How to Remove a Shimano Freewheel

Updated April 17, 2017

Founded in 1921, Shimano is one of the oldest and most respected cycling components companies in the world. Shimano freewheels--the gearsets installed on the rear wheels of multispeed cycles--come standard on nearly 50 per cent of bicycles produced today, and provide durability, compatibility and ease of use. Removing a Shimano freewheel to perform maintenance on the drive train of a bicycle is a task any home mechanic can complete with a proper tools.

Open the quick release on the rear wheel and pull the wheel out of the chainstays of the bicycle. Place the wheel in front of you, freewheel facing away from your knees.

Wrap the chainwhip around one of the middle cogs of the freewheel in a clockwise fashion.

Unscrew the quick release completely and remove the skewer from the axle.

Slide the post of the Shimano freewheel tool into the hollow axle and press the tool into locknut on the end of the freewheel.

Slide the end of the box-end wrench over the end of the freewheel tool and, holding the chainwhip steady in one hand, turn the freewheel tool in a counterclockwise direction and unscrew the locknut.

Pull the tools off the freewheel and pull the locknut off of the axle. Hold the largest cog on the freewheel with one hand and the wheel with the other and slide the freewheel assembly off of the hub.


The locknut on a Shimano freewheel should never be tighter than just past finger-tight, or it will be extremely difficult to remove later.

Things You'll Need

  • Chainwhip
  • Shimano freewheel tool
  • Box-end wrench
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