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  1. #1
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    New question here. 6 speed freewheel replacement questions...

    I bought a $50 beater bike for a commuter project. In the course of tuning it up I discovered that the rear freewheel wobbles around the rear axle. I ruled out the wheel bearings and the rear axle as potential sources of the problem, so I concluded I'll have to replace the freewheel which seems to be bent (all cogs, not just one).

    The whole freewheel thing is new to me . Sheldon Brown's site lists 6 speed shimano freewheels for sale, but they're for road (126 mm) applications. The dropout spacing on the bike is 130 mm and it's suntour componentry.

    Does anyone have any ideas on where/what kind of freewheel to get for a replacement?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmoe
    I bought a $50 beater bike for a commuter project. In the course of tuning it up I discovered that the rear freewheel wobbles around the rear axle. I ruled out the wheel bearings and the rear axle as potential sources of the problem, so I concluded I'll have to replace the freewheel which seems to be bent (all cogs, not just one).

    The whole freewheel thing is new to me . Sheldon Brown's site lists 6 speed shimano freewheels for sale, but they're for road (126 mm) applications. The dropout spacing on the bike is 130 mm and it's suntour componentry.

    Does anyone have any ideas on where/what kind of freewheel to get for a replacement?
    I'm not sure how a freewheel could get bent. Any force sufficient to bend a freewheel body would likely rip it clean off of the hub, if not crack the hubshell. Pull it off and check the threads on the hub.

    Freewheels are freewheels, pretty much. If you're not indexing, get whatever your LBS or favorite web shop has. If you are, you pretty much have to use SunTour freewheels, since Accushift didn't use even spacing. This is no great loss, as SunTour freewheels are quite good. The thing I lke about them is that they go from 5 to 6 to 7 speed by just changing the spacers. Probably your best online source for SunTour freewheels is

    http://www.yellowjersey.org/stfw.html

    For new, your choices are Shimano and SunRace. The new Shimanos are pretty nice, but I must disagree with Sheldon on one thing... The MegaRange idea is stupid. I have one on my commuter, and many, many times have I wished for a cog between the 26 and the 34. A 30 would be great. The SunRaces are OK, I've never used them myself, but guys I ride with like pretty well, and they're cheap.

    --Shannon

  3. #3
    beer *****es n' bikes
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  4. #4
    Loose Nut Behind d' Wheel
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmoe
    I bought a $50 beater bike for a commuter project. In the course of tuning it up I discovered that the rear freewheel wobbles around the rear axle. I ruled out the wheel bearings and the rear axle as potential sources of the problem, so I concluded I'll have to replace the freewheel which seems to be bent (all cogs, not just one).

    The whole freewheel thing is new to me . Sheldon Brown's site lists 6 speed shimano freewheels for sale, but they're for road (126 mm) applications. The dropout spacing on the bike is 130 mm and it's suntour componentry.

    Does anyone have any ideas on where/what kind of freewheel to get for a replacement?
    Axle spacing doesn't matter to the freewheel, so you're okay with that road unit. Also good are the Maillard freewheels. Maillard made different spacings for the Shimano indexing and the Suntour Accushift indexing, which someone else pointed out was different. Try www.thirdhandtools.com to see if they have anything. They used to, but I haven't looked in a long time.

    BTW, a small amount (~1mm) of freewheel wobble was quite normal, though I don't know why. I never had a freewheel bike with a freewheel that spun perfectly true. If it's affecting shifting, then it's a problem. If not, fugedaboutit.

    Kathy :^)
    Look where you want to go. This is as true in life as it is in mtbiking.

  5. #5
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    I don't know how, but it sure seems like the freewheel is bent

    Quote Originally Posted by tube_ee
    I'm not sure how a freewheel could get bent. Any force sufficient to bend a freewheel body would likely rip it clean off of the hub, if not crack the hubshell. Pull it off and check the threads on the hub.
    Thanks for all the info. Honestly, I'm not sure how a freewheel could get bent either. I took the freewheel off, repacked the wheel bearings, checked the axle (perfectly straight), and put the wheel into the dropouts without the freewheel on it and everything spins perfectly - no wheel wobble, and the freewheel threads are right on. When I put the freewheel back on the hub I see this wobble again.

    It has to be the freewheel, but the really odd thing is that the freewheel is not obviously deformed (i.e. it lies flat and the the spacing between cogs looks uniform). The wobble is most noticeable when the wheel is coasting, which could mean there's something up with the pawls and/or bearings of the freewheel. I guess I could rip it apart, but at this point I'm inclined to try a shimano freewheel (forget the indexing) and see if it fixes it. If not, I'm going to take the advice below that some freehub wobble is normal. It doesn't affect the shifting, but there is more than 1 mm of play.

  6. #6
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    On my road bike, after a little email communication with Sheldon Brown, I replaced my 6-speed Suntour freewheel with a 7-speed Shimano 11-34 Megarange. While the Suntour freewheels are good quality, the 11-34 Shimano is a totally new design and it's also the only way to get an 11-tooth small cog. Of course, this will only be an option if you use friction shifters. I had no spacing problems, I just slapped the 7-speed on and I was ready to go without even having to redish the rear wheel. If I remember right, Sheldon said you might need to stick a thin washer on the axle as a spacer on the freewheel side in some cases, but I had no problem.

    Most freewheels are not, for all practical purposes, servicable. Much more work than it's worth. The new 11-34 Megarange freewheel is easily servicable. For more info, read Sheldon Brown's article, Shimano Re-invents The Freewheel. BTW, if your 130mm spacing is a little wide for this freewheel, just add a spacer or two to the axle. At any rate, it should work fine with just an adjustment of the rear derailleur limits.
    A man is only a man, but a good bicycle is a ride.

  7. #7
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    Ive mixed suntour and shimano w/ no problems...

    Quote Originally Posted by tube_ee
    Freewheels are freewheels, pretty much. If you're not indexing, get whatever your LBS or favorite web shop has. If you are, you pretty much have to use SunTour freewheels, since Accushift didn't use even spacing. This is no great loss, as SunTour freewheels are quite good. The thing I lke about them is that they go from 5 to 6 to 7 speed by just changing the spacers. Probably your best online source for SunTour freewheels is
    I recently acquired a 1991 Bridgestone MB-6 equipped with a full Suntour grouppo and when I got it home I discovered the freewheel to not be engaging. I figured it was blown, so instead of spending money on a new freewheel, I took a wheelset I had and threw on a used Shimano 7 speed cassette (notice the distinction between the old freewheel hubbed wheel and the newer Cassette hubbed wheel as the root of my decision to use parts I had in order to save money). At the time, I had no idea that Suntour used uneven spacing in its freewheels and cassettes. It seemed like everything worked just fine to me. The indexing was dead on and I didnt hear any excessive chain noise you would associate with a mal-adjusted rear derailleur. Interestingly enough, when I decided to remove the old Suntour freewheel, it ended up working again. I was having trouble getting enough torque to break loose the freewheel from the hub, so I decided to squirt some WD-40 down the backside of the freewheel to hopefully get on the threads and give me a better chance of breaking it loose. After breaking out the old, cracked, and brittle spoke guard, I sprayed in the WD-40 and voila the freewheel was working again. I think the ratchet mechanism must have been seized up and not engaging the pawls, so I figured the WD-40 broke some crud loose and made it work again. Anyway, I put the old wheels back and its good to go. By the way, anyone want to buy a really clean 91 Bridgestone MB-6?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhutata
    Most freewheels are not, for all practical purposes, servicable. Much more work than it's worth. The new 11-34 Megarange freewheel is easily servicable. For more info, read Sheldon Brown's article, Shimano Re-invents The Freewheel. BTW, if your 130mm spacing is a little wide for this freewheel, just add a spacer or two to the axle. At any rate, it should work fine with just an adjustment of the rear derailleur limits.
    Neat design, fatally hobbled by stupid gear selection. Can someone go over to Japan and browbeat Shimano into offering complete cog support for these, or modifying the design to take Shimano cassette cogs?

    --Shannon, who hates MegaRange in
    San Diego, CA

  9. #9
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky
    BTW, a small amount (~1mm) of freewheel wobble was quite normal, though I don't know why. I never had a freewheel bike with a freewheel that spun perfectly true. If it's affecting shifting, then it's a problem. If not, fugedaboutit.

    Yes, many (most? all?) freewheels wobble. Mine always did (do?). S'no prollem.
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

  10. #10
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    Try soaking it in some solvent, rinsing thouroghly with water, and then slowly dripping Phil Wood Tenacious Oil into it while turning it in your hand. I do this with all my freewheels, multi- and single-speed,and it works great. WD-40 is NOT a lubricant, it's a water dispersant. That's what WD stands for. The 40 is because the first 39 formulas didn't work. It also dissolves grease and gunk, which is probably why it freed up your stuck freewheel.

    Phil's is what you need for freewheels.

    --Shannon

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