Bicycle Repair/Shimano FF system


QUESTION: What tool do I need to remove the rear cluster from the wheel. I can remove the axle and it appears to have 12 splines inside. This is kind of a friction freewheel. I have to remove this in order to get to the spokes and bearings.

ANSWER: The tool required to remove the cluster/freewheel mechanism is available from a number of manufacturers. Park Tools, which should be available at any local bike shop, calls their model the FR-1. It stands for "Freewheel Removal". It should also be used to re-install the freewheel, as well. You will also need a large (12") adjustable wrench to turn the tool (counter-clockwise, when looking directly at the drive-side of the wheel. Particularly troublesome freewheels can also be removed by clamping the FR-1 in a secure vise, then placing the wheel/freewheel onto the tool, using the   wheel now as your "wrench", turning the wheel to the left, or , again, counter-clockwise. The cost of this tool should be around $10-$20.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi, Thank you for your quick response. My question is how did you arrive at the FR-1 conclusion? I went to my local bike shop and the FR-1 in fact wouldn't fit. This is a mid 1970 bike with old school shimano components. Any other ideas? The bike shop was stumped.

Sincere apologies. There is indeed a pre-1985 version of the FR-1. Unfortunately, I don't know of anyone who makes/carries them anymore...
If your goal is to remove and replace the freewheel with a new unit, it can be be done in the so-called "destructive " fashion.   The method starts by unthreading the bearing cone that holds the corset/hub body to the hub. This can usually be done with a "pin" spanner   &/or a drift and hammer. Once the cone is threaded off, the cogset/hub-body, along with a ton of tiny ball-bearings should come off next, leaving exposed  the last piece of the freewheel unit. Grab ahold of this piece with a set of slip-joint ("Channel-Lock") pliers, unthreading it from the hub in a counter-clockwise direction. Good luck, as the toughest part of the job is usually the step involving loosening the freewheel bearing cone. It can be done, with a lot of patience......

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James Novak


I can answer most inquiries with respect to bicycle assembly, repair, tuning and maintenance. I am less than inclined to speak on such questions as "What kind of bike should I buy?", &/or "What is this bike worth?", etc. Any answers to these types of questions may correlate poorly to an acceptable "fact/sarcasm" ratio.


7 seasons of "Professional" bicycle service/repair, etc. 4 seasons as Instructor, Professional Bicycle Mechanic training college. n-1 seasons of riding, cracking, crushing, mutilating and breaking bikes of any & all varieties, and thus requiring intense and at-hand skills development, etc.

Certified Professional Bicycle Mechanic; Winterborne Bicycle Institute/Conestoga College

Past/Present Clients
The Hub Bicycle Shop, Hespeler Winterborne Bicycle Institute

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