How to Replace a Shimano Free Hub

Written by justin wash
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The Shimano free hub on the rear wheel of your bicycle contains the freewheel mechanism, which allows the bicycle to move forward while you "coast" without turning the pedals. This design has come to replace almost all high-end freewheel designs, as it allows the cassette, or the cogs on the rear wheel, to be serviced and replace independent from the freewheel mechanism. But as effective as this new design is at its job, free hubs may eventually wear out and need a replacement. Learn to replace the free hub on your Shimano wheel.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 15mm cone wrench
  • 17mm wrench
  • 8mm hex wrench
  • New Shimano free hub
  • Chain whip
  • Shimano cassette lockring tool

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  1. 1

    Remove the rear wheel from your bike by releasing the quick-release lever, then pulling the wheel out of the dropouts. Loosen the drive side quick-release nut by hand and remove the quick-release skewer from the wheel axle.

  2. 2

    Locate the inner non-drive side axle cone. It should look like a nut that extends into the hub body. Use a 15mm cone wrench to hold the inner axle cone in place. Using a 17mm wrench, loosen the outer axle nut. Unscrew both nuts completely and pull the axle and ball bearings out of the hub. Set them aside where they won't be lost.

  3. 3

    Wrap a chainwhip around the cassette of the rear wheel clockwise. Use the chain whip to hold the cassette in place. Set a Shimano cassette lockring tool in the cassette lockring and turn the lockring counterclockwise to loosen the lockring and remove the cassette.

  4. 4

    Insert an 8mm hex wrench into the end of the free hub until it locks into place. Turn the hex wrench counterclockwise to loosen and remove the free hub. This can take a lot of strength as most free hubs are secured extremely tightly. Insert the 8mm wrench into the end of your new free hub. Set the free hub in place on the wheel and turn the wrench clockwise to secure the free hub in place.

  5. 5

    Set the ball bearings removed previously in place on the hub, then slide the axle back into place. Twist on the inner and outer axle race and nut, then tighten the cone and nut against one another to secure the axle to the hub. Slide the cassette removed from the old free hub onto the new one and tighten the cassette lockring to hold them in place.

  6. 6

    Slide the quick-release skewer back through the axle of the wheel with the quick-release skewer on the non-drive side of the wheel. Twist the quick-release nut onto the open end of the skewer, then slide the wheel into the bike's dropouts and take the bike out for a ride.

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