freewheel lifespan?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    freewheel lifespan?

    My apologies if this has been covered ad nauseum. The search feature seems to hate me.

    So, I'm a new single-speed mountain bike guy, long time fixed road rider, and I'm wondering about the longevity of say a Shimano MX-30 freewheel vs something like a White Industries fw. One of my teammates who started racing singlespeed last year has been singing the praises of the White Industries freewheel, and I'm not entirely convinced.

    Some background, I'm a light (140-150 lbs) racer who trains mostly on the road, so the mtb sees maybe 1-2 rides a week including races.

    Am I going to blow up my freewheel so often such that spending $70 on a freewheel would make sense? I get the point about having lots of points of engagement, but I don't know that that's enough to sell me.

    How long is the general lifespan for something like an ACS or Shimano freewheel?

  2. #2
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    The biggest difference is if you ride in wet conditions. With an ACS or Shimano FW I needed to service it after nearly every winter ride or it would seize up.

    I when 18 months and two winters without touching my ENO. Repacked the bearing and it is still fine a year later. I would have gone through 4-5 ACS FWs in the same time period.

    ACS FWs also develop a knock under load that is annoying.
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  3. #3
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    I have had the same knocking problems as Shiggy with the ACS freewheels. After destroying 5 of them over the last couple years, I now will only consider White freewheels. If you are new to singlespeeding, though, and have not found gear ratios that you like, I would recommend using the ACS freewheels as throw-aways while you find the ratios you like. Or you could just buy a White freewheel and play around with chainring sizes. These options probably cost around the same. If I were you, I wouldn't race with an ACS.
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  4. #4
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    Having used sheemano before going ENO I can comment on those... they lasted me anywhere from a month to 9 months. Didn't seem to matter much whether in wet or dry conditions, although their life was definitely less in the wet. The thing is, these things could crap out at any given time, with no warning, at the most inopportune times (like in the middle or right before races). That was one reason I went to ENO, for the reliability.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by vegancx
    Am I going to blow up my freewheel so often such that spending $70 on a freewheel would make sense?
    It would take about 5 ACS freewheels to equal one WI (in price). While I don't have the miles some others might have on these freewheels, I note that in my dry climate the ACS has done well for 1000 off-road miles (so far), spins easier than my WI (perhaps a reflection of their respective seals), and is round -- in contrast to my WI freewheel whick is eliptical. The "more points of engagements" is not a noticeable feature, let alone an advantage, in my experience. I've had better luck with ACS in the short-term, and I guess I'll see about it over the long-term. The Shimano freewheel I've used on an old bike is the pits...
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  6. #6
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    For racing, I wouldn't consider anything other than White Industries unless I just plain couldn't scrape together the the money (at which point I couldn't afford race entry fees anyway).

    Its a major part of your SS drivetrain, it is fully rebuildable and it is designed for your intended use (as opposed to being primarily desinged for BMX bikes). All things considered, is $70 really a lot to spend?

    It just seems that way because the only other alternatives are so much cheaper and there is no middle ground between the top of the line and the bottom of the line. But would put the cheapest no-name Taiwanese stem, post and bar, Acera cranks and Suzue basic hubs on your race bike knowing full well that they won't last, won't work particularly well while they do last, and may malfunction and cost you a race you spent $30-$60 to enter?

  7. #7
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    my oldest ACS freewheel has gone two seasons of mid-atlantic riding with no signs of slowing down.

    i also have one on my commuter which started knocking almost immediatley and almost seized up before i dumped some oil into it. it still works but not nearly as well as my others, and the knocking is now just something i have grown used to on that bike...

    a sidenote: the good one is silver, the bad one is gold... is that the difference? no idea...

    on my new SS i have another silver one which hasn't acted up at all yet after 6 months.

    that said i recommend the ACS (silver is better?). so far ONLY one of the three i owned have been dud's and even it still works well IMHO for a 20 dollar piece of metal that gets beat on daily.

  8. #8
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    I have over 6000 miles on my WI ENO freewheel, including lots of winter riding (on the road, in the salt) and racing (in the rain and in the muck) and it works better today than when i first put it on the bike. [Because these things take some time to brake in...]

    Joe

    Quote Originally Posted by vegancx
    My apologies if this has been covered ad nauseum. The search feature seems to hate me.

    So, I'm a new single-speed mountain bike guy, long time fixed road rider, and I'm wondering about the longevity of say a Shimano MX-30 freewheel vs something like a White Industries fw. One of my teammates who started racing singlespeed last year has been singing the praises of the White Industries freewheel, and I'm not entirely convinced.

    Some background, I'm a light (140-150 lbs) racer who trains mostly on the road, so the mtb sees maybe 1-2 rides a week including races.

    Am I going to blow up my freewheel so often such that spending $70 on a freewheel would make sense? I get the point about having lots of points of engagement, but I don't know that that's enough to sell me.

    How long is the general lifespan for something like an ACS or Shimano freewheel?
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  9. #9
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill
    my oldest ACS freewheel has gone two seasons of mid-atlantic riding with no signs of slowing down.

    i also have one on my commuter which started knocking almost immediatley and almost seized up before i dumped some oil into it. it still works but not nearly as well as my others, and the knocking is now just something i have grown used to on that bike...

    a sidenote: the good one is silver, the bad one is gold... is that the difference? no idea...

    on my new SS i have another silver one which hasn't acted up at all yet after 6 months.

    that said i recommend the ACS (silver is better?). so far ONLY one of the three i owned have been dud's and even it still works well IMHO for a 20 dollar piece of metal that gets beat on daily.
    All of my ACS FWs have been silver. Besides the knocking (which all of mine had - one started after 15 miles) my biggest issue was the need to dribble oil into them after nearly every winter ride to keep them from seizing.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    All of my ACS FWs have been silver.
    there goes that crackpot theory....

    i dunno why mine seem to last lots longer. the one thats 2 years old has NEVER been serviced. i am sure it might not get as many miles as shiggy's do but it was out most every weekend. maybe rain kills ACS freewheels? i don't ride my mtb much in sloppy conditions and the one on my commuter (which does see its fair share of rain) seems to have gone the way of shiggy's as well.

    so the newest working theory might be ACS freewheels don't like getting wet? seems better than the "silver vs. gold" theory anyway

  11. #11
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    Low manufacturing tolerances.

    I have two ACS (both silver) and they both do the knock thing. On both, it isn't consistent. Sometimes they work fine. Sometimes they knock. When they knock, I can usually get rid of it by freewheeling for a split second.

    I suspect that they just aren't made to very high tolerances. As such, they parts interact in an unpredictable way. That is probably also why they feel so nice and zippy when they are brand new, and also why they clog up.

    I have one that I have commuted on rain or shine for years. Its not that they don't last. Its just that they don't work very well anyway (IMO), and there is no telling when they will slip or lock up.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill
    so the newest working theory might be ACS freewheels don't like getting wet? seems better than the "silver vs. gold" theory anyway
    They don't have any seals, that's why they suck when riding in the rain.

    I have a FW by "DICTA" (think it's a german brand) on my messenger bike. It's the same thing as the cheap KMC or ACS, except it is also available as a fat-filled version. They just assemble them in some thin fat. When new, it didn't even make any hearable freewheeling sound, but it's still been 100% reliable. I need to find out what kind of fat they used, then maybe i can make that thing last for a while.
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