If you overdo it on solvents and jetwash, you could be killing your freehub. What you need is a good mix of care and attention, and your freehub should last a lot longer than if you get overzealous with the cleaning. Forgetting To do any maintenance as well will also kill your freehub, you need to find a nice middle ground.
Servicing your freehub
You’ll need a few extra tools in your tool chest to be able to service your freehub.
A chain whip
A lock ring remover
These tools are the ones you would use to remove your cassette, after taking the back wheel off your bike.
Take your lockring removal tool and fit it into your lockring. The tool should fit nice and snug into the splines; you might have to wiggle it to get it in.
Now take your chain whip and wrap the chain around one of the middle sprockets. Apply force in the opposite direction to the chain whip to the direction you are turning the lock ring removal tool. You might have to lean on it at first, but once it has started to loosen it will then be simple to twist off. Pull your cassette off.
The freehub should now look like this
Removing the freehub
The tools you’ll need for our wheels that use Novatec 791/792 411/412 hubs.
You’ll use two 17mm cone spanners. Use one to hold the drive side in place as you loosen off the non-drive side cone. Once it is off, you simply press the axle through the hub from that side and then slide the freehub off once the axle is out.
Our R01 hubs use a freehub that you can simply pull off, similar to the Zipp freehub in the Youtube video above.
Now it is time for maintenance
You’ll want to use a degreaser. Ideally, a chain cleaner will work for you here and use that to get all the muck and crud off the pawls. If you’re lucky, this will bring your pals back to life, if they have no spring you’ll be needing to get new pawls or freehub.
Once you’ve cleaned the pawls, it’ll be time to lube them. One of the common mistakes here is to lather them in grease. The best think to use is a dry chain lube, it’ll give you just enough lubrication and will not cause your pawls to stop working due to the weight of the grease.
Now it is just a case of reversing the removal instructions and putting your freehub back on the hub. As we said, earlier, this is a piece of maintenance that you don’t want to be doing all the time. Too much care and you’ll also end up with issues.
Sadly though, there are no hard and fast rules to follow on length of time before servicing your freehub. It all depends on the conditions you ride in, how much solvents and degreasers you use, and how little other maintenance you do.