What’s the Difference between Freehub, Freewheel, Or Driver?

There are three main types of rear hubs for bicycles. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

A free hub is the most common type of hub on modern bikes. It uses a ratcheting mechanism to keep the pedals from turning when you’re not pedaling. This allows you to coast without having to pedal constantly.

Freewheel hubs are less common than they used to be, but you can still find them on some older bikes. They work similarly to freehubs, but they don’t have a ratcheting mechanism.

This means that you can’t coast without pedaling, but it also makes them simpler and lighter weight. Freewheels are usually found on single-speed or fixed-gear bikes. Driver hubs are designed for special applications like track racing or BMX riding.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Freehub, Freewheel and Driver



-Allows you to coast without pedaling

-Easier to clean and maintain than other types of hubs


-More expensive than other types of hubs

-The mechanism can be damaged if not used correctly



-Inexpensive compared to other types of hubs

-Can be used with coaster brakes


-You have to pedal even when you want to coast

-The mechanism can be damaged if not used correctly



-Stronger and more durable than other types of hubs


-More expensive than other types of hubs

-Difficult to find replacement parts If you’re unsure which type of hub is right for you, ask your local bike shop!

Is Freehub the Same As Freewheel?

No, freehub and freewheel are not the same. A free hub is a type of hub that incorporates a ratcheting mechanism, allowing the rider to coast or pedal backward without resistance. A freewheel, on the other hand, is a type of rear hub that does not have this ratcheting mechanism, so pedaling backward will cause resistance.

Difference between Freehub, Freewheel, Or Driver

How Do You Tell Freewheel from Freehub?

There are a few key ways to tell freewheel from freehub. One is that freewheel hubs have threads on the outside of the hub shell, while freehub hubs do not. Another way to tell them apart is by looking at the cassette.

On a freewheel system, the cassette is threaded onto the freehub body. On a freehub system, the cassette mounts directly to the hub shell. Finally, you can tell them apart by feel when pedaling.

When coasting on a freewheel system, you will feel resistance as the pawls engage with each other. On a freehub system, you will not feel this resistance since the ratchet mechanism is inside the hub shell.

What is a Freehub Driver?

A freehub driver is a type of bicycle hub that allows the rider to coast (freewheel) without pedaling. The freehub driver consists of two parts: the ratchet mechanism and the pawl system. The ratchet mechanism is a ring with teeth that meshes with the teeth on the cogset.

The pawl system consists of two or more small springs that fit into recesses on the ratchet ring. When the wheel is spun, the ratchets rotate and engage the pawls, which click into place and prevent the wheel from spinning backward. The main advantage of a freehub driver over a traditional coaster brake is that it allows you to coast without pedaling.

This can be helpful when going down hills or simply taking a break from pedaling. Additionally, freehub drivers are typically lighter than coaster brakes since they don’t have as many parts. There are some disadvantages to freehub drivers as well.

One is that they require more maintenance than coaster brakes since there are more moving parts. Additionally, if one of the pawls breaks, then you will no longer be able to coast until it is fixed or replaced.

What are the Types of Freehub?

There are three primary types of freehub mechanisms found on bicycles. These are the Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM systems. Each system uses a different method to engage the ratchet mechanism that drives the rear wheel.

The Shimano system is the most commonly used. It employs a notched freehub body that engages with a matching spline on the hub’s axle. The advantage of this design is that it is very reliable and easy to service should it break down.

The Campagnolo system uses a ring of ball bearings that sits between the axle and freehub body. This design is also very reliable but can be more difficult to service if something goes wrong. The SRAM system uses a pawl-and-ratchet mechanism similar to that found in many mechanical watches.

This design is relatively new but has already proven to be quite reliable in real-world use.

Freewheel Vs Cassette Which is Better

There are a few key differences between freewheel and cassette hubs. A freewheel hub uses a freehub body with loose bearings, while a cassette hub uses a much more robust cartridge bearings system that is integral to the shell of the hub. This makes cassette hubs significantly lighter than their freewheel counterparts.

Freewheel hubs also have less surface area contact with the axle, which can lead to slippage under high loads or when you’re sprinting hard. Cassette hubs have larger flanges that keep the axle more securely in place. Another advantage of cassette hubs is that they use a threaded driver body, so you can easily remove and replace your cogset without having to disassemble the entire rear wheel.

So, which is better? It really depends on your needs as a rider. If you’re looking for lightweight performance, then go with a cassette hub.

If you need durability and easy maintenance, then go with a freewheel hub.


There are three main types of bicycle hubs: freehub, freewheel, and driver. Freehubs are the most common type of hub and work with cassettes. Freewheels attach to the hub and allow the rider to coast.

Drivers are less common and found on some BMX bikes and single speed bicycles.

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