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Shimano freewheel, SRAM chain

Old 07-23-11, 09:24 AM
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Shimano freewheel, SRAM chain

On my 'city' bike I mix/match components over time as things wear out. Recently I bought an inexpensive Shimano HG37 7-speed freewheel. But I wanted a master link (because I ride in the winter and need to clean the chain often), so I put on a new SRAM PC-850 6/7/8 chain.

The combination doesn't feel right. With some cogs there's a bit of crunching/creaking as I pedal and I don't understand why. I realize this is a "Hyperglide" freewheel, and the teeth have some profiling intended to facilitate shifting, and that Shimano chains are also designated "Hyperglide", and that there might be some proprietary shaping of the chain links to mesh with the cogs; but I thought all that stuff just came into play when shifting, and that otherwise, a chain is a chain. This combination shifts fine, it just doesn't 'run' smoothly.

I could buy a Shimano chain and see what difference it makes, but can anyone explain the root cause of this apparent mismatch?

Last edited by jim hughes; 07-23-11 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 07-23-11, 12:15 PM
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Jim: It is likely that the rear derailleur will need to be adjusted to accommodate the new freewheel. It may be adjusted to be able to shift OK but not run smoothly. A new chain and freewheel should play well together.
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Old 07-23-11, 12:25 PM
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I use a friction shifter, and I can't seem to make the chain run smooth even by fine-tuning the derailleur position. That's part of why I'm puzzled.
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Old 07-23-11, 12:31 PM
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hmm, that combination should work just fine.

IMO, sram chains are not very well made to begin with, especially the lower end ones.

If you want to retain those QR links, then you might want to try a chain from KMC or wipperman.
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Old 07-23-11, 01:26 PM
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Funny you should bring this up.

I've been running a brand new SRAM PC-850 on a new Shimano UG freewheel and on a Shimano 600 UG freewheel and no matter how it is adjusted I get very faint ticking/clicking noise. I am also running friction, and it's enough to drive me nuts. I just went out and replaced the freewheel with my Shimano Dura Ace (none) twisted tooth freewheel and the bike is quiet as a mouse and smooth as silk. I really don't think the SRAM chains and the shimano UG freewheels play good together.
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Old 07-23-11, 01:39 PM
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Capecodder, your experience matches mine. If I put on an old but very lightly used Regina America 6-speed freewheel, everything is smooth. Back to the Shimano, and there's that crackling and clicking again. I'd like to know the root cause of this, rather than just throw money at it by buying a Shimano chain. I don't want to deal with those special 'replacement' pins every time I remove the chain for cleaning.
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Old 07-23-11, 01:50 PM
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This is the first time trying a UG type freewheel on my bike with a SRAM chain and I'm not amused ..... The SRAM works fine with all my Suntour, Everest and older Shimano freewheels that do not have the twisted teeth so I know it's the UG style freewheels. Believe me I tried everything, and still got that hair raising clicking/ticking sound. I pulled my BB apart to check it out and all was fine. I even swapped pedals and still the noise was present. I think I will just stick to my older freewheel and ditch the UG stuff.
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Old 07-23-11, 03:12 PM
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I use a PC850 chain with a 7 speed Shimano HG30 and friction shifters on my Raleigh Olympian. I can't say I have any complaints about the shifting. But I do use the 11-28T variety, which I understand is designed a bit differently than 7 speed cassettes that start with a 12T. Apparently the 11T is designated hyperglide-c (whereas 12T is plain hyperglide) and it will only fit properly on hyperglide-c hubs. Perhaps you have a slight hub/cassette compatibility issue? Just a guess.
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Old 07-23-11, 03:15 PM
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This is a 14-28 and spins onto the hub just fine. If it were a hub related problem, it would be the same on every cog. Oddly, the middle cog is the worst.
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Old 07-23-11, 03:21 PM
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Another variable is wear. For example, the cogs wore to the older stretched chain. The new chain may not play well with the old cogs. If you still have the old chain, measure 12 links and see what you get. Just a guess.
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Old 07-23-11, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jim hughes
This is a 14-28 and spins onto the hub just fine. If it were a hub related problem, it would be the same on every cog. Oddly, the middle cog is the worst.
How odd, I'm running the same combo and it's the middle cog which is a bit funky. Unloaded I cruise in my 36x16 or 18 so I just avoid it if I can.
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Old 07-23-11, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by MudPie
Another variable is wear. For example, the cogs wore to the older stretched chain. The new chain may not play well with the old cogs. If you still have the old chain, measure 12 links and see what you get. Just a guess.

Brand new chain and freewheel for me. It does shift fine, but the noise is a real pain......
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Old 07-23-11, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jim hughes
This is a 14-28 and spins onto the hub just fine. If it were a hub related problem, it would be the same on every cog. Oddly, the middle cog is the worst.

That's too funny...... same here with the middle cog being the worst. It has to be the combo just don't go together.
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Old 07-23-11, 03:51 PM
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Hmm..... I've never really been happy with my PC-870 and Shimano Hyperglide 7 speed freewheel either. It's not horrible, but it seems to make just a hair of ticking sound sometimes. I may try a different chain or freewheel.
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Old 07-23-11, 05:05 PM
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mudpie - The freewheel and chain are both brand new.
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Old 07-23-11, 05:06 PM
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Once again we are reminded that the internet is a fantastic way to find people who have the same question as you do :-)
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Old 09-13-12, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by jim hughes
On my 'city' bike I mix/match components over time as things wear out. Recently I bought an inexpensive Shimano HG37 7-speed freewheel. But I wanted a master link (because I ride in the winter and need to clean the chain often), so I put on a new SRAM PC-850 6/7/8 chain.

The combination doesn't feel right. With some cogs there's a bit of crunching/creaking as I pedal and I don't understand why. I realize this is a "Hyperglide" freewheel, and the teeth have some profiling intended to facilitate shifting, and that Shimano chains are also designated "Hyperglide", and that there might be some proprietary shaping of the chain links to mesh with the cogs; but I thought all that stuff just came into play when shifting, and that otherwise, a chain is a chain. This combination shifts fine, it just doesn't 'run' smoothly.

I could buy a Shimano chain and see what difference it makes, but can anyone explain the root cause of this apparent mismatch?
Did you ever resolve this issue? I'm seeing the *exact* same issue with a Shimano HG37 and KMC chain. I just bought this KMC chain a couple weeks ago and am somewhat reluctant to go try a Hyperglide chain. I've narrowed down my clicking noise to the new freewheel.
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Old 09-13-12, 02:53 PM
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I never could get my SRAM Red chain to quiet down, and that was on a full Red setup. I have one word of advice: KMC. Nobody makes a chain anywhere close to as good, light and quiet. Their top chain solved my noise problem on SRAM Red. My guess is a KMC product would help OP also.

Robert
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Old 09-17-12, 05:51 PM
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If I remember right, I tried a KMC chain too, and that didn't work right either. I then put the Shimano freewheel on the shelf rather than buy another chain. This winter I'll probably want to use that freewheel so I'll buy a midrange Shimano chain and eventually report back here.
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Old 09-18-12, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jim hughes
This is a 14-28 and spins onto the hub just fine. If it were a hub related problem, it would be the same on every cog. Oddly, the middle cog is the worst.
Check the cog spacing - I had a 14-28 Shimano freewheel that the middle cog was not parallel to its neighbors. Pissed me off enough that I switched to Sunrace freewheels and DNP cassettes for my 7 speed applications - and have been very happy since.

FYI the 10-24 speed chain sold by Wal-mart is made by KMC and works well, and is very inexpensive.
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Old 09-18-12, 07:28 AM
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I expect Shimano cassettes use a different (HG) tooth profile than their freewheels. I used a SRAM PC-890 chain on a Shimano 105 8-speed 13x26 cassette for several thousand miles and they ran quietly together. Neither lasted very long since they were on my "rain" bike which sees abuse every time it's ridden but they did work well together during that time.
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Old 09-18-12, 07:33 AM
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This is an old thread, but if you're using friction shifting, try swapping the RD pulleys to get the one with float on the bottom and the one that has no play up top. This should allow for a finer level of trim.

I use pg850 chains at the CoOp on all kinds of drivetrains and have never had a problem. I wonder if there is more to the story here for those with clicking issues- things like bent or worn rear derailleurs, slightly tweaked hangers...
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Old 09-18-12, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by ppg677
Did you ever resolve this issue? I'm seeing the *exact* same issue with a Shimano HG37 and KMC chain. I just bought this KMC chain a couple weeks ago and am somewhat reluctant to go try a Hyperglide chain. I've narrowed down my clicking noise to the new freewheel.
You disappeared from the other thread.

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ing-this/page2

Your last update was that you went ahead and bought the correct Shimano chain for your HG-37. And then stated the problem had not gone away. You then indicated that you were taking it to an LBS - and I suggested they would have the problem nailed in 15 minutes or less.

Do you have an update for us since the visit to the LBS?

=8-)
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Old 09-18-12, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by IthaDan
This is an old thread, but if you're using friction shifting, try swapping the RD pulleys to get the one with float on the bottom and the one that has no play I wonder if there is more to the story here for those with clicking issues- things like bent or worn rear derailleurs, slightly tweaked hangers...
Frame and derailleur are both straight, neither has been damaged; and I can't see how any problem with these causes would be most severe on the middle cog.
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Old 09-18-12, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by jim hughes
Frame and derailleur are both straight, neither has been damaged; and I can't see how any problem with these causes would be most severe on the middle cog.
Have you:

1. Checked to ensure the rear wheel is properly dished - rim centered between the locknuts of the hub?
2. Installed the properly dished wheel centered between the chain stays?
3. Aligned the derailleur hanger using a derailleur hanger alignment tool such that the derailleur hanger AND rear derailleur are aligned perfectly parallel in all planes with the wheel itself and the bike's center line?

When you install and center a non-dished wheel into a bike, the result is that freewheel is operating off angle in relation to the bike's center line and the drive train. Noise and grinding ensue - more so in some gears than others. For all drive train components to operate efficiently in the full range - they must be operating in parallel to the center line of the bicycle AND in the straightest possible line between the middle of the chainwheels and the middle of the rear cogset. (That last part is chain line...)

Too many people try to trouble shoot rear shifting issues without first eliminating the "ghost" - the "ghost" being poorly dished wheels in combination with poorly aligned derailleur hangers.

Should be done at least once in the life cycle of a bicycle frame - AND anytime after an accident in which the rear derailleur and hanger were involved in a side impact.

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