My bike

Almost exactly 1 year ago I bought a second-hand (frankly barely used) Fixie Inc Floater single-speed to use as a commuter (on my tiny 10 minute cycle) and for general cycling around Milton Keynes.

It's been great but recently the rear axle has become noisy; rattling, creaking and cracking especially when peddling up-hill. It was particularly noticeable when I took up some of the slack in the chain. Some research suggested I needed to replace the freewheel hub.

Halo Clickster 17T

After some brief looking around I picked up a Halo Clickster (17 tooth) and a freewheel remover. I initially got the wrong freewheel remover (thanks Evans Cycles...); the Clickster needs a 4-notch 40mm diameter removal tool not a smaller 4-notch tool that's designed for tiny BMX freewheels.

One of the reasons I picked up a single-speed was because I wanted to be able to look after it myself cheaply and easily, so instead of taking it to the local shop I cycled it down to my parents (who have more tools than me) to do the swap-over.

The tools for removing freewheels are irritatingly shallow; you can't always get the freewheel off without also taking apart some of the axle, which also means avoiding losing all the bearings inside. Fortunately this gave us a chance to give it a good clean up and apply some new grease. It also allowed us to discover that the bearing cone was far too tight (it took a lot of effort to undo) which made the movement of the axle pretty rough.

Getting some help

We also unsurprisingly had a lot of trouble taking the freewheel off. We fixed the removal tool in a vice and rotated the wheel on top of it to get it out. Even so it took quite a lot of effort, you'd never manage with just a spanner.

With the new freewheel in place the bike feels a lot better. All of the rattle from the rear axle has gone! Also the extra points in the Clickster make a very satisfying sound compared to an ordinary freewheel, which is a nice bonus. It does however make it a lot less 'free'. There isn't any noticeable drag when cycling but it's harder to spin the pedals backwards now, and when pushing the bike along by hand the pedals turn with the wheel as if the bike was fixed-gear. But overall I'm pleased. Hopefully this one will last longer than the last!

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