Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Upgrading / replacing my 5 spd freewheel

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Upgrading / replacing my 5 spd freewheel

Old 12-02-16, 09:36 AM
  #1  
kalash74
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 201
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Upgrading / replacing my 5 spd freewheel

Is it possible to upgrade/replace the 5 spd Suntour freewheel on my 1986 Bridgestone MTB with something like this?
https://harriscyclery.net/merchant/37...arge/fw628.jpg

I'll have to check, but I'm guessing the spacing is 126mm. Wasn't that the spacing for 1980s MTB's?

Would there be any downsides to doing this other than having to buy two freewheel tools (the Suntour FR-2 and the splined Shimano)? Would everything work well with my stock triple asymmetric biopace ring?
kalash74 is offline  
Old 12-02-16, 10:17 AM
  #2  
bulldog1935
Banned.
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Posts: 2,717

Bikes: '74 Raleigh International utility; '98 Moser Forma road; '92 Viner Pro CX upright

Mentioned: 44 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 939 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
You can replace it with any 5-speed freewheel. Suntour Ultra6 will also fit in the same space (ebay, or I have a 13-27t Ultra6 in great condition that's idle - if it would do you any good we can talk).
Depending on your wheels, you may be able to have your LBS space your rear axle and then you can fit a 7sp freewheel easy.

This is Raleigh originally 120mm axle, realigned to 126, with a Phil freewheel hub and axle spaced for 7-speed. Suntour Winner 7, 12-30t. Lots of room and no chance of chainsuck.



One more thought - Call Yellow Jersey. They rebuild freewheels, may have SunTour cogs around and might be able to turn your 5 into a 6.

Last edited by bulldog1935; 12-03-16 at 09:51 AM.
bulldog1935 is offline  
Old 12-02-16, 10:56 AM
  #3  
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 4,449
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1595 Post(s)
Liked 186 Times in 148 Posts
Originally Posted by kalash74 View Post
Is it possible to upgrade/replace the 5 spd Suntour freewheel on my 1986 Bridgestone MTB with something like this?
https://harriscyclery.net/merchant/37...arge/fw628.jpg

I'll have to check, but I'm guessing the spacing is 126mm. Wasn't that the spacing for 1980s MTB's?

Would there be any downsides to doing this other than having to buy two freewheel tools (the Suntour FR-2 and the splined Shimano)? Would everything work well with my stock triple asymmetric biopace ring?
What are you thinking would be an issue? 5 to 6 is a common and easy upgrade. Anything more, as mentioned, would require re-spacing the chainstays, or forcing the wheel in after every removal (a hassle). But why that particular freewheel? Are there not freewheels available that use the removal tool that you already have?
Leisesturm is offline  
Old 12-02-16, 11:13 AM
  #4  
Ironfish653
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Virginia Beach
Posts: 1,265

Bikes: 1997 Cannondale, 1976 Bridgestone, 1998 Softride

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 439 Post(s)
Liked 150 Times in 101 Posts
Because 6-speed Shimano MegaRange freewheels are easy to find, inexpensive, and flat work. I needed 2mm on each side on my '76 to clear the stays, your mileage may vary.
Check Bike Parts | Road Bicycle Parts | Bicycle Repair Parts - Niagara Cycle, they have lots of options.
Ironfish653 is offline  
Old 12-02-16, 10:22 PM
  #5  
kalash74
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 201
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The stock Suntour freewheel is extremely noisy, esp. during shifting. I know nothing about this stuff, but I keep hearing that the hyperglide freewheels from Shimano are reliable and quiet. I was planning to replace the chain, but now I'm wondering if I should just replace the freewheel while I'm at it as well.

If you guys think that the derailleur on the bike and the 126mm spacing would work fine with the Shimano HG freewheel, then I may just give it a try. It's only about $20.
kalash74 is offline  
Old 12-02-16, 10:39 PM
  #6  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,729
Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11763 Post(s)
Liked 1,063 Times in 827 Posts
5 --> 6 should be easy enough, especially if you already have 126mm spacing.
5 --> 7 is not uncommon.

Are you able to true wheels? You may need to flip some spacers on the hub around to get it to fit, especially 7 spd. And, technically that also means dishing, although you may be able to get away with some minor changes without dishing.

Are you using friction shifting? Indexed shifting?

I do think the old freewheels might have lasted longer than the "modern" ramped freewheels. Or at least longer than some of the cassettes.
CliffordK is online now  
Old 12-03-16, 09:32 AM
  #7  
AlexCyclistRoch
The Infractionator
 
AlexCyclistRoch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 2,202

Bikes: Classic road bikes: 1986 Cannondale, 1978 Trek

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 875 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Most 5-speeds were 120mm spacing.
AlexCyclistRoch is offline  
Old 12-03-16, 09:50 AM
  #8  
bulldog1935
Banned.
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Posts: 2,717

Bikes: '74 Raleigh International utility; '98 Moser Forma road; '92 Viner Pro CX upright

Mentioned: 44 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 939 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
and 6 preceded indexing (they called them 12 speeds then), and Shimano SIS for 6 arrived in 1985
bulldog1935 is offline  
Old 12-03-16, 02:32 PM
  #9  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,729
Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11763 Post(s)
Liked 1,063 Times in 827 Posts
Originally Posted by AlexCyclistRoch View Post
Most 5-speeds were 120mm spacing.
It may depend on the bike.

My Colnago Super originally came with 5 speed, I think. Dated to about 1969.

And, I think it had 126mm spacing.

Perhaps the 120mm spacing was specific to USA brands like Schwinn?
CliffordK is online now  
Old 12-03-16, 02:50 PM
  #10  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,283 Times in 801 Posts
You could Even put an IGH wheel in Instead..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 12-03-16, 05:12 PM
  #11  
cbrstar
BMX Connoisseur
 
cbrstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Canada
Posts: 483

Bikes: 1988 Kuwahara Newport, 1983 Nishiki, 1984 Diamond Back Viper, 1991 Dyno Compe

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 255 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I replaced my Suntour with a Shimano 6 speed hyper glide. And I think it actually shifts more smoother now then it originally did with the Suntour.
cbrstar is offline  
Old 12-03-16, 05:38 PM
  #12  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 21,742

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 126 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2256 Post(s)
Liked 650 Times in 438 Posts
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
It may depend on the bike.

My Colnago Super originally came with 5 speed, I think. Dated to about 1969.

And, I think it had 126mm spacing.

Perhaps the 120mm spacing was specific to USA brands like Schwinn?
No, 120mm rear spacing was common from the 1950s well into the 1970s. Six-cog freewheels requiring 126mm spacing started appearing in the mid-60s on high end race bikes but didn't filter down into lower price points until the late 70s.
JohnDThompson is online now  
Old 12-04-16, 09:34 PM
  #13  
Jeff Neese
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 291
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 98 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 9 Posts
My 1985 Fuji has 126mm spacing but by then they were using 6 speed freewheels. I'd think 6 would work for you as well, should you choose.

I'll also say that replacing the original freewheel with a Shimano Hyperglide (6 speed) freewheel, coupled with a new Shimano HG chain, made a HUGE difference in the smoothness of shifting.
Jeff Neese is offline  
Old 12-05-16, 10:03 AM
  #14  
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 29,931

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1446 Post(s)
Liked 356 Times in 218 Posts
That's a 30 year old bike. Of course there are going to be problems! If it was my bike, I'd do it anyway.

1. Getting off the old freewheel might be an adventure. If you have access to a STURDY bench vise, you can chuck your freewheel tool vertically in the vise and use both hands on the wheel to spin it off. If you don't have a vise, be sure to use a QR nut or axle nut or something similar to hold your freewheel remover in place. Otherwise you'll just bugger your old freewheel and maybe break your freewheel tool.

2. Bridgestone prided itself on being "old school". I don't know about that particular bike but it wouldn't surprise me if it has 120 mm dropouts. If that's the case, and it was my bike, I'd definitely spread them to 130 mm.

3. There's lots of 7-speed freewheels available and they'll work with 130 mm dropouts. That's what I would do. You will for sure have to redish your rear wheel. If the wheel is straight now, and you tighten/loosen your spokes the exact same amount all around the rim, it will still be straight when you are done. The trick is getting the nipples to turn. I'd use some penetrating oil (NOT WD-40) and maybe a little heat on each one before even trying.
__________________
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Old 12-05-16, 10:16 AM
  #15  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,283 Times in 801 Posts
14-34 5 speed is the same gear range as a 6 speed 14 - 34t. the new cog is added somewhere in the middle..

with some its a 13, 15 instead of the 14..




...
fietsbob is offline  
Old 12-05-16, 04:21 PM
  #16  
Grand Bois
Senior Member
 
Grand Bois's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pinole, CA, USA
Posts: 17,415
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 435 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by cbrstar View Post
I replaced my Suntour with a Shimano 6 speed hyper glide. And I think it actually shifts more smoother now then it originally did with the Suntour.

That's not surprising.
Grand Bois is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
stuart1865
Bicycle Mechanics
13
05-04-18 12:55 PM
mrjb
Bicycle Mechanics
24
05-02-18 03:16 PM
MacGyverBurrito
Classic & Vintage
8
01-12-15 05:01 PM
eschlwc
Classic & Vintage
20
04-24-14 02:43 PM
Narhay
Bicycle Mechanics
8
03-07-14 01:26 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.