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9 speed freewheel -- good solution or terrible idea?

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9 speed freewheel -- good solution or terrible idea?

Old 04-29-15, 11:42 AM
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9 speed freewheel -- good solution or terrible idea?

I recently came across this Sunrace 9 speed freewheel, and I'm intrigued, to say the least. I had no idea such a product existed. I have some 9 speed Shimano components laying around, and would like to use them to build up a mixte for Mrs. Trotsky. Would this be a good solution for a budget 9 speed project using the existing freewheel wheelset, or would the extra width put too much strain on the axle? Has anyone tried this?

Amazon.com : SunRace 9 speed 11-32t Freewheel : Bike Cassettes And Freewheels : Sports & Outdoors

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Old 04-29-15, 11:45 AM
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No worse than an 8-speed freewheel would be. Long Yih (aka DNP) also makes 10-speed freewheels.
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Old 04-29-15, 12:11 PM
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Looking on the Sunrace website, they don't appear to have an 11-32 freewheel. Indeed, I think an 11 tooth cog is impossible on a freewheel body. Also, the link for your freewheel say HG-compatible, which means it is hyperglide (i.e. a cassette, not a freewheel).
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Old 04-29-15, 12:16 PM
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Shimano made/makes both freewheels and cassettes in HG.

Based on the way the lock ring is fastened and the spline shape on which the cogs are mounted, I'd venture to say that the pictured item is, indeed, a freewheel.
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Old 04-29-15, 12:22 PM
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The wider freewheels apparently put more stress on the DS axle which can get quite long. So, it might depend on how you plan to ride the bike.

It still is worth considering.
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Old 04-29-15, 12:29 PM
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Maybe for a light rider for casual use on good roads. Otherwise I'd be nervous, which sort of takes the fun out of it.
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Old 04-29-15, 12:29 PM
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Trotsky, I'd be more concerned about wheel dish. You can always move spacers around and redish for just about any cog stack height, but you probably already knew that. And that's where the axle stress question is, correct?

I'm sure Mrs. Trotsky is a svelte lady, but if she carries lots of stuff on a rear rack, I'd use a lower height freewheel, space the rear to 135 if you can, and move spacers over to minimize wheel dish and shorten the distance between the dropout face and the bearings in the axle.

That and you save money on the chain.
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Old 04-29-15, 12:50 PM
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I'm curious to see how much wider this thing actually is than say a 7 speed freewheel. After all, presumably the spacing of the cogs is narrower to accommodate 9 speed chain and derailleur pull tension, right? And as cassettes get more speeds, they don't get any wider, so maybe it's not as wide as it initially seems.
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Old 04-29-15, 01:01 PM
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I had a DNP freewheel, and it crapped out on me around 500 miles in the rain. I can measure the 7 speed version, if you want. It's still in the parts bin. It's greater than the equivalent SunTour or Shimano 7 speed because of the way the lockring on the final cog is designed. I had to move the axle to keep the freewheel off the frame and redish the wheel.

These are designed to work with e-bikes, like the ones the delivery guys use in NYC. I wouldn't put anything greater than a 7 speed on a vintage bike, and even then, you are asking for trouble.

YMMV, but I'd stay away.
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Old 04-29-15, 01:16 PM
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I think I might give it a go as an experiment. What's the worst that happens? I bend an axle and have to replace the rear wheel? I'd have to do that anyway if I went with a cassette hub.
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Old 04-29-15, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by TimmyT
I had a DNP freewheel, and it crapped out on me around 500 miles in the rain. I can measure the 7 speed version, if you want. It's still in the parts bin. It's greater than the equivalent SunTour or Shimano 7 speed because of the way the lockring on the final cog is designed. I had to move the axle to keep the freewheel off the frame and redish the wheel.
Uhhh... Ohhh

I have an 8 spd DNP Epoch on my Cargo Bike with about 300 to 400 miles...

What went wrong with your freewheel?

If you look at the back side of the DNP freewheel, many other brands are recessed slightly, but not the DNP, so it is also wider in that fashion... so yes, extra spacing.

You can get an estimate of the stack width from the Sheldon Brown page.
Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Frame and Cassette Spacing Crib Sheet

Going from 7 to 8 speed, there wasn't a significant change in the sprocket spacing, so it added about 5mm.

Going to 9 and 10, the spacing was narrowed, so the width didn't increase as much.
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Old 04-29-15, 01:28 PM
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You should check the width. The freewheel might have a greater width than the total of the wheels threads + spacers. Redishing a wheel for a marginal freewheel isn't worth it, IMO.
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Old 04-29-15, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
What went wrong with your freewheel?

You can get an estimate of the stack width from the Sheldon Brown page.
Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Frame and Cassette Spacing Crib Sheet
The pawls were shot. The freewheel spins but doesn't catch now. EDIT: I could just take it apart. I have nothing to lose.

The stack width will be about what that Sheldon article says, but the spacers in front and back are unusual for the DNP making it extra wide.
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Old 04-29-15, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by icepick_trotsky
I think I might give it a go as an experiment. What's the worst that happens? I bend an axle and have to replace the rear wheel? I'd have to do that anyway if I went with a cassette hub.
In my experience what happens is that you break, not bend the axle, which then eats up the bearings, cones, races, etc. Also, if you ride too far without noticing the problem you can crack the rear dropout or the brazing where it attaches to the chainstay (i.e. you trash your whole bike).

I still think that is a freehub, not a freewheel. Although Sunrace makes 9-speed freewheels, those all have 13 tooth small cogs. Also, what is your OLD width? I doubt that you can jam a 9-speed into any vintage frame.
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Old 04-29-15, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by davester
In my experience what happens is that you break, not bend the axle, which then eats up the bearings, cones, races, etc. Also, if you ride too far without noticing the problem you can crack the rear dropout or the brazing where it attaches to the chainstay (i.e. you trash your whole bike).

I still think that is a freehub, not a freewheel. Although Sunrace makes 9-speed freewheels, those all have 13 tooth small cogs. Also, what is your OLD width? I doubt that you can jam a 9-speed into any vintage frame.
126. I would cold set, though. Frame is a 1983 Fuji Espree mixte.
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Old 04-29-15, 01:56 PM
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Axles on 7-speeds bend a lot. It gets worse with wider freewheels. To me, it's a bad idea. Axles also break fairly frequently. This is why we went to freehubs. They are a true advance. Wide freewheels are just bad.
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Old 04-29-15, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by icepick_trotsky
126. I would cold set, though. Frame is a 1983 Fuji Espree mixte.
I've cold set several frames from 126 to 135, that would help a lot.
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Old 04-29-15, 02:48 PM
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What if you supported the section inside the freewheel? Like where the FW tool would normally go with a aluminum spacer? When you need to remove the freewheel just unthread the non driveside cone/locknut and slide it out? Set your thread length for the dropout while it's out.

Before you ask why...remember who your asking. lol.

Dang...9/10 speed on my sealed high flange record hub as this hub is already going to be for a 130 rear spaced frame. I may have to pick one of these up to play with. They need some better gear ratios though instead of the stump pulling 11-36. They need a Campag spaced 9/10 spaced freewheel so you can just toss on some shifters and derailleurs and your set. Keep your old wheels(redish/longer axle/hardware)
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Old 04-29-15, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by TimmyT
The pawls were shot. The freewheel spins but doesn't catch now. EDIT: I could just take it apart. I have nothing to lose.
Too much coasting?

Well, I've put mine through the torque, but the miles are still a bit low... we'll see.

I wonder if the Sunrace is just a rebadged DNP Epoch, or if it is an entirely different freewheel.

icepick_trotsky, if you buy the freewheel, please post front and back photos of it (all I seem to see are front and side photos).
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Old 04-29-15, 03:06 PM
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Kind of sucks that 10spd is almost double the price of the 9spd. The Sunrace looks quite a bit better as the ramps are more define then the DNP and the cogs have sections punched out to reduce some weight. It just looks better overall. Never had the best of luck with DNP and normally I only see them when I'm replacing them. Haha.
Sunrace 9spd

DNP 9spd

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Old 04-29-15, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Henry III
What if you supported the section inside the freewheel? Like where the FW tool would normally go with a aluminum spacer? When you need to remove the freewheel just unthread the non driveside cone/locknut and slide it out? Set your thread length for the dropout while it's out.
Seems like that would work.

I run a 8speed Sachs FW with ergos on Campi hi-flange hubs on my Coppi. It's spaced to 130. I'm not heavy but I'm aware that is a weak point and I am always tuned in to how that bike feels at the rear wheel when I ride it. It has gone lots of miles that way.

I only did it for looks to keep my Campi Hi Flange hub wheels matched with the 8speed ergos. @icepick_trotsky I think you might use budget 9-10 speed wheels with better results.

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Old 04-29-15, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Henry III
What if you supported the section inside the freewheel? Like where the FW tool would normally go with a aluminum spacer? When you need to remove the freewheel just unthread the non driveside cone/locknut and slide it out? Set your thread length for the dropout while it's out.
You could do that... I think.

I believe the new freewheels overhang the freehub part quite a bit (which is the reason for the park FR1.2), so you'd have to squish in a bearing, but it should be possible to do. With your sealed bearings, you could get it quite far out on the axle.
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Old 04-29-15, 03:18 PM
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I'm just curious on how the body of the freewheel looks like. It'd be nice to think they would use their cassette cogs instead of making separate 10 spd cogs for a freewheel. Oh man this has my gears turning now!!! Even at my cost the darn thing is still $66.

Wait that won't work as if they used the cassette cogs. My mind just got running a bit too fast. lol.

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Old 04-29-15, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Henry III
What if you supported the section inside the freewheel? Like where the FW tool would normally go with a aluminum spacer? When you need to remove the freewheel just unthread the non driveside cone/locknut and slide it out? Set your thread length for the dropout while it's out)
That's already been done and is the only real way of getting a lot of miles on the hub without breaking/bending the axles. Slap a big spacer in there with an OD that's just tick under the ID of the freewheel. Heck, I think someone even threw a sealed bearing in there IIRC.

126mm rear spacing with 7s freewheels is about all you can do within reason. Once you jump to 130mm axles the risk of breaking/bending rises exponentially.

Keep in mind that cassette hubs go to the 70's so it's ok to use them on a 'vintage' bike.
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Old 04-29-15, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Henry III
I'm just curious on how the body of the freewheel looks like. It'd be nice to think they would use their cassette cogs instead of making separate 10 spd cogs for a freewheel. Oh man this has my gears turning now!!! Even at my cost the darn thing is still $66.

Wait that won't work as if they used the cassette cogs. My mind just got running a bit too fast. lol.
I think the larger cogs on a freewheel must be bigger, but there is no reason that a the body of the freewheel couldn't be made to be like half a freehub, and half a freewheel body. Except there would still need to be room for the removal tool. Perhaps like the old uniglide freehubs? But, I think even with uniglide, there was a problem with 11T.

That is one of the things I didn't like about the DNP freewheel body, it was much larger than the other brands, so it would not allow tight gearing.
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