How to Remove a Shimano Freewheel

How to Remove a Shimano Freewheel
At times, your bicycle will need repair due to wear, and one area often in need is the drivetrain. The rear freewheel is a significant part of your drivetrain and may need to be removed for replacement, lubrication, deep cleaning or even hub and wheel repairs. When you replace your chain, you should consider replacing your chain rings and freewheel as well. Knowing how to remove your freewheel can save time and money.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Chain whip
  • Freewheel remover
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Bike repair stand
Step 1
Place your bike in the repair stand in an upright position. When you are not working with a repair stand, roll the bike onto the back wheel and let it rest on the seat and handlebars. Gently place it on the ground.
Step 2
Loosen the rear brake, opening it enough to allow the rear tire to slide through the brake pads. Often, your brake will use a lever or a cable to open the brake system wide enough for a tire to escape. Disc-brake users do not need to do anything with the brake. Loosen the quick-release skewer on the rear wheel enough to remove the wheel from the frame. For wheels without quick release, use an adjustable wrench and loosen the nuts on each side of the axle.
Step 3
Slide the wheel toward the rear dropouts in your bicycle frame, while lifting your chain off the freewheel. Gently let your chain hang off the front chain ring. Continue removing the wheel from the frame. Place the wheel on the ground with the freewheel facing up.
Step 4
Remove the quick-release skewer from the hub of your wheel and set it aside. Place the freewheel remover on the hub, sliding it into the splines of your freewheel. For freewheel removers without guide pins, lock the tool in place by reattaching your skewer to the hub.
Step 5
Attach your chain whip to the chain ring on your hub with the chain lying over the top of the axle, and the handle to the right of the hub. Using your adjustable wrench, turn the freewheel remover tool counterclockwise. Your lockring may make loud noises when you loosen it because of the inner surface, which is normal. Continue loosening the lockring until you can remove it from the hub. Remove your freewheel from the splined portion of the hub.

For older threading freewheels, you will use your chain whip to loosen and remove the entire assembly. You will not have splines or use the freewheel remover tool.

Tips & Warnings

Make sure your freewheel remover is the correct size tool for your specific freewheel.
Beware of the sharp teeth on your rear sprockets as you tighten your chain whip and loosen the lockring.

Article Written By Jeremy Slaughter

Jeremy Slaughter is a tax, accounting and small business expert. After completing his master's degree in accounting at Keller Graduate School of Management, Slaughter co-founded an accounting and tax firm where writing plays a daily role.

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