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Suntour Freewheel Guidance

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Suntour Freewheel Guidance

Old 03-11-22, 09:27 PM
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67Carlton 
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Suntour Freewheel Guidance

Iíve been trying to source a freewheel or two as options for my ongoing Bob Jackson build and would be grateful for some help as my freewheel knowledge is sorely limited. As background, the frame has 120mm spacing in the rear and I am not interested in spreading it at present. Drivetrain is Nuovo Record.

The first freewheel option I came across was a 5-speed Winner Pro (13, 15, 17, 19, 21). I think, as is, thatíll be fine for me so long as I donít venture too far into the hills west of town here, but fear I will struggle to push a 42x21 when the going gets steep. As a result, Iíve been keeping my eye out for an alternative with a bigger spread. Today I came across two more options at the co-op that appeared to be in decent shape: a 5-speed Perfect (14, 16, 18, 20, 23), and a 6-speed New Winner (13, 15, 17, 19, 22, 26).

The 14-23 is a step in the right direction, but I bought the latter as well because it was inexpensive and because I saw on Sheldonís site that ďThe New Winner body is unlike the others, and cleverly designed to take 5 or 6 sprockets in 5.5mm spacingĒ, which made me think it might be possible to remove a cog (say, the 13) and run a 15-26 when I want to head out climbing. Set up as a 6-speed it does have several mm of overhang, which leads me to hope that with one cog removed it might work in a 120mm spacing. The full article was a bit overwhelming with my current level of knowledge, but I'm eager to learn.

Is it as simple as that? Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-11-22, 11:39 PM
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The one problem with taking a cog of the 6 speed winner is how does the rest stay on? The last cog acts as a lock on the last 3 cogs IIRC since they are threaded. Also, I'm not quite sure the new winner body will allow fit inside of 120mm, it might be a touch wide. You could spread the rear stays while putting in the axle but it might bind on the dropouts.

What you need to determine is what is the final cog you need to deal with hills given your 42 front chainring. If you've got something fairly steep, you may need to really think about a 5 speed 30, 32, or 34 with a matching long cage derailleur or long rally cage mod to a Campagnolo Nuovo Record derailleur. These wider range freewheels are out there, sometimes for a price, but keep looking for used stuff because Suntours are pretty well built and respond to a good cleaning and reoiling. The problem with a 5 speed freewheel with a big gear is it will have big jumps or gaps between gears. If you can deal with that, they are useful.

If you want to, try our own pastorbobnlnh at the Freewheel Spa, he might be able to not only service your used freewheel, but advise on possible cog replacement for your needs and complete refurbishment.

https://www.bikeforums.net/members/p...lnh-42162.html
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Old 03-12-22, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by mech986 View Post
The one problem with taking a cog of the 6 speed winner is how does the rest stay on? The last cog acts as a lock on the last 3 cogs IIRC since they are threaded. Also, I'm not quite sure the new winner body will allow fit inside of 120mm, it might be a touch wide. You could spread the rear stays while putting in the axle but it might bind on the dropouts.

What you need to determine is what is the final cog you need to deal with hills given your 42 front chainring. If you've got something fairly steep, you may need to really think about a 5 speed 30, 32, or 34 with a matching long cage derailleur or long rally cage mod to a Campagnolo Nuovo Record derailleur. These wider range freewheels are out there, sometimes for a price, but keep looking for used stuff because Suntours are pretty well built and respond to a good cleaning and reoiling. The problem with a 5 speed freewheel with a big gear is it will have big jumps or gaps between gears. If you can deal with that, they are useful.

If you want to, try our own pastorbobnlnh at the Freewheel Spa, he might be able to not only service your used freewheel, but advise on possible cog replacement for your needs and complete refurbishment.

https://www.bikeforums.net/members/p...lnh-42162.html
https://www.freewheelspa.com/
Many thanks for the response mech986 , very helpful indeed. I was sorry to miss out on pastorbobnlnh's last freewheel release on the sales page. From what I've read (and I think some common sense as well) I think you're right that I need a proper final cog. For New Winner, I think that's an "E" cog, and perhaps I need to remove the "X" (which for me is a 15), which initially would yield 13, 17, 19, 22, 26, so perhaps I need to find an E15 outer for the more sensible 15, 17, 19, 22, 26.
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Old 03-12-22, 08:52 AM
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6 Speed Ultra or Narrow Freewheels

In the late 70's Suntour introduced their "Ultra" 6 speed freewheels designed to fit on 120mm wide 5 speed hubs.



Atom called theirs "Compact". Shimano made some narrow FWs too.



Campy NR rear derailleurs can handle a 28T large sprocket.

Other problems that you may run into is that over the years, the rear axle spacers may have been moved around or need to be moved to create enough space between the small sprocket and the seat and/or chain stays. You need at least 4mm clearance....



Get one of the modern 6-8 speed rated chains. They shift a lot better than many of the old chains.

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Old 03-12-22, 08:59 AM
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The Suntour 6 speed spacing is called Ultra and works great for putting 6 cogs in 120mm OLD. Over time, I was able to cobble together a 13-15-17-20-24-28. Suits me perfectly for mid-range climbing with 30+ top end.
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Old 03-12-22, 10:16 AM
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Apparently there have been QC issues in the past, and they aren't cheap, but an IRD freewheel might be another option to consider that may get you the range you want.
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Old 03-12-22, 01:07 PM
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Thanks everyone, lots of good ideas here. I've been keeping my eye open for an ultra 6-speed, but none have yet appeared in the parts bins I frequent and there's a part of me that likes the idea of keeping the Jackson to its 2x5 roots. It certainly makes sense that the ultra option would help keep the steps a bit smaller if I try to increase my largest rear cog so I'll keep that in mind for the future. IRD also looks like an interesting option if looking for a new freewheel rather than refurbishing/rebuilding. For the time being, I'm still intrigued by the idea of removing the E13 and X15 cogs on the current New Winner (wide) 6-speed and replacing with a new E15. As far as I can tell, removing the X cog might get me 3.9mm, with the other 2mm from removing a spacer, thus the difference necessary to allow the freehub to work within 120mm OLD, rather than 126mm. I'm aware that going from 6 to 5 is the opposite of what a lot of people do, but does anyone have experience with that approach? pastorbobnlnh , I'd be grateful for your input on whether that's a viable option.
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Old 03-12-22, 02:13 PM
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In my humble opinion, avoid the New Winners and keep looking for a Perfect, ProCompe, Winner or Winner Pro.

I ran into an issue this week trying to fit a 16-24 six speed Ultra spaced Perfect on my '71 Schwinn Super Sport. The 16T was so close to the seat stay the chain rubbed on the stay when on the sprocket. I had to swap the 16T for a 14T to make it work.

As far as removing the 13T on a New Winner six speed and running it as a five speed in 120mm spacing, you should be fine except for the possibility of chain rub in the smallest sprocket.
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Old 03-12-22, 02:42 PM
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The New Winner is a nice freewheel with a lot of options. Whether all of those options are good depends on how close you are to your desired configuration.
With a 120mm OLD hub, you obviously want either a plain 5 speed or an Ultra 6 speed. With a plain 5 speed and a plain 6 speed New Winner to work with, there is some room to work with, but it's hard to say if you can get to where you want to be.

As a review, let me offer the SunTour chart of the cog arrangements for the New Winner. Note that the non-Ultra versions are on the right, and the Ultra versions are on the left.


high resolution version: https://live.staticflickr.com/4239/3...05ee76_k_d.jpg

The advantage of having two regular spaced New Winners is that the same spacers are used. You could easily remove the X cog in the 5th position, and just put the E cog in its place. At that point, it's mostly a matter of finding the desired cogs to get a good sequence of gear sizes.
I've got some spare cogs if you need to replace a couple.

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Old 03-13-22, 06:44 AM
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I run a SunTour ultra 13-15-17-20-23-26 on the Peugeot, with a SunTour Cycle II short cage derailleur and half-step (45-42) up front, and I am delighted with the combination. I did have to spread the rear triangle very slightly, to 122-123mm, to provide sufficient chain clearance in high gear. Deleting the spoke protector / pie plate, if you have one, may buy you another much-needed mm or two.
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Old 03-13-22, 11:40 AM
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Thanks again for all the input and for pointing to some very helpful resources. My morning progress is pictured below. All cogs successfully removed from the 5-speed Perfect and the 6-speed (wide) NW. After some time with the compatibility charts and a caliper, I think with cogs on hand my best mix-and-match bet might be 14, 16, 18, 22, 26, with the smaller 3 from the Perfect and the largest 2 from the NW, using the Perfect body. I'll try fitting together this afternoon. 14, 16, 19, 22, 26 was my first thought, but the 19 from the NW is threaded and doesn't fit on the Perfect body (which requires the 3 largest to be splined). If this doesn't work out, I believe I'll be in search for an E15 for the NW.

Top: 5-speed Perfect (14-23) Bottom: 6-speed (non-Ultra) New Winner (13-26)
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Old 03-13-22, 12:04 PM
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Thanks steelbikeguy for posting the chart. It saved me the trouble.

The OP is very close to his solution I think so these comments may be a touch too late, but here they are:
1. The snazzy adjustable outer race of the original Winner body could come loose and dump the bearings on the road. Then you have to pretend you're riding a fixed gear to get home. The New Winner and Winner Pro bodies had more conventional outer races and were rock solid, as were the ProCompe and Perfect.
2. The Ultra 6 cluster is actually 2 mm wider than the conventional 5-speed. Check the high resolution chart if you question this. It can and does cause some frame interference issues with certain frames and smallest cogs.
3. The KMC X8 chain works beautiufully on the the Ultra-6 spacing.

Overall, the New Winner and Winner Pro were the best freewheels ever made, both in quality and flexibility. Plenty all-Campy bikes had one of these fitted, mine included. I have two in reserve for my "classic" bike, enough to see me out.

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Old 03-13-22, 01:40 PM
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Do you have a 5-speed FW on hand? If so, measure the distance, hub side of the large cog to dropout side of the small cog. Now go to your new Winner, Is that distance the same or very close or is it one full cog plus spacer larger? SunTour made both old school 6-speeds that require 126 spacing and Ultra 6 that fit (closely) in 120. I don't anymore have any 5-speeds or Ultra 6s so I cannot run out to the shop and measure one for you.

SunTour timeline - before 1978, all FWs were 5-speed or wide 126 6-speeds. 1978 they introduced the Ultra 6. The Ultra 7came later I believe. 7 cogs that fit in the 126 spacing. This Ultra spacing became the 8-speed standard with bikes going to 130 spacing. (I.m not sure the cog spacing is close enough to Shimano to run index, but thi9s works for what fits in a given bike spacing.)

Edit: I believe the last two cogs screw on and that the 6th cog is not a lockring. If I'm right, you should be able to unscrew it and ride without. Never tried this but I did used to take the 5-speeds apart and those top two screwed on. (This is old memory and pre-head injury, so don't hang me if I'm wrong.)

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Old 03-13-22, 02:28 PM
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Reporting back: I believe I now have a complete freewheel. 26, 1st spacer and 22 from the NW; 14, 16, 18, other spacers and body from the Perfect. The interchangeability chart for the NW was very helpful, I've copied in below my chart for the original Perfect and the new combination. Possibly it will explode on the first ride, but for now I'm pleased with the outcome and, as always, grateful for all the assistance received.



In case it's useful for others, here's my crib sheet for the Perfect:

And the combination:
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Old 03-13-22, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by oldschoolbike View Post
2. The Ultra 6 cluster is actually 2 mm wider than the conventional 5-speed. Check the high resolution chart if you question this. It can and does cause some frame interference issues with certain frames and smallest cogs.
oldshoolbike
Hence my comment about spreading my rear triangle to 122mm. With some hubs, you can get away with moving the left side lock washer to the right and slightly redishing the wheel accordingly.

I have played similar games trying to get a 7-speed freewheel to fit a hub and axle designed for a stand (not "ultra") 6-speed freewheel.
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Old 03-14-22, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by oldschoolbike View Post
...
1. The snazzy adjustable outer race of the original Winner body could come loose and dump the bearings on the road. Then you have to pretend you're riding a fixed gear to get home. The New Winner and Winner Pro bodies had more conventional outer races and were rock solid, as were the ProCompe and Perfect....

Overall, the New Winner and Winner Pro were the best freewheels ever made, both in quality and flexibility. Plenty all-Campy bikes had one of these fitted, mine included. I have two in reserve for my "classic" bike, enough to see me out.

oldshoolbike
I don't want to dispute you OSB, but there were four different models in the Winner family of freewheels. Unfortunately, Suntour named them in this chronological order: Winner, New Winner, and finally Winner & Winner Pro. The last two were introduced basically at the same time--- and by going back to just Winner, Suntour set in motion a confusing nomenclature.

To set the record straight:
  1. The original "Winner" is an oddball freewheel. It had no outer retaining/bearing ring (like a Perfect) and required a special tool inserted into the threaded hub attachment portion of the inner body in order to separate the halves and service. I've never seen the tool and thus have never opened one. They are rare and everyone I had in my hands (4-5) were seized and did not freewheel.
  2. The "New Winner" is the model with the adjustable outer bearing race and uses a two-notch removal tool (like the Perfect and ProCompe). I encourage folks to avoid this model because the two threaded rings of the race can seize together and can be exceedingly difficult to unthread. The steel in this model (as well as the following 4-notch removal tool Winner models) is very brittle. The notches are easily damaged, and/or the torque required to remove the freewheel from the hub can cause the inner threaded body in this area to permanently go out of round, thus making it difficult or impossible to thread the adjustable race back onto the body.
  3. The four-notch "Winner" and "Winner Pro" models eventually replaced the "New Winner". These models eliminated the problematic adjustable bearing race by returning to the proven outer retaining/bearing ring. They also introduced splined sprockets in the intermediate area while maintaining backward compatibility with the threaded original Winner and New Winner intermediate sprockets. The difference between these two final models in the "Winner" family, was the use of brass seals in gaps of the Winner Pro model to mitigate internal contamination. Also, the internal pawl and spring design was updated from the original brass wire push springs to a single round compression spring.

In my humble opinion, the four-notch Winner and Winner Pro are NOT "the best freewheel ever made...."

Yes, the flexibility of changing the gearing to many different options for friction shifting on one freewheel body is unsurpassed.

However, the easily damaged brittle steel and the ability to permanently deform the threaded area out of round, make the long-term servicing of these models problematic.

Therefore, among the Suntour models I prefer the Perfect or ProCompe, and the later Alpha and AP models from a servicing standpoint.

Also, I feel the pawls and pusher wire springs of the Perfect, ProCompe and New Winner models to be superior to the single compression spring system (basically used in all modern freewheels including Shimano UG, Regina CX and America, Sachs Aris, Sunrace, etc.).

We could easily debate which is "the best freewheel ever made...." until the end of time. A better way to express your admiration for a particular model might be to say, "my preferred freewheel is__________, for these reasons."
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Old 03-14-22, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
I don't want to dispute you OSB, but there were four different models in the Winner family of freewheels. Unfortunately, Suntour named them in this chronological order: Winner, New Winner, and finally Winner & Winner Pro. The last two were introduced basically at the same time--- and by going back to just Winner, Suntour set in motion a confusing nomenclature.
To set the record straight:......
It was a few years ago when Pastor Bob explained this (including the detailed description that followed) and was the first time I'd heard it. It certainly cleared up some of the confusion I'd had about my own collection of SunTour freewheels!

Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
In my humble opinion, the four-notch Winner and Winner Pro are NOT "the best freewheel ever made...."

Yes, the flexibility of changing the gearing to many different options for friction shifting on one freewheel body is unsurpassed.

However, the easily damaged brittle steel and the ability to permanently deform the threaded area out of round, make the long-term servicing of these models problematic.

Therefore, among the Suntour models I prefer the Perfect or ProCompe, and the later Alpha and AP models from a servicing standpoint.
the issue of deformed races is new to me, but I've only had a SunTour seize to a hub once (which is why I now own a huge pipe wrench).
The adjustable bearings of the New Winner is an odd thing. Was that a response to the tendency of the lockrings on Perfects & ProCompes to unscrew, or just a method to avoid what must have been custom selection of shims to adjust the bearings in Perfects & ProCompes?

With the limited availability of freewheels, there's not a lot of use in arguing about "best"... although I wonder if the Sachs Saris (iirc) wasn't close to the best? I only owned a couple, but they sure seemed to have not committed any obvious errors.
Among the SunTours, I do like the ability to use the Ultra spacing, so I tend towards the New Winners and the Winners that followed it. I dislike threaded cogs, so I give the nod to the later Winners. I inherited a lot of cogs and whatnot from a friend, which are heavily biased towards New Winner, so that's what I mostly deal with now.

I seem to have completely missed the era of the Alpha and AP. How did they differ from earlier SunTour freewheels??

Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-14-22, 11:51 AM
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Don't forget the Perfect and ProCompe models came in a Ultra six speed variant. I'll have one ready for sale later this evening.

Also the threaded Winner sprockets for the 2nd position, fit the first position on Perfect and ProCompe bodies.

The Alpha and AP models were designed to work with Suntour indexing.

To clarify, the deformed out of round area, is the portion of the inner body which carries the threads for the outer bearing race/retaining ring. What occurs is the ring will no longer thread on to the body because Suntour's machine tolerance was so tight. I've had to pound such rings off with a hammer and punch. The two pin spanner will not work in such instances.

My theory is that due to seized hub/freewheel threads and the use of great leverage to remove the stuck freewheel, this causes the removal tool to deform this area out of true round permanently.

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Old 03-14-22, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Don't forget the Perfect and ProCompe models came in a Ultra six speed variant. I'll have one ready for sale later this evening.
I completely forgot about that!

Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Also the threaded Winner sprockets for the 2nd position, fit the first position on Perfect and ProCompe bodies.

The Alpha and AP models were designed to work with Suntour indexing.
To their credit, SunTour did quite a bit to maintain compatibility between the Perfect/ProCompe and the Winners. Even on the later Winners with the smaller splines for the middle cogs, the section of the body with the smaller splines is also threaded, which appears to permit the use of the mid sized threaded cogs. Odd that they would bother with that extra step in manufacturing, but they must have seen some value in it.

For the Alpha and AP, was the difference just in consistent cog spacing? Presumably that might require a freewheel body laid out a bit better to accommodate that spacing too. I've got a couple of SunTour cogs with the Greek letter alpha stamped into them.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-15-22, 07:31 AM
  #20  
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steelbikeguy I must admit I really don't know much about Suntour indexing. I have it on one bike with a 7 speed AP and IIRC, I switched it to friction because I didn't feel the indexing was that precise. But that's just me. I have Shimano 8 and 9 speed barends on other bikes which I also friction shift.
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Old 03-15-22, 08:49 AM
  #21  
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interesting discussion. I have an AP 7v FW on the tandem. The shifters are the AP barcons and they work fine until I get to the smaller sprockets in the back. Then things do not index well between the 2nd and 3rd sprocket. It works fine down shifting but not up. Some times I will go ahead and shift up and then back down to get onton the sprocket.
We don't use the tandem that much and shifting issues just add to the concentration level at times when there is a lot going on. My stoker is not the smoothest and I am always compensating for movement making the steering a bit challenging, now add shifting issues too.
I should check my hanger alignment and maybe the spacking on the FW. Of coarse the cable is really long on a tandem!
Here is the configuration.
P1010339 by Patrick Boulden, on Flickr
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Old 03-15-22, 01:44 PM
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IRD Freewheels

Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
Apparently there have been QC issues in the past, and they aren't cheap, but an IRD freewheel might be another option to consider that may get you the range you want.
IRD (Interloc Racing Design) marketed 3 different freewheels.

The first was the "Defiant" model. The body was a copy of the venerable Shimano 600 freewheel. The sprockets had sculpted teeth plus ramps like Shimano Hyperglide on the larger sprockets. They looked very nice but had a very high failure rate.

Supposedly there were 3 different versions. The ones stamped M3 on the back of the large sprocket cured the problem with the pawls???



The next model was called the "Classica" and that was the cure all. Maybe that was the model where their Asian supplier went under???



The current model is called the "Cyclone Mk 1". The sprocket teeth are not ramped like the previous models but IRD claims they offer enhanced shifting. Here's their description:

"These are the all-new Cyclone Mark 1 Freewheels! Brand new tooling and exquisite quality encompassing all the lessons we learned in freewheel design. All the big Asian manufacturers are only churning out freewheels for department store bikes. We made these purposely nice enough to put on a vintage Cinelli road bike, but affordable enough to use as a replacement on cheaper bikes with."

https://www.interlocracing.com/shop?search=freewheel



These Cyclone Mark 1 FWs use the same body for 5, 6 & 7 speeds so the end protrudes out past the cogs on the 5 speed version - not well thought out??? This can be a real problem with some hubs!


Here's an older thread that covers a lot of IRD issues:

This is good...IRD freewheels are back on the market again.

Do you concur pastorbobnlnh ???

I wouldn't mind trying one of these new IRD FWs but $70 is a bit much for a test>

One last point (more than 1) - Freewheel widths vary even between the same brand and model. Secondly, Hubs vary in the "D" width dimension from brand to brand, model to model, even when new with the original spacers. MEASURE ONCE - CUT TWICE!




A sample of what I'm saying - the FWs on the right and left are 6 speeds, the one in the middle is a 7 speed.



This chart was posted by Sheldon Brown (RIP) but the numbers are not all that accurate. Most of the time I've run out of "D" width space!


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Old 03-15-22, 04:06 PM
  #23  
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I'm cleaning up in the shop today after a fight with some polyurethane coatings. So these are up for grabs (cost of shipping around $5) as always first to PM me gets choice or both. Smiles, MH

one perfect and one Regina Oro

Perfect with wide range gears for hills

Regina with a bail out for the hills
Folks, both have been claimed. I am going to my co-op tonight and perhaps a couple more of these will be in the FW box. Smiles, MH

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Old 03-16-22, 06:22 AM
  #24  
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On the chance the Perfect is unclaimed I would like it.
PM sent
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Old 03-16-22, 06:52 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
I'm cleaning up in the shop today after a fight with some polyurethane coatings. So these are up for grabs (cost of shipping around $5) as always first to PM me gets choice or both. Smiles, MH

one perfect and one Regina Oro

Perfect with wide range gears for hills

Regina with a bail out for the hills
That Regina appeals to me and my bad knees.
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