freewheel part fitted, now bike does not run smoothly

Hi All

I managed to get the freewheel part from Velorution (A Strida dealer just off Oxford Street, Central London) for 18 GBP, problem is they wanted to charge me 15 GBP for the tool if i wanted to fit it myself, or 30 + GBP to let them fit it.

I bought just the part & managed to get some Metal work colleagues at Work to knock up a tool to take the part off.

The new part is now on & the wheel fitted back on, but now the wheel does not seem to be running as freely, i.e. when pushing the pedals for forward motion there seems to be a bit of resistance, & when reverse pedalling (whilst the bike is upside down) makes the wheel turn in the reverse direction after a short interval.

Is this caused by the part, does it just need wearing in ???

I have not been riding thew Strida since last week now, & am getting withdrawal symptons!

Please Help, do i need to send it in to dealers, or is it an easy fix???

Thanks in advance Strida community!

I thought i’d ring up a couple of dealers, to find out how much a service would be as i am having this problem, & was told it would be 60 GBP (excluding parts).

Does this sound reasonable?

It was quite shocking for me, as i thought this bike was meant to be low maintenance???


Just brainstorming here … there are definitely others on this forum better qualified to give you advice … but is it possible that the belt is too tight? I assume you had to loosen it when you dismantled the wheel, and then retighten it again?

Just a thought, as I’m no strida expert, but would a tight belt cause the wheel to rotate when the pedals were rotated backwards? I don’t think so. It sounds like something to do with extra friction in the bearings or freewheel. In a conventional bike, you might get this by overtightening the bearing cones, but this rear wheel bearing is not conventional and I don’t know how it works in detail. Is it possible that something has been over tightened and is creating additional friction? Has soemthing been wrongly assembled - extra washers or parts left off? Has the freewheel been lubricated correctly? These are the kind of issues I might look at - but we need a strida expert in here. I will say that a properly functioning new freewheel should not have appreciably more frictional resistance than a used one, but this is a matter of degree I suppose. If the effect was slight, I wouldn’t worry too much, unless I thought I could have mis-assembled it in error. If the extra resistance was substantial, it would certainly need to be corrected.

Side question, nindyz: was it counterclockwise to remove the freewheel? I have a tool for it, but am having a devil of a time trying to get it to budge!

I observe a similar situation with my Strida 5.1 : the bike upsire down, reverse pedaling makes the wheel turns after a short while. My belt is not tight.

Hope this helps

Freewheels on conventional bikes are screwed onto the hub so that the chain tightens them down in use. They are removed by unscrewing them in the opposite way to the way pedal pressure is applied in normal riding.

I’d love to see a photo of the tool. Could you possibly post one please?

Here is a link to Sheldon Brown’s page on freewheels. It has good tips for getting them off. It can be a struggle with some of them.

I just did the same experiment. If I reverse pedal my fake strida at a rapid cadence, the rear wheel starts to move very gently backwards. The cadence would be about 90 turns per minute and the wheel starts to gently turn in a reverse direction. As for the resistance our op writes of, the belt feels very slightly less free in turning the pedals in reverse than my conventional bikes do. This could be because of the free wheel design or the characteristics of the belt. I am talking about SLIGHT extra resistance and VAGUE reverse turning of the wheel though. Nothing spectacular going on here.

From the op’s description I’d say either the freewheel is still tight - not a bad thing as long as it frees up in a few miles OR it is over filled with grease causing extra drag. So if it doesn’t free up inuse perhaps a bit of lighter oil might help to dilute the grease ?

Warning tho’ - oil & grease and belts DO NOT mix so I’d keep them well away from belt and pulley teeth. Alternatively if freewheel is definately stiff - take it back & get another.

I have this problem with my new freewheel as well! Just tried it for the first time this morning.

So, hopefully this is “normal” behaviour and it will loosen up as the previous poster suggests.

How often do the freewheels break? Apart from the one with the broken belt guides, what goes wrong with them? How many miles can you expect to get out of them?


Technically my freewheel wasn’t broken. Rather, the teeth were worn to the extent that the belt was constantly slipping, even at almost maximum tension.

It was only a few months old (started riding beginning of November). I think this was a direct result of the challenging conditions in which I was riding: slush which tended to get thrown onto and accumulate on the freewheel, grit and salt from winter roads, freezing temperatures.

One or two days of this might not be a problem, but this was for weeks on end, and to be fair I doubt the drive system was designed with these conditions in mind. The lesson I have learned is to keep it really clean (I will be sure to rinse off salt and dirt much more regularly), and get off and stop riding if snow and ice starts interfering with the drive system rather than trying to power through it.

Thanks for the info StridaD.

Once the belt begins to slip the wear rate would increase exponentially I suppose.

How many miles do you think you covered over the winter then with the old F/W?

I suppose rapid wear is a hazard of using plastic in this application. I believe that it is possible to buy an aluminium freewheel. It wasn’t all that cheap, but only about the price of two or maybe three plastic ones. I suppose the alloy would last longer than three times as long as a plastic one.

It may be my age, having been born mid twentieth century, but I have a deep suspicion of using plastics for tough or high stress jobs. I wish they hadn’t done it. I’m especially suspicious of the seat mounting - particularly since with a non-authentic bike like mine, I have to trust the people who made it have a sense of responsibility for keeping my arse off the road… :laughing:

Obviously, alloy parts would cost a bit more to make and may have a slight weight penalty, but in neither case would it have been a lot. Considering the price of a real Strida, maybe it should have been done.


Now I’m curious: does Gates make any freewheels/belts that would fit the Strida?

Edit: lots of interesting technical info here


I own a Strida 5 bike and I was wondering how difficult is it to remove the current freewheel for cleaning or replacement? What tools would I need to do this myself and are those tools standard tools that I can buy from a bike shop? Would a bike shop be able to replace it for me?

I was told that the tool has to be a special one to remove the freewheel as the Strida’s freewheel uses a belt drive. Is this true?

Hi guys,

That was me who posted that last message. Also, if the tool can be bought…what type and size etc should I be getting?

Its a pretty standard single freewheel tool … it is a small 1 piece cone shaped thing which has 4 teeth to fit in the 8 (or 4) recess’ in the freewheel on one side, and a hex nut on the other side for a spanner, socket or vice. I got mine off ebay for pence.

below is an expensive one for reference …

Thanks for the info!

I’ve gotten the new freewheel installed now. I noticed that the freewheel has quite a bit of resistance in it, and when I let it “freewheel”, some grease oozed out of it. Seems like they put a lot of grease in there and it’ll take some run-in before it starts to get smoother.