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What is inside a wheel hub?

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Dec 22,2022


Hub internals will vary from wheel to wheel, with many brands having proprietary individual mechanisms, however some parts remain the same throughout.

The hub shell is the outermost part of the hub, where the spokes are laced in to connect the hub to the rim. The shell acts as the housing for the rest of the components.

The hub bearings will sit inside the shell, held in place either by cones and lock nuts or end caps that sit on the outside of the bearings.

Through the middle, there will be an axle. This will either be equipped to house a skewer, for a quick release wheel, or a hollow tube, called a through-axle.

Rear wheels have an additional element – the freehub. This is where the cassette fits onto and has its own individual bearings so that it can spin freely from the wheel itself and allows the rider to freewheel. To learn more, see our guide to bicycle freehubs.

Some manufacturers will use a cup-and-cone system for axle bearings and cartridge bearings for the freehub and vice versa, though neither typically allow for any freehub adjustability.

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