Monday, July 11, 2011

Destructive Removal of a Freewheel That Has No Freewheel Removal Tool

     In this article I will explain how to destructively remove a freewheel so as to save your wheel. The freewheels most commonly designed without proper notches for removal are often among the lowest quality. If your bicycle came with this freewheel stock chances are the wheel is also of low quality and you might take that into consideration when considering this repair option.

     Sometimes there doesn't exist a removal tool. Other times the notches aren't wide enough (See Picture Below). Notice how the notches on the outer ring are thin and shallow. I attempted to use a hammer and punch to remove it with these notches, but even with careful and skillful blows it only served to damage the soft metal. When it comes to this destructive removal is the only way to save the wheel.


Tool's You'll Need:
  • Pin Spanner (Park SPA-2)
    • Or Hammer and Punch
  • Bench Vise 

     In the picture below you will see two holes, these holes are for a lockring that keeps the cog piece attached to the freewheel body, inside are about 50 tiny bearings. A park tool SPA-2 pin spanner is the easiest way to remove it, but I took mine off with a hammer and punch. Follow the arrow imprinted on the freewheel, if there is no arrow go clock-wise, they are always left-hand threaded. When the cone ring is removed bearings may spill out all over the place, and there's lots of them.

     Once the outer shell of the body is removed it exposes the main body that is threaded on to the hub. From here, simply tighten on to a strong vise(With some teeth) and turn counter-clockwise. This will unscrew the freewheel from the hub, thus saving it from the garbage and allowing you to thread a new freewheel on to your wheel.

Disclaimer: It is possible to reassemble these, however, these freewheels are so inexpensive that it really isn't practical and given their low quality to begin with no good mechanic would recommend it. If all bicycles were standardized, this repair would become obsolete, as all manufacturers wanting to build to standard would be required to make a freewheel removal tool slot that fit a Universal Freewheel Remover.

Updated: June, 29th, 2014

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