Bicycle Freewheel Disassembly/Assembly

I show how to disassemble and re-assemble a freewheel from a bike wheel. I also clean and lube the freewheel parts. I didn’t replace the bearings. I just cleaned them and reused them. But if they show wear or damage, they are not too expensive to replace. The bearings in this freewheel were 1/8″ bearings. I think that is the most common size in freewheels. I lubed the parts with marine grease.

If your freewheel is not working well, try cleaning and lubing it before taking it apart:

Some of the tools used were:
Park Tool SPA-2 Pin Spanner:

Park Tool Chain Whip:

Dualco Mini Grease Gun:

Marine Grease:

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  • very helpful thank you

  • You're very masterful.

  • Hey RJ. Thanks for this vid. Been meaning to ask you, what is the name of that pointy nosed magnetic tool that you use in this video to pick up bearings? I like the design of that one and i can never seem to find one. Thanks, great vids.

  • very very helpful video.. my freewheel just lost all of its bearings yesterday while i was riding it. im planning to replace the hubs bcoz of that, until i found this video.. this save me money, thanks..

  • really helpful thanks!

  • i was taking the free wheel off and the bearings went all over the place, i have the shimano free wheel, my question is i don't know how many bearings went where, so would you just put the bearings evenly around on the top and bottom or am i screwed!

  • Thanks, I was wondering what the non-spoke side was supposed to look like. I bought a bike at a yard sale where the bearing retaining ring was totally loose, so all the non-spoke-side bearings had dribbled out. When I removed the wheel, ball bearings dropped out (very little grease) and rolled "everywhere." I also didn't know what the spanner looked like; I have also been using a punch or screwdriver and a mallet.

    On the spoke side, I found it easier to put the bearings into grease in the cogset race, then insert the …. core? I think it's because that race holds them a little better.

  • nice job thanks for explaining it down in detail

  • when your old wheel moves alot from side to side, what is the most common thing for this . is it because the bearings are worn , or does the wheel bolts get loose after awhile. would like your reason why this happens.

  • Too much grease in the bearings and races. Should have used 70-75% of what you used.

  • What is the alternate tool or way for that pin spanner?

  • coool Man , thank of France ;)))

  • Hey RJ! Great videos! I've got a freewheel that is 'an oldie, but a goody.' It is a 5-speed Normandy off of an old Schwinn Continental, marked "Schwinn Approved Model F2 – Made in France. The outer ring with the holes for a pin vise is not a left-hand thread, but a normal right hand thread. The ring also only threads onto the outside of the smallest cog; it doesn't do anything on the inside of the hub, so it appears to be a chain retainer more than a hub locking ring. The pawl and ratchet mechanism (hub) appears to be threaded into the back of the gear set. The O.D. of the hub is 59 mm and it needs a three-point pin tool with ±6 mm pins. Does any of this ring a bell? What can you tell me about removing the hub?
    Thanks again for the videos. I really appreciate them.

  • Can the 5 gear tooth sprockets be removed for a cleaning or are they welded on?

  • Hey RJ, I've got a couple of questions: What's the type of hub on this wheel you used and how do you service that?
    What other alternatives are there for Phil's Tenacious Oil (not available in India). I don't want to pull apart the whole freewheel and put it back together. I accidentally sprayed too much cleaning fluid and it washed of all the grease from the freewheel as well as the hub. Now it makes a grinding noise.

  • I heard grease is too heavy for this.. should use oil or lithium grease instead

  • This was a very helpful video. I was also hoping to learn how to take the cogs apart and replace one of them with a different size.

  • They aren't bearings. They're steel balls. The ball bearing is the whole assembly. A bearing with balls in it. As opposed to a roller bearing or a needle bearing for example.

  • I spent 2 hours trying to get my schwinn freewheel back together :(

  • Im so very thankfull of this videoNow i know how to fix free wheelAnd now finally i am able to use my bikeThanks RJ

  • Hi, Using my sons account here but thank you for the vid, had got through 3 freewheels on my mtb in 5 weeks, so i took the 1st one apart and greased the hell out out of it as it had none to start with ! also took 2 of the smaller shims out and it runs like a dream, thank you

  • Summary: Put grease everywhere!

  • OK GOT IT , I'M off to the bike shop to buy a new rim .

  • I took the skewer out?

  • jwp

    July 26, 2016  I just cleaned my, attached to the wheel, freewheel with gasoline.  Mid-stream I had a vague memory of learning not to use gasoline. Yup! The freewheel barely spins and I can feel and hear the grittiness inside. Isn't my only choice now but to take it all apart clean and re-grease the freewheel? And probably the hub too. Have I permanently damaged anything?

  • When the wheel/freewheel has play, any fix to the problem? Or time to replace the freewheel?

  • Where's a good place to get that removal tool…cheap?

  • Thanks for the video. Wish I had this as a kid. I always had a hard time getting the pawls to push in during assembly. :(

  • thanks for help I don't know where to put the balls but you help us where to put it. perhap a few ball missing in my bicycle thanks👍

  • le doy 5 estrellas ……por favor hacer un en español….ok…

  • Huqvarna chainsaw Bicycle motor how to

  • You could have really cleaned up those cogs with a wire brush. Would have taken off 99% of that surface rust.

  • Ok and how do You recognize if the lock ring is reverse threaded? Is it always this way in Shimano freewheels?

  • valuable video–just used it to service a Suntour 7sp.

  • Thanks RJ. Excellent job and invaluable info as I'm currently restoring my dad's old 1974-75 Fuji "Special Road Racer Tourer" for my little brother. Restored to original specs it should make a nice heirloom for he and his sons (one of them at least). He has been gone for a quarter century now and this is one of the few things we have left to remember him by. Sure makes it a breeze when you got a road map to follow. Appreciate it. Shawn Spencer

  • you did a great job man! im actually learning every videos you made thanks for these i got a lot of tricks from you!

  • Hi RJ!, Quick question for ya. I tried removing the lock ring but in doing so, the lock ring cracked because, stupid me was turning it counter clockwise to remove it. So, I was wondering, can one purchase a replacement lock ring or should I just abate trying to further remove the lock ring and just throw it away and buy another freewheel? Any help is greatly appreciated. I appreciate you my friend. I enjoy your videos and your attention to detail! Excellently done as always! Best Regards!

  • the balls just won't stick to the base of the ring. They are magnetically attracted to it but not enough to stay in place.

  • The balls got magnetized by the tool you pulled them out with. In aviation they warn about doing this because they will then always attract metal shavings.

  • quick question… I am building a trike project and need to move the freewheel to the other side of the wheel (because if I just turned the wheel around it would be freewheeling the opposite of the other stock rear wheel assembly) do you know of a simple quick way of making it freewheel opposite of it's standard direction??? and if not a quick way… what would be the long way of doing this???

  • Thanks man, was looking for direction to untie locking ring for my friend's ancient wheel :)

  • I can't make it through this video – he makes such a funny sound at the start!

  • Can i get rhis yelloy metal rhing behind cassete without this special tool??

  • Really helpful, thanks :)

  • Is Rock-n-Roll Super-Web Grease an option instead of marine grease? Many reviews state that it's "the best" for bearings, so I thought I'd ask. I wasn't sure if it would even be appropriate in this application (for freewheel bearings).

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