Fix Your Bike. Grease Your Bearings and Change Your Freewheel.




About: I'm an environmentally conscious experimenter who loves to bring people together, build things, and when possible...blow things up! See us on YouTube too!

Most people don't realize this, but your bike needs maintenance. Your axle bearings needs to be cleaned and repacked with grease every 500 miles (100 on a mountain bike).
This instructable shows how to repack your axle bearings and install a new freewheel body (if you need one).

Step 1: Remove the Wheel From Your Bike.

If you don't know how to do this much already, this may be too big a job for you at this point.

Step 2: Remove the Quick Release Skewer.

Remove the quick-release skewer from the axle. Take care not to lose those tiny springs.

Step 3: Remove the Cassette

You'll need a special tool to remove the cassette from the hub. $6 at a bike shop. You'll also need a wrench to turn the tool.

Step 4: Remove the Cassette...cont.

Finally you'll need a chain whip or cog holder to hold the sprockets in place while you unscrew the cassette retaining nut. Once removed, the cog stack will slde off the freewheel body effortlessly.

Step 5: Remove the Axle

Here is the freewheel body and axle in place.
First remove the jam-nut and washer from the axle then remove the bearing cone nut. This holds the bearings in place.

Step 6: Remove the Bearings

See the bearings within. Remove the bearings and clean everything till it is absolutely spotless. Aerosol brake parts cleaner works very well for this and only costs $1.99 at your local auto parts store.

Step 7: Remove Old Freewheel Body

If you're just greasing your bearings, SKIP THIS STEP!
Insert appropriate sized allen wrench into freewheel body and unscrew. Set aside the old freewheel body and place the retaining bolt with all the other stuff you need to clean.

Step 8: Clean Everything.

Clean the cogs, axle, cone nuts, washers, jam-nuts and especially the interior of the bearing cups in the hub. If you see any residue of any kind, you need to clean some more.

Step 9: Replace Freewheel Body...cont.

Unwrap the new part. View the instructions and take whatever action you see fit. Personally, I found the instructions insulting. They essentially said: "Be sure to install the part correctly." in 8 different languages, but didn't say exactly HOW to do it.

Step 10: Installing the New Freewheel Body.

I recommend Marine Axle Bearing Grease for your bearings. It's for boat trailers and is available cheap at your local auto parts store.
Apply a generous coating of grease to all the mating surfaces like the steel washer between the freewheel body and the hub and the freewheel locking bolt.
Replace the freewheel body and tighten the locking bolt.

Step 11: Re-installing the Axle.

Load up the bearing races with generous helpings of marine axle grease. Load both sides with grease before you replace the bearings. The grease will hold the bearings in place.

Step 12: Insert the Axle.

Load the bearings into the brake side first and insert the axle. The axle will help hold the bearings in place. On the opposite side, place the axle part way into the hub and load the bearings into the cup area. Once all the bearings are in, push the axle the rest of the way in. Next replace the cone nut that holds the bearings in place.
Finally, tighten the cone nut until you feel some binding then back off the tension until the wheel spins freely with no binding or rough feeling. Finally add the washer and jam-nut and tighten it all down. If it starts binding, loosen it up a little.

Step 13: Replace the Cog Stack.

Notice there is one small groove on the freewheel body. There is a corresponding slot in the cog stack. This ensures that the cog stack can only go on one way. Replace the cog locking nut.

Step 14: Re-install the Wheel.

Replace the quick release skewer. Note that the springs are cone-shaped. The big end faces away from the hub.
You're now ready top replace the wheel on the bike.



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    60 Discussions


    8 months ago

    How do you know it needs a new freewheel assembly?

    1 reply

    Reply 8 months ago

    If it doesn't work the way it should, that's a pretty good indicator.


    1 year ago

    I want to say thank you for sharing the guide above – a very helpful step by step I’ve found and its made my life a lot easier. Keep sharing!


    3 years ago

    On my bike somehow the bearing was shredded to pieces and I noticed it when I was riding and the bearing suddenly lost grip... Can you please reference me to some sources to get a new one? This would be greatly appreciated!

    1 reply
    Bryce NesbittSydT

    Reply 2 years ago

    Any bicycle store can supply a new bearing. Check to make sure the races are not too pitted or damaged.


    4 years ago on Step 10

    I've been using white, lithium, marine, grease and it seems to work nicely. It claims to be impervious to water. I wonder if such greases create any drag that thinner greases might not create. So far i'm happy with the white grease.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    The springs on the quick release skewer? No, they're not even slightly difficult to reassemble.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I use the new Bearing App for Android its called BearingCalc..You can get it on Google play. Its helps figure out bearings..Well worth the 2 bucks!

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    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for this wonderful instructable. This has really helped me a lot.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Marsh,

    The instructions are great. I am wondering whether you can provide a list of recommended tools such as type of spanners and so on.

    Looking forward to hearing from you…..



    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is hell of a great ible! I have to change the bearings on my rear wheel and didn't know where to start! Winter with the snow and salt is terrible on the mechanic! Thanks again for sharing ...


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I just did this to both wheels on my old bike and it really makes a difference. The marine axle grease i bought was a strange turquoise color so I hope thats ok.

    I put grease fittings on my wheels a few years ago. I found it makes a huge difference, it keeps my bike roling smooth and quiet by keeping it properly lubricated. (Cell Phone Pic in Poor Lighting) But I'm sure you get the idea.

    3 replies

    Sorry I didn't get back with you sooner but I have been on vacation and that included staying away from the computer.
    It was really just a matter of pulling out the axle bolt, then I drilled a hole in the hub housing and threaded it with a tap for the grease fitting.
    If there is a trick it's getting in between the spokes with the drill, depending on your wheel and your drill you might need to use a short drill bit or even a right angle drill made for tight spots.
    Other than that it is pretty simple and it really does make a big difference.

    Thanks for asking