KASS-et or FREE-wil
A cassette is a cluster of multiple sprockets on a rear hub, while a freewheel is a single, larger sprocket on a rear hub.
Example usage: 'I'm going to replace the cassette on my bike with a freewheel.'
Most used in: Mountain biking and road cycling.
Most used by: Experienced cyclists who are more in-tune with the technical aspects of cycling.
Comedy Value: 2/10
What is a Cassette or Freewheel?
A cassette or freewheel is a cluster of sprockets located at the rear hub of a bicycle. The cassette is held in place by a cassette lockring and is connected to the rear wheel via the rear axle. The cassette contains a number of sprockets (or cogs) of varying sizes, which can be changed to provide different gears. The size of the sprockets determines the gear ratio, which in turn affects the speed and power of a cyclist’s pedaling.
A freewheel is similar to a cassette in that it is a cluster of sprockets located at the rear hub of a bicycle, but it differs in that it is not connected to the rear wheel via the rear axle. Instead, a freewheel is attached to the rear wheel via a threaded axle, which allows the freewheel to rotate freely when the cyclist is not pedaling. This allows the cyclist to coast without the need to pedal.
Both cassettes and freewheels are commonly used on bicycles, with cassettes being the more popular choice. According to a survey conducted by Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, cassettes accounted for 68% of all bicycle rear hubs in 2016, while freewheels accounted for 32%..
The Origin of the Cycling Term 'Cassette or Freewheel'
The term 'cassette' or 'freewheel' refers to the device located on the rear wheel of a bicycle and is used to change gears. The device was invented in the 1890s and first used in France. It was originally called a 'pignon libre' which is French for 'free sprocket'.
The device was improved upon over the years, and by the mid-20th century, the term 'cassette' was being used to refer to the device. This term is likely derived from the fact that the device looks like a cassette, or small case, and is made up of several small sprockets that are held together.
The term 'freewheel' was also used to refer to the device and is likely derived from the fact that the device allows the cyclist to coast or freewheel without having to pedal. The term 'freewheel' was first used in the 1950s and is still used today.
The terms 'cassette' and 'freewheel' are now used interchangeably to refer to the device located on the rear wheel of a bicycle that is used to change gears. While the device has been improved upon over the years, the terms 'cassette' and 'freewheel' remain the most commonly used terms to refer to the device.