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  1. #1
    Senior Member TimArchy's Avatar
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    freewheel or cassette?

    I'm going to have a wheelset built for long distance touring. I'm looking at a Phil Wood touring hub for the back. They come in both cassette and freewheel. Which is better on terms of reliability, # of tools required to service, ect...?
    thanks
    tim
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  2. #2
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Cassette is superior to freewheel. A cassette hub has the right side bearing at the outside end of the cassette. A freewheel hub has the bearing at the inner end of the freewheel. The result is that freewheel axles are more likely to bend and break than cassette axles.

    In addition, the trend is solidly toward cassettes. There are better parts availability and selection for cassettes.

    The only place where freewheels can be better than cassettes is for service. To get a freewheel off the hub, you only need a freewheel lockring tool and a large wrench. To remove a cassette you need a cassette lockring tool, a chain whip and a large wrench. However, you can now get a nifty looking cassette lockring remover from Harris Cyclery that works like the old hypercracker and is very small and lightweight.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bbaker22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    However, you can now get a nifty looking cassette lockring remover from Harris Cyclery that works like the old hypercracker and is very small and lightweight.
    That is a cool tool. Thanks for the info.

    baker

  4. #4
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    Unless your going to china, or some such place, where freewheels are still the norm.

    I beleive shimano has a patent on the berings at the outside end of the cassettes so everyone else has to put them on the inside like the old freewheels. I may be wrong or out of date(patents do expire on occation) but thats what I read somewhere.
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
    "yuo ned to be deadurcated"

  5. #5
    Senior Member saddlesores's Avatar
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    i've got about 50k miles on my phil wood freewheel hub. hub is still going strong,
    think i'm on my third freewheel. all of this very heavy loaded touring.
    advantage here is that fw hub is about $200 cheaper than the cassette hub.
    disadvantage is the limited freewheel availability, especially in touring ranges.
    perf/nash still have sunrace 13:30 7spd, NOS can be found on ebay, and
    sheldon brown has shimano 7spd megarange in 11:34.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/freewheels.html

    "Hyperglide thread-on freewheels
    New! 11 - 13 - 15 - 18 - 21 - 24 - 34 "Megarange" "C" Type $24.95
    "Alpine" design, with closer spacing between most of the sprockets for efficient cruising, and the huge 34-tooth "bail-out" gear for the tough hills.
    11 tooth top gear makes this the best choice for bikes with "compact" chainwheels (fewer than 48 teeth on the largest)

    This specific model has a revolutionary, re-designed freewheel body. It is sturdier, has better bearings, less play and is easier to service than all previous designs. This new design only exists in the 11-34 combination at present.

    For technical details, see my article on Mega 7 Freewheels

    Because of its unusual design, the larger sprockets have to use a larger spline pattern than other Shimano freewheels. Therefore, it is not possible to customize the gearing on this freewheel, take it or leave it."


    forget your lbs. last time i went in, the girl behind the counter asked
    "whut's uh freywheel?"

  6. #6
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Dang! I jinxed myself. The rear axle on my commuter (freewheel) just broke! I must have made it made saying bad things about freewheels. Next time, I keep my mouth shut.

  7. #7
    ld-cyclist prestonjb's Avatar
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    freewheels are fine but my advise is to convert to free-hubs when the fw bites it...

    Sub: Yes I think that is true about the Shimano patent... But there are ways around the patent. Shimano's patent is that the outermost-bearing "race" is the lock ring of the casette free-body...

    Others that have switched to sealed cartridge bearings can get around the patent. Reason? They do not use the bearing as the lock nut. They use a machined pocket for the bearing race and press the race into the free-hub body. Then a lock-nut is placed on an axle shaft that is milled to catch on the inner race of these sealed-cartridge bearings. Therefore they seperated the "nut" from the "race" and thus simple reduced cost of these precision bearings has made it possible to get around the Shimano patent. Campy still uses a seperate race/bearing-retainer configuration and thus does not have the "third bearing"...

    That cog-breaker tool is cool! I may pick up one for my cross USA trip...

    BTW also at Shedon's site is info about mega-casettes they sell... I made my own by simply buying a 12x27 ultegra and a 11-32 LX and a 13x top-gear and made a custom 13x32!!! Most of the stuff I got from aebike.com

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