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hunting hen's teeth freewheels

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hunting hen's teeth freewheels

Old 06-11-17, 08:42 PM
  #1  
THorner
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hunting hen's teeth freewheels

AArgh,
I'm an old curmudgeon who refuses to retire my beautiful old freewheel hubs, but it's getting really really hard to find decent 7 speed freewheels any more, esoecially in the 12-28 range I prefer. Years ago, I could still get lucky, but this range is so scarce these days that the only ready options are ridiculously overpriced NOS stuff. I'd settle for 12-26, and walk from time to time, but I hate spinning out my top gear, so the 12 tooth end is essential.
It should go without saying that new replacement options all seem to suck. I guess that's a product of the prevailing demand for freewheels, which is only for the most low-end bikes any more. I've tried the malaysian made Shimanos- not horrible, but they weigh a ton and the mechanism feels klunky. DNP epoch has the exclusive 11-28 range, which is ideal, but the body which the cogs are mounted on is rather weak, and again they weigh a ton and the mechanism is cheap with prohibitively severe coasting resistance. Forget Sunrace, SunRun and (god forbid)Falcon, they're all junk and aren't available with a 12t cog.
I'm down to very limited options. I'm constantly cruising Craigslist, ebay and swap meets, but getting frustrated. Thought I'd fish around here for suggestions before I succumb to spending a wad in the collector inflated market. I have a few nice Suntour Winners, but cogs are worn, and I can't find replacement cogs in 26 or 28. A Sachs Aris or Regina Synchro would really make my day.
Ideas? I'd happily spend up to $80 on the right one, but I'm choking on the $150-200 that seems to be the norm.
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Old 06-11-17, 08:45 PM
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drop the coin for a new one and then change chains religiously so you don't ever have to replace the freewheel?
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Old 06-11-17, 08:58 PM
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Settle for a couple good used ones. Keep 'em clean, and monitor chain wear. Post a wanted ad in the classifieds here and see what comes up.
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Old 06-11-17, 08:59 PM
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Contact Pastor Bob, our resident freewheel restorer.
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Old 06-11-17, 09:00 PM
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Welcome to BF! It's a given that our favorite parts are gonna get hard to find. I always imagine that there is some warehouse loaded up with these forgotten inventory, boxes of NOS whatever, waiting to be let free.

Too bad you are not in the market for a corncob 7 speed Sachs. I have a nice one.

Good luck with your search!
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Old 06-11-17, 09:02 PM
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I feel your pain. Not enough C&V FWs available in the market with "manageable" ratios, unless you pay a lot for the ones available....
But if you are built like Superman, there are still a lot of NOS corncobs still available at eBay for good prices!
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Old 06-11-17, 09:06 PM
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I don't think you will find a 12t cog
Classica 5/6/7-Speed Freewheels
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Old 06-11-17, 09:06 PM
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I know the first gen IRD freewheels got a bad rap but I haven't heard anything negative about the current version which comes in a 13-28 7 speed. Giving up 1 tooth on the bottom end isn't bad.
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Old 06-11-17, 09:17 PM
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The IRDs work for me. 12T has always been rare so you might as well accept that 13T is what you will get. No problem though, there are quite a lot of chainrings out there that have larger than the standard 52T. Not clear why this is an issue though...a 52-13 is a downhill with the wind behind you gear...tucking and coasting is almost always faster than trying to wind that out unless you live in total flatland.
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Old 06-12-17, 08:54 AM
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Thanks a lot for all the input. Most of the time, I can live with 13t. I appreciate the reminder about IRD. I think I'm going to try out the IRD 'classica' for my everyday bike and I have enough cogs to rebuild the Winner Pro as 12-24 for fast riding. I concur with the idea of springing for the right one and taking immaculate care of it. I can make a good freewheel last.

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Old 06-12-17, 09:10 AM
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THorner, your best bet would be to start haunting Ebay looking for 7 speed Shimano Dura Ace freewheels (MF-7400). They're available with 12T small cogs, and use the same cogs as the MF-6208 and MF-Z012 freewheels. They're probably the nicest freewheel bodies ever made -- nice bearings and seals front and rear to keep the crud out. You probably won't find a 12-28 or 12-26 for anything less than astronomical prices, but the straight block 12-19 or 12-21 seem to go for about $40 if you're patient. It would be a good idea to buy a pair of chain whips so you can start dismantling your freewheels. This lets you buy cheap donors to get replacement cogs, and/or swap in larger cogs. To get your 12-28, just buy a cheap MF-6208 or MF-Z012 with the larger cogs you need, and swap them in for the 7 speed. (Keeping the 7 speed spacers.) As most of the wear will be on the smaller cogs, so you could probably get 10's of thousands of miles out of one set of large cogs, and a few smaller donor freewheels.

Also, make sure you're buying a 7 speed MF-7400. They were also available as a 6 speed. The easy way to tell them apart at a glance is the 6 speed has a dust cover with "Shimano MF-7400" written around it that you can see between the inside of the smallest cog, and the remover splines. The 7 speed has a smaller possible small cog, so there isn't any dust cover -- the small cog has a flat face that extends all the way to the edge of the remover splines.
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Old 06-12-17, 09:16 AM
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@THorner - My IRD is a fine freewheel, quiet and shifts well. Looks good too!
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Old 06-12-17, 09:40 AM
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I have never had an issue with the $15 Sunrace 13-28 7-speed freewheels. Maybe I've gotten lucky.

https://www.amazon.com/SunRace-Freew...dp/B003LHMJRQ/
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Old 06-12-17, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by THorner View Post
AArgh,
I'm an old curmudgeon who refuses to retire my beautiful old freewheel hubs, but it's getting really really hard to find decent 7 speed freewheels any more, esoecially in the 12-28 range I prefer. Years ago, I could still get lucky, but this range is so scarce these days that the only ready options are ridiculously overpriced NOS stuff. I'd settle for 12-26, and walk from time to time, but I hate spinning out my top gear, so the 12 tooth end is essential.
It should go without saying that new replacement options all seem to suck. I guess that's a product of the prevailing demand for freewheels, which is only for the most low-end bikes any more. I've tried the malaysian made Shimanos- not horrible, but they weigh a ton and the mechanism feels klunky. DNP epoch has the exclusive 11-28 range, which is ideal, but the body which the cogs are mounted on is rather weak, and again they weigh a ton and the mechanism is cheap with prohibitively severe coasting resistance. Forget Sunrace, SunRun and (god forbid)Falcon, they're all junk and aren't available with a 12t cog.
Have you considered the IRD Classica freewheels? Available in 7 speed, 13-28. You could compensate for the 1 tooth difference on the top end with a larger chain ring. Another option might be to switch to a freehub wheel and go with 7 speed cassettes.
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Old 06-12-17, 02:23 PM
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I've done that cassette wheel swap for numerous bikes. I'm using 7400 D.A. hubs for a couple, and there's no shortage of good uniglide cogs to use on them. Even though casette hub options are limited for 126 axle spacing, it's not hard to swap axles to the shorter format or cold set stays wider. It certainly expands the options. When it comes to a couple of my nicer vintage bikes though, I really prefer period style gear. I just laced a beautiful set of well preserved Mavic 500 hubs, for instance, and plan to run them as long as possible. I do however like the IRD Classica option. I was just saying that I can live with 13t a lot of the time, and I have faster freewheels for sport riding. Thanks!
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Old 06-12-17, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
I have never had an issue with the $15 Sunrace 13-28 7-speed freewheels. Maybe I've gotten lucky.

https://www.amazon.com/SunRace-Freew...dp/B003LHMJRQ/
I've run two of their 6 speed freewheels and had four 5 speed ones. Their 6 speed in silver is IMO the nicest looking new production freewheel. One of the 6 speeds is running well after ~600km. The other developed a grinding/dragging noise maybe 100km in in nice weather and I returned it.

Two 5 speeds came to me quite tight. It was a poorly tightened system and I returned them. The other two seemed fine but one is in a box and the other left on a flip.
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Old 06-12-17, 02:52 PM
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.
...if you're a curmudgeon, can I presume your stuff is friction, not indexed ? If so, you can considerably expand the range of available used options (and lower the price) by going to six speed in the back, resetting your limits, and maintaining the same preferred tooth counts for your high and low cogs. I do this all the time, and I haven't noticed any ill effects on my overall well being.
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Old 06-12-17, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
I have never had an issue with the $15 Sunrace 13-28 7-speed freewheels. Maybe I've gotten lucky.

https://www.amazon.com/SunRace-Freew...dp/B003LHMJRQ/
Yeah, me too. 13-25, 13-28, and 13-30.

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Old 06-12-17, 03:30 PM
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So far I've been doing well with my DNP epoch freewheels (7spd and 8spd), although I don't have a lot of miles on them. Pedal, don't worry about coasting. They do run a little wide though. They shift quite well.

My biggest complaint is that I prefer tight gearing, and those don't have it.

One option might be to look for pair of vintage freewheels.

If you bought a 12T corncob, and some 28T MTB freewheel, both by the same brand, it is quite possible you could build a mixed freewheel with your desired gearing.
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Old 06-12-17, 08:55 PM
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A triple front would enable you to apply those 12-?? corncobs that are said to be still available. Triple conversions aren't as scary as they sound once you get into it.
Another option is just to roll your own. I.e. collect the cogs you need to build a FW of your own specification. You will need a couple of chainwhips to disassemble freewheels, but specialty tools are so enabling!
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Old 06-12-17, 09:42 PM
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I still have a NOS Shimano 7 speed, HyperGlide, 11-28T freewheel. I supplied these to a number of members, several years back, after they had been discontinued. Since it's my last one, I'm not really interested in parting with it, but would consider a trade for a NOS, 1st generation Dura-Ace headset that I need for a project.
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Old 06-13-17, 04:37 AM
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I can probably assist with the sprockets needed to refresh your Suntour Winner Pro. A Sachs Aris 7 speed is something else I could probably provide.

I'll also echo what has been said about keeping the sprockets and chain clean. Once a year I remove and clean the sprockets on my in service freewheels. At the same time the chain is cleaned and lubed at the same time. Of course I have the benefit of a long winter to accomplish such endeavors.
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Old 06-13-17, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
I'll also echo what has been said about keeping the sprockets and chain clean. Once a year I remove and clean the sprockets on my in service freewheels. At the same time the chain is cleaned and lubed at the same time. Of course I have the benefit of a long winter to accomplish such endeavors.
As an extension of Pastor Bob's words of wisdom, I'll add that if you have any intents of replacing any cogs, it's helpful to remove and reinstall the cogs periodically. The goal is to keep the cogs from seizing, which I've had trouble with on my New Winner freewheels. Most of the cogs are threaded instead of splined, and get tightened when ridden.

This only matters if you have access to replacement cogs, of course! I've got a modest stash of SunTour cogs, inherited from a friend. An alternate source might be to cannibalize old freewheels with one or two worn-out cogs. Or ask Pastor Bob to help, obviously!


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Old 06-13-17, 06:29 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I still have a NOS Shimano 7 speed, HyperGlide, 11-28T freewheel. I supplied these to a number of members, several years back, after they had been discontinued.
Including me. I have a very lightly used one that didn't pan out for the intended project. PM if interested.

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Old 06-13-17, 06:57 AM
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This morning I was on the hunt for a 13-26 six speed for someone else and came upon a Sachs-Aris 7 speed that is 12-26. I can probably find a 28T. If this is of interest feel free to contact me through my website link and my contact form.
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