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Old 01-02-13, 07:44 PM   #1
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Gear question...honest I have searched...

I am thinking out loud here for my Bianchi...

Currently my Freewheel is 13-15-17-20-23-26, and my chain rings are 52/42.

Most of my riding (right now) is on the 52 & 17 (I prefer 52 & 18).

I won't ever use the 13, and more than likely wont use anything past 24. I don't do hills.

What I am thinking about doing is changing the 42 CR to a 48 to do half steps, and the FW to something like a 14-16-18-21-24 (5 speed)? Or a 14-16-18-20-22-24?

What do you think? Is there such a freewheel? Where am I thinking incorrect? Help? Input?
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Old 01-02-13, 08:01 PM   #2
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I think that_guy_zach on this forum still has some NOS 15-17-19-21-24 Suntour Perfect freewheels for sale at a reasonable price. That might approximate what you're after. The 52/15 high might not be high enough for you (it's plenty high enough for me), but you could always replace the 15 with a 14--they're very common and easy to find.
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Old 01-02-13, 08:54 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Essthreetee View Post
I am thinking out loud here for my Bianchi...

Currently my Freewheel is 13-15-17-20-23-26, and my chain rings are 52/42.

Most of my riding (right now) is on the 52 & 17 (I prefer 52 & 18).

I won't ever use the 13, and more than likely wont use anything past 24. I don't do hills.

What I am thinking about doing is changing the 42 CR to a 48 to do half steps, and the FW to something like a 14-16-18-21-24 (5 speed)? Or a 14-16-18-20-22-24?

What do you think? Is there such a freewheel? Where am I thinking incorrect? Help? Input?
If you want a good 5-speed half-step, the ideal freewheel would be: 14-16-18-21-24, and the chainrings are 52-48.5 (not a good match).

Better would be 13-15-18-21-24, with a 52-48.0, a better match. If the 14 was too hard a gear in the first place, try 15-17-19-21-24, with 52-49 chainrings.

The chainrings are not too hard to find in the market. The freewheels are the hard part.

If you want to try a 6-speed, you should consider increasing the size of the biggest cog, because the incremental gear steps are getting pretty small in these gearings. A 6-speed 15-17-19-21-24-26 with the same 52-49 would be the way to do this.

An alternative to the 15 tooth is: 14-16-18-21-24 in the back and 48-45 in the front.

Last edited by Road Fan; 01-02-13 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 01-02-13, 09:06 PM   #4
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The freewheel limitation is going to be a problem. You really are stuck by what's in the market or what you can find in good condition. 13-24 7-speeds are or were fairly common a few years ago. I no longer use gearings that are as tight as what you're talking about, so I really don't know what's out there today.
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Old 01-02-13, 09:08 PM   #5
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Different gears for different terrain. Ever ridden in New England?

Two things to consider, though they may not apply to you.
1. It's better to not have the high gear you want than to not have the low gear you need.
2. Tighter gearing may be more convenient but sometimes you just have to tolerate a cadence slightly off from what you'd prefer.

Shucks, around here I often don't bother to shift because I know that in 10 seconds I'll just be shifting two gears back the other way. And 15 seconds later I'll do it again. And in 15 seconds...well, you get the idea. Sometimes it's best just to ride.

You might want to check out freewheelspa.com, BF member Pastor Bob Merrill.
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Old 01-02-13, 09:39 PM   #6
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Maybe keep the freewheel and go with a 45/42 ring set up (just buying one ring). This gives 7+% between rings for the half steps, and the FW gives between 13 and 17% between each cog. Your 45/13 high gear will feel the same as your 52/15 does currently. You keep the lows if needed and enjoy half steps down to the very bottom.
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Old 01-02-13, 09:53 PM   #7
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What kind of crank are you using? If it's 110 or 130BCD, there are rings available in every tooth count imaginable, though 47 and 49 are kind of oddities.
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Old 01-02-13, 09:56 PM   #8
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What kind of crank are you using? If it's 110 or 130BCD, there are rings available in every tooth count imaginable, though 47 and 49 are kind of oddities.
Cranks are shimano 600...130 I believe.
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Old 01-03-13, 06:11 AM   #9
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...and who manufactured the freewheel and what model might it be?

The ubiquitous Suntour Perfect can be set up with a 14-24 in a 5 or 6 speed. I have plenty of Perfect cogs and bodies. I might also be able to come up with a Shimano, a Regina or a Sachs (all 6 speeds) in a similar configuration, but I can't be as certain until I start sorting cogs. One of the challenges with the Regina and Sachs is finding the 14T high gear.

I'll dig around and see what I can provide.
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Old 01-03-13, 07:41 AM   #10
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...and who manufactured the freewheel and what model might it be?

The ubiquitous Suntour Perfect can be set up with a 14-24 in a 5 or 6 speed. I have plenty of Perfect cogs and bodies. I might also be able to come up with a Shimano, a Regina or a Sachs (all 6 speeds) in a similar configuration, but I can't be as certain until I start sorting cogs. One of the challenges with the Regina and Sachs is finding the 14T high gear.

I'll dig around and see what I can provide.

I sent you a pm. Thanks.
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Old 01-03-13, 08:09 AM   #11
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The freewheel limitation is going to be a problem. You really are stuck by what's in the market or what you can find in good condition. 13-24 7-speeds are or were fairly common a few years ago. I no longer use gearings that are as tight as what you're talking about, so I really don't know what's out there today.
Stick with Suntour, buy the 5 and 6 speed freewheels that have the cogs you really want and mix and match. I roll my own freewheels all the time. Just need two chainwhips to spin the threaded cogs off. That and pay attention to spacers. I just rolled two NOS Pro-Compe freewheels to get a 26T big cog...replaced the second to biggest too to smooth out the transitions.

Remember freewheel cog boards at the LBS?
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Old 01-03-13, 08:43 AM   #12
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I put this on my Raleigh Super Course. The 7 speed freewheel overall spacing is just about the same as the 6 speed; both were good for 126 mm hub spacing. It's performing fine. It has all the odd-numbered teeth from 13 to 25.



It has ramps on it, so it shifts much easier than the old flat-tooth freewheels.

If you really want to stick with 6 speeds and want to buy new, you will be limited to 14-28 combos.
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Old 01-03-13, 01:52 PM   #13
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I put this on my Raleigh Super Course. The 7 speed freewheel overall spacing is just about the same as the 6 speed; both were good for 126 mm hub spacing. It's performing fine. It has all the odd-numbered teeth from 13 to 25.



It has ramps on it, so it shifts much easier than the old flat-tooth freewheels.
Exactly what I have on my 1972 and 1973 Paramounts.
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Old 01-03-13, 02:05 PM   #14
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You could do a pretty decent half-step with 50T and 47T rings and your current freewheel. The 47/26 would be close to your current 42/23, and you'd trim the top gear down from 105" to 101". As long as the crankset is centered well with the FW, the 47/13 could become pretty useful.

http://www.gear-calculator.com/#KB=4...0&UF=2099&SL=3
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Old 01-03-13, 04:07 PM   #15
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Yesterday on my drive home I was contemplating the practical differences between 1 1/2-step and 1/2-step gearing. My Masi is set up with 1/2-step, though somewhat lower than typical, and all my other bikes, including the tandem, are 1 1/2-step. From a practical standpoint both systems have their advantages. I realize that those of you with index shifting probably have different priorities because you can shift wantonly until your cables stretch and your levers wear out, but with friction levers the act of shifting has to be practical.

With 1/2-step, half of the time when you want just a small gear change the chainring is positioned such that only a single chainring shift is needed. And when you must shift both front and rear, the rear shift is only one cog. This encourages many small gear changes to fine-tune your cadence. But the down side is that with a reasonable overall gear range the rear cogs are necessarily further apart. Also sometimes you just want a single big downshift for an approaching hill, and the convenient binary state of the FD doesn't give you a big enough downshift to do the trick.

With 1 1/2-step, you never do just front or rear only to get a 1/2-step jump, and half the time the rear shift is two cogs. This discourages frequent small-change shifting. But the upside is that a convenient front downshift gives a bigger gear change, sometimes just enough for an approaching hill. And when you want a smaller change but aren't over-picky about just how much you can simply shift the rear instead of troubling with the double shift.

Of course it depends on your terrain and your riding style. I find 1/2-step good on long rides where I want to maintain a steadily high cadence for as long as possible, one of the reasons I like the Masi for such rides. For more casual riding where time and tide don't demand quite that performance level the 1 1/2-step arrangement seems more convenient.

My first derailleur bike, the faithful UO8, came with 2 1/2-step gearing, the so-called "Alpine" chainrings of 52-36 paired to a 14-26 freewheel. For many years I rode that as two gear ranges, like a high/low transfer case on a 4WD vehicle. Eventually I realized I didn't need those ridiculous high gears which I never used, but lower gears and smoother front shifts were desirable.
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Old 01-03-13, 04:37 PM   #16
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I put this on my Raleigh Super Course. The 7 speed freewheel overall spacing is just about the same as the 6 speed; both were good for 126 mm hub spacing. It's performing fine. It has all the odd-numbered teeth from 13 to 25.



It has ramps on it, so it shifts much easier than the old flat-tooth freewheels.

If you really want to stick with 6 speeds and want to buy new, you will be limited to 14-28 combos.
+1 I have used these on a couple of builds and they seem to give a nice gear range with most vintage 52 something chainrings. Plus the ramps when combined with modern 7/8 speed chain make for very smooth friction shifting.
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Old 01-03-13, 07:15 PM   #17
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52 x 17, most the the riding. Even 52 x 18.

I will be contrarian and say you are in too big a gear with that as your general purpose preferred ratio.
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Old 01-03-13, 07:24 PM   #18
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Stick with Suntour, buy the 5 and 6 speed freewheels that have the cogs you really want and mix and match. I roll my own freewheels all the time. Just need two chainwhips to spin the threaded cogs off. That and pay attention to spacers. I just rolled two NOS Pro-Compe freewheels to get a 26T big cog...replaced the second to biggest too to smooth out the transitions.

Remember freewheel cog boards at the LBS?
Yes, Keith, truth is you are correct. But for most people it's a matter of hunting in, more or less, the dark, not-aided by LBS workers who really just want you to buy a totally new gruppo or complete bike.

Another point is, he wants a half-step, not a crossover. A well-designed half-step is defined rather precisely by creating a model using a few simple equations, with potential real implementations evaluated by how well they approximate the model. For a 6x2 half-step you have to find 6+2= 8 specific gears, not just a 14 and a 23 and some whatevers as go-betweens. That is, IF you believe that the OP really wants the half-step he says he wants - then you have to find the gears that best approximate the mathematics. And if you have to find those 8 gears, the big ones in the front are gonna be easier than the ones in the rear. I DO recall gear boards quite well, thank you, and the frustration with not finding the one gear you want. To me sourcing is a key consideration.

If you have access to a deep selection of compatible gears and spacers, good for you. How well can you service even the dozen seekers of good half steps that might exist here with a hobbyist's collection of gears?
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Old 01-03-13, 07:32 PM   #19
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52 x 17, most the the riding. Even 52 x 18.

I will be contrarian and say you are in too big a gear with that as your general purpose preferred ratio.
It would seem so for older normal riders. But I know a lot of young kids that ride 52/16 or 17 on there SS/FG conversions it just hurts me looking at there bikes. Since I find it hard sometimes on my SS beater with 46/17 gearing.
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Old 01-03-13, 08:04 PM   #20
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It would seem so for older normal riders. But I know a lot of young kids that ride 52/16 or 17 on there SS/FG conversions it just hurts me looking at there bikes. Since I find it hard sometimes on my SS beater with 46/17 gearing.
Ha! You call yourself old and weak! I had a singlespeed with 42/20 gearing. I'm way older and weaker than you.
Okay, possibly not older. But definitely weaker.
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Old 01-03-13, 10:39 PM   #21
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Alright, so I gotta say..you guys are great. Many good things to think about. Pastorbob (a VERY good guy) quickly put a FW together and then Acoffin found a 5 speed Suntour Perfect that is going to be just that...perfect (I think). 14-16-18-21-24.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:49 AM   #22
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It would seem so for older normal riders. But I know a lot of young kids that ride 52/16 or 17 on there SS/FG conversions it just hurts me looking at there bikes. Since I find it hard sometimes on my SS beater with 46/17 gearing.
On a fixed gear, I think that is quite different. I am not sure I would want to use a 52 x 16, but 52x17 or 18 I could see, but I would not want to be in that all day.

One thing I find is I often meet up with younger guys if full attire and serious enough to shave their legs, cat 3 racers by and large, they are married to their 53's, while I am going along in a 42 x 17 and if they up the tempo attempting to drop me, go to a 42 x 16. Two miles later they give up and talk. Maybe this is why I do not have knee problems.

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