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  1. #1
    Senior Member Tunnelrat81's Avatar
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    How much Freewheel wobble is ok?

    Ok, so a bit ago I had a discussion on here about an IRD freewheel that I had fail after just ~2 months of use. I sent it back through my LBS and they sent me a warranty replacement. The new one looks good so far (as did the original IRD) but I noticed after spinning it onto my rear wheel it has a fairly pronounced wobble during freewheeling. I realize that some of this is normal, and have noticed this on many other freewheels, just never to this degree. It doesn't appear to be enough to throw the tuning off, but it nudges my chain around a bit when it's on the small cog end of it.

    My first reaction was "poop, I must have cross-threaded it during installation and it's off by a thread"...so today on my way home from work I spun into a LBS to pick up the freewheel removal tool and pull it back off. Pulled it off, cleaned the anti-seize off of the threads to discover that they are in perfect shape, no damage from cross-threading on either the hub OR the FW. Spinning it on isn't "smooth" and was difficult to turn by hand, but didn't get progressively harder until it was fully seated, so I don't think it could be cross threaded, just quite wobbly.

    So how much is acceptable? Should I contact IRD again with further complaint? Is the wobble a combination of crooked threading on my hub combined with that of the FW? I'd want to get this resolved so I don't have to drive to work, but want to make sure I'm not complicating things by using it if there's something fishy going on.

    Thanks so much.

    -Jeremy

  2. #2
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunnelrat81 View Post
    Ok, so a bit ago I had a discussion on here about an IRD freewheel that I had fail after just ~2 months of use. I sent it back through my LBS and they sent me a warranty replacement. The new one looks good so far (as did the original IRD) but I noticed after spinning it onto my rear wheel it has a fairly pronounced wobble during freewheeling. I realize that some of this is normal, and have noticed this on many other freewheels, just never to this degree. It doesn't appear to be enough to throw the tuning off, but it nudges my chain around a bit when it's on the small cog end of it.

    My first reaction was "poop, I must have cross-threaded it during installation and it's off by a thread"...so today on my way home from work I spun into a LBS to pick up the freewheel removal tool and pull it back off. Pulled it off, cleaned the anti-seize off of the threads to discover that they are in perfect shape, no damage from cross-threading on either the hub OR the FW. Spinning it on isn't "smooth" and was difficult to turn by hand, but didn't get progressively harder until it was fully seated, so I don't think it could be cross threaded, just quite wobbly.

    So how much is acceptable? Should I contact IRD again with further complaint? Is the wobble a combination of crooked threading on my hub combined with that of the FW? I'd want to get this resolved so I don't have to drive to work, but want to make sure I'm not complicating things by using it if there's something fishy going on.

    Thanks so much.

    -Jeremy
    I've never seen a freewheel that had no play, but also never heard of any problems due to play.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunnelrat81 View Post
    Ok, so a bit ago I had a discussion on here about an IRD freewheel that I had fail after just ~2 months of use. I sent it back through my LBS and they sent me a warranty replacement. The new one looks good so far (as did the original IRD) but I noticed after spinning it onto my rear wheel it has a fairly pronounced wobble during freewheeling. I realize that some of this is normal, and have noticed this on many other freewheels, just never to this degree. It doesn't appear to be enough to throw the tuning off, but it nudges my chain around a bit when it's on the small cog end of it.

    My first reaction was "poop, I must have cross-threaded it during installation and it's off by a thread"...so today on my way home from work I spun into a LBS to pick up the freewheel removal tool and pull it back off. Pulled it off, cleaned the anti-seize off of the threads to discover that they are in perfect shape, no damage from cross-threading on either the hub OR the FW. Spinning it on isn't "smooth" and was difficult to turn by hand, but didn't get progressively harder until it was fully seated, so I don't think it could be cross threaded, just quite wobbly.

    So how much is acceptable? Should I contact IRD again with further complaint? Is the wobble a combination of crooked threading on my hub combined with that of the FW? I'd want to get this resolved so I don't have to drive to work, but want to make sure I'm not complicating things by using it if there's something fishy going on.

    Thanks so much.

    -Jeremy
    Yes. The freewheel probably is the main cause, but you'd need to do some experimenting so see for sure. It's not really a problem though.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tunnelrat81's Avatar
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    It's not "Play" as I've used that term, as in not sitting snug or with some movement between parts....But it's like the threading is misaligned to a reasonable degree to create a wobble as the wheel spins around the freewheeling gears. I'm beginning to think that you must be right though, and riding will be the test, which will hopefully be tomorrow.

    -Jeremy

  5. #5
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Yes, "play" is not the right word. The problem is that not everything is concentric. The hub races, hub threads, and freewheel body all need to be made correctly. Sloppy misalignment in one or more area causes the wobble.
    Last edited by Homebrew01; 12-15-09 at 09:47 AM.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  6. #6
    My bike don't goose me! BillB.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunnelrat81 View Post
    It's not "Play" as I've used that term, as in not sitting snug or with some movement between parts....But it's like the threading is misaligned to a reasonable degree to create a wobble as the wheel spins around the freewheeling gears. I'm beginning to think that you must be right though, and riding will be the test, which will hopefully be tomorrow.

    -Jeremy
    Jeremy,
    I have seen this happen on many MTB's and it is normal. The only explanation I ever got that made sense was when the freewheeling part was put in with the cogs the machining may have been offset. If it does it to a degree as you said making your smaller cog goof up then I would get another one. Also one question when you changed this did you change your chain?

  7. #7
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    I've seen this before and it does not seem to be a problem in practice. The least stressed bearings on a bicycle are those in the freewheel or freehub. They do absolutely nothing unless you're coasting.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tunnelrat81's Avatar
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    Chain is only about 2 months old, approximately 25 miles per week of commuting...I replaced it when I bought the first IRD freewheel and a couple months later the freewheel fell apart inside. The chain is a 9 speed KMC Z chain and has VERY little wear. It has been well lubed with triflow its entire life. I'll probably ride it to work tomorrow and will have a better idea of the shifting quality. That first freewheel that failed shifted beautifully but I don't remember seeing this kind of motion in it. I probably don't have to mention that I've lost a lot of respect for IRD over this, especially at it's inflated pricepoint compared to Shimano's freewheel options. If I had it to do over, I'd definitely go shimano. =(. I get the idea that they believe (and advertise) a far higher standard then they're able to deliver, at least with FW's. So I feel somewhat duped. Thankfully my LBS took care of the warranty return promptly and easily...but I'd hate to ask them to return it or absorb the loss because I was too dumb to resist the marketing hype from IRD.

    -Jeremy

  9. #9
    My bike don't goose me! BillB.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunnelrat81 View Post
    Chain is only about 2 months old, approximately 25 miles per week of commuting...I replaced it when I bought the first IRD freewheel and a couple months later the freewheel fell apart inside. The chain is a 9 speed KMC Z chain and has VERY little wear. It has been well lubed with triflow its entire life. I'll probably ride it to work tomorrow and will have a better idea of the shifting quality. That first freewheel that failed shifted beautifully but I don't remember seeing this kind of motion in it. I probably don't have to mention that I've lost a lot of respect for IRD over this, especially at it's inflated pricepoint compared to Shimano's freewheel options. If I had it to do over, I'd definitely go shimano. =(. I get the idea that they believe (and advertise) a far higher standard then they're able to deliver, at least with FW's. So I feel somewhat duped. Thankfully my LBS took care of the warranty return promptly and easily...but I'd hate to ask them to return it or absorb the loss because I was too dumb to resist the marketing hype from IRD.

    -Jeremy
    If it does fail, just take it back and try another one. To be honest, one of the FW's that were doing the same as you explain was a Shimano. As far as the chain sorry about asking that as I reread the post, you did say you only had both for 2months lol. I was kinda of tired . Cool that you feel that way about the LBS as most do not. As far as them absorbing the loss, I am almost certain they will get reimbursed from IRD for a faulty product. However there may be ship costs they may have to absorb. Don't know. LBS in this case are only the guys who sell the product, IRD is the ones who manufactured the product .

  10. #10
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    99% of freewheel wobble is caused by hub race machining misalignment...and even when really bad...wrenches should still have no problem adjusting the derailleurs stops and dialing in the shifting to get things working right.

    Tell the wrench to "get 'er done" and then ride.

    =8-)

    If you are worried about a freewheel falling apart...get a Falcon or Shimano. Falcon's are pretty reliable generics.

    =8-)

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    Also dont overlook a bent axle.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by layedback1 View Post
    Also dont overlook a bent axle.
    That is not related to freewheel wobble.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  13. #13
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
    Yes, "play" is not the right word. The problem is that not everything is concentric.
    "Not concentric" implies that the axis of the freewheel is offset from and parallel to the axis of the wheel. Do you mean "not axial"? That would mean that the axis of the freewheel is at an angle to the axis of the wheel. The two types of wobbles would be quite different. (And could be simultaneous.) IME, the non-axial wobble is far the most common, though I'm at a loss to understand why. Maybe it's a shifing aid?

    Quote Originally Posted by layedback1 View Post
    Also dont overlook a bent axle.
    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
    That is not related to freewheel wobble.
    It's not?
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  14. #14
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Bent axle is not related to freewheel wobble...

    ...high volume cheap machining of the cup race seats of el cheapo hub shells is...that's usually the cause.

    Even on high-end hubs...you'll often see a slight wobble.

    =8-)

  15. #15
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    If the freewheel wobbles on the freewheel body, don't worry about it. I've never seen a freewheel that didn't wobble a little. I've actually heard it called a feature, that the wobble helps shifting. I don't really believe it, but who knows.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Tunnelrat81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
    99% of freewheel wobble is caused by hub race machining misalignment...and even when really bad...wrenches should still have no problem adjusting the derailleurs stops and dialing in the shifting to get things working right.

    Tell the wrench to "get 'er done" and then ride.

    =8-)

    If you are worried about a freewheel falling apart...get a Falcon or Shimano. Falcon's are pretty reliable generics.

    =8-)
    I am my own wrench. =) And yes, I should be able to get it tuned, just unsettled to see that much movement, that's all. If I can figure out how to upload a video clip and link to it I may try that, but from what I'm hearing loudly here, it's all normal, and normal has a broad range.

    -Jeremy

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    Senior Member Tunnelrat81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
    Bent axle is not related to freewheel wobble...

    ...high volume cheap machining of the cup race seats of el cheapo hub shells is...that's usually the cause.

    Even on high-end hubs...you'll often see a slight wobble.

    =8-)
    See that's what's interesting. I've got a low end wheelset on an old mid-70's viscount that spins with only the slightest wobble.... The wheelset in question is a Shimano 600 hubset, laced by DT Swiss comp spokes to mavic MA40 rims. A thoughful, strong build on old but high quality parts....

    -Jeremy

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    The freewheel wobble I've seen is movement of the freewheel axis when the wheel is spinning. That is the freewheel is moving in and out at different locations around the circumference.

    If that is what you're seeing, I've always thought that movement was caused by loose freewheel bearings. Maybe one spacer short of a load. My old SunTour freewheels were pretty bad (even when new), but the Shimano HG freewheel I bought last year is very good.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    All the freewheels I have encountered out there have some wobble to some degree. I used to worry about this too back in the 80's but I eventually learned not to be too anal about it and it does not bother me anymore, nor has it ever affected the shifting on my bikes.
    Just stop staring at your freewheels too closely when you are servicing your bike and spinning the rear wheel and you'll just forget that it even wobbles.....

    Chombi
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Tunnelrat81's Avatar
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    Is that my old motorcycle I see in your Avatar? This is one of my "For Sale" pictures that I posted on Craigslist when I sold it. There's nothing like the V-4. A pure joy to ride. I bought it up in Northern California and sold it after moving down here into the traffic. =( It was bittersweet though because that's when I got into cycling and turned the cash into a nice bike for myself and my (then new) wife. We're still riding lots and I'm in MUCH better shape than I was when I rode a moto.

    -Jeremy


  21. #21
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunnelrat81 View Post
    Is that my old motorcycle I see in your Avatar? This is one of my "For Sale" pictures that I posted on Craigslist when I sold it. There's nothing like the V-4. A pure joy to ride. I bought it up in Northern California and sold it after moving down here into the traffic. =( It was bittersweet though because that's when I got into cycling and turned the cash into a nice bike for myself and my (then new) wife. We're still riding lots and I'm in MUCH better shape than I was when I rode a moto.

    -Jeremy


    Sorry, not your old bike. I had my 95 VFR since I bought it new in 1995.

    My 1995 VFR750 FS
    There are later models of the VFR tht had come out since but nothing as good and as good looking as the 94-97 4th gen model with the NACA ducts.
    Glad to find out that somebody else here at BF has the same taste on bikes as I do.

    Chombi
    84 Peugeot PSV
    85(?) Vitus Plus Carbone 7

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