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Favorite Chain for Six Speed Freewheels?

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Favorite Chain for Six Speed Freewheels?

Old 06-05-12, 10:47 PM
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djkashuba 
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Favorite Chain for Six Speed Freewheels?

For smooth shifting and longevity. Your favorite chain for six speed freewheels and double chainrings. (12 speeds total)?
I have recently changed out some fives for sunrace and ird sixes.

Thanks.

-D
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Old 06-05-12, 11:06 PM
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If you're talking modern freewheels and Japanese freewheels, then the narrowest chain will work best, whatever is the thinnest chain that the chosen chainrings will tolerate without skating on the small ring after a down-shift.
Note that chainrings are more widely-spaced than freewheels cogs on the same bike.

I haven't tried 10-speed chain with freewheels, but have used 9-speed chains from Shimano, Campag, KMC and SRAM with the above-mentioned 6-speed freewheels.

A nine-speed chain will dramatically improve shifting on an Ultra-Six freewheel, and also works extremely well on the others.

Some French and Italian freewheels don't like modern chains and will slip during shifting, but most will work ok with 7.3mm-wide chains like Shimano CN-HG70.

KMC and Shimano each offer both 7.1mm and 7.3mm chains, HG70 is 7.3mm and IG70 is 7.1mm. This difference in width can make the narrower of these "7-8-speed" chains better on most freewheels, except for certain French and Italian ones.

Last edited by dddd; 06-05-12 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 06-06-12, 05:22 AM
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Any SRAM 8 speed chain works great. I use the SRAM PC870.
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Old 06-06-12, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael Angelo View Post
Any SRAM 8 speed chain works great. I use the SRAM PC870.
Thanks. I have a SRAM 870 coming in the mail.

-D
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Old 06-06-12, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by djkashuba View Post
Thanks. I have a SRAM 870 coming in the mail.

-D
Good choice.
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Old 06-06-12, 07:54 AM
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I'm also a fan of the PC870.
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Old 06-06-12, 09:34 AM
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I have had serious trouble using a Regina 6 speed freewheel and a SRAM 8 speed chain. The chain was narrow enough that it could sit between the cogs with no teeth engaged. This would occur even when you werent shifting if you were kind of between gears with the friction shifter. It was like suddenly going into neutral. The freewheel was NOS and the chain new as well! The problem instantly disappeared when I went to a wider 6 speed chain.
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Old 06-06-12, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
I have had serious trouble using a Regina 6 speed freewheel and a SRAM 8 speed chain. The chain was narrow enough that it could sit between the cogs with no teeth engaged. This would occur even when you werent shifting if you were kind of between gears with the friction shifter. It was like suddenly going into neutral. The freewheel was NOS and the chain new as well! The problem instantly disappeared when I went to a wider 6 speed chain.
My experience exactly, if I may repeat myself. I thus use only Japanese freewheels with narrower chains on my own bikes, for the very highest level of shifting performance under pressure.

I also prefer Shimano chain for not only it's longer wear life, but also because seems much less sensitive to scant lubrication than any other brand that I've tried, while remaining squeek-free.

The SRAM chain that the O.P. ordered will shift well with the modern freewheels, no doubt. It's not a bad chain.
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Old 06-06-12, 12:04 PM
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Sorry to veer off topic a bit, but am I right than no one makes a modern ramp tooth 6 speed freewheel with a sub-28t large cog?
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Old 06-06-12, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
Sorry to veer off topic a bit, but am I right than no one makes a modern ramp tooth 6 speed freewheel with a sub-28t large cog?
No. I'm pretty sure IRD makes one with a 25t large cog. Sun Race makes a 7 speed with a 25t; not sure about a 6 speed.
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Old 06-06-12, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
Sorry to veer off topic a bit, but am I right than no one makes a modern ramp tooth 6 speed freewheel with a sub-28t large cog?
Keep looking.

Sunrace makes different freewheel ratios for different vendors. Try Googling and Ebay, Cycling, freewheel-6.

I just found 7-speed, all-chromed Sunrace freewheels (using Ebay) in an odd-number sequence from 13-25t, the vendor is in England so I ordered a few and will wait the 2-3 weeks.

I've seen some unlikely ratio freewheels from Sunrace also in the past, 6 and 7 speed.

EDIT; Colonel, you beat me to the punch.

I am wondering why anyone sticks with 6-speed freewheels, other than because they have a 6-speed index shifter or a very exacting (2mm) axle length limitation.

Last edited by dddd; 06-06-12 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 06-06-12, 12:51 PM
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OK you guys are right; I see the IRD on Harris in a 13-24. I like the price of the Sunrace ones and have seen close ratio 7 speeds, but not 6 so far. Thanks.
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Old 06-06-12, 01:59 PM
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I have used the SRAM PC870 chain, with factory original Schwinn 5 speed freewheel, SACHS, 6 and 7 speed freewheels. I also used it with a 6 speed Regina. If that chain falls between the cogs on the freewheel, I would say the cogs are spaced WRONG.
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Old 06-06-12, 02:40 PM
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I have had severe slippage during shifting using the 8-speed chains on French, 5-speed Varsity freewheels, which I think were Atom or Normandy branded.

Same for 6-speed Regina freewheels, using various 8-speed chains. The problem is one of chain "skating" (full false neutral) during shifting, rather than a case of the chain falling between the FREEWHEEL sprockets (which actually can happen [in front] with 8-speed chains on a certain few of the older CRANKSETS as recent as the late 1970's).

I have also had 8-speed chains work ok on certain of these old French/Italian freewheels, so might depend on gear ratios and/or manufacturing date of the particular freewheel.

It doesn't hurt to try, and then replace the freewheel only if necessary, since modern 8-speed chain certainly makes front derailer setup easier on those old bikes.

Last edited by dddd; 06-06-12 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 06-06-12, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I have had severe slippage during shifting using the 8-speed chains on French, 5-speed Varsity freewheels, which I think were Atom or Normandy branded.

Same for 6-speed Regina freewheels, using various 8-speed chains. The problem is one of chain "skating" (full false neutral) during shifting, rather than a case of the chain falling between the FREEWHEEL sprockets (which actually can happen [in front] with 8-speed chains on a certain few of the older CRANKSETS as recent as the late 1970's).

I have also had 8-speed chains work ok on certain of these old French/Italian freewheels, so might depend on gear ratios and/or manufacturing date of the particular freewheel.

It doesn't hurt to try, and then replace the freewheel only if necessary, since modern 8-speed chain certainly makes front derailer setup easier on those old bikes.

I have never had this happen on any good freewheel, using the SRAM PC870 chain. They only way it will "skate" as you say, is if the Freewheel Cogs are worn out.
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Old 06-06-12, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Angelo View Post
I have used the SRAM PC870 chain, with factory original Schwinn 5 speed freewheel, SACHS, 6 and 7 speed freewheels. I also used it with a 6 speed Regina. If that chain falls between the cogs on the freewheel, I would say the cogs are spaced WRONG.
The chain did not fall between the cogs, the plates would ride on top of the cog teeth without shifting up or down to the next cog. As I stated before, they were all New Old Stock parts in perfect condition. I believe that this occurs because the top of the teeth on the Regina cogs have a slight twist or angle to them of several degrees. This allows the chain to center nicely on the cog when it is engaged but it also allows the chain to "skate" on top of the teeth when it is kind of in between. I believe that chains are of closer tolerance now than in the past. Older drives were designed for less precise chains. On modern replacements such as Sun Race the cog teeth are on a single plane with no twist to the cog tooth. This suits modern chains better!
Even though my vintage bikes are riders, I prefer to keep the components as original as possible. No Sun Race for me!
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Old 06-07-12, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael Angelo View Post
I have never had this happen on any good freewheel, using the SRAM PC870 chain. They only way it will "skate" as you say, is if the Freewheel Cogs are worn out.
This is why I don't really consider French or Italian freewheels to be "good".
The "skating" is just a matter of the side plates riding smoothly along the tips of the cog's or chainring's teeth, due to a combination of the dimensions of the chain, the sprocket teeth and the sprocket spacing. It happens regardless of sprocket condition and is simply a matter of incompatibility of components.

I just can't get the same level of shifting performance with those Euro freewheels as with the Suntour and Shimano freewheels of the same (pre-1990) era.

Modern chains and old chains have many profound design differences, and like I've said, I choose to use only use modern chain these days and so also use only freewheels that suit that decision.
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Old 06-07-12, 03:25 AM
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i use ird 5-speeds with sram 830s. i love this combination, especially that first few weeks when the chain is still fresh, waxy and stealthy quiet. how does one keep a chain in this condition?

i've also used ird 6-speeds, but i have no need for the additional gearing (or weight). their 6s come in four flavors, spanning 13-24/28 and 14-32/34. the ird freewheels seem to have the quietest coasting. does anything else compare in this way?
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Old 06-07-12, 05:05 AM
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KMC30/33 for 5 or 6 speed, KMC Z50 for 7 speed. KMC makes good chain, and the price is very attractive.

I have had several 6 speed bikes where a 7 speed freewheel caused chain rub. The small difference in width was just enough to be a problem. 75% of the time, it works OK. I also stick with 6 speed when I have indexed shift levers. No reason to toss the shifters just to get one more speed. Now I did just swap a 6 for 7 indexed on a Panasonic I picked up. But it was a nice bike with mediocre components.
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Old 06-07-12, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
This is why I don't really consider French or Italian freewheels to be "good".
The "skating" is just a matter of the side plates riding smoothly along the tips of the cog's or chainring's teeth, due to a combination of the dimensions of the chain, the sprocket teeth and the sprocket spacing. It happens regardless of sprocket condition and is simply a matter of incompatibility of components.

I just can't get the same level of shifting performance with those Euro freewheels as with the Suntour and Shimano freewheels of the same (pre-1990) era.

Modern chains and old chains have many profound design differences, and like I've said, I choose to use only use modern chain these days and so also use only freewheels that suit that decision.
My experience too. Oh, and some very old Suntour freewheels are just as bad as the European ones. I just installed one on my city bike, with an almost-new SRAM chain and it's far from optimal. The SRAM/Shimano combination on my old racer works beautifully.
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