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What's the best freewheel?

Old 05-02-11, 07:50 PM
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What's the best freewheel?

My 1986 Shimano 600 rear hub needs a new freewheel. What should I look for? It has 6 speeds right now, should I go up to 7, or would that mean getting a new chain? Should I replace the chain anyway, seeing how the chainrings are also new for the bike? I know IRD makes a nice freewheel, any other brands I should look into? Thanks
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Old 05-02-11, 07:55 PM
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If you can find an old Sachs freewheel, those are really nice.

Are you looking to go indexed?

Even the cheap shimano or sunrace ones work really well.

If it were me, I'd probably replace the chain since you are replacing the rings and freewheel.
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Old 05-02-11, 08:38 PM
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I did the 6-7 upgrade with IRD and am very happy. I also upgraded the chain to a SRAM 870. The newer FW are a good upgrade in shift quality.
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Old 05-02-11, 09:18 PM
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Mechanically speaking, Shimano 600 and Dura-Ace freewheels are as good as they get. SunTour Winner/New Winner are a close second. IMHO, Zeus freewheels have the best design, but are pretty scarce these days. Sachs and IRD are more modern freewheels with decent reputations.
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Old 05-02-11, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
...IMHO, Zeus freewheels have the best design, but are pretty scarce these days...
They're really light (thinking the 2000 freewheels), and cool 'cause they're ZEUS (I really like the 2000 stuff)... But aren't they a little soft, and quick wearing..?
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Old 05-02-11, 10:51 PM
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White industries in California makes the Best Freewheels , but only in 1 or 2 speed..


older stuff..
Light alloys, aluminum , Campag, and the Titanium, Zeus are
by the nature of the metals used, softer.





....

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-05-19 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 05-02-11, 11:08 PM
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Itch, I don't know. I can tell you I've never successfully removed a Regina from a hub, but never had any problem with a Suntour.
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Old 05-02-11, 11:12 PM
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It sounds like most of you recommend a used freewheel over a modern remake? Even though it doesn't have shifting ramps?
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Old 05-02-11, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by max5480 View Post
It sounds like most of you recommend a used freewheel over a modern remake? Even though it doesn't have shifting ramps?
Old Shimano HG freewheels have shaped teeth and shift very nice. I prefer Shimano over suntour because the splined remover tool is a superior design to the 2 and 4 notch suntours.
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Old 05-02-11, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by max5480 View Post
It sounds like most of you recommend a used freewheel over a modern remake? Even though it doesn't have shifting ramps?
You talking to me?

No, I usually pick up new gold 14-28 Suntours on ebay for fair prices. I don't know from shifting ramps and never needed one.

Modern remakes may be fine. I have no experience. I tend to stick with what I know.
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Old 05-02-11, 11:33 PM
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I just looked at my 6 speed Shimano UG freewheel and it even has twisted teeth to aid shifting. It's a nice shifting freewheel but it's not as nice sounding as others that I have.

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Old 05-02-11, 11:41 PM
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I have always thought that the internals on Suntour freewheels was better and they were longer wearing while Shimano has the best tooth design and is probably the nicest shifting freewheel out there.

The quietest and smoothest are probably Regina and Sachs freewheels are nice in every respect.
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Old 05-02-11, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
Old Shimano HG freewheels have shaped teeth and shift very nice. I prefer Shimano over suntour because the splined remover tool is a superior design to the 2 and 4 notch suntours.
If you lock the freewheel tool in with a skewer (then back off 1mm or so to allow the FW to spin) you'll never strip or munge a Suntour freewheel.
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Old 05-03-11, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by khatfull View Post
If you lock the freewheel tool in with a skewer (then back off 1mm or so to allow the FW to spin) you'll never strip or munge a Suntour freewheel.
That is what I do, I even have the Suntour branded remover tool. I can remove them fine... but I still think it's an inferior design compared to the Shimano.
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Old 05-03-11, 12:02 AM
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I would replace the old 600 UG freewheel with a modern Shimano HG freewheel. You get the best of both...best shifting performance and according to Sheldon Brown, the latest Shimano freewheel body is the best on the market.
If you have a remover tool for the 600, I bet it'll work on a new Shimano.
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Old 05-03-11, 12:50 AM
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Ditto on the Shimano Hyper Glide Stuff! Inexpensive and well made. I switched from vintage Suntour (still good stuff) and did not look back. They just shift reliably! You can get a 14-28 easily for under $20.
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Old 05-03-11, 04:24 AM
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Or you can send your original freewheel to me. I bet it still has 10-20 more years left in it. Any pictures or can you tell us why it needs to be replaced?
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Old 05-03-11, 07:34 AM
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Can you find the Shimano HG freewheels in 14-24 or 13-24 (6 speed)?

I have a Shimano 600 and am using it now, but prefer my SunTour New Winners a touch over this. IIRC, the Shimano is UG. Agreed on the remover design, though I don't have problems getting my SunTours off (skewer method as well).
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Old 05-03-11, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
That is what I do, I even have the Suntour branded remover tool. I can remove them fine... but I still think it's an inferior design compared to the Shimano.
Of course the Shimano is a better design, that doesn't obviate the Suntour design from working well for close to 50 years. Since the single purpose of a freewheel removal tool is to....remove a freewheel my assumption was that you might have had trouble with Suntour in the past. If both remove without issue even a superior design has no practical benefit.
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Old 05-03-11, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by OldRoadman View Post
Ditto on the Shimano Hyper Glide Stuff! Inexpensive and well made. I switched from vintage Suntour (still good stuff) and did not look back. They just shift reliably! You can get a 14-28 easily for under $20.
The only problem here is that I like to rearrange my Suntour freewheels' cogs for particular gearing a lot of the time. You can't do that with HG...UG yes, HG no.
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Old 05-03-11, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
That is what I do, I even have the Suntour branded remover tool. I can remove them fine... but I still think it's an inferior design compared to the Shimano.
The splined removal system is superior to the 2 and 4 notched system as people who are unfamiliar with freewheel removal can use a splined tool quite readily while many do not understand how to use a 2/4 notch tool properly and end up damaging the freewheel or tool.
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Old 05-03-11, 09:40 AM
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Actually, my freewheel does work fine, but it has the super low gear that I want to switch out for a 24 tooth so that transition into my lowest gear will be smoother. Can I replace just the last cog or do I need to replace the entire freewheel? Thanks
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Old 05-03-11, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by max5480 View Post
Actually, my freewheel does work fine, but it has the super low gear that I want to switch out for a 24 tooth so that transition into my lowest gear will be smoother. Can I replace just the last cog or do I need to replace the entire freewheel? Thanks
Freewheels can be taken apart and cogs can be switched... it used to be this way and folks could walk into a good bike shop and they would be able to replace single cogs or build you a custom freewheel.

You will just need the right replacement cog.
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Old 05-03-11, 10:18 AM
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This is a timely thread.

I'm looking to upgrade my old 14-28 five speed to a new 13-28 seven speed. I was looking at Niagara and they have a Sunrace version and the Shimano for around $15 the Shimano is a buck or two more, no big deal. Spacing is not a problem but I will probably need a new chain as well. Any opinions on which is the better quality/make. The site says the Sunrace is HG Shimano compatible.
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Old 05-03-11, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by TheOtherGuy View Post
They're really light (thinking the 2000 freewheels), and cool 'cause they're ZEUS (I really like the 2000 stuff)... But aren't they a little soft, and quick wearing..?
Yes, the cogs are soft (except for the smallest, which is steel), but the design is great: all the cogs use the same spline pattern, except for the final cog which is threaded and holds the rest in place. Thus, all the splined cogs are fully interchangeable. No washers or spacers are needed because the cogs themselves are machined to provide the necessary clearance. The body itself can accommodate either a 2-prong Regina-type extractor or the superior splined Zeus extractor (later copied by Regina and Atom, among others).
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