How To Service A Free Hub Body | Mountain Bike Maintenance

How To Service A Free Hub Body | Mountain Bike Maintenance

– The freehub body, often
called the cassette body, is this central part of the hub that the cassette sits on top of. Now it’s primary job is to
allow the drive train to work, and also disengage,
allow you to free wheel. Inside this, the typical
type of free hub body has a pawl and ratchet system. Just in general use,
it’s gonna get gunked up, and it becomes a bit slow, a bit draggy, and sometimes it can even slip. You don’t have to do full hub
service to make this work. Here’s the real quick way
to make sure that your freehub body is clean, well
lubricated, and doesn’t stick. (kicking up gravel) Most hubs have a very
similar system inside, except for certain DT hubs, and of course, the famous Chris King hub. All other hubs tend to have
a pawl and ratchet system. You have a ratchet disc
on the inside of the hub, and you have pawls that are located on springs on the part
of the cassette body, and all that happens is those pawls allows to move up and down, and locate with the indents on that disc. Nice and simple, very easy to maintain, and it is something you should all do. For this video, we’re using
a FSA rear wheel here, and it’s got a Sram XD driver on it. It’s a fairly simple set
up and it’s very common. It’s got cartridge bearings in here. It’s got two sort of cone
adjusted endcaps on the end here, you use cone spanners to remove,
and a little preload ring. Nice and simple. Again, I wanna emphasise the point you don’t need to do a full hub service just to clean your free hub body out. Of course, if you’re doing
a hub service, you’re gonna be pulling out the bearings and replacing those, taking
the axle system out. This is literally a
real, super fast way of doing this at home yourselves. Step one is obviously removing your rear wheel from your bike. You’re gonna take the cassette off, and I would recommend
taking off the disc rotor, because you don’t want any contamination there from degreasers and oils and other sort of stuff you’re using. Put those aside. Make sure they’re completely separate from where you’re working. Next job is to remove
your end cap from the hub. On this particular hub, it’s got a 17 ml cone span of sorts on both sides, but I don’t need to remove the whole axle, so I’m going to take the axle out with the free hub body on it. I need to remove the end cap and lay it down on a bit of shop
towel on the working surface. Just so I can clean it. And keep it all in order for
when I replace it afterwards. This particular hub has
got a little preload ring with a two and a half ml Allen key, so it’s not a preload ring in the sense that it preloads the bearings, like it would have done in
old cup and cone bearing days. It’s literally just to
make the axle is secure against the bearings so there’s no play. I’m gonna loosen that off. And then unwind the collar. And again, put this on the work surface. Keep everything in the same order as you remove it from the bike. The next step, you have to
be a bit more careful because the pawl system is actually
very easy to lose small parts. I’m gonna spin it round and then be very careful as I slide it out. This system, it comes out, I wanna make sure I get the
axle straight out of the hub. I’m gonna put the wheel
aside for a second, and then lay that down carefully there. We’re gonna look at the hub first, before we take care of
the rest of the parts. Know that you can see
the cartridge bearing on the inside of the hub here. This is really important to take note of. Whatever you’re gonna
use to clean it with, it’s gonna be some sort of solvent. Make sure that you do not get
this all around the bearing, because that’s just gonna
destroy all the grease and break it down that’s in there, and that bearing will
wear out a lot faster. What I’d recommend is
using some degreaser but actually putting it on
to a bit of shop towel, and using that to wipe all
the surfaces clean inside. That way it doesn’t actually
affect the bearing inside. Everything’s going to be working fine. It’s pretty clean but I’m
not quite happy with it, ’cause there’s a few little bits of gunk trapped in the little nooks. I’m gonna use a screwdriver
and wrap the shop towel around the end of it so it
doesn’t scratch anything. Do take care, though,
’cause it’s really important that the edges stay really sharp. Because that is vital to how
well this engagement works. Take your time, work your way around, and get out all of that sorta
crap that sits in there. Basically, a repeat of the last step. I don’t really wanna go
flushing any of this crap out by spraying degreaser on it because there are bearings housed inside the axle XD driver body that
the axle rotates on. What I do wanna do is make sure that all of the little pores that the ports sit into are nice and clean. The springs are clean. There’s nothing adding any
unnecessary friction in there. I’m gonna work my way
around the free hub here, and remove each one of the
pawls and the springs inside so I can actually clean them properly. I can see, although it’s quite clean, it’s quite gunky in there. Gonna give it a real decent clean. Be very careful when
you remove them because you don’t want the springs
to fire out because they can be a real pain to find. There’s a first pull out. The pawl is out now, I
wanna remove the spring. In this case, you tuck
them all the way around, and they slide out nice and easy. Repeat that process all
the way around the hub. Some of them can be a little bit fiddly, if they’ve been stuck in place. Make sure you’re nice and gentle. Just like cleaning the
internals of the hub, I don’t wanna be spraying
degreaser straight onto that. I’m gonna spray it on to the shop towel and work my way around the whole unit, and make sure I’ve got
(sprays) all the little bits of gunk and the bad stuff in there cleaned out. And again, I might need
to use a screwdriver to whittle my way into
all those little gaps. But the idea is I want this thing looking virtually like new on the inside. Do the same with each and
every pawl and spring. And then, of course, it’s
time to reassemble them. I’m pretty happy with that,
it’s all nice and clean now. It’s a case of reversing the process, putting the springs back in
and each of the pawls back in. Make sure you’re very delicate doing this. You don’t want to lose any of those parts. I made sure if there are any sort of retaining springs in place on your particular freehub design, make sure it all clicks back in place, and you can actually
actuate each individual one to make sure they’re operating correctly. I’m gonna systematically
work my way around. A little drop of lube on the pawl side and actuate it, and again, by the spring. Make sure that it’s nice and fast. Again, that’s the whole point of this, is that you’re not using
a thick, horrible lube, or a thick grease because that’s gonna slow these things down and they’re never actually
gonna engage correctly. I don’t need to run too much oil in there. It’s just enough to make sure things keep working nice and smoothly. I’m literally gonna put
a couple drops of oil onto the actual ratchet ring itself. Probably enough there. I’m gonna carefully reinstall the axle back through the cartridge bearings. Locate it and then before the pulls reinstall fully, that is the
point now that I’m actually gonna run a little bit more
lube around the outside here, before I click it back into place. And that is sufficient
with the sealing there, to keep it all in the right place. I’m gonna do that on a few bits, and that will be enough there. Click that back into place. (clicking) Hear a nice, decent engagement. Nice and loud, which suggests that the springs are doing their job properly. That is the basic pull overhaul done. Last step, of course, if I
spin the wheel ’round here, is to put that preload ring back in place to make sure that the axle is nice and snug up against the bearing. And you can do, just finger tight, and then make sure the axle
rotates nice and smoothly. Get your two and a half ml Allen key, of course it’s different
on different hubs. That’s what it is on this particular case. Don’t need a pinch bolt
to stop it rattling loose, don’t need to excessively tighten this. And then get the end cap
back on, and it’s located. Job done. There you go, that’s a super quick video on how to stop your
freehub body being sticky and work a little bit better. If you want to find out everything about changing a cassette,
that’s removing one and putting one back on
again, click right down here. And if you wanna know
about servicing bearings, another step in the hub
service, click right up here. Of course, don’t forget to click on the globe here to subscribe. There’s brand new content coming
out here every single day. And, of course, if you like
the video, give us a thumbs up.

100 thoughts on “How To Service A Free Hub Body | Mountain Bike Maintenance

  • Can you guys Do some more cheap product videos to make your bike cooler and better but really enjoy only just started watching and am enjoying heaps and I have fixed so much on my bike from your videos love them heaps keep them going:)

  • #askgmbn I have a polygon reacon 3.0 2014 any ideas on what I could ad on to it to make it better and cooler to improve my ride

  • That hub doesn't even look like it needs a cleaning/service imho.
    How often should I do this?
    Same video on a non XD hub would be nice too.

  • Oh Doddy! Thanks for this! I’ve recently cleaned up my freewheel on my DTSwiss hub. Thought I’d done a good job as I’d got rid of that loud click which I find annoying. It works ok though. Guess I’ll be taking the wheel off and starting again, this time without a ton of grease!

  • Good one again 🙂 Although should've read "pawl" instead of "pull" 😉 Also I wouldn't use oil in the freehub but rather a specific freehub grease.

  • #askgmbn i have a shimano deore rear hub without disc mounts laced to a sun rim big mamouth fat rim, i was wondering if you would consider this a good wheel build or "typical beginer wheel"

  • ''Springs can be a real pain when they fly out'' . YUP, THEY REALLY ARE. Especially if you are trying to service your hub outside. 🙂

  • #AskGMBN My bottom bracket makes a squeaking noise, but I don't have the necessary removal tools.

    I believe it's the BB because when I pedal with pressure it sounds like it's coming from there.

    Is there any possible way to stop the squeaking, or is it something else?

    You probably won't answer, but it's worth a try! 😉

  • I would prefer to let my bike mechanic do this a good excuse to be in the bike shop it's like mud wrestling 10 beautiful woman (SO MUCH FUN). You Yangs Australia 👀

  • very well done! keept it up with the advanced level maintenance videos! very nice to have these kind of tutorials, especially for riders on a budget like me, who can work a bike, but are a little intimidated by all the fancy mtb tech

  • Top video, even if people don't want to work on their bike themselves it's always good to have an idea what's going on with a bike and that jobs like this do need to be done from time to time. You just know Doddy loves taking his bike apart as much as he likes riding it.

  • I missed the part of degreasing and re-greasing te bearings in the body and the wheel as well. As I'm a mechanic this is a daily job for me😆 Love your vids guys!!

  • Can I wash my knee pads (poc vpd 2.0) in the washing machine? And yes would there be any special things to keep in mind settings or anything

  • Hi all how about instead of using a screw driver to clean out the hard to reach bits use a toothpick/cocktail stick ???

  • Please bear with me, its a rather long piece, sorry about that. l just started to write and then it happened.

    Thanks for the videos, l enjoy them immensely, honestly other than cleaning the bike and a few very idiot proof repairs l have hardly ever done anything for a number of reasons.

    One of them is that where l currently am, the bike shops are very accommodating, l can go in for a tune up anytime and its free. This l realise is too good to be true.

    The other reason is that l do not have the right tools at the moment, which brings me to another point, what would you recommend for a home mechanic to be able to do just about everything which a normal person can do. By normal l mean someone who in his entire life has never had to do anything manual other than maybe a bit of forced gardening as a child and nothing worse and since l work in a very untechnical environment, l have very little chance of learning.

    The last reason for me is this, your videos seem to be aimed at someone who already has some experience with this sort of thing. Try to remember that a bike is a very special tool for some of us and very expensive mine is a hardtail so in some ways its basic but l cannot imagine how l would feel if l muck it up. So l hope when you make videos you could have two versions the long one where you show each step so that people like me can see it all. l have written before about this where l said basically that too much is editted out. l know others are seasoned home mechanics so they do not need the step by step guide some of need. For instance, on this video you never mentioned the tools needed for the job, something l remember used to be part of the old videos.

    So for the reasons stated above l hardly ever tinker with my bike. However, next month hopefully, l will be away for a few months with bike in tow. l am thinking l may leave the bike and get a new one upon my return. Where l am going there are very few bike shops and any small job is very expensive so therefore l will definitely need to be able to do most of my own servicing when l am there and should l decide to leave my bike. So you can imagine how much l value your videos.l realise some jobs are better suited to pros but for those where a well prepared home mechanic, with the right tools and information, l want to do those by myself or at least have the option to. However, please try to make them as simple as possible and do not cut out anything and have two versions to cater for all your fans. l am even thinking of downloading a few of them to take with me, thats how much l think they are useful.

    Talking of travelling, l am aware of bike bags or boxes, but which is best l will need to travel across two continents and about three stops before l get home, so l am rather concerned about the state in which my beloved steed will be when l get home. l am flying but l will need to change planes along the way. So can you recommend a box or number based on price, strength and availability. My bike is a 2014 hardtail and l think it is a medium. l may need to use this box or case more because l foresee a lot of travel at home and in the future involving this or other bikes, so please do note that. Have seen the videos about boxes verses specialist cases and the issue of soft and hard cases but l am still not sure which is the way forward so your opinion in this would be highly valued as l suppose you lot do a fair bit of travelling so should be well versed in that sort of thing.

    One last question, are there any courses like weekend or evenings for bike maintenance you know about? l would be willing to join, l am unfortunately not in the UK but it is good to know all the same and do the big Taiwanese brands offer any, l have a Merida. l mean a residential sort of thing over a week or a few months enabling one to service, assemble bikes. l sometimes think of eventually running my own bike shop but l am always worry about that aspect, sellling could be easy but the maintenance and upgrade section could be another issue. ln as far as l know where l am from there are no locally available courses.

    Anyway l have said a lot l hope you can take the time to answer the questions raised. Sorry once again for the length, l tend to ramble.

  • #askgmbn I am having a hard time clearing jumps and doing manuals, after watching myself I need to pull back more. How do I gain the confidence to pull back further?

  • Tooih brush and teflon fryin brush with long handle excellent cleaners..Freehubs haven't changed in 30 yrs ..pawls and gear sprockets..hmmmmmClutch design squishy as magnetic..A show on new hub designs and how they feel on the trail and the 400.00 plus cost be a good show..Onyx..Project 321..Rotor..Verses dtswiss 240 and hope 4..Lastly guys have been raking pawls out of chris king i9 hubs and running 4 pawls even 2 to lessen the noise and drag..P.S 3000.00 for a set of enve whellsrt is knutts..Not even a space hub design to go with that crazy price tag..Wrap a split tube around rim to seal up tyre same as there rim strip..Anyhow enjoy your vids keep up the good work

  • Can you do a video on how to fix loose down tube inserts for brake hose clamps? I had to replace one and the screw went in a little tight and now the insert spins.

  • I love these kinds of videos, helping people to keep their bikes running in better working order and showing them that a lot of maintenance can be done at home with minimal tools and equipment and just a bit of patience and of course the important know how. Saves money and teaches people about how their bikes work! Keep up the good work, lots of thanks to Doddy and the whole GMBN team!!

  • I just want to ask a question… Is it real that the CRIMSON HUBS like CRIMSON CLAW, CRIMSON GEAR is Really Made in CANADA? Because here in the Philippines, Some of the Seller of this hubs telling that its Made in CANADA… thanks and Please Enlightened me. 😊👍

  • I have a big question about hub. I'm searching for a loudest hub so which hub is the loudest. Hope pro 4 or Industry 9 ??

  • stupid f*cking shimano has 10k systems to remove that garbage of freehub and for everyone of them you need a special tool. F*ck shimano, worst quality stupid pricing

  • Hello can anyone help me i cant take it off its like stuck i puled it with my whole strenght and wigle it to and put screws awey but stil doesnt want to come off i have specilized pitch comp 2010

  • i have a shimano deore xt hub…how do i get the two silver screws (i have to entighten first) off? do i need special tools to do that or can i also use a pliers to lock them up? (10mm x 135mm quick release)

    (sry for my english…i´m from germany)

  • Hi, Doddy. What brand was that hub you used as an example? It has wedge pawls and it looked like it has at least 120 points of engagement.

  • Very helpful & comprehensive tutorial, thank you.
    After watching this I was able to disassemble & clean cassette & free hub without too much stress. Cheers!

  • Thanks Dod for the video. It gave me confidence to clean my hub. I eventually discovered only 2 teeth/levers were working, the other two were just stuck and useless. It sounds way better now !

  • Hi Doddy, nice video! I have a Solon qr, can you let me know how to open the freehub body? It's different with novatec that need 2 L/allen keys to open it. Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Hey, That sthe exact brand of wheel I have. Except Im dealing with the Front wheel instead of the back. ….. My front wheel is grinding like crazy & will barely spin. … I looked at the bearings & it appears to be missing one ball bearing on each side ……it only has 8 per side. Do you know how many ball bearings go on each side on the Front wheel?
    Id rather just order NEW ball bearings since theyre Grindy & need servicing …… Do you, or anyone else here know What I should look for when ordering the Ball bearings for my front hub?? they look like standard ball bearings but not sure if this Antaj front hub takes a specific size ball bearing. -any advice?? Dying to get riding again but stuck with these crappy bearings.

  • When I swap out my XD hubs for bystander Shimano ones can I interchange the paws from my XD Hub to my Shimano hub so that I can have that ratcheting noise of the XD hub. Thanks for the video let me know if you happened to know I really appreciate it

  • When I swap out my XD hubs for bystander Shimano ones can I interchange the paws from my XD Hub to my Shimano hub so that I can have that ratcheting noise of the XD hub. Thanks for the video let me know if you happened to know I really appreciate it

  • Can someone please tell me the answer to my question. I have a merida big nine 20 and I washed it and water must of got in the caset some how and now there's no clicking noise when I stop peddling I'm only 14 so is there anything I can do that could fix it.

  • Awesome video , just got back from a ride and my chain would slip . I know it’s not the gears or the chain cuz I replaced them last October ( we have long winters here so I haven’t been riding much ) . So I’m thinking it’s the free hub as soon as I got a few minutes I’ll take it apart to see what’s happening.

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