How much drag should a freewheel have?

KneesUp

Veteran
My chain snapped on the way to work this morning, and it was noticeable how much easier it was to push the bike without a chain than it is to push it with the chain.

There was no weight saving, as I put the chain on the rear rack - the only difference was the freehub/freewheel/bit that means you don't have to pedal wasn't engaged and ticking away. Is this normal, or does it suggest some sort of servicing might be appropriate? It's a cheapo hub, and I have felt a bit of roughness under load which I think is the hub over the past month or so.

Thanks.
 
Location
Loch side.
Put the bike in a stand, remove the chain. Spin up the rear wheel and put your finger on the now-spinning freewheel. If it stops with finger pressure, it is fine. It it rips your finger off, it has too much drag.
 

Slioch

Guru
Location
York
A slightly different question about freewheels whilst we're on the subject (sorry OP). :smile:

When coasting the ticking sound mine makes is generally pretty quiet, and this is the same for all my bikes.

Occasionally however I will come across someone with a really loud one, generally on higher end road bikes.

Is this level of noise normal for some freewheels? Mine are all Shimano if that is relevant?
 
Location
Loch side.
A slightly different question about freewheels whilst we're on the subject (sorry OP). :smile:

When coasting the ticking sound mine makes is generally pretty quiet, and this is the same for all my bikes.

Occasionally however I will come across someone with a really loud one, generally on higher end road bikes.

Is this level of noise normal for some freewheels? Mine are all Shimano if that is relevant?
Yes, Shimano is relevant because those are nice and quiet and civilised.

Campag freewheels are noisy, but can be silenced with grease, so no problem.

Rude brands like Hope and Chris King have built their fame on noisy freewheels. It attracts a certain type of person. Nudge nudge, wink wink.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
A noisy freewheel is as good as a bell when coming up behind pedestrians on cycle paths.

I do miss my Campag stuff, I wish I hadn't swapped to the other side.
I noticed the lack of that noise the first time that I rode my Shimano-equipped CX bike. My other bikes (with Campagnolo/Hope/Mavic freehubs) all make enough noise when freewheeling to stop most pedestrians dead in their tracks, unless they have earphones in, in which case I just run them over...***






*** That was a JOKE - no dozy pedestrians were hurt when I was preparing this post! :laugh:
 
If the pedals turn when pushing the bike along, there's probably too much drag. My Shimano 18T freewheel is like this even after I took the whole thing apart and rebuilt it, so it's not gummed up. I think they shim them for zero wobble at the factory.
 

Adam4868

Guru
A slightly different question about freewheels whilst we're on the subject (sorry OP). :smile:

When coasting the ticking sound mine makes is generally pretty quiet, and this is the same for all my bikes.

Occasionally however I will come across someone with a really loud one, generally on higher end road bikes.

Is this level of noise normal for some freewheels? Mine are all Shimano if that is relevant?

View: https://youtu.be/P0icIq8UUsM

They actually do a ring tone of that noise !
 
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