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6 Speed Freewheel down to 5 Speed?

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6 Speed Freewheel down to 5 Speed?

Old 03-14-14, 07:37 PM
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6 Speed Freewheel down to 5 Speed?

The 6 speed Suntour Perfect freewheel on my Sekai started crunching and clicking today, after freezing up while riding on Wednesday. I have a 5 Speed Perfect in my parts box; will this work fine with just a derailleur adjustment? Or will it throw off spacing and chainline, etc?
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Old 03-14-14, 07:45 PM
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5 and 6s spacing is the same. So the 5s freewheel will take the space now used by the 5 inner sprockets, leaving a space where the smallest (high gear) was. After you install and make the basic adjustments, bring the high gear limit in so you can't accidentally shift to the missing sprocket.
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Old 03-14-14, 08:26 PM
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+1 classic 5/6 spacing is the same so a minor adjustment your fine.
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Old 03-14-14, 09:08 PM
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as the 5 speed is 1 cog less in width , if you want to put in the effort , the extra available space
can be added as a spacer on the left side, some dish removed from the wheel built

and the wheel becomes more symmetrical and thus a bit better balanced in spoke tensions..
as the hub moves to the right and so rim center is closer to hub center..

it can be done even more-so if the freewheel has only 1 speed.
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Old 03-15-14, 05:47 AM
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Little to add to the end result here, but if I understand "spacing" to be the distance between cogs on the cluster, then 5 and 6 could be different. I've been recently reminded about "ultra 6" FWs where the total FW width was the same because the space between cogs was a bit less (IIRC 0.5mm less). Sheldon is still teaching us. Should not make any difference with friction shifters so the prior advice is good. Adjust the RD stops and retrain your right hand.

And don't be put off by the common advice to NEVER work on a FW. "too complicated, you'll never get it back together, not worth the time" etc. They are not that tricky - almost fun to overhaul. Work over a tray or over 'egg crate foam' to catch the loose bearings and you'll be fine. Take your time - hot coffee, good tunes, mellow mood. Tip: I made a pair of bamboo tweezers to handle the bearings. They cannot get magnetized so I have no trouble picking up, moving and setting the balls in place. I grease the bearings/races and I oil the pawls/track. Nice quite FW when I put it back in service. Yumm.
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