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Vintage Alfa Hub & French Threaded Freewheel from Zeus Competition Restoration

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Vintage Alfa Hub & French Threaded Freewheel from Zeus Competition Restoration

Old 05-03-19, 07:06 AM
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Sleepwhenimdead
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Vintage Alfa Hub & French Threaded Freewheel from Zeus Competition Restoration

Hi All!

I am in the process of restoring a mid-70s Zeus Competition and have some questions about freewheel threading after the existing freewheel totally stripped while I was removing it and is no longer usable. The existing hubs on the bike were made by Alfa, which I believe was a Zeus brand, and the freewheel was a Regina Extra 5 speed. After measuring the hub and threads, I believe that the hub and freewheel are both french threaded, although I am not 100% certain so if anyone knows any background info it would be super helpful.

With that said, are there any recommendations on where to find french threaded freewheels in decent condition? I've checked ebay and there are a few listings on there, but I thought I'd ask in case there are other good places to check out. I have pictures of everything but they won't let me post them because I have less than 10 posts.
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Old 05-03-19, 08:12 AM
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The native threading for the Spanish bicycle industry up until the mid-1980s was French, so it may well be French threaded. Freewheels are typically stamped if they are other than their native threading. A French threaded Regina would be marked on the back of the body with either FF or two circular grooves, depending on the age.
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Old 05-03-19, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Sleepwhenimdead View Post
I am in the process of restoring a mid-70s Zeus Competition and have some questions about freewheel threading after the existing freewheel totally stripped while I was removing it and is no longer usable. The existing hubs on the bike were made by Alfa, which I believe was a Zeus brand, and the freewheel was a Regina Extra 5 speed. After measuring the hub and threads, I believe that the hub and freewheel are both french threaded, although I am not 100% certain so if anyone knows any background info it would be super helpful.
Is it the hub that is stripped, or the freewheel? An aluminum hub will strip more easily than a steel freewheel body. If it is the hub that is stripped, the easiest course of action would be to replace the hub (or entire rear wheel). That way you could have an English thread hub and a much wider selection of freewheels to choose from.

With that said, are there any recommendations on where to find french threaded freewheels in decent condition?
Metric thread hubs and freewheels have not been produced for many decades now. Those that do appear on the used market tend to be poor condition and quality. I stand by my suggestion to use an English thread hub or replacement wheel. The "Alfa" series was Zeus' entry-level product line, not particularly high quality; roughly comparable to the Maillard/Normandy/Schwinn Approved hubs used on many entry level bike-boom era bikes. Unless your goal is to restore a museum piece, you'd be better served replacing the hub or rear wheel and using a more modern, less worn, and higher quality freewheel.
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Old 05-03-19, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Is it the hub that is stripped, or the freewheel?
It's the freewheel but it wasn't the threads. I didn't realize it at the time but the freewheel was seized to the hub from decades of sitting unused in a basement so when I used the two-pronged removal tool, the whole top just stripped off and I had to take the freewheel apart to remove it.

Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Metric thread hubs and freewheels have not been produced for many decades now. Those that do appear on the used market tend to be poor condition and quality. I stand by my suggestion to use an English thread hub or replacement wheel. The "Alfa" series was Zeus' entry-level product line, not particularly high quality; roughly comparable to the Maillard/Normandy/Schwinn Approved hubs used on many entry level bike-boom era bikes. Unless your goal is to restore a museum piece, you'd be better served replacing the hub or rear wheel and using a more modern, less worn, and higher quality freewheel.
Maybe that's what I should just do. I thought it would be cool to use the same hubs (long story short, this was my Dad's bike and I initially wanted to use as many of the original parts as possible), but my goal is a "functional" restoration since I intend to ride it so maybe getting new hubs is a good idea. I bought new rims with the goal of having wheels built with the old hubs but at this point it's a sunk cost so maybe I should just go all-in and buy new hubs too, or a wheelset. Do you have any suggestions for 120-126mm hubs or even a wheelset at this point? Might be easier to just buy a new wheelset and sell the rims instead of trying to have wheels built with the old hubs.

Last edited by Sleepwhenimdead; 05-03-19 at 09:59 AM. Reason: a word
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Old 05-03-19, 10:40 AM
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I figured it was the freewheel removal notches that were damaged. That's the most common freewheel issue with Regina of this vintage. Of course, the aluminum threads can actually bond to the steel freewheel body and can rip the threads off the hub but that's far more rare and the hub shell is automatically trash.
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Old 05-03-19, 01:45 PM
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Yeah it was pretty wild, especially because I tried to take all the necessary precautions to prevent that from happening with penetrating oil, big wrench, using QR to hold everything in place... But no such luck. It was reassuring to see that this has happened to many people haha
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Old 05-03-19, 02:19 PM
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If you do not have one already get a two-notch remover with a guide ring.

Two-notch removers without guide ring are risky and they can shift under load even when taking precautions.

When they shift they can damage the removal notches on the freewheel body rendering removal more difficult.



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wrt threading -

unless your machine has been reworked would expect threading to be 100% metric ("french")

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Old 05-03-19, 05:04 PM
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I have a small handful of French threaded freewheels that I've cleaned and serviced that are ready for sale. However, I'm in FL on vacation until May 12th. If you'd like to email me at pastorbobnlnh@gmail.com, I can send you pictures.

IMO, the past French threaded freewheels were the Suntour ProCompe and Perfect models. They are very well made and the two removal notches are extra heavy duty.
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Old 05-03-19, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
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If you do not have one already get a two-notch remover with a guide ring.

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Does one acquire those on eBay?
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Old 05-04-19, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Sleepwhenimdead View Post

Maybe that's what I should just do. I thought it would be cool to use the same hubs (long story short, this was my Dad's bike and I initially wanted to use as many of the original parts as possible), but my goal is a "functional" restoration since I intend to ride it so maybe getting new hubs is a good idea. I bought new rims with the goal of having wheels built with the old hubs but at this point it's a sunk cost so maybe I should just go all-in and buy new hubs too, or a wheelset. Do you have any suggestions for 120-126mm hubs or even a wheelset at this point? Might be easier to just buy a new wheelset and sell the rims instead of trying to have wheels built with the old hubs.
...all the advice you've gotten above is good on this. For something you want to ride, you're way better off at this point just going with some more modern rims on upgraded hubs. Today's rims are just lighter and better able to accommodate high pressure modern clinchers. I did a restoration on a similar bike a few years back, but mine was without incident, except for discovering that the rear seat stays were slightly off, resulting in a rear dropout alignment that was off as built at the factory.


The original Alfa pedals were both French threaded and designed for someone with a AAA shoe size, so unusable . But the crank was easily re-threaded to take a standard pedal. Mine was definitely a French bike, but made in Spain. It's a swell orange in color though.

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Old 05-04-19, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...all the advice you've gotten above is good on this. For something you want to ride, you're way better off at this point just going with some more modern rims on upgraded hubs. Today's rims are just lighter and better able to accommodate high pressure modern clinchers. I did a restoration on a similar bike a few years back, but mine was without incident, except for discovering that the rear seat stays were slightly off, resulting in a rear dropout alignment that was off as built at the factory.


The original Alfa pedals were both French threaded and designed for someone with a AAA shoe size, so unusable . But the crank was easily re-threaded to take a standard pedal. Mine was definitely a French bike, but made in Spain. It's a swell orange in color though.

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Thanks so much for posting your example 3alarmer!

As a major Arregui buff I always enjoy seeing it.

From what I have seen of the Competition model from the late 1960's - early 1970's era some came through as yours with a mix of Zeus and Alfa marked componentry while others came through all Zeus save for their Alfa brakes. Perhaps it depended upon the specific model year or maybe kitting variations were the result of keeping the production line going...

The Competition model was fairly close to the Professional model in this time.

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@Sleepwhenimdead

gear block remover -

two other makers in addition to Bicycle Research Products who offered this type of remover for blocks with the raised two-notch design were Campag and Shimano DuraAce.

yes, eBay is one source...

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