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  1. #1
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    Schwinn-- freewheel in the crank

    Okay, a buddy dropped by asking me to help him with a vintage schwinn. It has the old Shimano freewheelin' crank; I've never worked on one of these before. Looks like a standard astabula style crank otherwise (I have worked on those plenty). Couldn't find word one in either Barnett's oor Sutherlands. Wanted to make sure before I pulled it off that the freewheel mechanism wouldn't come apart and cause untoward difficulties when I overhaul the bottom bracket. Anyone ever worked on these?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member FRANKIEJ's Avatar
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    It's been a while since I took one of those off, but I'm sure that it comes off as an entire unit. As far as servicing the actual freewheel system, I've never tried that (or seen the need to). I'm sure that nothing will go flying as soon as the crank is removed though.

    I just picked up a Schwinn World Tourist today at a yard sale that has the old FFS on it, but it is a 3 piece crank. Has quite an odd looking bottom bracket that I'm unsure as how to service. The FFS is kind of neat, but it seems like kind of a useless novelty. It is strange to hear the chain running accross the cogs while coasting though.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Remove the left pedal, then that large nut, but turn it clockwise, then the cone nut behind it, agian clockwise. You can then work the whole crankset out of the right side of the bike.
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  4. #4
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Shimano has a lot of technical publications on-line, but the front freewheel system isn't among them. I'd suggest giving them a call Monday at 949-951-5003 to see if they have any technical documentaton on paper they could send you.

    Here's a 1982 catalog page with part numbers that might be of help when you talk to them.

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  5. #5
    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    The freewheel should not fall apart. Removal and insertion is the same as any ashtabula type crank.

    If there is a problem with the one on that bike, and you would like one that seems to be in good shape (spins well) drop me a line, and I have one in great shape you can have for the shipping.
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  6. #6
    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    I'm curious to know if the FFS can be replaced easily with a standard BB/chainring/cranks? Are the FFS bottom bracket shells sized differently?
    The World Tourist I'm building for my wife has hit a couple of gearing-related snags, and it would be helpful to know of other options.

  7. #7
    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    The BB on my Suburban took a standard Ashtabula crank without issues.

    Just replace the crank and the rear cluster and you can go to a non-FFS

    If you have Positron, you can keep it or change it... the two technologies are not essential to coexist, they just usually do. If you change the positron ferailleur, you will also need to change the shifter.
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  8. #8
    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgregory57
    The BB on my Suburban took a standard Ashtabula crank without issues.

    Just replace the crank and the rear cluster and you can go to a non-FFS

    If you have Positron, you can keep it or change it... the two technologies are not essential to coexist, they just usually do. If you change the positron ferailleur, you will also need to change the shifter.
    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Chinese Electric bicycles are starting to show up with freewheels on the cranks. The manufactures are retaining the rear freewheel and derailleur as stock parts and drive the chain with an electric motor through a reduction gearbox and BMX freewheel. This way you may shift the gearing for your pedaling and the electric motor as well and have the pedal crank freewheel if the electric motor does all the work. These electric bicycles work very well especially when pulling steep hills. I don’t need electric assist myself but its great to be able to take someone biking along that’s disabled and needs the help.

  10. #10
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    In case some are wondering the why on those cranks it was so you could shift gears with out pedaling.

    I have removed them before they can be taken totaly apart seperating the cogs from the crank. But when you take it out of the bb it comes out as one unit.

    As for the crank design not sure why it hasnt made a modern day come back would be damn handy to change gears while coasting esp when coming to a stop light thats red.

  11. #11
    NJS my life! roughrider504's Avatar
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    Funny this thread should come back, I saw a bike with the freewheel crank last weekend. I probialy couldof gotten it for dirt cheap also, because they couldnt get the drive side crank off and they labeled it not repairable. They might of not been doing something right.

  12. #12
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughrider504
    Funny this thread should come back, I saw a bike with the freewheel crank last weekend. I probialy couldof gotten it for dirt cheap also, because they couldnt get the drive side crank off and they labeled it not repairable. They might of not been doing something right.
    On the one i worked on it was a big heavy duty snap ring to remove the cogs. Others might be pressed in or other wise "permently"attached

  13. #13
    NJS my life! roughrider504's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nova
    On the one i worked on it was a big heavy duty snap ring to remove the cogs. Others might be pressed in or other wise "permently"attached
    That mustof been the problem. Nothing was wrong with it, but they tried to get it off, and they couldnt, so I guess they thought something was broken

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