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Quality 7 Speed Freewheel with 30+ teeth

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Quality 7 Speed Freewheel with 30+ teeth

Old 10-21-10, 01:20 AM
  #1  
monkeyography
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Quality 7 Speed Freewheel with 30+ teeth

I moved to hilly Marin CA recently and my early 80s Specialized Allez, with a 42/52 up front (can't go any smaller) and little corncob in the back, was just not leaving the valley floor.

The guy at my bike shop said a freewheel with larger range (and long cage derailleur) was the simplest way to go. But, he said the options were limited to cheap Shimano MEGARANGE freewheels, or a pricier IRD freewheel. I went with the IRD 13-32. This bike has always ridden smooth, and I didn't want it to suffer.

Anyway, one month of commuting and the IRD is failing.

Can anyone suggest another freewheel with 30+ teeth? Are the Shimanos freewheels really poor quality?

IMG_0277..jpg
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Old 10-21-10, 04:20 AM
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If the IRD is failing in one month, take it back to the LBS. They should replace it or refund it for you.

Most people find the new Shimano freewheels to be very reliable. Sheldon Brown raved about them. I did manage to bend the largest cog on one a few years ago riding it in winter snow and ice conditions. I'm not certain how it happened. But since I had pulled it off a dump find bike, I had no warranty options.

Your other option is to find a 7 speed Suntour on ebay. They can be pricey. I use Suntour freewheels almost exclusively, and have never had one fail. Usually mine have a 30, 32, or 34 large cog on them.

Best of luck.
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Old 10-21-10, 04:35 AM
  #3  
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Shimano 7 speed cassettes last for ages in my experience.

Is there any reason you can't go lower than 52/42 on the front? Are you using Biopace cranks that you are desperate to keep on the bike?

You could just swap out the 42 for a 38 chainring, that would give you a bit more low range. Or swap out the whole thing for a compact crank. The old RSXs (commonly 48-36) go for very little on eBay.
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Old 10-21-10, 05:57 AM
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The OP doesn't say, but he could have a 144 BCD crankset, in which case, a 42 tooth chain ring is basically his only option. He can search for a triplizer, which are not easy to find, and add a granny gear, but that will most like mean replacing the BB, the FD, etc.

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Old 10-21-10, 06:11 AM
  #5  
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I've had very good luck with Sun Race 7-speed freewheels in both 13-28 and 13-30. There are currently three in the fleet, one over 5 years old with many, many miles on it.

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Old 10-21-10, 06:35 AM
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What cassette is on now? I have an older bike with Shimano 7 speed. Fortunately, when I got the bike, I also got another wheel set and a whole bunch of spare cogs. Now, I just put the cogs I want to use on the freehub on the wheel for a 'custom' cassette. Would it be worthwhile for you to look for some spare cogs and just rebuild your cassette?
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Old 10-21-10, 06:42 AM
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I believe the OP's question concerned freewheels, although a different rear wheel with a freehub might offer more options.
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Old 10-21-10, 07:23 AM
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I think the Shimano freewheels are fantastic. I tried a Nashbar knockoff since it had better gears to pick from, but it doesn't shift as nice, and sometimes makes noise. First thing I do to a bike, when I rebuild one, is upgrade to a Shimano freewheel. Second thing is take some black paint or a magic marker to the logo.

Shimano is the way to go. I'm sure IRDs are nice, but with SHimano's at $10-15 it would never occur to me to pop $50-70 for one.
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Old 10-21-10, 07:28 AM
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In my opinion, the Shimano freewheels are the best value on the market. They're reasonably priced, shift well and even the inexpensive models have a good reliability record. The shop does a good business replacing Falcon frreewheels on X-mart bicycles with Shimano freewheels. I can't recall a single complaint or return. I dpn't have the current supplier's catalog here at home, but last year's three different 7 speed models with a 34T low gear.
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Old 10-21-10, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by top506 View Post
I've had very good luck with Sun Race 7-speed freewheels in both 13-28 and 13-30. There are currently three in the fleet, one over 5 years old with many, many miles on it.
Top
I've got 2 Sun Race FW''s as well. a 5-speed 13-30 and a 7speed 13-28. No complaints with either, the cogs are ramped just like Hyperglide...shifts just as well IMHO. I've got a Sunrace 7-speed Freehub Cassette too. No complaints. Doesn't have the cachet value like Atom or Campy or even Shimano but IME works as well.


When i was looking for the 5 speed one a couple months ago I was nearly gonna get the IRD but I saw literally dozens of other reviews just like the OP.
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Old 10-21-10, 09:32 AM
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Shimano freewheels are not low quality. I use them exclusively. The fact that IRD freewheels cost much more doesn't make them better, but I guess you found that out the hard way.
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Old 10-21-10, 10:44 AM
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Wow, thanks for all the replies.
42 tooth chainring is, indeed, the smallest I can go up front with current cranks. LBS said the rear parts were cheaper to replace than front parts. Could I replace crank without replacing bottom bracket? I don't know. He didn't seem to think so.

Also, not sure whether people just mix&match these words, but note: it's an old-fashioned freewheel, not a cassette & freehub.

I bought through the IRD website, I'll try to just get a refund rather than exchange.
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Old 10-21-10, 10:49 AM
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As has been said, Shimano is very good, second would be a Sunrace (I have a 13-25 on my MTB). Both should give you plenty of miles.
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Old 10-21-10, 10:53 AM
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Oops, sorry to the OP, I always get confused between freewheels and freehubs...
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Old 10-21-10, 12:06 PM
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For a few years Shimano offered the schweet 11-34, 7-spd "Type C" freewheel. Don't really need one, but kinda wish I had a spare.
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Old 10-21-10, 01:05 PM
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Unlike others, my IRD is working fine. I traded the Shimano in for it. The combo I have only goes to 28. I now am using a SunTour I found that has 14-30. It does not shift as well as the IRD but I can get up the hills a little easier.
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Old 10-21-10, 06:18 PM
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I also found I needed lower gearing to get up and over the hills of the San Francisco peninsula. I tested a 1988 Chorus with both a 7 speed 13-32 IRD freewheel and a 6 speed Shimano megarange freewheel (14-34). The 6 speed Shimano freewheel shifted better than the IRD, gave a lower lowest gear, and was about 1/3 the price. Note that rear derailleurs from the early 1980s were not as good at maintaining a small constant chain gap between the freewheel and the jockey pulley as more recent derailleurs. Thus if you set up the derailleur to clear the largest rear cog on a wide range freewheel, there will usually be a pretty large vertical gap between freewheel and derailleur pulley when you shift to the smaller cogs. As a result, you will have to overshift the derailleur to get the chain to deflect enough to hop between cogs. On a 7 speed freewheel with narrow lateral spacing between adjacent cogs, this can create problems of jumping over adjacent gears. On a 6 speed freewheel with wider lateral spacing between cogs, the shifts often work better than with the narrow spaced 7 speed freewheel. Frank Berto recommends 7 speed freewheels only for corncob gearing on 80s bikes, but 6 speed freewheels with wider lateral space between cogs when you go to high tooth counts, lower gearing, and therefore larger chain gap between freewheel cog and derailleur.
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