Service Blog Archives

Servicing A White Industries S.S. Freewheel 12/29/09 Pete H

With the freewheel still on the wheel, rotate the blue anodized ring clockwise with a pin spanner. You can see that the direction to "UNDO" the blue ring is stamped on the ring.




This is what you'll see once the blue anodized ring is removed.At this point you can remove the freewheel from the wheel if you choose.




Remove the snap ring.




Remove the dark blue seal. You'll need to remove the freewheel from the wheel at this point if you haven't already.




Remove the black o-ring.




Flip the freewheel over and remove the bright blue seal.




Here are all of the parts.

Nokian Studded Tire Care 12/23/09 Pete H

Nokian studded tires need to be broken in. To break them in you need to ride them on pavement for thirty miles without accelerating or stopping hard. This helps set-in the studs so they are less likely to fall out. If you do lose a stud or two it's not a big deal but if you've lost more than a few you can replace them. We sell the replacement studs and tool or we can do it for you. Here's how.



Locate the missing stud (insert joke here).




You'll need replacement studs and a tool like this one.




Put a stud into the end of the tool.




Wet the tire to ease installation. Start pushing the stud in sideways...


...then tilt it up as you continue to push down.




Notice how the new stud sits higher than the old studs that have been set-in.

This Bike Is A Snow Magnet 12/24/09 Pete H

Mark sent me this from a trail patrol that he was on a few nights ago. The bike seemed to collect snow while the rest of the bikes did not. He says that the bike wasn't warm. There were other bikes with the same fenders and tires. The trail wasn't particularly snowy. The best guess we have as to why this bike was the only one to collect snow is that the internal hub was creating static electricity which attracted the snow much like those the way those Styrofoam packing peanuts stick to you when you open a package.

Servicing A Shimano Freehub 12/22/09 Pete H

Remove the freehub body from the hub shell.




Remove the seal from the back side.




Remove the dust cap.




Install the Morningstar Freehub Buddy.




Purge the old grease out.




Decide if you want to try to replace the old dust cap or install a new Morningstar dust cap.




Install the dust cap.




Re-assemble the hub.




What year did Shimano manufacture their first freehub?

Be the first person to e-mail the correct answer to and win $10 of Freewheel Midtown Cafe bucks.

12/23/09 4:43pm We have a winner. The first person to respond answered "1978" which is what I was expecting. The secomd person to respond said "The first was made in 1977 but the first on the market was 1978 (?)" which was a better answer than I expected so she got a prize too. Thanks for playing.





Winterizing Stephen's Bike - Part 2, 12/17/09 Pete H

I had a chance to catch up with Stephen today and got some very positive feedback on the changes that I made to his bike last weekend. Stephen rode for about two hours today in single digit temperatures. He noticed that his bike definitely had less drag. If overhauling his hubs made that much difference then he's going to love what I'm about to do to his bike now.


I took apart his pedals and repacked them with the Morningstar Lectric Lube,...




...then did the same to his bottom bracket bearing.




I found this nice little surprise when I opened up his derailleur pulleys. Now you might think that I would replace this pulley but I didn't. It actually cleaned up well and started spinning again so I put some Lectric Lube in it and put it back on. We can replace it later if it becomes a problem but for now there is no better test.


I took the cover off his Sram shifter to replace a cable. Any guesses what I lubricated the shifter with?




I ran continuous housing to the rear derailleur. I filled the housing with Lectric Lube too. Because this bike had a downtube routed shift cable I converted it to continuous housing. This will reduce the number of places where water can freeze up the system. The Lectric Lube will help seal the remaining two openings.




I had to use a zip tie to clamp the housing to the frame near the bottom bracket. A little tech tip that I learned from my buddy and master mechanic Preston Fall; Use a side cutters to cut off the excess zip tie so that it doesn't leave a sharp edge that could cut you.




I used this Problem Solvers hydraulic line guide near the head tube for cleaner finish.




By running continuous housing I was able to eliminate the bottom bracket cable guide. This will allow water to drain drain out of the frame. I've seen a couple frames ruined when the water in the chainstays froze. The frame tubes actually expanded outward and ruptured.

You can win a free syringe of Morningstar Lectric Lube on the condition that you put it in your hubs and give me a before and after report that I can post on this blog. All you have to do is be the first person to e-mail the correct answer to the following trivia question to Prize available for in store pick up only.

Who said; "Tell me I forget. Teach me I remember. Involve me I learn."?

12/17/09 11:45am We have a winner. Thanks for playing.


A reminder to drain your bike.

I think it's yer pipes! Poor Ben's bike. We see this a couple times a year. Frames can fill up with water, when it freezes it busts the tubes. So make sure to drain the water out of your bike, especially in the winter. The best idea is to make sure that there is a place for the water to drain out on it's own.


Winterizing Stephen's Bike - Part 1, 12/12/09 Pete H

I chose this bike because it has many of the things a good winter commuter bike should have. Twenty nine inch wheels for more float over snow, studded tires for grip on ice, disc brakes for consistent performance in all conditions, and a single front ring with multiple rear gears.




I will be using this Morningstar Lectric Lube for a few different applications. It is a five part mix of silicone and Teflon with ionized copper. Have you ever noticed how your bike feels really slow when the temps drop below freezing. That's the grease in your bearings thickening up. This Lectric Lube isn't supposed to do that.




I started with the rear hub. As you can see this freehub body was a mess. Freehub bodies are a known source of trouble for winter riders. They often seize up or fail to engage all together.




These pawls were rusty. Notice the pawl in the bottom of the frame is actually stuck down. Stephen admitted to riding it through last winter and putting it away without prepping it for storage. I suspect that this stuck pawl was the one at the lowest point during storage allowing most of the water to settle onto it.




I removed the all of the seals and got to work.




Here it is all cleaned up. Notice that I also degreased the cartridge bearing too. 




I repacked the bearings on both sides of the hub using the Lectric Lube. The beauty of this Lectric Lube is that it works in a wide range of temperatures so you don't have to replace it for the summer.




I also used the Lectric Lube on the pawls to ensure trouble free operation. It was amazing how little drag the axle and freehub had after putting it back together. Once I put the wheel back on the bike we were all quite surprised how long the wheel would continue to spin once set in motion. I am very excited about the potential of this stuff. I will be getting constant feedback from Stephen as this project progresse and I will keep you updated.



What is the claimed operating temperature range of "Lectric Lube"? Be the first to e-mail the correct answer to and win these Fox Platinum gloves, size large (in store pick up only).

12/12/09 5:50pm. We have a winner. The answer is -49f to 120f. Thanks for all the e-mails.

The Lectric Lube package showing the usable temperature range.




Here's Leejay with his new gloves.




Brake Boss Repair 12/10/09 Pete Hamer

When I began to tighten the brake mounting bolt the brake post broke off.


So I ground off what was left of the post,...


...tapped the remaining threads,...


..and installed this repair kit.


I was able to mount the rear brake back onto the frame.


What size tap (thread diameter and pitch) did I use in this repair?

Be the first person to e-mail the correct answer to and win this hat.

12/10/09 4:52pm Phaedrus is the winner! Thanks for playing.



Winter Bike Overhaul 12/7/09 Pete Hamer

The beginning of winter is usually the best time of the year to overhaul your bike for a few reasons. First, as winter storage, it is harder on the bike to be stored with water in the bearings than to be ridden while there is water in the bearings. If stored with water in the bearings, the water will settle and start corroding the bearing surfaces. When you ride your bike the bearings move the grease around, re-coating the metal parts and preventing the water from settling. Second, as winter riding prep, packing the bearings full of grease will help seal them and keep water out. Third, for convenience, most shops will have a very short turn around time on repairs in the winter and there's also a good chance that you won't be in a hurry to get your bike back. Finally, for savings, most shops will be running a special on overhauls in the winter. At Freewheel Bike we offer our overhaul at a discount plus free pick-up and delivery from October though January.



This Schwinn Fastback was in rough shape when it came in for it's winter overhaul.



This section of cable housing was too short and the derailleur hanger was bent.



The entire drivetrain was a filthy mess.



The bar wrap was falling off.



The chain and cassette were worn out.



The bottom bracket was starting to rust.



The derailleur pulleys were worn out.



So I stripped the bike down to the frame and started getting things cleaned up.



I honed out the seat tube,...



...and greased it.



I used anti-seize on the bottom bracket threads to prevent galvanic corrosion. Galvanic corrosion occurs when two different types of metal are in contact with each other and there is an electrolyte present. Particles from the less noble metal transfer to the more noble metal, effectively creating a current. In this case the bottom bracket bearing was steel and the bottom bracket shell was aluminum. The electrolyte usually comes in the form of sweat or winter road slush. The copper in the anti-seize acts as a sacrificial anode to prevent the steel and aluminum from cold welding together.



Then I put the drivetrain into our environmentally friendly solvent tank. It uses a water based solvent and heat. It's kinda like a big dish washer.



Now the parts are clean and ready to be inspected further.



That's when I noticed this front derailleur pivot screw had started backing out.



Contrary to popular belief, many sealed cartridge bearings can be serviced. You just need to gently remove the seal, clean them out, re-grease the bearings and put the seals back in.



This headset bearing system is unique to Schwinns from the late 90s. It is like the current Internal System but with different fit dimensions



The old derailleur pulleys got replaced with these ceramic bearing pulleys. They were only $36.



All of the bolts get greased before being put back on.



The pedals had grease ports that allowed me to use new grease to force out the old, dirty grease.



The hubs had dirt where there should have been grease. I used my favorite hub cleaning tool, a cotton swab...



... and Clean Streak to get the hub really clean.



Then I repacked the hubs with new grease and high quality, grade 25 ball bearings.



This pitted cone had to be replaced.



Here I test mate the new cone to make sure it is a good match.



At Freewheel Bike we measure and adjust spoke tension when we do an overhaul.



My favorite part of every repair is the test ride. It's also an important part of our quality control system at Freewheel.



After a mechanic is done with a repair it has to go through a quality control inspection by different mechanic.



Remember how the bike looked before... it is after the overhaul.



The parts are nice and clean and the cable housing is now the right length. Now it shifts quickly and requires less hand strength.




Win these socks by being the first person to e-mail the correct answer to the following trivia question to Available for in store pick up only, one size fits all ( I hope). What is the four letter initialism for the unique headset standard used on this Schwinn and what do the letters stand for? An initialism is like an acronym but it does not create a word that can be pronounced.

12/5/09 1:34pm we have a winner! Thanks for playing.


Full spectrum of fixie wheels 11/28/09

Show Santa what's up when you give your loved one a pair of these. Colored fixie wheelsets now 25% off!

Festivus for rest of us. 11/24/09

Today we decorated the store for the holidays. Someone thought it would be funny to decorate Bryan's repair stand. It reminded me of that Seinfeld episode about Festivus.

It's not all about the performance. 11/19/09

We got these colored spokes in the shop today so we decided to make a project out of it.



The spokes only come in 308mm length so we cut them and rolled new threads using our Phil Wood spoke machine.



Dave promptly laced up a new set of wheels for his red Raleigh.



He decided to lace the rear wheel two leading, two trailing to make a this pattern.



Here's his bike before. Kind of boring.




And here's his bike after. He cut his bars down, pumped up his tires and put some Super Loob on his anodized chain.

Hipster, that's the name of Dave's game!


Be the first person to send an e-mail to with the correct answers to the following two part trivia question and you will win this Park Tool nipple wrench. What was the model name of Park Tool's first product and what was the name of the bike shop that Park Tool evolved from?. Product available for in store pick up only.

11/24/09 12:47pm We have a winner! The answer is PRS-1 (repair stand) and Hazel Park Bicycle. Thanks for playing.



Recycling Day 11/17/09

Today was recycling day at Freewheel Bike. Above you can see Mark's trailer loaded up with six months worth of recycling. This is mostly made up of old rims, frames and hubs.




The steel needs to be separated from the aluminum. That means all of the spokes have to be cut out of the wheels. Mark and Ben did this by hand with a side cutters one night after work.




There arms probably look like Popeye's arms now.





That's about 200lbs of weight that Mark is towing.





I'm sure this was a strange sight to many motorists.





Check out this really cool inner tube wallet! It can be all yours by answering the trivia question below. Just think, you'll probably be the only one that ownes one of these! Won't your friends be jealous!?





How many rims are on top of this trailer? (not including the ones that are part of the trailer) Be the first person to e-mail the correct answer to and the tube wallet is yours. Cash not included. Available for in store pick up only.



11/18/09 12:30pm We have a winner! The answer is 71. Thanks to everyone who played. Here's Ondre with his cool new tube wallet.


11-10-09 2010 HiFi build... new standards!

This just in!! We had a fun day of building up a 2010 Fisher HiFi Pro... What was fun about this specific frame?



For starters we have this head tube.  It is 1 1/8 at the top and 1.5 at the bottom. 


We are able to use a standard 1 1/8 fork with this frame OR the new ones that are 1 1/8 at the top and 1.5 at the bottom.  Can you say awesome handling?!


The HiFi also comes set to take the shimano BB91 press fit bottom bracket. 



This little guy (well... actually really big guy) presses directly into the frame to give a clean look, great durability and a larger area for the down tube and seat tube to be attached. 



Now this is the really cool part! It has a direct mount front der.  This ensures perfect mounting, greater stiffness and a really clean look.



See what I mean about clean?


O.K. Now who wants to win this seat cover featuring this local suspension guru?  You may ask yourself... "Self, how can I win this sweet seat cover?".  Well let me tell you!  First, who is this fella on the seat cover?  And secondly, What is the bike industry's name for the headseat standard featured in this blog today (you know, the 1 1/8 with a 1.5 base)? The answer is not tapered and not E2. (Question edited for clarification 11/10/09 10:22pm)  Please send your answers to

11/10/09 10:34 pm; We have a winner. The answer is "Frustum". Thanks for playing.


P.S. Anyone that points out grammeraticall errors is disqualified from the contest.



Here's the trivia winner, Clayton, with his new saddle cover. Way to go!


10/5/09 New Suspension Repair Bench

After 13 years and five different bike shops, I finally got a dedicated suspension repair bench. It's now complete with a rear shock dyno, a big tool box full of every suspension tool we need and all of the service parts are just around the corner. What can I say, business has been good.

Here Dave poses at the new suspension repair bench.



And just around the corner, we keep a bunch of service parts in stock to ensure quick turnaround on suspension repairs.

10/4/09 The Night Owl Classic

On August 22nd Freewheel sent a mechanical support crew to help out at the inaugural Night Owl Classic. This ride started just before dark at St. Anthony Main and wound through Minneapolis along the Mississippi river. Freewheel was there to make sure everyone had lights and to fix bikes as needed.

Here Jake sells lights to riders while I fix a bike and my beautiful wife waits patiently for me so we can start the ride.



And they're off!



Karl rode his Big Dummy loaded up with tools and a floor pump.


Soon after the ride started the sun went down and the lights came on.


We also had a couple pit stops set up along the route. Not much work going on here though.



Dave drove the Mobile Repair Unit which is all set up so that he can do repairs inside the van or out. 



Luckily Venom energy drink was there giving away beverages to help everyone stay awake and alert.



I think we had as much fun working the ride as those who rode it.

Jake even found time to practice his cyclocross skills....I think.


Blog trivia - two part question; What is the most common name for a group of owls? List five other names for a group of owls.

The first person to e-mail the correct answer(s) to wins a Park Tool bottle opener, a pair of Small/Medium Bikes Belong socks, and a Bikes Belong cow bell seen in the picture below.

10/6/09 5:26pm we have a winner! Congratulations Super Rookie.



10/1/09 We have the parts to service your Industry Nine wheels.

We just received our Industry Nine small parts and tools. We've got hub conversion kits, freehub body shells, pawls, drive rings, pawl springs, end caps, dust covers, spokes, bearings, and more. We also have the drive ring tool and the 0.5mm allen wrench. What is different about the Industry Nine version of the 61903 bearings that they use in the freehub body? The first person to e-mail the correct answer to wins a pair of Freewheel logo cycling socks.

Congratulations to Sean Collins who was the first person to respond with the answer that the O.D. was reduced from 30.0mm to 29.5mm.

Fox factory suspension training

Early one Tuesday morning Nick, the Fox tech rep, came to Freewheel to give us some factory training.



The Freewheel mechanics gathered around Nick as they took in their coffee and donuts. From left to right, Chris, Nick, Tyson, Bryan, McChain, Dave, and Patrick. I'm not sure if Patrick blinked when I snapped this photo or if he was still sleeping.


Here, Nick shows us how to use the centering tool to reassemble the TALAS adjuster.



Everyone is listening for the faint noise that indicates that the TALAS adjuster knob is clocked properly.


After the training is over we all got free stuff!


And now you can get some free Fox stuff too! The first person to e-mail me at with the correct answer to the following question will win this very cool retro Fox hat (free shipping in MN only). What does the Fox acronym "TALAS" stand for?


Here's Matt lookin' sharp in his new Fox hat.

Lizzard found in Shimano parts box.

One of our mechanics found this little petrified lizard in a Shimano brake caliper box. I wonder if he came all the way from Japan?

Employee Training Night - Suspension

The Freewheel Service Department team assembled for a late night of suspension training.


Tyson (in yellow) shows Phil how to disassemble a fox fork.


Here Graham inspects a Motion Control rebound damper shaft for scratches because this fork would not lock out.



Andy is using a torque wrench to tighten the top cap on this fork.



Karl is pretty excited about the new rear shock dyno.


Getting smarter

Pete, Dave and Tyson headed out earlier this week to visit the Hayes/Manitou crew in Milwaukee. The idea was to get some hands-on training from the guys who know more than just about anybody about Manitou suspension components and Hayes hydraulic brakes.

We spent a long day tearing into forks, shocks and brakes with one-on-one guidance from the mechanics who do this all day, every day. Hints and tips that otherwise would take years to discover were passed to us in 9 hours of intense tutorials. Raise your hand if you know how to use a nickel to set the fluid level in a Swinger shock. How about disassembling an IT spring without sending parts flying across the shop? These and other secrets made our trip more than worth it.

Here is Shannon (from Hayes/Manitou) leading Dave through a fork tear-down.

Here Colin (from Hayes/Manitou) guides Pete through the post-overhaul tests on a shock (it's nice to know that you put everything back together in the right order). We came home with one of those shock dynos, by the way. Just have to find some space on one of the benches to mount it...

Here Tyson uses a syringe that costs more than his bike to set the fluid level in an MRD fork.

Here Andy (from Hayes/Manitou) leads Dave and Tyson through caliper and master cylinder overhauls of the new Stroker series of brakes.

Here are the guts of the Hayes Stroker Ace four-piston brake caliper. That purple anodized bit is part of the special toolkit for that brake. (We managed to come home with those kits, too.)

Anyone have a truing stand at home? Not like this one, you don't (and I thought our Park TS-2's were heavy-duty!):

It's a little hard to tell what's going on in this next shot, but what you're seeing is a big spool of wire being turned into Wheelsmith spokes (which are also part of the Hayes family).

What else could we possibly cram into a 1.5-day trip to Milwaukee and back? Well, we do work at a bike shop, which pretty much requires us to ride bikes whenever we're not eating or sleeping, so went a little bit out of our way to find a bit of singletrack in the Kettle Moraine state forest outside Milwaukee. We tried to take pictures, but we were riding so fast they came out a little blurry...

What's the take-home message? We're working hard to widen our expertise and we're talking directly to the experts to do so. Next month we'll be hanging out with the folks from Fox Racing Shox. Stay tuned...


A Reminder To Change Your Brake Pads

Fox F100X Fork Service

This fork came to me with a scratched stanchion.


The tool marks on this top cap tell me that someone has been inside this fork before me.


Removing the inertia valve.


That's a lot of o-rings.


Refilling the damper. I have a way of making this look hard.

Ahh, the Chris King hub tool. It's almost too nice to use.




Removing the axle.


Disassembling the drive shell.


Lots of delicate little parts.


All cleaned up and ready for re-instalation.





This Sid needs a new Crown/Steerer/Upper assembly due to the corrosion around the steerer tube near the crown.


Driving new seals into the lowers.



Tyson bleeding the Pure damper.



Adding 10cc of oil to the lowers.



Torquing the foot nuts to 50inch/lbs


At Freewheel, our mechanics receive continuous training in order to provide the best

possible repair service. Luckily they don't mind staying late on a Sunday night to do it.

Thre are a lot of parts inside an Avid Juicy Ultimate brake system.



Karl is very meticulous

Karl is very meticulous.

Bryan is a good supervisor.


Andy and Phil working as a team.


This reapair stand was a little too tall, wish it had on the fly adjustable height.


Bleeding the boss's brakes.



Graham is having fun.



Repairing stripped crank arm extraction threads.

What do you do when the crank arm extraction threads strip out?



Repair them with the Stein Crank Extractor System.


Install the cutter pilot into the bottom bracket spindle.


Put the oversized tap onto the pilot.



Cut new threads.



Install the special Stein self extracting cap.



Rotate the cank bolt counter clockwise to remove the crank arm.



Now the crank arm is re-usable and better than new for only $25.



Cane Creek AD5 rear shock service.


This Cane Creek AD5 rear shock is getting all new seals.

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