add freewheel to fixie

Add Freewheel to Fixie

First of all, we need to know what is fixie? Fixie bicycles are sometimes called “fixed wheel” bicycles. It is a single-speed bike designed to have one working pedal and no freewheel. So, how can you add freewheel to fixie?

When the back pedal of this kind of bike is pushed forward, it pulls the chain. This in turn pushes the front wheel of the bike forward.

Due to momentum or because it is being pushed by a force outside of the bike (e.g., the wind), the back wheel rotates independently. The pedals on your fixie (and you with it) will usually rotate backward. This is why these bicycles are sometimes described as difficult for beginners.


Why Would You Need to Add Freewheel to Fixie?

Fixies has a flip-flop hub, meaning that you can stop the wheel from turning in one direction by flipping the wheel around. So why would you need to add a freewheel?

Several Reasons Why Adding Freewheel to a Fixie Might be Helpful

  • Ride backward
  • Sideways coasting
  • Make riding with friends easier
  • Able to coast
  • Prevent wear on bearings

Let’s go into those reasons in more detail now. Not all of those reasons may apply to you. But they do apply to many others.

Prevent wear on bearings

There is nothing wrong with having a fixie. But if you ride it every day, especially long distances or up steep hills, you might find that your bearings become worn out sooner than they would otherwise.

This is because when you’re pedaling fast and hard uphill, the bearings don’t have time to spin as freely as they need to. They’re always fighting against the relative motion of the freehub and the freewheel.

Why would that happen? Because when you’re pedaling hard, your pedals are connected directly to the back. If you’re trying to pedal quickly uphill, then not only will you be spinning your cranks faster than usual, but you’ll also push harder on them than usual.

Some people solve this problem by using a larger sprocket so they can turn it slower and spend more time getting their bearings nice and loose again before they start pushing hard up hills.

But you found that you still had problems with bearings wearing out too quickly after doing that. Why? Because even though you could coast for longer periods of time, your pedals were still spinning the same amount of times every day. And that was more than enough to damage your bearings.

So if your pedals are going around twice as slow on a large cog, then they’re going around twice as many times in the same amount of time on a smaller one.

The solution is to add a freewheel to your fixie on either side of your rear wheel.

Able to coast

When you’re riding your fixie fast downhill, can you keep up by letting go of the handlebars and letting gravity do its work while coasting along without pedaling at all? If not, then adding freewheel to fixie will help you out here too.

Why? Because once again, the relative motion of the freehub and the freewheel will almost entirely prevent your fixie’s cranks from spinning without you pedaling.

Make riding with friends easier

If you’re trying to do tricks on a fixed-gear bike, it can be very helpful to have a coasting ability. So you don’t always need to carry enough speed to do two full revolutions of your pedals before you take off for your trick.

Doing tricks takes practice, but sometimes taking twice as many tries because you only had enough momentum for one revolution isn’t something people are willing to deal with. Why not buy a “stunt” or “trick” bike if that’s what you’re going to do? Why add freewheel when riding a fixie?

Because, every time you try a trick, you’ll be forced to pedal backward until your pedals are spinning forward again before being able to take off. You might have the strength and endurance to do this 50 times in a row for practice, but not everyone does.

Sideways coasting

It can be fun to let go of the handlebars entirely. And just let your bike fall over sideways while you hold on with one hand. Then it’ll feel like you’re surfing or snowboarding down a hill. Why not stand up instead then and keep pedaling like normal, like other people who ride fixed-gear bikes? Why add freewheel to your fixie? Because when you’re able to coast, then it’s easy to turn sideways and sideways coast. When you don’t have the ability to coast, turning sideways while still pedaling will result in a loss of control.

Ride backward

If you’re trying to do tricks where spinning backward is part of them (ex: Superman seat grab ), then adding a freewheel makes this possible. Because then you’ll be able to spin backward without resistance from your pedals. Why add freewheel to fixie? Because doing tricks in this way is fun.

How to add freewheel to fixie (Step by Step Instructions)

How can you make a fixie into a normal bike with a freewheel? This article will show you how to remove the fixed-gear hub from the rear wheel of a bicycle. And replace it with a cassette-free hub, so that you have gears. We are going to use the same rear wheel on our fixie, keeping all spokes & rims intact.

Step 1 – Take your back wheel off a bicycle

To get your back wheel off, first, flip your bicycle upside down so that you can see the cogs of your rear wheel. If you have a quick-release skewer, then simply turn the nut counterclockwise; push down on the end of the skewer to open it completely. And pull up or out on your back wheel.

If you don’t have a quick-release skewer, then there should be 4 Allen bolts (hex head screws) holding your rear wheel in place. You will need to use an Allen wrench to loosen these Allen bolts by turning them counterclockwise.

Step 2 – Removing axle nuts from cog(s)

Once the bolts have been removed, you can slide out your wheel & axle from the frame. The cog(s) will stay on the hub of the wheel keeping all spokes and nipples intact.

Step 3 – Put a cassette-free hub onto your bike

To replace your fixed sprocket with a cassette-free hub, remove your single-speed freewheel. How do we do this? We need to hold down our drum brake, we need about an inch of space between our rotor and its bracket on the right side. And we need to put some nuts in the center of our axle behind where your drum brake was.

Step 4- Hold down your drum brake

You will need to use a screwdriver or Allen wrench to disengage the drum brake’s spring or turn its tension wheel counterclockwise.

Step 5 – Get the cassette cogs onto my axle

To replace your fixed sprocket with cogs that have multiple speeds, all you have to do is slide them on.

You just wrap them around and then screw on one side of each cog to hold it in place.

Add Freewheel to Fixie
Add Freewheel to Fixie

Pros and cons of adding freewheel to your fixie bicycle


Single gear with no freewheel mechanism:

The pedals won’t keep spinning even when you’re not pedaling.

Gearing at different speeds:

With a freewheel, you are not limited to one gear ratio on your bicycle, which means that you can choose gear based on speed or terrain.

A wider range of motion while pedaling

The pedals of a fixie with a freewheel turn 360 degrees, which means there is no “dead spot” when you pedal.

Higher safety factor

When riding your bicycle, having additional gear with the freewheel mechanism is the same as having the security of being able to stop spinning your wheels.


Decreased control during tight turns

As mentioned above, fixed-gear bikes tend not to include multiple gears because they give the rider greater control over his or her bike. If you need multiple gears for different types of riding, then you will likely feel less in control when you are making tight turns or other maneuvers on your bike.

Expensive repairs

If your freewheel mechanism goes out while you are riding, it can be very difficult to repair because the wheel has to come completely off.

Increased chance of damage

When there’s only one gear and no freewheel, the integrity of your gear becomes really important; this is why many fixie riders choose to purchase higher-quality bikes with better gear.

Benefits of Fixie?

  • Since your feet become part of the drivetrain, there’s a lot less wear and tear on your bike.
  • Increased pedaling efficiency
  • Your center of gravity will be lower on the bike
  • Easier handling of the bike in general, and also makes more experienced riders feel like they’re ‘in’ the bike rather than on top of it.

Final thoughts on Add Freewheel to fixie bikes

Now that we’ve discussed how to add freewheel to fixie, we are finished. When considering a fixie for recreational use or as an accessory to your daily commute, you definitely want one without a freewheel. Even if the freewheel is not necessary, you might want to add it if there are good reasons.

How do you tighten the nuts?

Grab your wheel by its axle and wheel it over to your workbench.

How do you remove single-speed freewheels from your rear wheel?

Pull out both removal tools to disengage each cog from the hub at once. How do I put a cassette-free hub over my axle?

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