World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0002720243
Reproduction Date:

Title: Freehub  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Cycling power meter, Micro drive, Hyperglide, Spline (mechanical), Bicycle parts
Collection: Bicycle Parts
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A Shimano Dura-Ace freehub

A freehub is a type of bicycle hub that incorporates a ratcheting mechanism, and the name freehub is a registered trademark of Shimano.[1] A set of sprockets (called a "cassette") are mounted onto a splined shaft of the freehub to engage the chain. The ratcheting mechanism is a part of the hub, in contrast to a freewheel, an older technology, which contains both the sprockets and a ratcheting mechanism in a single unit separate from the hub. In many high-end and midrange bicycles, freehubs have replaced freewheel systems.

A freewheel mechanism allows a rider to stop pedalling whilst the cycle is still in forward motion. On a cycle without a freewheel mechanism, the rider has to keep pedalling whenever the cycle is moving.


  • Comparison to freewheels 1
  • History 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Comparison to freewheels

Freehub vs freewheel hub

The freehub concept answers several drawbacks encountered with the freewheel design:

  • Freewheels are threaded onto an axle hub, using conventional right-hand threads. As the bicycle rider pedals, the freewheel is continuously kept tight, as chain torque is in the right-hand direction. This becomes a problem when the freewheel needs to be removed. Having undergone high torque from leg muscles, it is difficult to loosen and remove the freewheels. A freehub, on the other hand, has cogs that slide onto an axially-splined cylindrical outer shell. A lockring or the last cog(s) are threaded onto the freehub. It is fastened to the wheel hub itself with a hollow retaining screw (for example, using a hex key on some models) through which the axle is inserted during operation.
  • The chain gear sprockets wear faster than the ratcheting mechanism. Replacing individual sprockets on a freehub cassette is easy compared to that on some freewheels.
  • The ball bearings for the wheel's axle are in the hub, but a multi-speed freewheel requires a considerable distance between the drive-side bearings and the drive-side frame dropout. This distance acts as a leverage force on the axle. Since the freehub can have its bearings near the end of the cassette (and the dropout), axle bending and breaks are far less common. Not all manufactures/models use this design. Those designs often use an axle made from oversize aluminum to compensate for the additional bending moment on the axle.

Beyond removal from the hub and of the cassette, there is limited, if any, access for cleaning and lubrication. The part can be fabricated relatively inexpensively and is not intended to be serviced or disassembled with hand tools. The latter is only possible by means of specialized or shop equipment. The outer cup covering the ratchet pawls and bearings is pressed into place at the factory, secured by interference fit, leveraging the same inner threads of the shell into which the cassette lockring normally screws.


The concept of a freehub was devised and manufactured by British company Bayliss-Wiley in 1938[2][3] and won the Cyclists Touring Club (CTC) award for that year. On the Bayliss-Wiley design the freewheel unit was threaded to accept the sprockets. A different four speed design was manufactured by BSA Cycles Ltd in 1949 to accompany their BSA 4 Star derailleur gear. The BSA design had a splined freewheel unit (BSA part No.8-1913) which attached to the hub shell (BSA part No.8-701) and carried four sprockets.[4]

Shimano made their first freehub in 1978 in both the Dura-Ace, and 600 (later known as Ultegra) models. It was a significant improvement.[5] It proved to be the first widely commercially successful freehub.

Freehubs, manufactured by various companies, are now common on mid- to high-end bicycles today. Nevertheless, freewheels continue to be fitted on some new bikes, especially single speed, and cheaper models of derailleur bicycles.

See also


  1. ^  
  2. ^ "Bayliss-Wiley unit hub". Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  3. ^ "Bayliss-Wiley hubs". Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  4. ^ Bicycle Replacement Parts - Catalogue of Genuine B.S.A Spares for B.S.A., Sunbeam and New Hudson Bicycles. B.S.A. Cycles Limited. 1951. p. 87. 
  5. ^ Berto, Frank; Ron Shepherd; et al. (2005). The dancing chain : history and development of the derailleur bicycle. San Francisco, CA, USA: Van der Plas Publications/Cycle Publications. pp. 263–264.  

External links

  • Bicycle Freewheels from
  • Exploded view of Shimano FH-7800 rear freehub
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.