The “freehub” is one of the great inventions of modern cycling, providing the key elements necessary for multi-speed drive-trains on bicycles. It’s mechanical function allows a cyclist to not only “freewheel” or coast their bicycle without pedaling, re-engaging the drive when pedaling is resumed, but to independently change the cogs to meet gearing requirements or address wear issues.

Many people believe that the freehub was invented by Suntour in 1969 (failed) or Shimano in 1978 (successful). While Shimano certainly did a lot to refine and popularize the technology, the freehub has been around for longer than many people realize. The first maker to invent the “freewheel unit hub” is open to debate but Bayliss-Wiley was one of the first manufacturers to bring the product to market.