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Modern replacement for Ultra 6 freewheel, 120mm spacing?

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Modern replacement for Ultra 6 freewheel, 120mm spacing?

Old 03-13-19, 01:00 PM
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agmetal
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Modern replacement for Ultra 6 freewheel, 120mm spacing?

I have a mid-'70s Motobecane Grand Jubilé that I'm refurbishing, and I'm thinking about putting a modern freewheel on it for the improved shifting performance. It's a 6-speed SunTour freewheel, and with the amount of space available to the right of it on this 120mm-spaced frame, I assume it's the narrower "Ultra 6" spacing. Is there anything out there now that would let me put a modern freewheel on here without having to go to a 5-speed one?
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Old 03-13-19, 02:07 PM
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I don't think there is a modern narrow-spaced 6sp FW. If the Suntour is in good shape, it's probably worth just keeping, assuming the ratio is useful.
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Old 03-13-19, 02:17 PM
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I wonder if anyone has tried taking apart IRD 5/6 speed freewheels and assembling the 6-speed cogs onto the 5-speed unit with thinner spacers... can't think of anyone making modern freewheels in ultra spacing otherwise.
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Old 03-13-19, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I wonder if anyone has tried taking apart IRD 5/6 speed freewheels and assembling the 6-speed cogs onto the 5-speed unit with thinner spacers... can't think of anyone making modern freewheels in ultra spacing otherwise.
Changing the spacing on freewheels is trickier than on cassettes. Freewheels have a stepped body where the step corresponds to the exact position of one of the cogs. Changing the spacing would mean that the first one of the smaller-ID cogs would be trying to fit on the larger-ID portion of the body.

Now I have made an Ultra-5 freewheel as a retrofit on a 4-speed1950's bike, but I had the middle Uniglide cog available to me in both the "small form" and "large-form" ID styles.

I've also made Ultra-6 freewheels out of a Dura-Ace Uniglide 7s freewheel, which shifted quite well indeed for that friction-shifted setup.
The smallest (12t) cog was simply removed, and this small cog's externally-threaded "snout" was replaced by an O-ring in order to keep the freewheel body sealed as it was before I removed the smallest cog.

I could have used Hyperglide freewheel cogs on that Dura-Ace 7s freewheel body as I've done with several 7s freewheel builds, noting that the two smallest cogs on these freewheels are threaded and so will always be Uniglide. If the smallest one is removed however, then only the smallest cog would be Uniglide, and so shifting would be more STI-friendly.
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Old 03-13-19, 03:35 PM
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https://www.veloduo.co.uk/blogs/news...hub-conversion.
Could this be an option ?
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Old 03-13-19, 03:41 PM
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No,

120? its 5 speed.(or 1). most freewheels use hyperglide style teeth on the cogs now... they spread the frames to 126 for 6th
you can too, but why stop there.. 130 gets you into wide enough for all the new stuff..

You could convert to Sturmey Archer's 8 speed internal gear hub, they have a model narrowed down to 120 wide..






....

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Old 03-13-19, 04:34 PM
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Or get a 120 mm SunXCD cassette freehub and make your own custom 6-speed cassette.
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Old 03-13-19, 07:10 PM
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Over on the ibob list, Bill Lindsay was experimenting with eight of ten in 120mm or something similar. Might be worth checking out.
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Old 03-13-19, 07:39 PM
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As others have said, there is no modern ultra or narrow spaced 6 speed freewheel for 120mm spacing. As best I know, only Suntour, Regina and Atom produced narrow spaced 6 speed freewheels. Since Suntour shifted the best of the three, it is worth servicing and maintaining your Suntour. Many of us have found that a modern 8 or even a 9 speed chain improves shifting on the narrow spaced freewheels. Happy riding!
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Old 03-13-19, 07:56 PM
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Thanks, everyone! My freewheel is actually in excellent shape, I was mostly thinking in terms of the improvement in shifting afforded by shaped teeth, but it sounds like I should just stick with what I've got for now.
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Old 03-15-19, 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
Or get a 120 mm SunXCD cassette freehub and make your own custom 6-speed cassette.
This +1
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Old 03-15-19, 09:25 AM
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Yeah, vintage freewheels were not easily respaced, since the cogs were threaded onto a specific spot. There were a couple that were partly or mostly splined, but even those wouldn't be rebuildable to ultra spacing.

The most practical option is to find a vintage Suntour Ultra freewheel in good condition, and use a modern chain. A chain is half the equation for smooth shifting.

Second option would be a new rear wheel with a SunXCD 120 hub, as has been mentioned. You would have to custom build the cassette. FWIW Sun M13 rims look just like Rigida 1320 if you take off the stickers, but they are stronger.

3rd option would be to respace the frame and go to 126 OLD rear end. Again, that would mean new wheels, though you could probably swap axles (and likely cones) and redish the rear wheel if you wanted to keep it authentic (and cheap).



Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
As others have said, there is no modern ultra or narrow spaced 6 speed freewheel for 120mm spacing. As best I know, only Suntour, Regina and Atom produced narrow spaced 6 speed freewheels. Since Suntour shifted the best of the three, it is worth servicing and maintaining your Suntour. Many of us have found that a modern 8 or even a 9 speed chain improves shifting on the narrow spaced freewheels. Happy riding!
Do you happen to remember the model names for Atom and Regina narrow freewheels? Just wondering... I really only remember Suntour Ultra, because that's what we sold at the LBS where I worked. The Suntours were by far the most common 'narrow' freewheel. I vaguely recall Atom had something, but not what it was.
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Old 03-15-19, 09:36 AM
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Atom's narrow freewheel was called "Compact".
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Old 03-15-19, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Do you happen to remember the model names for Atom and Regina narrow freewheels? Just wondering... I really only remember Suntour Ultra, because that's what we sold at the LBS where I worked. The Suntours were by far the most common 'narrow' freewheel. I vaguely recall Atom had something, but not what it was.
The Atoms are the "77 Compact".
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Old 03-15-19, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Do you happen to remember the model names for Atom and Regina narrow freewheels?
(I stand corrected about Atom...)

I have seen Atoms on eBay. As I recall, they are generally referred to as "narrow" "compact". I don't know if that's a brand name or just what the seller called them to distinguish them from wide spaced freewheels.

I pilfered some Regina spacing images from an eBay seller a few months ago when I was considering construction of a Regina seven-speed freewheel and wanted to know what went where. It looks as if the narrow-spaced six-speed freewheel would be CX-S:

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Old 03-15-19, 10:06 AM
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I have IRD 5-speeds on two bikes, and I don't notice much difference between them and my 6- and 7-speed bikes. The biggest difference I notice is fit, cockpit, etc.

From now on, though, I usually cold set my 120mm keepers to 126mm. It's just a simple thing to do, and I usually have to check the bike alignment anyway. I did this last with my '60 paramount. Those one or two extra gears don't offer a major change, but I do like having them available. And, I think, new freewheel selection is slightly better for 126mm bikes (vs 120mm).
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Old 03-15-19, 10:17 AM
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Thanks for the info everyone. Compact, right.

I stumbled into the Regina Futura while trying to look it up. I had forgotten 'bout those completely, and I'm pretty sure I used to have one.
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