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Swap out free wheel for Free hub?

Old 09-28-13, 09:08 PM
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Swap out free wheel for Free hub?

I recently read a post in the Clydes forum about how the free hub assembly holds up a bit better under a load than a free wheel one does. I'm a Clyde and to be honest, I haven't been on the bike all that much that few months due to a health concern (I'm hopeful I get the all clear next week).

Anyway, when I was using it to commute with, I had the rear wheel trued twice because it was out of alignment once and had broken spokes the other time. I'm now wondering maybe if I swapped over to a free hub set up if that might not reduce the frequency of breaking the spokes or the wheel going out of alignment.

Here is a link to the bike (all OEM save for accessories)- https://klassickona.com/oldgold/2006/smoke.htm.

I'd like to be able to just use the current wheel and have the free hub and cassette laced into it (shop labor), or would it be more economical to just get a whole new (inexpensive) wheel w/free hub already laced in?
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Old 09-28-13, 09:16 PM
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The cassette hub's advantage over freewheel hubs, as far as strength and clydes go, has to do with the axle. A freehub is not going to help keep the rim in true, nor will it save spokes, unless other aspect's of the hubs design is going to change the bracing angle on the spokes.

Cassette hubs have bearing races closer to the ends of the axle, so the axle is much better supported and, therefor, less likely to bend. That's really the chief difference, as far as how it impacts wheel strength. (There are other differences maintenance, component selection, etc...)
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Old 09-28-13, 09:19 PM
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The only structural advantage of freehub systems vs freewheel, is in terms of axle breakage. The spoke/wheel integrity depends on the quality of the wheel build and the relative position of the right and left hub flanges.

In turn the right flange position is set according to the space required for the gear sprockets, so that won't change. OTOH, depending on the width of the rear dropouts, there may be some improvement possible by spreading the frame and fitting a wider hub. This is only practical on steel frames, and any decent shop should be able to sell you a wheel, and spread the frame.

One other consideration. Production wheels rarely are built as well as hand built wheels built locally. The hand built option is usually much pricier, so you might opt to pass for now, but if you have future wheel issues, that would be a good next step.
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Old 09-28-13, 09:19 PM
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My touring rig has a freewheel hub. self built wheels..

Loaded with camping gear and since my rear hub was an old Phil wood freewheel hub , had no trouble at all .

the bent axle problem was gone , these axle assemblies just doesn't bend . .


there is a bit of wobble , freewheels dont spin perfectly , but good enough.
friction shifting is less fussy.

Its a bit straighter with Freehubs ..
pretty necessary if there are 10 or 11 cogs packed in the space of 8.

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Old 09-28-13, 09:48 PM
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Have your wheel rebuilt with new spokes, tried and tensioner, and ride on. Your wheel was probably poorly built with inferior spokes and insufficient tension.
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Old 09-28-13, 10:50 PM
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Unless you go with a boutique hub like a Phil Woods or other expensive high end freewheel hub, you will probably break or bend axles if you are a big person. But dollars to dollars, a 20 dollar used normal Shimano freehub assembly will easily outlast a similarly priced freewheel hub assembly. To get a cheap Shimano's freehub longevity in a freewheel, you have to spend a lot more money.

It doesn't sound like your wheel was built with enough tension in the first place. Most clydes benefit from a wheel that has good high tension and a good amount of spokes. Even if you have a 36 spoke rim though and the spokes aren't tensioned high enough, they still will break under a clyde.
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Old 09-28-13, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad
I recently read a post in the Clydes forum about how the free hub assembly holds up a bit better under a load than a free wheel one does. I'm a Clyde and to be honest, I haven't been on the bike all that much that few months due to a health concern (I'm hopeful I get the all clear next week).

Anyway, when I was using it to commute with, I had the rear wheel trued twice because it was out of alignment once and had broken spokes the other time. I'm now wondering maybe if I swapped over to a free hub set up if that might not reduce the frequency of breaking the spokes or the wheel going out of alignment.

Here is a link to the bike (all OEM save for accessories)- https://klassickona.com/oldgold/2006/smoke.htm.

I'd like to be able to just use the current wheel and have the free hub and cassette laced into it (shop labor), or would it be more economical to just get a whole new (inexpensive) wheel w/free hub already laced in?
Your existing rear wheel actually is a cassette type. It says "Freewheel Shimano CS-HG30 11-32 8 speed"... "CS-HG30" means it's a cassette type hub.

A rule of thumb: one broken spoke could be anything, two broken spokes is cause for worry, and three broken spokes in the same wheel indicates a poorly-built wheel. I would find a competent wheelbuilder and have all the spokes replaced, with the final product properly trued and tensioned by hand.

I've built my own wheels for 30 years. Since I learned to build them right (it took a few tries), I haven't broken a single otherwise-undamaged spoke. I'm not a delicate flower, either: 6-foot-4, 230 lbs.
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Old 09-29-13, 06:35 AM
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+1 to the previous post, you already have a freehub. "Freewheel" was incorrectly used in the specs. A well-built wheel, ridden on the road, should stay true. 1.5 inch tires might be contributing to your truing and broken spoke issues, depending on how good you are about maintaining air pressure and the quality of the streets you're riding on. You might look at some slightly wider tires with smooth tread and lower pressure after you get your wheels properly built/rebuilt.

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Old 09-29-13, 07:06 AM
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Fat tires help; a pump with a gauge is a must. If the problem persists, have a 36 spoke wheel built for the rear.
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Old 09-29-13, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills
Your existing rear wheel actually is a cassette type. It says "Freewheel Shimano CS-HG30 11-32 8 speed"... "CS-HG30" means it's a cassette type hub.

A rule of thumb: one broken spoke could be anything, two broken spokes is cause for worry, and three broken spokes in the same wheel indicates a poorly-built wheel. I would find a competent wheelbuilder and have all the spokes replaced, with the final product properly trued and tensioned by hand.

I've built my own wheels for 30 years. Since I learned to build them right (it took a few tries), I haven't broken a single otherwise-undamaged spoke. I'm not a delicate flower, either: 6-foot-4, 230 lbs.
No. 1. I have a rear wheel where I've broken two spokes. I'm going to take the wheel out today for a ride but I don't trust that wheel and will replace it this winter with a new wheel build.
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Old 09-29-13, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Cross Creek
+1 to the previous post, you already have a freehub. "Freewheel" was incorrectly used in the specs. A well-built wheel, ridden on the road, should stay true. 1.5 inch tires might be contributing to your truing and broken spoke issues, depending on how good you are about maintaining air pressure and the quality of the streets you're riding on. You might look at some slightly wider tires with smooth tread and lower pressure after you get your wheels properly built/rebuilt.
I've been toying with the idea of getting some wider tires for quite some time now (thinking Big Apples), but I'll need to measure the frame/fork (and fender) clearances first.

If I have any more issues with the wheel, I may take it to a different LBS for them to look at.
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Old 09-29-13, 01:43 PM
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Have your wheel or a new one built with properly tensioned double butted spokes. The drive side tension should be about 110kg.
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Old 09-29-13, 02:26 PM
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Even going from 26x1.5 to 26x1.75 tires will make a noticeable difference in your ride over rough streets and won't reduce your speed. Fat Franks take up a lot of space (more than you'd think) and probably would be a slower ride, though. Remember when you measure your fork and rear stays for clearance that tires get taller as well as wider when you increase their size.
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