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If you forgot to remove the freewheel before cutting the hub from the rim, there is a good chance the hub can still be saved

by Michael Wolfe

Tech articles | Commentary articles | Product Manager series part 3

Michael Wolfe is the owner of South Salem CycleWorks. Though his storefront is closed, he still services bikes in Salem, Oregon and has posted for sale an astonishing collection of vintage parts, bikes, tools, cycling shoes (both vintage and modern) and clothing. Here's his web site.

Michael Wolfe of South Salem Cycleworks explains his technique for saving a hub after a rim has been cut from a hub before the freewheel was removed, an easily made mistake:

Many years ago, when this happened much more frequently, one could simply remove the cogs from the freewheel body, unless it was a freewheel where the inner cogs were be threaded on to the back of the freewheel body. Freewheels made by Atom and Regina were made this way.

I initially attempted to remove hubs from a freewheel using the Var adjustable pin tool, but found there were times it could not exert the necessary leverage. I then began lacing the flange next to the freewheel, with brake cables, to the openings in the Var after removing the pins from the tool. This worked well until I noticed the Var tool was beginning to bend. I felt some guilt about this, as it is an exceptional tool.

VAR pin tool

The long-suffering VAR pin tool

The Park HCS-1 tool was designed to straighten steel crank arms, though with nearly all bikes coming with aluminum cotterless crankarms, the Park tool use has been sidelined. But by lacing the flange next to the freewheel, even with cogs still in place, the Park tool provides plenty of leverage for removing freewheels.

Removing freewheel

Here's our problem.

PArk HCS-1 tool

Here's the Park HCS-1 tool before we go to work.

Freewheel removal

The hub laced to the Park tool.

Removing freewheel

It's not pretty, but it works

Splined freewheel tool

Here's a splined freehweel remover clamped down in the vise.

Removing freewheel

We are ready. The freewheel removing tool is in the vise and inserted into the freewheel.

In this instance, the splined body of a Regina CX did not require the use of an axle and quick-release. Had it required a pronged freewheel remover, the axle would have to be re-inserted and the freewheel tool secured tightly to the body using the quick-release.

Removing freewheel

The job is done. A beautiful, valuable hub has been saved,

In this case, the use of the freewheel tool was to potentially save the body and re-build the freewheel. The customer had disassembled the body and broke the lockring into two halves, and upon looking closer, stripped a few threads from the body as well. I could have removed the pawls and spring from the body, and used the flats of the body in the jaws of the vise if there had been any hope of re-building the freewheel body. In this case, the entire freewheel had to be tossed.