Freehub noise and wobble


Active Member
Cleaned the cassette with gt85 on the bike, being careful not to let any get into the freehub as I always do. Then went for a 50 mile ride. 49.9 miles in and I noticed a noise similar to when the magnet on the spokes hits the pickup on the chainstay. Turned out this was the freehub making the noise.

The noise is only when freewheeling or slightly worse when backpedaling and sounds like it could be an ungreased pawl. The noise only happens when freewheeling when the pedals are at a particular o'clock position (ie when the freewheel is in a particular position). Any other position and it is silent.

The freewheel engages properly when pedalling and is quiet under load. When the bike is upside down and the wheel is spun so the pedals should not rotate, the pedals are not being forced to turn by the freewheel, so again smooth yet noisy when the pedals are at a particular position.

The final point, there is a slight oscilation (wobble) when the freewheel is spinning freely regardless of pedal position, suggesting the freewheel could be loose.

There is some urgency to get this sorted as I am doing a charity coast to coast ride on Friday and I'm wondering...

1. Do you think I will be ok to ride the 150 miles on the C2C and get it repaired after?
2. Would a liberal application of more GT85 and application / soaking of chainoil possibly be a fix?
3. Does anyone living in the Teesside area have an 11mm allen key that I could borrow to remove / retighten and regrease everything?
4. How much would you expect a whole new rear wheel with a branded hub and freewheel to cost (as I may just go for the quick fix route at the LBS)?

Bike is a 2011 Tricross Sport
Hub is unbranded OEM, presumably the freehub is too.
Bike has done 1020 miles


Well-Known Member
Hi mate,

Sounds like a bearing in your freehub is bust. The lateral wobble indicates the freehub is bust. Same thing happened to me after about the same mileage.

1) No idea at all. Mine was rideable for a good 300 miles more before I had to get it totally replaced as the freehub would slip seemingly at random (usually when I decide to put power on for a sprint -.- )

2) Taking the cassette off and going crazy with GT85 may help. When I first took it to my preferred bike shop, they actually measured my freehub (as yours, unbranded) and tried two others (they only charged me £15 for stripping and rebuilding my hub twice...). They then packed it all with grease and said "hopefully this'll hold til you can get it fixed". The freehub isn't generally under load (it's either spinning happily and without pressures on it, or just locked; on this basis I would suggest GT85 would be adequate (as opposed to a grease that would be for heavier duty parts)

3) I believe it's a 12mm allen key (it was on mine) that you need. I now have a different wheel on the back so could post you it if you wanted (but it's probably a bit late if you need the bike on Friday...

4) Call and ask. The wheels on the tricross (don't know about the sport) were complete touring wheels, incredibly strong but very heavy and not very aero - they weren't expensive anyway. Your best bet is to call LBS man and ask. Maybe £50 for a similar rear..??

Is your bike under warranty? Spec customer services are outstanding. If you asked them nicely enough they would possibly be willing to let you change the wheelset and reimburse you (partially maybe). When I did it it had to go to a Specialized dealer who took about 5 days - they had to order the wheel in from Spec and only then could they fit it...

Specialized told me that, at the time (6months ago) they didn't actually distribute or even make the freehubs separately and but offered me a replacement wheelset. They did say that they'd be available to purchase separately around this time of this year onwards.


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester
Time to pull to bits.

Shimano needs a 10mm hex key from drive side, non Shimano need 12mm from non-drive side (for Shimano compatible hubs only) if you have something exotic, then they are all different.

You do need a few tools though. Cassette remover, chain whip, appropriate Allen/hex key and cone scanners.

My wife's bike rear hub became wobbly and it was the retaining bolt for the free hub. If you can get the free hub off, bearings removed, you can run oil through it to free up anything sticky. It does take a bit of mechanical knowledge and being able to put things back in order though.


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester
Yes, a cone and cup bearing adjustment is quite a fine art the first few times, think I took about six hours for me to get it right - but I am a perfectionist
It's a doddle when you know what to do though and you get it spot on all the time. Takes practice though.


Active Member
Ended up buying a new wheel with a Tiagra hub as 2 bike shops advised the existing freehub was dead. Really disappointed with Specialized. This bike has never been used in the wet or winter (ie no gritted roads), and yet the part failed at just 1200 miles. My Scott hybrid on the other hand, which cost only £350 against the £1000 of the Specialized came with a Shimano hub and has racked up 4000 miles - the only components I have changed was the rear casette & chain at about 2800 miles, brake and gear cables around 2500 miles.

Anywho, rant over. The new wheel / hub never missed a beat on the coast to coast :smile:
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