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I've just replaced the cassette on my hybrid commuter (replaced the chain a week ago and found that it skipped on my most-used sprockets).

As this bike is no longer my main bike, and it takes 8 speed cassettes, I thought I'd try a cheap compatible one. The hub is Deore and about 6 years old, and I've used a few Shimano cassettes since fitting that wheel.

But this time, when I tighten the lockring, the freehub doesn't feel right. Torqued up really hard it felt quite stiff, so I took the cassette back off and made sure there was nothing out of place. I might have done it up a bit less the 2nd time and it felt better, but still not perfect. On the bike, it feels normal when riding, even freewheeling, but pushing it the pedals go round. BTW I don't normally go for the full stated 40Nm, or use my torque wrench for cassettes.

What's likely to be the cause, and how worried should I be?

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If the bare freehub turns freely in the hand, but then when a cassette is installed and the lockring torqued it doesn't, the answer is usually that the cassette is pushing up against the spoke protector in a way that inhibits the freehub body movement, and you need to either fiddle it back into place, remove it, or try a different one.

It's possible to imagine a particular cassette interfering with seals or other features of the hub right at the split beween the hub shell and the freehub body. If that were true you could likely solve it by adding a 0.5mm spacer behind the cassette. This is not a common problem though, whereas the above is.

One could also imagine a particular lockring interfering with the axle hardware in a way that compresses it. They're usually well clear of each other, so again I don't see this as likely. If that were happening, try the prior lockring.

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  • Some good ideas there, though it can't be the first because there is no spoke protector. I can easily swap to the old lockring. Deeper could interfere I guess. While I'm at it I'll examine the big cog for any way it could touch something it shouldn't (previous was 11-34 when I had a child seat and steep hills, new is back to 11-32), but they looked superficially the same in the middle.
    – Chris H
    Oct 15, 2022 at 19:04
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    Well, it turned out to be the lockring. The one that came with the new cassette had about 1mm more thread than the old Shimano, and seems to have pressed on the freehub. Presumably that pressure ended up in the freehub bearings.
    – Chris H
    Oct 16, 2022 at 15:59
  • @ChrisH Inspect the freehub body seal below the lockring threads. There's a chance it got damaged/pushed in further due to the too-long lockring.
    – MaplePanda
    Oct 17, 2022 at 18:27
  • @MaplePanda it looked OK, and rode fine today. Probably good that I went by feel rather than slavishly going for 40Nm.
    – Chris H
    Oct 17, 2022 at 19:45
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Just in case someone is still struggling with this problem...

Try tightening the lock ring without your cassette installed and see if the problem is still there.

In my case the lock ring's threads were too deep that it pushed against the sealings in the freehub and therefore resisted spinning.

The solution was to put a 5mm spacer behind the cassette so that when tightening the lock ring wouldn't go as deep. Also a different kind of lower lock ring would have done the job too.

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