1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    What's the difference between a freewheel and cassette set?

    Hi! First post here - so a newbie I guess. Anyway, I'm getting back into mountain biking after a 10 year hiatus and am overhauling my bike. Started breaking down the hubs and ran into a quandry. The sprocket set on my rear wheel is badly rusted and "creaky" so I want to replace it. I've looked at parts online and am now confused. What is the difference between the freewheel and cassette. The pictures look the same. Which part do I actually need?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    On most decent bikes the freewheel and cassette are seperate parts. The freewheel is 'under' the cassette. The freewheel mounts to the hub and then the cassette mounts to the freewheel. You will need a chain whip and a special lock-ring tool to remove the cassette.

    I believe that on some bikes the freewheel and cassette are one piece and I think replaced as such.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rngrq
    Hi! First post here - so a newbie I guess. Anyway, I'm getting back into mountain biking after a 10 year hiatus and am overhauling my bike. Started breaking down the hubs and ran into a quandry. The sprocket set on my rear wheel is badly rusted and "creaky" so I want to replace it. I've looked at parts online and am now confused. What is the difference between the freewheel and cassette. The pictures look the same. Which part do I actually need?

    Thanks!
    I'm a little rusty on this myself so maybe someone else can chime in too. But here's what I know...

    Your sprocket (all those cogs) is usually the cassette. This is definately the case with current bikes where the cogs/cassette attach to the hub by sliding over a splined tube called the "freehub body". You remove the cassette by holding it still with a chainwhip then remove the splined lockring in the middle of the smallest cog and then just pull the whole cassette off the freehub body.

    Now this is where I may be off a tad. A "freewheel" is an older type of setup or also what BMX and some other single speed bikes use. The cogs are in one peice together with the mechanism that disengages the cogs when you coast (that click-click-click sound). Instead of the cogs sliding onto a splined freehub body, the whole deal threads onto the hub.

    I bet you have a cassette and that's what you need to replace. What year and make is your bike?

  4. #4
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    Well as you may know the freewheel technically is the mechanism that allows the wheel to turn freely without the pedals turning.

    Now, in cheaper bikes (department store, and kids), and BMX the freewheel mechanism is built into the sprocket set, and screws onto the rear hub. This type of sprocket set is usually called a freewheel.

    In higher end bikes (bike shop bikes), the freewheel mechanism is built into the rear hub. Their is a splined interface that the sprockets slide onto and held in place with a lock nut. This type of sprocket set is usually called a cassette.

    Chances are if it's a bike shop bike, and newer than like 1992, it will be a cassette. However make sure you purchase the correct number of speeds 7, 8, 9. If it's a 7 speed, there isn't any high quality 7 speed stuff made anymore. So you'll be better off looking for NOS (New Old Stock) on ebay.

  5. #5
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    My bike is an old Bianchi Nyala and the markings on the "freewheel/cassette" say SUNTOUR. So I think it's a SUNTOUR 7-speed. It does make the click sound when it spins. I looked at the Nashbar site and the pictures are the same, but the price is different. Additionally, when it spins, it makes a grinding noise, which is the main reason why I want to replace. Thanks for your help!

  6. #6
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    here's a pic

    hopefully this picture helps. Again, need advice on whether I need to buy a cassette or a freewheel. Thanks!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
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    Park Tool site

    Check out the Park Tool repair website and click on the sprocket area of the bike picture. IIRC there are pictures and descriptions of several different cassette and freewheel systems. Sheldon Brown's website also has a lot of useful info.

  8. #8
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    from your picture...

    I think what you have there is a freewheel. Those cross shaped slots in the center of the small cog accept a special socket-tool (http://www.parktool.com/products/det...at=4&item=FR-3) and that's what you need to remove it (the single combined cogs and ratchet (click-click) mechanism) from your wheel.

    If it's convieniant for you, I'd take the wheel down the bike shop and ask them to remove the cogs etc for you. It should literally take them 10 seconds with that socket and a vice to hold the socket with. You don't need the socket to reinstall. You just have to thread the new part onto the bike as tight as you can with your hands (and maybe some leather gloves etc) and then put the wheel on your bike, shift into the big cog, and pedal around some. The force from your chain will do the rest.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rngrq
    hopefully this picture helps. Again, need advice on whether I need to buy a cassette or a freewheel. Thanks!
    Both, possitivley both with all that rust I'm sure the bearings are toast and if you want to spend ALOT of time cleaning those gears go ahead but I would replace both.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan0
    Both, possitivley both with all that rust I'm sure the bearings are toast and if you want to spend ALOT of time cleaning those gears go ahead but I would replace both.
    I think it's a one-peice deal that he has.

    Anyway, I once knew this girl with straight hair and curly teeth.

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