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Why Are 26T 6 Speed Freewheels So Rare?

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Why Are 26T 6 Speed Freewheels So Rare?

Old 05-31-21, 03:19 PM
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FrejusFlyer
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Why Are 26T 6 Speed Freewheels So Rare?

I'm going to try and put the original 1963 Gran Sport rear derailleur back on my Frejus, but I'm expecting to have trouble with it working with the 28T I've got on there now. I'm looking for a 26T and they look awful scarce. Is that just a tooth count that wasn't used much back in the day?
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Old 05-31-21, 03:46 PM
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they were definitely made. I used to use one quite a bit.
This is what Bike Warehouse offered for SunTour in 1980...




In fact, I'm currently using a SunTour New Winner 13-26 six speed on one bike.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 05-31-21, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by FrejusFlyer View Post
I'm going to try and put the original 1963 Gran Sport rear derailleur back on my Frejus, but I'm expecting to have trouble with it working with the 28T I've got on there now. I'm looking for a 26T and they look awful scarce. Is that just a tooth count that wasn't used much back in the day?
how long have you been on the hunt? are looking for used/NOS or brand new? sometimes the used parts seem to cycle on availability and you have to wait it out. or, maybe someone/s bought'em all up and have them stashed with their TP stock pile...har har
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Old 05-31-21, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post

In fact, I'm currently using a SunTour New Winner 13-26 six speed on one bike.

Steve in Peoria
Thanks very much for the information, Steve! I guess I'll have to look harder.
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Old 05-31-21, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
how long have you been on the hunt? are looking for used/NOS or brand new? sometimes the used parts seem to cycle on availability and you have to wait it out. or, maybe someone/s bought'em all up and have them stashed with their TP stock pile...har har
I just started looking this weekend, but thought they'd be falling out of the trees like the 28t freewheels. Not too picky, used in good shape is good enough. I'll keep searching eBay.
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Old 05-31-21, 04:21 PM
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IRD makes them. Expensive.
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Old 05-31-21, 04:22 PM
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Been there on my 64 Frejus. It did work on the 26 with the Gran Sport rd, but it didn’t like it at all. With my 47-50 front and that 14-26 rear, it didn’t even like the chain wrap issue. Hated that Gran Sport. It now wears a Suntour VXs and is happy with a 28 that is on there now. The VXs even shifts a 32 rear on my Trek. Just sayin.
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Old 05-31-21, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by FrejusFlyer View Post
Thanks very much for the information, Steve! I guess I'll have to look harder.
well, the secret to my collection of freewheels is that I bought them 20 years ago! That worked pretty well for Brooks saddles too.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 05-31-21, 05:20 PM
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You have brought up one of my greatest frustrations, because I have Campag. GS, Record, and 980 derailleurs that max. out at 26T. The low gear sweet spot for me for many years was 42/26, constrained by a 144mm BCD up front and a Campag. or SunTour short cage rear derailleur. The closest I got recently was a 14-25 Regina America, which I cogswapped with the 13-23 I already had to create a 13-15-17-19-22-25 for the 46-38 ringset on my Capo Modell Campagnolo. Works nicely with the 980, even though I am not a particular fan of the 980's appearance, particularly on an ornate 1959 frame.
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Old 05-31-21, 06:24 PM
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Figure out where the co-ops are and check the freewheel pile. Big cogs get the least wear so grab whatever you find even if the rest of the assembly is toast. This is last weeks haul. I hadent been in there during the pandemic, so i dont knoe how long these where there.
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Old 05-31-21, 06:27 PM
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My '79 Motobecane Grand Sprint came stock with an early Shimano 600 13-26 6 speed and a 52/40 chainset. That freewheel now resides on my Colnago. It is a good freewheel if you can find one, but has weak removal notches.
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Old 05-31-21, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by FrejusFlyer View Post
I'm going to try and put the original 1963 Gran Sport rear derailleur back on my Frejus, but I'm expecting to have trouble with it working with the 28T I've got on there now. I'm looking for a 26T and they look awful scarce. Is that just a tooth count that wasn't used much back in the day?
I have one or two.

Back in the day, it was macho to have a 13-18 straight block or a 13-21 in hills. You would get looks if you put a 13-24 on. You would have to be very unsocial to own and mount a 13-26 back then.
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Old 05-31-21, 07:00 PM
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.
...there are way more freewheels in the used parts stream with a large of 28, because there were a lot more of them made and sold. Most of the standard bikes that people bought had a 13/14-28, because not everyone was using road race gearing or equipment. As much as I detest swapping out freewheel cogs, the 13-24 and 14-26 ones are now so expensive (and the used ones often have a cog or two with some wear), that I am forced to adapt.

If you have a big enough collection of either Suntour or Shimano 5 and 6 speed freewheels, a well mounted bench vise, a freewheel vise, and at least one chain whip that is bombproof, like the Park one, you can recog them so that the largest cog is a 26, or even a 24. Sometimes it involves some torch heating and ATF/Acetone mixed 50/50. And the cog designs in the various positions for Suntour and Shimano differed over the years. But it's doable if you have a source of the older freewheels at cheap prices (like the co-op suggestion.)

It would be great if someone like Sunrace would pay attention to the needs of people like us, and make new ones in the 14-24/26 range. But I think we don't represent enough market share.

I don't work on the other brands of freewheel, because there are not enough of them around to collect a solid supply of cogs and spacers. And those seem to more commonly come in usable configurations already. But if you're looking at used stuff on ebay, the pricing on used 13-24 and 14-26 freewheels is astonishing to me.
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Old 05-31-21, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...there are way more freewheels in the used parts stream with a large of 28, because there were a lot more of them made and sold. Most of the standard bikes that people bought had a 13/14-28, because not everyone was using road race gearing or equipment. As much as I detest swapping out freewheel cogs, the 13-24 and 14-26 ones are now so expensive (and the used ones often have a cog or two with some wear), that I am forced to adapt.

If you have a big enough collection of either Suntour or Shimano 5 and 6 speed freewheels, a well mounted bench vise, a freewheel vise, and at least one chain whip that is bombproof, like the Park one, you can recog them so that the largest cog is a 26, or even a 24. Sometimes it involves some torch heating and ATF/Acetone mixed 50/50. And the cog designs in the various positions for Suntour and Shimano differed over the years. But it's doable if you have a source of the older freewheels at cheap prices (like the co-op suggestion.)

It would be great if someone like Sunrace would pay attention to the needs of people like us, and make new ones in the 14-24/26 range. But I think we don't represent enough market share.

I don't work on the other brands of freewheel, because there are not enough of them around to collect a solid supply of cogs and spacers. And those seem to more commonly come in usable configurations already. But if you're looking at used stuff on ebay, the pricing on used 13-24 and 14-26 freewheels is astonishing to me.
Sunrace makes a 14-24 6 speed freewheel, but it can be hard to find/goes out of stock often. Got one brand new in December from Bell's Bike Shop.
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Old 05-31-21, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by sd5782 View Post
Been there on my 64 Frejus. It did work on the 26 with the Gran Sport rd, but it didn’t like it at all. With my 47-50 front and that 14-26 rear, it didn’t even like the chain wrap issue. Hated that Gran Sport. It now wears a Suntour VXs and is happy with a 28 that is on there now. The VXs even shifts a 32 rear on my Trek. Just sayin.
Dang, I thought I could avoid the chain wrap issue with the 26T. Maybe I'll stick with the SR that's on there now.

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Old 05-31-21, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
You have brought up one of my greatest frustrations, because I have Campag. GS, Record, and 980 derailleurs that max. out at 26T. .
I figured 26T was the largest I could go with this derailleur, but with all the hills around here, I'm just getting by with the 28T, so going with a lower cog will definitely impact my riding. But dang, the bike would look nice with the original RD on there
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Old 05-31-21, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
But if you're looking at used stuff on ebay, the pricing on used 13-24 and 14-26 freewheels is astonishing to me.
Indeed! I was surprised by the prices as well.
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Old 05-31-21, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
This is last weeks haul.
Holy cow! That is quite a haul!
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Old 06-01-21, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by FrejusFlyer View Post
Dang, I thought I could avoid the chain wrap issue with the 26T. Maybe I'll stick with the SR that's on there now.
Somehow, others post about running a 42-52 front with that Gran Sport rear. Mine only did what it says on the backside of the dr. Perhaps yours will have better luck. Might as well try it if you find a freewheel. Sunrace also made a 13-25 in 7 speed.
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Old 06-01-21, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
they were definitely made. I used to use one quite a bit.
This is what Bike Warehouse offered for SunTour in 1980...




In fact, I'm currently using a SunTour New Winner 13-26 six speed on one bike.

Steve in Peoria
I have similar on this 86 Trek 760 that came with the Campy NR. The 26t works great with NR.
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Old 06-01-21, 09:11 AM
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Stock gearing on some of the Capo Modell Campagnolos was 52-46/14-17-20-23-26, which worked OK with the Campag. Gran Sport derailleurs front (pushrod) and rear, but that was about the limit. I know some folks push Campag. NRs to 28 or even 31 teeth, but this works only on some derailleur tabs, axle fore-aft positions, chain lengths, and chainwheel differences. I always liked 26T, because it was pretty much plug-and-play on most frames. I have happily used 50-42 / 14-16-18-20-23-26, replacing the stock 52-42 / 13-15-17-19-21-23, for decades on the Bianchi. Makes a great 1.5-step ratio progression and keeps the NR derailleurs happy.

I run a 45-42/13-15-17-20-23-26 half-step on the Peugeot with a short cage SunTour Cyclone II in back, but that bike uses a claw, and the 3-tooth drop in front helps out quite a bit.
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Old 06-01-21, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Stock gearing on some of the Capo Modell Campagnolos was 52-46/14-17-20-23-26, which worked OK with the Campag. Gran Sport derailleurs front (pushrod) and rear, but that was about the limit.
.
Thanks John. I'll try the 26 and see what happens.
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Old 06-01-21, 11:21 AM
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Prices have skyrocketed and not just for 6 speed freewheels. I paid a little under $100 for my 7 speed 13-26 Regina. I didn't mind paying that price since it was low miles and the exact freewheel I wanted on the Basso.

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Old 06-01-21, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Stock gearing on some of the Capo Modell Campagnolos was 52-46/14-17-20-23-26, which worked OK with the Campag. Gran Sport derailleurs front (pushrod) and rear, but that was about the limit. I know some folks push Campag. NRs to 28 or even 31 teeth, but this works only on some derailleur tabs, axle fore-aft positions, chain lengths, and chainwheel differences. I always liked 26T, because it was pretty much plug-and-play on most frames. I have happily used 50-42 / 14-16-18-20-23-26, replacing the stock 52-42 / 13-15-17-19-21-23, for decades on the Bianchi. Makes a great 1.5-step ratio progression and keeps the NR derailleurs happy.

I run a 45-42/13-15-17-20-23-26 half-step on the Peugeot with a short cage SunTour Cyclone II in back, but that bike uses a claw, and the 3-tooth drop in front helps out quite a bit.
Nice to see others with that easier half step. Getting ready to put a 42-46 front on my Frejus to replace the pretty 47-50 on it now. Even with a 28 rear, this old man would like a couple easier gears on this bike. I have a Superbe from my Trek with 144 bcd that should be appropriate, and then easier gearing for the Trek too. Those guys must have been stronger in the 60s. Maybe they were younger too.
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Old 06-02-21, 11:04 PM
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I've been running a 6 speed 28t with Gran Sport, on my '64 Legnano Roma. It is paired with a 52/42 crank. It doesn't like doing big big, but otherwise plays nice together. I removed the dropout screws and pulled the wheel all the way back to avoid chain interference between jocky wheel and 28t gear.
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