How to Maintain Freewheel and Cassette

Posted by tan xiao yan on

Doing the ordinary clean, degrease and lube to freewheel is the best way to maintain freewheels.

What you need:
Assorted rags
Cleaning pad
Something to open the wheel (may use an old Philips screwdriver)
A tray (very important)

Step 1: Opening the Freewheel

When opening freewheel, you should be careful and do it slowly. If needed, use a hammer to tap the screwdriver gently till it starts to move. Afterward, put it on top of your tray.

Step2: Clean the Bearings

Carefully take the casing of freewheel out and let the bearings drop in the tray. Take the rest of them and put them in the tray for cleaning (in order to clean them, you can put them inside the rag and scrubbed them clean)

Step 3: Disassemble the Freewheel

Took the rest of the freewheel apart and cleaned everything

Step 4: Clean the Body of the Freewheel

Just use your pad and scrub everything really gentle till it's clean

Step 5: Reassembling

Start reassembling everything in the inverse order you disassembled

Step 6: Reassembling the Bearings

Put the grease in the lower place for the bearings and start ''gluing'' the little balls there (keep a little bit of grease in your fingertip and use it to put the bearings in place)

Step 7: Reassembling the Cassette to the Wheel

With the metal pieces in the right position slowly insert the cassette while turn it counter-clockwise till it gets in place

Step 8: Rest of the Bearings and Close

Once again grease everything and add the balls. Put the cover slowly once again and tap it lightly till it feels firm again and you got a clean freewheel again.


Generally, the best way to clean your cassette is to take it off, bath, and scrub it in a degreaser solution. But when you are lazy or don’t have much free time to do that, a quick result is needed. Also, you may use some product hacks that will make your life easier, and keep your cassette shinier.

Before starting the quick clean, you should definitely make sure that you have cleaned and lubed your chain and your chain rings first. Otherwise, your freshly cleaned cassette will get a brand new coating of whatever junk was already in the chain and rings.


An old toothbrush

A shop rag or microfiber cloth

A shoelace

Degreaser – choose your favorite kind

Cleaning your cassette without bothering to remove it

Remove the wheel
Pick your favorite cleaning tool, and get it soaked with degreaser. Not too soaked, but enough to help break up the grime.
Lay the wheel down flat, cassette up. With a shop apron on, you can just put the wheel in your lap. Do what’s most comfortable to you.
Start at the biggest sprocket, and work the rag (or shoelace/floss, etc.) all the way in toward the hub. The technique here lies in working with the freehub–pull your rag left to collect the grime and then right to move to a new section of the cassette.
Repeat between each sprocket until you’ve got the whole cassette cleaned up and shiny again.
Replace your wheel (after you’ve cleaned the chain), lube your chain, and you’re good to go.
Then, you finish.

Note: it’s generally best to do this maintenance after a ride, and let your bike sit overnight before riding it–you don’t want to ride your best friends filled with all the road muck.

Click here to see the video of HOW TO CLEAN, DEGREASE, LUBE A BIKE FREEWHEEL.