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Could you please identify if this is the sound of a free hub gone bad? If it is, can I get it sorted out at a bike shop or should it be replaced?

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    Can you tell us the model of hub and freehub? Have you popped the cassette off and looked for play in the freehub mounts? Is the wheel true and without wobble on the axle ?
    – Criggie
    Nov 28, 2021 at 11:36
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    Sorry, I forgot to add that detail. It is a Deore FH-M530 freehub. I didn't dismantle it as I don't have the tools needed. Wheel is not perfectly true. Actually I was trying to align it and this noise took my attention.
    – Ender
    Nov 28, 2021 at 11:40
  • Officially Shimano freehub bodies can’t be serviced. You are supposed to buy a new one (just the freehub mechanism, not a whole hub). Apparently they can be disassembled but it’s difficult. However they should also last a loooong time.
    – Michael
    Nov 28, 2021 at 16:22

2 Answers 2

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It sounds like the freehub is fine but a ding, the seam, or an out of true spot on the rim is smacking the brake as it goes by. If the less frequent noise (not the freehub click, the other one) is really coming from the hub that would be unusual and yes you would need to tear into the hub to investigate it. Hubs can occasionally make loud cyclic noises like that, but it's uncommon and usually happens when things have become very damaged inside and/or the axle is bent. If it makes the same noise when spinning the wheel between your hands held by the freehub body on one side, not mounted in the bike, then yes that is some kind of internal problem.

Edit: In the comments it's noted that the noise goes away when pedaling. That is pretty strong evidence that it is the freehub.

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    Brake is detached. It makes the same sound when I took it to my hand anyways. It is silent though when pedaling. I'll take it to a bike shop for inspection I guess.
    – Ender
    Nov 28, 2021 at 18:57
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Maybe.

Visually, it seems to be a click every ~60 degrees of wheel rotation. Depending on how many pawls in the freehub could indicate something clicking past each pawl.

If the freehub has some other lockup mechanism, there may be ~6 of something inside to produce a similar gap.

I'd expect the clicking to go away when the bike is driving forward under pressure from the chain - if the clicking is still there when locked up then something else is wrong.

Initially I wondered if it was something on the tyre tapping the frame as it goes past, but that would only be once per wheel rotation. Though I remember a very low clearance tyre with multiple Sprues on it which were audible sometimes.

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    Wheel has no contact with the frame. Actually, I replaced the tyre recently and realized it was wobbling a bit and I took of the tyre to see if it is causing the wobble. I don't hear this noise while riding.
    – Ender
    Nov 28, 2021 at 11:44

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