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Freewheels for high mileage bike?

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Freewheels for high mileage bike?

Old 12-18-20, 01:41 PM
  #1  
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Freewheels for high mileage bike?

I've got a a really nice wheelset with a 6-7 speed Phi Wood 126mm freewheel hub. I'm planning on putting some signifigant mileage on these wheels as a primary ride. I've got a couple nice 6 speed Suntour freewheels but not really any duplicates if one wears out. I was wondering if I should just plan on using a readily available Shimano 7 speed 14-28 and adjust my chainrings around this standard gearing? Any thoughts? Thanks.
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Old 12-18-20, 01:45 PM
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I've heard good things about the Sunrace ones but haven't used them myself. They do have 6 speed ones.
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Old 12-18-20, 01:57 PM
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I have about 100 pounds of freewheel stuff, including an extensive collection of Dura-Ace, Sante, 600, Winner and Winner Pro and Sachs bodies and cogs.

7/8 speed Dura-Ace freewheel and cassette cogs feature about the hardest steel I've seen in any application. And the Dura-Ace freewheel bodies are over-engineered, which includes very high quality materials and construction. Freewheels are not a high-stress application, as when bearings are only active during freewheeling.

Nevertheless, one can go out and buy the Shimano TZ-21 (now TZ500?) freewheel in 14-28 or 14-34 flavors. I was riding on one of these yesterday - shifts great; better than the clunky Dura-Ace Uniglide cogs ever could. I'm sure the inferior materials in the Tourney freewheel will be worn out in less than half the time of an equivalent Dura-Ace unit, but they only cost $15. So there you go.
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Old 12-18-20, 02:20 PM
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If you can work out reasonable ratios with a standard modern freewheel, I think it will shift better due to the ramps, tooth profiling, etc. If you need to build a custom one to get the ratios you want there are lots of Suntour New Winner and Winner Pro parts available in the eBay universe.
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Old 12-18-20, 02:22 PM
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I would go for the new Shimano 7 sp freewheel because it's got HG style cogs which shift better than the old fashion Suntour freewheels.
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Old 12-18-20, 03:32 PM
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What will you save your Suntour FWs for? If they are similar models, you can use the cog of one to replace the worn cog on the other. And then, at your leisure, you can hunt down a replacement cog and be right back where you started. I have a 13-26 and a 13-24 Suntour. One pair of small cogs (13-14) are worn so if I will need the 26 for some climbing, that FW gets the good 13-14.
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Old 12-18-20, 04:06 PM
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I'm just trying to stream line the logistics for this particular bike, so I can spend more time riding. I have plenty of other bikes for tinker time. I do have a box of used Suntour freehubs from the co-op that I will get around to "processing" some time. I passed on an opportunity to buy 3-4-500 cogs a while back, but didn't want to be "the cog guy" on ebay.
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Old 12-18-20, 04:24 PM
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Interloc Racing Development (IRD) sells new freewheels with a wide range of tooth counts. They're a bit pricey and their first generation had some quality issues but I've been using them for years with success.
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Old 12-18-20, 05:15 PM
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The IRD 13-26 would probably fit my gearing ideas the best. The cost is signifigant and this picture of their pawls is a little less than confidence inspiring. I haven't taken any other freewheels apart to compare interior cosmetics though.

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Old 12-18-20, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
The IRD 13-26 would probably fit my gearing ideas the best. The cost is signifigant and this picture of their pawls is a little less than confidence inspiring. I haven't taken any other freewheels apart to compare interior cosmetics though.
Yes, you would have thought they would have cleaned that up before photographing it for the catalog at least. However, also note that those parts are for the first two generations they sold. I think the current third generation is manufactured by a different vendor so this photo is not relevant to new purchases.
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Old 12-18-20, 07:46 PM
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SunRace. I'm very satisfied with the SunRace chromed freewheels and cassettes. They seem to last forever with no discernible tooth wear. The chromed surface makes them run quietly and the clever tooth profile helps them shift crisply and quietly. They're ecumenical and get along just fine with Shimano and Suntour derailleurs.

I have a couple of Suntour Alpha freewheels, the 13-24 that came with my Ironman and a 13-26 I got from a BF member to give my legs a break on climbs when I was recovering from illness and injury. But I never was happy with the shifting or somewhat clattery drivetrain noise. I tried various chains and never could get those running to my satisfaction.

I even prefer the SunRace to most of my Shimano freewheels and cassettes and use the SunRace 11-25, 12-28 and one or two others on my newer bikes.

Specifically, I have the SunRace MFR-30 freewheel in 7-speed 13-25, and MFM-30 freewheel in 7-speed 13-28. (MFR="road", MFM="mountain," but I use both on my road bikes.)
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Old 12-18-20, 07:50 PM
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I've got a Suntour 14-34 5 speed freewheel on my Vintage Norco. It seems to be very durable, and the gears are spaced in a most useful manner.

More gears is not necessarily going to be of any use. I think that which chainrings you decide to use and the tooth count of each cog is more important.
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Old 12-18-20, 09:53 PM
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My original plan was to run a heavier wheelset with a 7 speed cassette. I've got a couple different crank options I could run including 50-34T. 48-34t, 46-30t, and a bunch of 86BCD possibility's with a max spread of 52 to 28t. In theory, I was kind of looking for a gear inch range of 90-30". With a a Shimano 14-28 I would need 48-32t chainrings. I've got 47-32T on hand.
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Old 12-19-20, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
My original plan was to run a heavier wheelset with a 7 speed cassette. I've got a couple different crank options I could run including 50-34T. 48-34t, 46-30t, and a bunch of 86BCD possibility's with a max spread of 52 to 28t. In theory, I was kind of looking for a gear inch range of 90-30". With a a Shimano 14-28 I would need 48-32t chainrings. I've got 47-32T on hand.
Just wondering, what is your preference for eating bark? Does it contain some sort of nutrition unbeknownst to us mere mortal creatures? Do you have any specific preference for one type of bark over another?
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Old 12-21-20, 08:45 PM
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The Davidson that I rebuilt this summer came with Phil hubs spaced at 120mm. I decided it best to keep everything together so I started hunting Suntour Ultra-6 freewheels on the bay. In 6 months Iíve found 13-32 and 13-28 examples in like new shape for under $35 each. Those are the only ranges I need, and at this rate I can stockpile enough of them to last me the rest of my life.

Donít sweat availability. Thereís enough out there to last you a long time.
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Old 12-22-20, 03:37 AM
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Don’t sweat availability. There’s enough out there to last you a long time.
Basically this, although buy them before you need them as it can sometimes be a few weeks before the right model and ratios turn up, but they're not in really short supply yet.

I've got a stash of 5 and 6 speed freewheels from Suntour and SACHs/Maillard that I've been hoarding, enough to keep me going for a while anyway, but I've also used the current cheap SunRace an Shimano 6 and 7 speed options. They shift much better than vintage models as the current stuff has HG profiled sprockets, but they don't last anywhere near as along, and the sealing isn't as good as more premium vintage models so they can need a bit more care and feeding to keep them going.

So either approach is valid I think, either use NOS stuff and buy it when you see it, or use modern stuff and budget for replacing it more frequently, which isn't too much of an issue given how cheap modern freewheels are.
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Old 12-22-20, 06:04 AM
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Every time I see a vintage SunTour freewheel selling cheap, I grab it! I must have a dozen or so, from straight block 13-18 to loaded-touring-friendly 14-34. Six-speed Winners are my favorite, but also won't pass up a New Winner, or even a five-speed Perfect. Some ultra spaced, too. I think there is even a 7-speed somewhere in there...

Of course, forum member @pastorbobnlnh can refurb one or build one with whatever gears you want as well...
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Old 12-22-20, 07:08 AM
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Finding vintage NOS 7 speeds looks to be a bit of a trick. I had an opportunity to buy a bunch last year but didn't focus the fact my Phill's hub took up to 7 speeds. So its paining me to see them on ebay for 5x-10x what I would have spent "If I had known at the time"
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Old 12-22-20, 07:50 AM
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Sorry to be late to this conversation, but I have found the Sachs/Maillard freewheels to be really excellent performers and they seemed to have been made in 6- and 7-speed variants. I might have one in the bin. What max cog size are you looking for, eater of bark?

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Old 12-22-20, 09:39 AM
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First of all, good luck wearing those out. Secondly if going new, take the Shimano over the Sunrace, shifts way better. Another choice if going new is the IRDs, well built and priced to match, but they don’t shift as well as the cheap Shimano.
At 15 bucks a pop you can stock up on the cheap Shimano freewheel, but don’t really see the need, because after switching most of my bikes over, have yet to have one fail.
Hopefully you can still find some without the dorky script on the large cog.
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Old 12-22-20, 10:14 AM
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Split pawls are sub-optimal, but fwiw where the Suntour Winner/Winner Pro split pawls primarily/only failed on large-ratio freewheels that were actually ridden off-road. Much more torque generated with a 34t cog on a steep climb than a 26t cog. Also more spiky torque generated off-road where a wheel might slip on mud during a climb, then suddenly engage with full pedal pressure.

Of course, back in the day, when many replacement cogs were available, and stocked at your LBS, taking a 13-26t fw and converting it to 13-34t for your ATB wasn't uncommon, so the design was a liability. But if you leave the split-pawl body in a smaller configuration, shouldn't be a problem.

Note that I do not know whether the newer/current IRD freewheels use the same pawls or not.

Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
The IRD 13-26 would probably fit my gearing ideas the best. The cost is signifigant and this picture of their pawls is a little less than confidence inspiring. I haven't taken any other freewheels apart to compare interior cosmetics though.

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Old 12-22-20, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Sorry to be late to this conversation, but I have found the Sachs/Maillard freewheels to be really excellent performers and they seemed to have been made in 6- and 7-speed variants. I might have one in the bin. What max cog size are you looking for, eater of bark?
​​​​​​Ideally, I'd like to find a 13-30 7 speed. Looking at ebay, it looks like the Sachs Maillard 7 of 8 ecosystem might be the way to go. Thanks for the offer of the free wheel, the bike is a long way from the road, so I don't want to take you up on your offer unless its on the top of the pile and you wont have go to the post office to mail it.
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Old 12-22-20, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
eater of bark?
.... hahahahaha
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Old 12-22-20, 08:11 PM
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