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  1. #1
    Senior Member clengman's Avatar
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    New Chain skipping on old freewheel

    I got an old Schwinn 10 speed touring bike last year and have been using it for daily commuting and for some light sport touring. I love it. I've been trying to stay on top of maintenance because the bike has a very nice vintage Dura-Ace drivetrain, I like the way it works and I don't want to have to replace it. I've kept an eye on chain wear. My old chain had not yet worn as much as 1/16" in a foot by my measurement. I was hoping if I continued to change the chain in a timely fashion that I'd be able to keep using my very cool, magically silent, skiptooth-big-cog, Shimano model J freewheel indefinitely. I changed the chain last night, though and when I got on it this morning it was skipping badly on my most used middle cog and skipping a little on the 34T skiptooth cog and I didn't really shift around a lot or try it extensively, but I'm bummed that it seems to be worn beyond help.

    I guess at this point I can just put the old chain back on and use the chain and freewheel until it won't drive no more and then replace everything. Just wondering if there's anything I can do to prolong the life of my freewheel at this point.

    Also, have considered getting a new 5 speed IRD freewheel and using it with the new chain to try to preserve the life of my beauteous Dura-Ace chainrings. The IRD freewheels look nice, but I've seen mixed impressions of the quality/durability.

    What would you do?

  2. #2
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Get either a cheap sunrace freewheel and see if that solves the issue just to confirm and run it until it dies, keep replacing with cheap sunrace freewheels, or splurge on an IRD and see for yourself what kind of quality you get.

    And troll ebay, C&V hoping someone will offer up a Shimano replacement.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
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    you can still find good quality 5 speed freewheels
    if you look
    maybe not with skip tooth cogs
    but this is a bike to be ridden rather than display in a museum

  4. #4
    Senior Member clengman's Avatar
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    I agree about riding not displaying. If I could find a new wide range freewheel with the same ratios as my old one, I'd totally forget about the aesthetics. Are the quality freewheels you're referring to NOS suntour and shimano, or does someone currently make something similar to the old suntour and shimano wide range 5 and 6 speeds?

    Don't like shimano mega-range 6 speed because the big jump from 24 to 34 really screws up my shift pattern with a 52/39 chainset. I like all the sort of half steps (more like 1/3 steps) that I get in the middle of my range now. IRD 14-34 or 13-32 6 speeds are really close to what I'm used to, but like I said above, I've seen quite a few complaints about pawls failing to engage in those freewheels. It's a lot to pay for something that's not going to be reliable.

    Definitely want a 32T or 34T big cog. I have some steep hills around here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
    you can still find good quality 5 speed freewheels
    if you look
    maybe not with skip tooth cogs
    but this is a bike to be ridden rather than display in a museum

  5. #5
    Senior Member Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
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  6. #6
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    If the skipping isn't frequent enough to be very annoying or make riding just about impossible, you can use the new chain and live with it for a short while. It won't be long before the high points on the backs of the teeth wear enough for the new chain to run smoothly. Or if you have a Dremel you can grind the back points of the sprockets a bit. (there's info available about how this is done on the net).

    Once the new chain is running smoothly, monitor it's wear, and when it matches the old chain, switch back, and thereafter rotate the two chains every 500-1,000 miles so you're keeping them and the freewheel sprockets matched.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member clengman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    If the skipping isn't frequent enough to be very annoying or make riding just about impossible, you can use the new chain and live with it for a short while. It won't be long before the high points on the backs of the teeth wear enough for the new chain to run smoothly. Or if you have a Dremel you can grind the back points of the sprockets a bit. (there's info available about how this is done on the net).

    Once the new chain is running smoothly, monitor it's wear, and when it matches the old chain, switch back, and thereafter rotate the two chains every 500-1,000 miles so you're keeping them and the freewheel sprockets matched.
    Nice! Thanks. I may try this. I was surprised that I had an issue because I thought (based on Sheldon Brown info on chain and sprocket wear) that I was changing the chain before tooth wear would become a problem. I also thought that worn sprocket teeth would be easily discernible to the eye. It doesn't really look like the teeth are worn.

    I guess the method is to feel for a hook or a barb on the back edge of each tooth and just touch it with a grinder or dremel to smooth off the barb, taking off as little material as possible. Is that about right?

  8. #8
    Senior Member clengman's Avatar
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    Yup, those are the IRD freewheels I was referring to above. I guess maybe the newer model "Classica" may have solved the weak pawl spring problem. I may try one. Thanks.

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