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Hanging out in Smithers — 3 Comments

  1. Just wondering what went wrong with the Phil Wood free hub ratchet. I read those have four or five pawls which is more than usual. Did all of them fail? Apparently the part is proprietary as well. Best wishes for a durable replacement ASAP!!

    Smithers is a beautiful town. Thanks for the pictures and updates.

    • Here is my best guess and understanding. Eventually, I think it is the spring that broke – causing the pawls to no longer come back into position.

      I initially had an occasional “skip” particularly not quite under heavy load that I now interpret as one of the pawls no longer engaging. At some point, the spring broke but the pawls still mostly were engaging. However, under light load such as tailwinds I had coming into Smithers they somehow got stuck into “open” position and without the spring to return them to engaged position the freehub started spinning freely. I’m sure having the grease eventually get contaminated probably also helped them get stuck rather than falling back down.

      Overall, I shifted to using a 48-spoke hub after my 1997 Canada trip when I broke three rims. I believe Phil Wood hubs and strong rims have reduced incidence of rim failures however I have then occasionally had these failures. I’m trying to figure out whether it is just a case of bringing extra freehub components or if there is something else I can do to make a more reliable setup, particularly before going to Latin America.