Determining Cassette/Freewheel Type & Tool

Determining Cassette/Freewheel Type & Tool

This video will help you determine which type of cassette or freewheel you have, and what tool you will need to remove it. Hello, Calvin Jones here with the Park
Tool Company. We’re going take a look at the differences between
the freewheels and the cassette systems, as well as many variations of each. We’ll also help you determine which tool you’ll need for removal and installation. Once you have the information you need, we’ll guide you to the correct
instructional video for your system. If you already know you have a freewheel system
and simply need to figure out what tool to use, skip to the time shown. Otherwise, we’ll start with the differences between freewheels and cassettes. On a bike, it can be difficult to determine
if you have a cassette or freewheel, but this is the simplest way. After you remove the rear wheel from the bike,
spin the sprockets backwards. With a cassette,
the tool fitting will rotate with the sprockets. With a freewheel, the tool fitting does not rotate
as the sprockets spin counter-clockwise. Simple enough, but only if you know
which tool fittings to look for. We’re looking for the innermost tool fittings. Axles and locknuts are not
part of the cassette or freewheel. The innermost tool fitting is the fitting closest to these. This ring has multiple tool fittings, but the innermost is these twelve splines. This tool fitting does not move when we spin the sprockets, making this a freewheel system. The innermost tool fitting here has four notches. It does not move when the sprockets spin backwards,
so again we have a freewheel. Here our innermost tool fitting is on this lockring. As we spin the sprockets, the tool fitting spins,
making this a cassette system. On these rear sprockets there is not a visible lockring – but look close to the axle and you will see the tool fittings. The fitting spins which makes this a cassette. So now that you know what you’ve got, let’s take a look at how cassettes and freewheel systems work, as well as selecting appropriate tools for each system. The cassette systems separate the sprockets,
sometimes called the cassette stack, from the ratcheting mechanism, called the “freehub”. The freehub is built into the hub body. Freehubs permit for driving the wheel
and coasting when you stop pedaling. The outside of the freehub has a pattern of splines that match the pattern of the cassette cogs. The most common freehub pattern
is shared by many manufacturers including Shimano, SRAM, Sun Race and others. Campagnolo freehubs have eight splines, and feature a unique spline pattern that is not compatible with other brands. The cassette stack is secured with a lockring. Most lockrings have 12 internal splines,
but there are exceptions. There are two commonly seen lockring fittings: one is found on Campagnolo systems,
and the other is found on most other brands. The fittings and tools look similar,
but they are not interchangeable. Here’s a simple way to choose the
correct locking tool: look at the brand of the rear derailleur. It can be safely assumed that if the derailleur is branded Campagnolo, you’ll need the BBT-5/FR-11. If a derailleur is any other brand
including Shimano, SRAM, Sun Race or others, you’ll need one of the FR-5 series of tools including the FR-5.2, FR-5.2G, and others. There is also a unique freehub system called an XD Driver used by some SRAM 11 and 12 speed
cassette stacks with a wide gear range. Similar to other cassettes,
there are 12 internal splines at the smallest cog. The freehub has shortened splines with external threads. A threaded sleeve in the cassette acts as the lockring. This cassette is tightened using one of the Park Tool FR-5 series of lockring tools. There are also some single sprocket bikes
that use a freehub system. Most use an external notched lockring. Use a lockring spanner such as the Park Tool HCW-17 for installation and removal. Older freehubs may lack a separate lockring. These require two chain whips
to remove the cassette cogs. The first cog acts as a lock for the other cogs. For cassette removal and installation, see this video. Compared to the cassette system, the freewheel is older technology. The freewheel is a self contained system of cogs together with a ratcheting mechanism. This allows for driving the wheel forward and coasting. Freewheel bodies have internal threads that tighten onto a threaded rear hub. Freewheels are seen mostly on older bikes, on newer entry-level bikes, and on single speed and BMX bikes. Freewheels will unthread with a removal tool that engages machined fittings on the innermost freewheel body. Manufacturers have different tool fit designs, and Park Tool offers tools for most freewheels. However, there will be some older models where no Park Tool is available. Here’s how to tell what tool you’ll need: Look for the innermost tool fitting on the freewheel. There is either a spline type or notch type tool fitting. If you have the spline type, count the number of splines. If there are 20 splines, use the FR-4. If there are 12 splines, check the brand of the freewheel. If is a Falcon brand freewheel, use the FR-7. If it’s not a Falcon brand freewheel, measure in the outside diameter of the tool fitting. If it measures approximately 23mm,
use the FR-1.3. There is an older Shimano standard that is approximately 20mm. Park Tool does not offer a tool for this freewheel. If you have a notch-type tool fitting, count the number of notches and measure the diameter from outer edge to outer edge. If there are two notches and the tool fitting is approximately 25mm in diameter, use the FR-2. If there are four notches and the tool fitting measures approximately 24mm in diameter, use the FR-3. If there are four notches and the tool fitting measures approximately 40mm in diameter, use the FR-6. If there are four notches and the tool fitting is approximately 32mm in diameter, use the FR-8. For the procedure to remove and install freewheels,
see this video. Hopefully this video helped you gain a better understanding of the cassette and freewheel systems. If you still have questions, leave them in the comments below. For more information on each cassette & freewheel tool, including up-to-date compatibility information, visit Thanks for watching this repair help video from Park Tool. We’re constantly adding videos and articles here on YouTube, as well as our website at Please give this video a thumbs-up if it helped you out. And of course, subscribe for the latest content from Park Tool.

100 thoughts on “Determining Cassette/Freewheel Type & Tool

  1. Tool fitting? Isn't this the ring you mentioned earlier? Is freewheel and freehub the same thing? Note: only to those who understand, it appears simple. But for this beginner… not so. Thank you for another video well done.

  2. FW removal Tool? Xcellent video, so informative AND EDUCATIVE… it was well done… and hosted excellently, thanks

  3. Hello very well explained to the detail .. Really excellent, I am Peruvian and I would like your videos to be able to put them in subtitles in Spanish

  4. How would you suggest cleaning a freewheel and a cassette? Like a deep cleaning, not standard maintenance cleaning. And any way to polish it up and make it look more new?

  5. This might be the only YouTube video that actually explains and demonstrates the fitment of a cassette onto a SRAM XD Drive

  6. is it possible to install cassette hub disc brake + cassette in a previously freewheel type bike ? (old bike 6 speed rear)
    more like will it be compatible with the old derailleur ? if i add the new casstte hub with macthing speed number

  7. I have one of 5 changes but there is a lot of difference between the smallest and the biggest. I have seen that there are about 7, 6, changes with a small difference between one and another, but they are more elongated.
    How can I know if the freewheel is compatible with my axis?

  8. How is it possible that my cattette is very quit when I peddel backwards but the cassette on the bike of my neighber makes so much noise that you can hear him riding his bike one street away? I mean, his cassette rattles very loud.

  9. At 1:27 you show a multiple tool fitting one, how do you remove the outer one? I can't find anything on this

  10. what is the measurment of the falcon tool? my free wheel is branded Ko Shaing Industrial Co and is 24mm and 12 splines, a standard 12 spline shimano does not fit it, thanks!

  11. So I have a single speed bike with 8 notches and is 40mm and I don’t know how to get it off to change the sprocket can somebody help me?

  12. Another superb video. Clear and precise commentary, excellent visuals and graphics make the Park Tool collection of films your one stop guide to bicycle maintenance. Thanks Calvin.

  13. What is the freewheel in 1:27? When the furthest out lock ring is removed, can the cogs be put on a standard freehub? And what would I use to remove it?

  14. Does the same company shoot all of these tool videos? Revzilla, BikeBandit, McGarage… they all look the same

  15. I know how everyone claims Cassettes are better blah blah, no thanks.
    I like freewheel, it makes the most sense.

  16. When I cycle pedals reverse while at easiest rear derailleur, chain drops to smaller cogs. What could be the root cause?

  17. What will cause a Freewheel hub to lock up in, Coast and throw a chain off the crank gear? I adjusted all the gear changes, they work fine but it will lock up in Coast in all gears and throw a chain. I took the wheel off and spun the gear cluster in Coast upright like it's on the bike it locks up. Then I turned it flat gear facing up and spun the cluster it turns freely what's up with this?

  18. So sorry if I am being a bit dumb here vin but I keep hearing Frank Zappa when I watch your video. Although it is seriously good.

  19. I have a shimano splined freehub with both internal and external threading. Is this able t use either the threaded small (external) or the threaded lock ring (internal)? Thanks

  20. I love these videos. I could watch them for hours. I can't tell if its your voice, the thorough coverage of everything you could possibly encounter or a mixture of the two.

  21. I have an IRD single speed freewheel. It requires a larger dia 4 prong remover than a Shimano or my White Industry’s removal tool. The WI works on some cheap Shimano freewheels I have. Do I need the FR-8? I havent made any measurements yet.

  22. Thank you Calvin! I had struggled for hours with the wrong tools and build quite a rage before I found this series of videos, wish I had earlier. Easy to follow, authoritative and covers all possibilities. A really quality collection and so glad you have taken the time to make these – than you again!

  23. Calvin, awesome job!  I wish I had found this video earlier…it would have shortened my edumacation about freewheel vs cassette systems…Thanks so much for doing this!

  24. So cassettes are useful for coasting and going faster (since you’ll reserve energy because you’ll still be living without using power)? However, the freewheel requires more power for speed?

  25. Now I know how to distinguish a cassette and a freewheel, but can anyone tell me if there is any performance advantage that a cassette has over a freewheel? Assume they have exact same cog sets.

  26. man you guys really do make first-class videos; if it were the 80's people would be dialling in like mad to order their own set of 101 lessens complete VHS collection! "bike mastery by park tool" any one getting nostalgia ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  27. Thanks for this information "Park Tool".

    This helped me to find out what kind of Cassette-system I have on my Bicycle.
    I had to replace it, It was completely worn out. And also the derailleurs&Shifters were worn out.

  28. Hi I have a trek roscoe 7 there is a slight wobble in the cassette. When I turn. The crank backwards the chain goes down the cassette. What do you recommend I do? Shifting is fine

  29. My DiamondBack 2003 Mountain bike has the Shimano freewheel with the 23mm tool fitting. Park Tool FR1.3. Thanks!

  30. merci pour les intrusion fait 30ans que je fais du vélo et j'aide a un mesiue de vélo a monter des vélo je ne savais pas connent les diférenssé
    merci de l'info

  31. I love your detailed, close up videos! Very professionally made and easy to follow. Please keep em coming!

  32. Can you make a vid like this for center lock rotors? I have them on my bike and it doesn’t use a cassette tool but it used a bb tool and I don’t know what size it is

  33. Wah pakdeku nduwe cenel youtube sak iki…sehat terus yo pakde suk nek ketemu tulung ajari dandan pit neh yo pakde he3 😁

  34. Can any one tell me as i cant find any info from numerous shop and repair places my front hub has been tightened and i got play still in the front hub ! Shop checked said blah blah like they all do ! Now is it safe with less than 1 mil play ? If any one knows let me know please ? As shops only want you to leave and Pay wont sell tools ! Great industry in AUSTRALIA ALL RIP OFF AND DON,T CARE ABOUT CUSTOMERS ! ONLY TAKE THE CASH ? WTF ?

  35. Necesito todas esas herramientas amigo para quitar todo tipo de piñones cuánto me salen por todas por favor contestarme gracias

  36. Just wanted to say thank you for all the information you share on this channel. I know zilch about bikes but I am trying to restore my dad's old bike and these are so helpful! Thank you!

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