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  1. #1
    OldSchool
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    Freewheel Assistance

    I am trying to decide on some replacement freewheels for a couple of bikes I have. They are all Campy, but this is a friction 7 speed and 8 speed situation so I am assuming that any freewheel will work since spacing will not be an issue. Also I may be going as high as 30 cogs as this is for mountain riding. Looking around, I see the following names and I was wanting to get some input about shifting performance and wear. The names are Sachs (is this the same as Mallaird?), Suntour, Shimano, SunRace, IRD. Thanks for any info!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Actually, the spacing is different between 7 & 8 speed, by 4mm. You'll almost certainly need a longer axle to accommodate the extra freewheel width, as most 7 speed have little clearance to the dropout. Most people will just spread the stays without coldsetting them, but with a freewheel you definitely want to have them coldset and the dropouts realigned. The extra 4mm on the axle will cause enough bending moment without the extra stress of non-aligned dropouts.

    Bent axles are a relatively freqquent occurance with an 8 speed freewheel set-up, You may want to consider switching to cassette. I'd stick with 7 speed if you want ot go freewheel.

    7 & 8 speed freewheels are relatively rare, as by that point most manufacturers had gone cassette/freehub. It's not that you can't find them, it's just that it's much harder to find a good selection of cog ranges, due to the lack of demand.

    SunTour and Sachs are both of of business so they'll be harder to find. Shimano and Sunrace are both good values, but limited in ratio selection. IRD has a slightly better cog selection, but are much more expensive. My personal choise would be Shimano. FYI, Maillard was bought by Sachs in the mid-1980s, who were taken over by SRAM in the very late 1990's, who got out of the freewheel business.

  3. #3
    OldSchool
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
    Actually, the spacing is different between 7 & 8 speed, by 4mm. You'll almost certainly need a longer axle to accommodate the extra freewheel width, as most 7 speed have little clearance to the dropout. Most people will just spread the stays without coldsetting them, but with a freewheel you definitely want to have them coldset and the dropouts realigned. The extra 4mm on the axle will cause enough bending moment without the extra stress of non-aligned dropouts.

    SunTour and Sachs are both of of business so they'll be harder to find. Shimano and Sunrace are both good values, but limited in ratio selection. IRD has a slightly better cog selection, but are much more expensive. My personal choise would be Shimano. FYI, Maillard was bought by Sachs in the mid-1980s, who were taken over by SRAM in the very late 1990's, who got out of the freewheel business.
    You are right T-Mar. My mistake. On the 8 speed I will be going with a cassette so scratch that from the discussion. I'm seeing quite a few 7 speed SunTours on eBay, but I don't know anything about them. Any experience or knowledge?

  4. #4
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    I didn't notice a lot of difference in shift quality between my Dura-Ace 7400 freewheel and my Suntour Winner freewheel. Both were corncobs, though, so the differences may be more obvious with a greater range of cogs.

    There were quite a few used Dura-Ace (7400) 7 speed freewheels on eBay a couple months ago, when I bought mine. Most of the freewheels I came across at the time were corncobs, though. I know you can get a 7 speed 14-28 Shimano freewheel new at many LBS.

  5. #5
    Senior Member SJX426's Avatar
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  6. #6
    OldSchool
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
    Thanks for the link!

  7. #7
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    I avoid the SunTour freewheels, except when a bicycle absolutely has to be OEM. While they were very good in their day, a modern HyperGlide compatible freewheel shifts so much better, especially under load. Even the later SunTour Accushift Plus freewheels, while having some profiling on the teeth, are not as effective as the HG-style ramps. I would think that this would be a significant advantge when riding in the mountains. Stick with Shimano, SunRace or IRD.

    BTW, I have access to Shimano HG50, 7 speed, 11-28T freewheels, which other members tell me are no longer available in the USA. PM me if interested.

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