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How to Take Off a Freewheel Without a Freewheel Tool

Updated July 18, 2017

The freewheel is a bike component that screws on to the external threads of the rear hub. MTB and BMX bikes are often equipped with a freewheel, allowing the back wheel to move independently from the pedals. To remove the freewheel from the rear hub, most riders use a specialised tool known as a notched freewheel remover. According to bicycle expert Sheldon Brown, the freewheel can screw onto the hub without tools and will tighten gradually as you pedal forward.

Lift the chain stay of your bike to raise the back tire off the ground. Squeeze the right shifter to move the chain to the smallest of the sprockets. Pull up on the release lever to disconnect your brake cables.

Lift the quick-release lever located in the centre of the rear wheel. Lower the wheel axle from the rear dropouts of the bike frame. Lift the chain off the smallest sprocket to free the wheel from the bike frame.

Place the wheel onto a flat work table with the rear cassette facing up. Slide the rear cassette off the wheel axle to better access the freewheel. Wrap a cotton cloth around the teeth of the freewheel to prevent damage.

Align the jaws of the adjustable wrench around the opposing edges of the freewheel. Rotate the wrench counterclockwise to loosen the freewheel. Pull the freewheel out of the hub to complete the process.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton cloth
  • Adjustable wrench
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About the Author

Philip Foster has been writing professionally since 2010. His work has been featured in the literary-arts magazine "The PEEL" and the weekly newspaper "The Mountain Xpress." Foster is an expert in various extreme sports. He cooked in a restaurant that offered organic and vegetarian cuisine for over three years. Foster received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Appalachian State University.