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Freewheel for 650B SS

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Freewheel for 650B SS

Old 01-05-24, 01:15 AM
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Freewheel for 650B SS

Hi All


I've got a 1986 Bridgestone that I've converted to 650b with a SS cog in the back. The wheel rim recently split and the bike shop is recommending a Velocity Dynad rim with a Surly track hub. Any freewheel suggestions? I think my current rear cog is 18T or 20T (will get a tooth count tomorrow). Looks like Tree Fort has a decent selection of freewheels. I"m a little shocked at what it's going to take to keep this bike on the road. I've been riding for the past 3 years by using the original rear derailleur as a tensioner and I never imagined it would be this tough to find a rim for caliper brakes. Is it just time to move on? That would be kind of sad as this bike gets me anywhere I need to go in the city and it makes it through all the rain/weather events we have here. I need something safe and reliable. Probably the simplest thing would be to get a basic set of 700c wheels, but I really like 650b. Thanks for any input.
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Old 01-05-24, 01:09 PM
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It's not a configuration that has ever been popular, so no there aren't tons of options. But the shop has a solution? So what is the issue?

I recommend shelling out for Shimano or better freewheels. Cheaper ones can tick on for decades or just quit when they feel like.
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Old 01-05-24, 10:09 PM
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There is one really good choice for freewheels it is White Industries and yes they cost that much and yes they are worth it and yes they will last quite a while. Also the Dyad and other Velocity rims are quite good quality and made in the U.S. or if old enough made in Australia.

The reason to go to a high end freewheel or fixed gear cog is simple, you have one gear on your drivetrain you should make sure all those parts are the best you can get because they will likely be more round and smoother and work better and last longer. If you have higher quality components and take care of them they will give you the best ride and you will replace stuff less often and in the case of say a WI freewheel they are serviceable which is rare for those as they are seen as cheap disposable parts not deserving of quality or higher quality parts but still designed to be more disposable. WI isn't like that.
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Old 01-08-24, 08:34 AM
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Thanks for the info, I'm completely new to freewheels so this is very helpful.
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Old 01-10-24, 11:19 AM
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I've found that Shimano freewheels can be hit or miss, mostly miss in the last few years. The best "inexpensive" single speed freewheels I've seen over the last 30+ years have been NOS Suntour (Maeda). Even used ones can give years of service. Meanwhile, I've seen Shimano units give up after only a few months' use, sometimes less. That said, the Suntour freewheels are now getting up to the price range of a White Industries or Profile Elite, so there really isn't a reason to go with anything but one of those two. We'll spend hundreds on other components, but tend to cheap out on one thing that can absolutely turn your ride from a bicycle to a velocipede, pushed by your feet on the ground, a-la toddler scoot. I have a stockpile of excellent condition and NOS Suntour freewheels from years as a mechanic, but when they give up, I'm going to either a White Industries or Profile Elite.
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Old 01-13-24, 09:54 AM
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I found that the Sturmey-Archer (actually SunRace I think) single freewheels are very good for the price. A White Industries would be tempting if this was not for a commuter/errand bike that gets left locked up outside.

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Old 01-15-24, 07:15 AM
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Depending upon where you ride, you may really want the reliability of a top end freewheel. A nice stroll out on a country road may be an annoyance; but there are also places where riding is safer, due to either available space or the area one is riding through. On my commute, there are a few sections I really just want to speed past, instead of walking my bike, hence the desire for reliability. These days I’m riding fixed, so the freewheel is one less mechanism to fail on me. My various body parts, that’s a whole other issue…
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