Noisy freehubs, chain waxing and tyre pressure gauges – GCN Tech Clinic

Are noisy freehubs less efficient? How can you dispose of degreaser in an eco-friendly way? Why is chain waxing so important? These questions and more answered by our experts Ollie Bridgewood and Alex Paton

Clock16:49, Wednesday 22nd May 2024

In the Tech Clinic this week Ollie and Alex administer the appropriate treatment for removing gunk and wax from a cassette, dispose of used degreaser and solvents, and tackle a range of freehub issues.

Are silent freehubs more efficient/faster than loud ones?

The difference here is really so small that you’d barely notice. However, sometimes freehubs become noisy when the grease has dried up, so this can be an indication that there’s not enough lubricant, which will cause the freehub to wear out quicker.

What is the most eco-friendly way to dispose of used bike degreaser?

It’s generally best to put any of your solvent waste into a large plastic bottle and take it to your local recycling depot, where there should be facilities to dispose of it safely. This is less easy with bike degreaser, but you can contain the used degreaser if you wash your chain in a jar or similar. Also, try to be more environmentally friendly with your choice of degreaser and cleaning products in the first place. Try and avoid aerosols and products that contain PTFE wherever possible.

Is it safe to remove excess wax and gunk from my rear cassette with boiling water?

This method is often used to remove wax from a chain before a hot wax treatment and it’s fine to also pour boiling water over your rear cassette. However, be very careful not to transfer the gunk across to your rear rotors and pads, otherwise they’ll become contaminated and ruined. The best way to avoid this is by removing the wheel or even the cassette if you want to be extra careful.

Should I be able to hear my new Hope aluminium jockey wheels while I’m riding? And when should I replace my freehub body?

The answer to the first part of this question is yes, it will be louder because of the metal on metal contact, so that’s nothing to worry about. In regards to the freehub, where you have an issue with a wobbly cassette digging into the freehub, this could be down to a missing spacer on the freehub body. Remove the freehub body and add a spacer to make the fitment tighter.

How accurate are electronic mini pumps?

It’s difficult to say how accurate they are as this depends on the brand and quality of the pump you’re using. If you're looking to measure your tyre pressure more accurately, we’d recommend using an electronic tyre gauge. This will be more accurate and cheaper than a combined pump and gauge.

Unless you’re a pro why would you even bother waxing a chain?

Waxing your chain isn’t just about being more efficient, although that is a positive even if you’re not racing. The real practical benefits are that waxing your chain helps maintain your components for longer which will ultimately save you money in the long term.

If you have any tech-related questions that you need answering, head over to this week’s Tech Clinic video on the GCN Tech YouTube channel and add your question to the comments along with #ASKGCNTECH. Or leave your question in the comments below.

For more maintenance-related walkthroughs check out our dedicated how-to section on the GCN website.

GCN's Essential Road Bike Maintenance
GCN's Essential Road Bike Maintenance

For road, gravel, commuter and hybrid bikes, Essential Road Bike Maintenance is intended to be a proper bible to all those essential bike maintenance, repairs, and set-up tasks that we all need to know. Everything from basic bike set-up, how to get your wheels on and off, through setting up gears, bleeding brakes, and beyond to things like installing electronic gears, converting to a 1x transmission and more. In a nutshell, pretty much everything you would want to tackle on your bike (or bikes, plural) yourself. And then some. Like bike set up tips for taller and shorter riders; bottom bracket standards explained; common bike maintenance mistakes and how to avoid them; essential roadside fixes to keep you riding; how to make your bike more comfortable; how to puncture-proof your ride and much, much more. “A huge amount of knowledge, hacks, and know-how to help improve both your workshop skills and your ride” – Ollie Bridgewood, GCN Presenter Each chapter is structured with the tasks you’ll most likely need more of the time at the start (like how to adjust your gears, replacing brake pads, or changing a tyre), before running through to those that you’ll do much more infrequently (such as changing disc brake hoses, servicing a freehub or pedals, and so on). This also means that many of the tasks naturally ratchet up in difficulty as you go through each chapter which should also mirror your natural progression as you become more mechanically capable and confident. In short, 260 pages packed with all the essential knowledge you’ll need to confidently take on and complete pretty much any bike maintenance task. Get Some ‘Show-How’ With Your ‘Know-How’ Each walkthrough is linked to a companion video which you can watch for free from your computer, tablet or smartphone. To watch, either type in the walkthrough’s short-link URL – e.g. – into your browser, or scan the QR code with your smartphone or tablet so you can get the best of both worlds: know-how and show-how. Simple. All you need to know to fix your bike. Product Details: Pages: 260 (120sm) Size: 280mm (h) x 216mm (w) (portrait) Cover: Paperback Cover Finish: 300gsm, silk stock with anti-scuff matte laminate and spot UV gloss finish Please note: There may be some additional shipping charges for orders consisting of 2 or more books. However, our customer service team will contact you after you have placed the order to advise on delivery options. Click here to explore all GCN best selling books

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