinch.


Freewheels like this are relatively uncommon now-days, mostly found on new BSOs or on older bikes. The cassette+freehub is much more common.

My technique was to assemble the axle's drive side nuts first, out of the bike.

I'd torque down on the locknut and cone so that they're well locked together and the end of the axle is suitable for the frame its going into.

Only then do I install the bearing balls and put the axle in. Preload pressure is regulated using the cone and locknut on the Non-drive side.

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