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Life Expectancy of a Freehub!

kevinharleykevinharley Posts: 554
edited May 2014 in MTB workshop & tech
(Ok ... this relates to my CX-Commuter bike, so technically I'm in the wrong place ... but I spend most of my time here and value you all! :P )

Saracen Urban Hack 1. Replaced the freehub less than 4 months ago. Its started making a creaking / clicking noise, and last weekend, seized up completely. I squirted some aerosol lubricant into it, which has freed it up, but it wobbles a fair bit on the hub, and still creaks randomly (ie sometimes under power, sometimes not!)

Took it into the LBS that fitted it, and have been told "its gone" ... lots of rusty water coming out of it etc.

Its a generic formula freehub, of the ilk often fitted to sub £1000 bikes.

The bike gets used daily, and in all sorts of weathers, but has not done a massive mileage (in my view); perhaps 800 miles since this freehub was fitted. Although a CX bike, I don't do cyclocross; it sometimes does some mild off-road, but over the winter this has only been canal towpaths and the like, and not very much at that!..

The last (original) freehub on this bike was replaced after around 15 months. A similar Formula hub on my old Boardman MTB bike was also replaced after about 15 months - less mileage but a much harder life!

I've asked the shop to replace / repair free of charge, as I don't consider less than 4 month's life is good enough ... but am I being unreasonable? The LBS told me they would "see what they could do with Saracen", but because its a part involving bearings, have said they think it is unlikely to be replaced FOC.

What do you think?


  • Depends how Well you looked after it and cleaned and maintained it tbh?
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    My oldest regularly used freehub is well over 25 years old.
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  • kevinharleykevinharley Posts: 554
    Depends how Well you looked after it and cleaned and maintained it tbh?

    The freehub ... or the bike?

    The freehub is a sealed unit, so cannot be serviced / re-greased etc ... as I understand it?

    The bike is maintained such that it is in decent running order, ie chain / gears are regularly lubricated, the bike occasionally has a hose down (not pressure washer) and has probably had a couple of warm soapy water washes in the last 3-4 months. The drivetrain gets degreased when it gets too gunked up.
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    It depends on the freehub.

    Shimano ones are sealed units. Others can have complete overhauls.
  • kevinharleykevinharley Posts: 554
    It depends on the freehub.

    Shimano ones are sealed units. Others can have complete overhauls.

    Its a formula freehub ... its sealed (in that you can't get into it to overhaul the pawls / springs / bearings etc)!

    It would appear, however, that being 'sealed' does not mean it is sealed against water from normal commuting / riding the bike in wet conditions ... :roll:

    So, back to the question ... on the basis of my reported useage and maintenance of the bike, would you expect a sealed formula freehub to last less then 4 months ... or a little bit longer?

    And secondly, if you think I'm being unduly harsh on my bike / lax on its maintenance, what can I do to prolong the life of a sealed formula freehub in the future?
  • rockmonkeyscrockmonkeysc Posts: 14,774
    My Boardman r**d bike came with the same freehub. I had them last anywhere between two weeks and three months (170 miles per week).
    Eventually I gave up and bought a Shimano R500 rear wheel for £50 and six months later the freehub is still fine.
  • spankwilderspankwilder Posts: 169
    If you're degreasing the cassette mounted to the bike, you're probably washing the grease out of the free hub.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,811
    That hub is fitted to 100,000's of bikes a year, I've not heard of them failing on the MTB's anywhere near as often as that.

    Another vote for Shimano though, the preowned one on the back of my commuter has done near enough 4500 miles since I bought it.
    Currently riding a Whyte T130C, X0 drivetrain, Magura Trail brakes converted to mixed wheel size (homebuilt wheels) with 140mm Fox 34 Rhythm and RP23 suspension. 12.2Kg.
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