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cool suntour freewheel for a flip univega?

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cool suntour freewheel for a flip univega?

Old 04-22-14, 10:12 PM
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eschlwc
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cool suntour freewheel for a flip univega?

hey, i have some questions about a freewheel for a flip univega i picked up sunday.

backstory: i bought a pretty '83 univega viva sport sunday for $100 (which is about half price in my market) to both have a fun overhaul project and to flip. it is my size, so i hope to ride it a couple months before selling it. it has a suntour gearing, nice shimano hubs, and the rest is decent sr stuff. i'm about half way through its overhaul. i want to keep costs to a minimum, but i've already spent $50 on tape, cables and hoods.

the freewheel: it's a close ratio 6-cog suntour 13-21t in very good shape. i've only had one close ratio freewheel like this, and enjoyed it a lot. it isn't ramped.



my usual rebuild routine: if the freewheel is ugly or too worn, i buy a new sunrace 14-28t from amazon for $17 in either gold or silver color. they have ramps, add bling and shift great.

questions:
1. because the freewheel is in such great shape, i didn't dunk it in mineral spirits, then a light oil as i would for an old, grimy one. is this the right approach?

2. i'm unsure of its value, so i don't know if i should reinstall it for this flip to minimize costs, try to sell it separately, or maybe even keep it for another bike. my only current, possible recipient is my '73 falcon, but it's a 5-speed. the motos are out, 'cause i need that big 28t cog on occasion. thoughts?

3. will this unramped freewheel shift as well as a new sunrace?

4. what would you do with this freewheel?

thanks, all.
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Old 04-22-14, 10:15 PM
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Old 04-22-14, 10:53 PM
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Well I'm very new to working on bikes and I'm learning fast. If the freewheel spins nicely and doesn't sound gritty I would leave it alone (I've taken apart approx. 7 SunTour freewheels by the way - for fun). They usually cost more on ebay than a new Sun Race, so if you like this one and you could use it for something of your own I'd keep it. I can't say if it would shift better than a modern one with ramps and pins, however I can say that I recently swapped a non Accushift freewheel for an Accushift abled one and noticed that it shifted notably better. So I'm not sure which era your FW is from, but if it were Made for Accushift then it likely shifts better than ones that weren't.

Is that about as clear as mud?
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Old 04-22-14, 11:14 PM
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Well, that's a SunTour "New Winner" freewheel. Mechanically, it's about as good as you can get. About the only better freewheel in my estimation is a Shimano Dura-Ace or 600 freewheel with twist-tooth cogs. Those have marginally better shifting performance than the New Winner, but that's about all.
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Old 04-22-14, 11:21 PM
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You could always throw it in the Box o' Crap game, like I do with the FWs I can't use.

That looks like flatland gearing. If I lived in Nebraska, I'd put it on one of my bikes and not think too much about the clunky, non-ramped cogs.

(I guess the shifting doesn't really matter so much where it's always flat. Pick a gear, leave it there...)
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Old 04-23-14, 12:30 AM
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ah - 'new winner.' i like it. i usually stumble upon crap freewheels, so finding a nice one is refreshing.

question: how do you service old freewheels in good shape already? let 'em be, or flush them out?

Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
You could always throw it in the Box o' Crap game...
yes!

or, sold in a fine shop as that perfect corporate paperweght for $300?
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Old 04-23-14, 05:38 AM
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It looks nearly unused. If it seems to be clean inside, I would flush it with clean mineral spirits and relube it and let 'er rip.

It appears to be an Ultra-6, meaning it will fit on a 120mm spacing which otherwise would fit a 5-speed cluster.

Sun Tours work great with a modern Shimano 6-7-8 speed chain or Sram 6-7-8 chain. I run a lot of Sun Tour Winners, New Winners, and Winner Pros with Shimano chains. And I run a lot of 13-21 ratios with 52-42 on the front. Check completed auctions on e-bay and you might find that one you have is worth $40 lightly used and $80 NOS in the box. I have not tried a SunRace, so can't comment.

The Sun Tour lineup went Sun Tour Winner, New Winner, and Winner Pro. The Pro has much smoother bearings and ratchet and is generally considered the best, but I can live with all of them.
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Old 04-23-14, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by CroMo Mike View Post
It appears to be an Ultra-6, meaning it will fit on a 120mm spacing which otherwise would fit a 5-speed cluster.
It's hard to tell from the camera angle but it looks like an Ultra-6 to me, too.
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Old 04-23-14, 06:33 AM
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The New Winners can be a real crap shoot when trying to service or to even switch the cogs for different gearing. The threads on the adjustable retaining rings and cogs seize, in my experience, on about 1/3rd of the these models. No matter how much percussive, penetrating, or heat/cold power is applied, there's a good chance that what you see is what you get.

Since this one looks to be in great shape, leave it be. Use it or sell it. I don't think they are valuable because of the good chance they can't be serviced.
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Old 04-23-14, 07:16 AM
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I can't comment on that FW. (My FW authority is Pastor Bob.) But I'll ask about Sunrace. IIRC they weren't thought too highly of (thought of too highly?) in BF postings when I first noticed them at all. I may misremember. Have they gotten better?

Finding the right new FW isn't always easy. There is always one cog not quite right. IRD tends to be expensive (and I don't recall their cog choices off the top of my head). I've had good and bad experiences with new Shimano.
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Old 04-23-14, 07:55 AM
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i used to buy ird freewheels, 'cause i didn't know better and liked the quiet when coasting. now i buy sunraces and use the coasting click to warn pedestrians.

this fw is about 3cm tall, and it reads, "patent nwn." it's substantially taller than my ird 5-speed, so i'm not sure i can just plug it into the old 120mm falcon.
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Old 04-23-14, 08:51 AM
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Just measuring a few FW's I have here, the Ultra 6 is 27mm across the cogs (disregarding the body) and the regular 6 is 30mm.

I agree with Bob, disassembling a Sun Tour can be hit-or-miss. And forcing it with the chain whip can bend a tooth. Once bent, the tooth will break if you try to straighten it.
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Old 04-23-14, 09:56 AM
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Ah my favorite C&V freewheel. I ran Suntour Winners (all three versions) throughout the 70-90s. Most of your inquiries have been answered, but here's my $0.02..

1. Even though it looks basically new, it will still benefit from a flush and lube with new oil. That was my routine too, dunk in mineral spirits, scrub, water flush, WD-40 then run oil through it.

2. If you check e-bay, you'll find Suntour FWs have a high resale value. About $50 average! I'd keep it and replace it with a cheap new FW ~$10 if you search.
There are no more authentic Maeda Suntour FWs being made, so their value will only increase for enthusiasts. I think the New Winner with their adjustable cup/cone method instead of shims, is a plus. The Winner Pro reverted back to shims in order to fit a smaller outboard cog for Ultra-7s.

3. The ramped FWs will always shift 'better/faster', even a low end offering. The Sunrace FW isn't the lowest out there, and I think they are good FWs for the money. There are now cheaper "Sun-xxx" copies from China that are inferior and wear out fast.
I ran (no AFOS references, please!) 13x19 and 13x21 Winners and Sedisport chains. I've always found the shifting quick and precise. As one might with any corn cob like FW gearing.
You won't notice any significant shifting difference with this one. Simply run a modern narrow chain. They transform these Suntours to sweet shifting performance. A 9 speed KMC-X chain is my choice. But a Shimano or SRAM also has worked well.

To see if you have a standard 6 or Ultra-6, take a ruler to the spacing. Standard spacing will allow it to work with Shimano SIS 6 speed indexing, while the Ultra-6 will work with a 7 speed index shifter, just lock out the last click. You're not constrained to friction or Accushift set ups.

4. I'd hold on to it. It's in very good shape. Even if you don't care about FWs, it's a no brainer, for your $100 purchase, this FW retains ~$40 alone.
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Old 04-23-14, 11:48 AM
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+1 on soaking/re-lubing. No matter how clean on the outside, the original grease often thickens/hardens and should be flushed and replaced.

+1 on Ultra 6, but there's no need to measure the cog spacing to check. If it has 6 cogs and the small cog is flush with the outside of the freewheel body, it has to be U-6. Std-6/Ultra-7 New Winners used a top-cog-threaded-on-2nd-cog arrangement, so the small cog always sits above the outside of the freewheel body if Std-6/U-7.

+1 on definitely checking closed ebay auctions for as near-identical freewheels as possible to check value. My gut says clean New Winners should bring decent money, better than the $17 you'll pay for a new SunRace. But I think wider-range fws bring more $$ than corn-cobby spreads. Closed final auction prices will tell you what you need to know.

The NWN bearing adjustment was a mixed blessing. A good idea in theory, but the retaining/adjusting ring notches were so small and shallow, and removal/tightening torque so high, that even using the correct tool was no guarantee you wouldn't strip the rings and fail.

I'm not so sure about Suntour dropping the NWN adjustability to fit smaller cogs. The NWN could already be built U7 w/12t small cog, Winner/Winner Pro spec was the same. W/WPro didn't get 11t, did they?

FWIW, every change to the Winner/Winner Pro I saw was done to cut production costs, and the Winner/Winner Pro rollout was disastrous in the USA:
1. Weaker single-engagement pawls snapped on ATB-ratio freewheels: beware single-pawl-engagement wide-range fws, the drive pawl can shear under load
2. Plastic stepped spacers led to the 2nd splined cog slipping off the splines; dealers were sent replacement steel spacers
3. Plastic spacers made consistent cog spacing, needed for indexing, hit-or-miss; dealers had to be sent go/no-go feeler gauges to check fw cog spacing on new bikes, and micro-shims to respace if necessary
4. The "improved" 4-prong removal system failed more often than the NWN 2-prong design, until redesigned tools were produced/shipped
5. I'm probably forgetting something else, these fws were a cluster-f**k from Day 1


Originally Posted by WNG View Post
Ah my favorite C&V freewheel. I ran Suntour Winners (all three versions) throughout the 70-90s. Most of your inquiries have been answered, but here's my $0.02..

1. Even though it looks basically new, it will still benefit from a flush and lube with new oil. That was my routine too, dunk in mineral spirits, scrub, water flush, WD-40 then run oil through it.

2. If you check e-bay, you'll find Suntour FWs have a high resale value. About $50 average! I'd keep it and replace it with a cheap new FW ~$10 if you search...

I think the New Winner with their adjustable cup/cone method instead of shims, is a plus. The Winner Pro reverted back to shims in order to fit a smaller outboard cog for Ultra-7s.

To see if you have a standard 6 or Ultra-6, take a ruler to the spacing...
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Old 04-23-14, 11:52 AM
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I'd keep that FW. Fun for a light-weight vintage tubular wheel set.

I have a keeper ST 6 speed flatlander 13-18. Far from being quiet, has a distinct noise and crispy positive.
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Old 04-23-14, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by crank_addict View Post
I'd keep that FW. Fun for a light-weight vintage tubular wheel set.

I have a keeper ST 6 speed flatlander 13-18. Far from being quiet, has a distinct noise and crispy positive.
The Winner models were pretty quiet. You may have a Pro Comp (sp?) model if it has silver cogs. It's based on the older body and was their top competition FW offering before the Winner body. I stumbled upon one, a 13x26 6 speed version that didn't look like a Winner, and had a loud Clack Clack pawl noise. Some online searching revealed what it was.
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Old 04-23-14, 01:53 PM
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I have that exact same model (winner Ultra 6) that I used on my Fuji for the last 10,000 miles! I have others as well, 13-21, 13-23, 13-24, 13-26 and 13-28.

My '84 Univega Viva Sport that I bought last year had one of those cheap Shimano TZ20 freewheels on it. It was new, but I swapped it for one of my 13-21 SunTour 6spd Winners. I also put SunTour bar con shifters on in place of the top-mount downtube Symmetric shifters, and I replaced the SunTour CompV and BL-GT derailleurs for 1st gen SunTour Cyclone.
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Old 04-23-14, 04:13 PM
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^ wow! lotsa great info. thanks, fellas.

you talked me into both keeping it and servicing it. i'll dunk it in mineral spirits, spin it on the wheel, then dunk it in some 30 weight oil and let dry.

i bought a $16 sunrace 6 off ebay today for the univega. that should even help sell it later.

the suntour body is about 2mm taller than the small cog. the date code is af: june, 1984. does this tell you anything else?
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Old 04-24-14, 09:10 AM
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Basically the body/cog are flush, so it's U6. Std-6 would have the outer cog sitting at least 4-5mm above the body. Google and you'll find photos.

Originally Posted by eschlwc View Post

the suntour body is about 2mm taller than the small cog. the date code is af: june, 1984. does this tell you anything else?
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Old 04-24-14, 09:33 AM
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I got one of those new back in the day:
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Old 04-24-14, 02:43 PM
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^ nice. thanks for adding that.
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