Freewheel or Cassette?



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C

cas962

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I'm getting a new wheel for my road bike. Should I stay with the freewheel or go to a cassette?
 
P

Pete Biggs

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cas[email protected] wrote:
> I'm getting a new wheel for my road bike. Should I stay with the freewheel or go to a cassette?

Cassette - if either: one would be compatible with your existing shifters or you fancy
better/different shifters.

Cassettes are: easier to remove and customise, and you get more choice. The hubs that take them are
stronger as well.

I just recently got rid of my last freewheel-wheel. Horrible! I hope I never have to use them again.
Cassettes are lovely!

~PB
 
J

John Everett

Guest
On Sun, 26 Jan 2003 15:54:19 -0000, "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote:

>[email protected] wrote:
>> I'm getting a new wheel for my road bike. Should I stay with the freewheel or go to a cassette?
>
>Cassette - if either: one would be compatible with your existing shifters or you fancy
>better/different shifters.
>
>Cassettes are: easier to remove and customise, and you get more choice. The hubs that take them are
>stronger as well.
>
>I just recently got rid of my last freewheel-wheel. Horrible! I hope I never have to use them
>again. Cassettes are lovely!

I agree wholeheartedly, but an on-my-fingers count of my current rear wheels comes up 50/50. :-(

jeverett3<AT>earthlink<DOT>net http://home.earthlink.net/~jeverett3
 
D

Dave Mayer

Guest
Peter: cassette hubs are a mechanically superior design. That said, if you are not a heavyweight,
and can find an old thread-on rear wheel cheap, then this may be the way to go. Without really
looking, I find such wheels at garage sales, and have never paid more than $30 for a set (Campagnolo
Record). My best find was 3 pairs of new wheels including tires (Shimano 600 hubs) for $20.

The next issue is a good freewheel that works with indexed shifting. The modern Shimano HG-37
7-speed units have Hyperglide cogs, and shift as well as any current cassette cogset. The internals
of these units are not great however, so you have to keep them well-lubricated. The other downside
to these is that the smallest cog is a 14-tooth.

Circa-1990 Dura-Ace freewheels are very high quality, are well sealed, and go down to a 12-tooth
cog, but they do not have modern Hyperglide cogs. To get the best of both worlds, you can transplant
the HG-37 cogs onto the 7-speed Dura-Ace bodies, but that is whole other story.

"Pete Biggs" > >

I'm getting a new wheel for my road bike. Should I stay with the freewheel or go to a cassette?
 
G

GearóId Ó Laoi

Guest
I've always used cassettes with an 11-28 in recent years.. I don't know where you buy yours.

Cassette is greatly superior to Freewheels, as the axles never bend or break, and with a
hypercracker you can remove them when touring.
 
D

David L. Johnso

Guest
On Sun, 26 Jan 2003 10:13:45 -0500, cas962 wrote:

> I'm getting a new wheel for my road bike. Should I stay with the freewheel or go to a cassette?

There really should not be a debate about this. Freewheels are as scarce as hen's teeth already, and
that will only get worse. Currently you _might_ be able to find 2 different freewheels from a big
shop like Sheldon's. You can get dozens of different cogs in any brand of cassette you want.

You will have other ancillary questions: Spread the rear to accept 130mm hub? Yes, if your bike is
steel. No (not possible) otherwise. Compatibility with your shifters? Yes, if you want to continue
using friction. If not, need a derailleur and shifter/brifter.

--

David L. Johnson

__o | Enron's slogan: Respect, Communication, Integrity, and _`\(,_ | Excellence. (_)/ (_) |
 
B

Bluto

Guest
"Gear id Laoi, Garry Lee" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> Cassette is greatly superior to Freewheels, as the axles never bend or break, and with a
> hypercracker you can remove them when touring.

I've bent a handful of cassette hub axles.

I've also made freewheel hubs with 3/4" (19mm) internally threaded axles. Cassette hubs are limited
to 10mm externally threaded axles, incomparably weaker.

Thread-on hubs allow me to space wheels for zero dish and accompanying tight spokes that don't
break. Thus I don't have to pull my sprockets on the road to enact a repair.

Chalo Colina
 
S

Sheldon Brown

Guest
Garry Lee wrote:
>
>>Cassette is greatly superior to Freewheels, as the axles never bend or break, and with a
>>hypercracker you can remove them when touring.

If you can find a Hypercracker!

Chalo Colina wrote:

> I've bent a handful of cassette hub axles.
>
> I've also made freewheel hubs with 3/4" (19mm) internally threaded axles. Cassette hubs are
> limited to 10mm externally threaded axles, incomparably weaker.
>
> Thread-on hubs allow me to space wheels for zero dish and accompanying tight spokes that don't
> break. Thus I don't have to pull my sprockets on the road to enact a repair.

Huh? That doesn't make any sense to me. Cassette hubs generally have, if anything, less dish than
corresponding thread-on freewheel hubs.

Sheldon "Back Asswards?" Brown +---------------------------------------------------------+
| Patriotism is your conviction that this country is | superior to all others because you were
| born in it. | -- George Bernard Shaw |
+---------------------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton,
Massachusetts Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts
shipped Worldwide http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
 
B

Bluto

Guest
"David L. Johnson" <David L. Johnson <[email protected]>> wrote:

> cas962 wrote:
>
> > I'm getting a new wheel for my road bike. Should I stay with the freewheel or go to a cassette?
>
> There really should not be a debate about this. Freewheels are as scarce as hen's teeth already,
> and that will only get worse. Currently you _might_ be able to find 2 different freewheels from a
> big shop like Sheldon's. You can get dozens of different cogs in any brand of cassette you want.

Nonsense. Most of the bikes in the world have thread-on freewheels. Crack open a QBP catalog and
observe a palette of freewheel options that well exceeds that of cassettes, inasmuch as you can find
a freewheel in 5, 6, or 7 speeds to match an older bike. But for a 15 year old cassette hub? More
than likely you are out of luck; the cure will cost more than the patient.

Shimano used a 7th cog as bait to convince buyers to adopt their proprietary cog system, and have
successfully duped the market into embracing a continually-obsolescent drivetrain. Thus there are
more 25-year-old bikes still in service where I live than 15-year-old bikes, because the earlier
bikes observed a public set of standards that are still supported.

A freewheel thread forces very little in the way of assumptions upon the hub that threads into it. A
cassette hub has certain advantages, but only if you use a bicycle as Shimano understands it, in the
manner that Shimano expects a bike to be used. But how would you apply a Shimano freehub body to a
through-axle wheel, let alone a stub axle or a jackshaft? You want an axle bigger than a ballpoint
pen? You'd best use a threaded hub.

I have no difficulty imagining that the 1.37x24tpi freewheel will be with us long after the cassette
hub we know has become a curious historical artifact.

Chalo Colina
 
D

David L. Johnso

Guest
On Mon, 27 Jan 2003 16:18:25 -0500, Bluto wrote:

> "David L. Johnson" <David L. Johnson <[email protected]>> wrote:
>
>> cas962 wrote:
>>
>> > I'm getting a new wheel for my road bike. Should I stay with the freewheel or go to a cassette?
>>
>> There really should not be a debate about this. Freewheels are as scarce as hen's teeth already,
>> and that will only get worse. Currently you _might_ be able to find 2 different freewheels from a
>> big shop like Sheldon's. You can get dozens of different cogs in any brand of cassette you want.
>
> Nonsense. Most of the bikes in the world have thread-on freewheels.

Most of the bikes in the world have worn-out freewheels, too.

From Sheldon Brown's site:

SRAM/Sachs Freewheels SRAM (Formerly Sachs) freewheels were well made and durable, but have been
discontinued by the manufacturer. Supplies very spotty. SunTour Freewheels SunTour freewheels are
very high quality, very long lasting and pretty good shifting. SunTour has been out of business
since the early 1990s, so these are all old stock. SunRace Freewheels SunRace freewheels are made in
Taiwan. We've had trouble with some other Taiwanese freewheels, but these seem to be OK.

So, with the exception of Shimano freewheels, there really is not a reliable supply. Sheldon does
list more sizes than I would have expected, but still not very many in any given type, and they are
not all univerally compatible. A 120mm axle only takes 5speed, or ultra-6 (with a nearrow chain).
There is only one size (of cogs) in 8-speed, and only from one manufacturer. "Supplies very spotty".
and that 8-speed freewheel costs $70.

Sheldon seems to have quite a selection of Sun Tour freewheels, but I wonder about stock, since they
are simply no longer made. Shimano makes 1 5-speed freewheel. Hope you want 14-28. Shimano makes 3
6-speed. Sun-Tour stocks are the only available ultra-6. Shimano has 3 sizes of 7-speed, all but one
mountain-bike ranges.

> Crack open a QBP catalog and observe a palette of freewheel options that well exceeds that of
> cassettes, inasmuch as you can find a freewheel in 5, 6, or 7 speeds to match an older bike.

Unless QBP has a wider selection than this, that would be about it. But they are not available
to the public directly, only through a dealer. Dealers don't have a huge stock of freewheels.
Wonder why?

> But for a 15 year old cassette hub? More than likely you are out of luck; the cure will cost more
>than the patient.

Well, 15 years old is old for a cassette. I think that, in 15 years, they will be a lot easier to
find than any freewheel.

> A freewheel thread forces very little in the way of assumptions upon the hub that threads into it.

True, except for that critical distance from the dropout to the bearings. That is forced by the
design, and that is what causes freewheel axles to break. You can use oversized axles, but only to a
point, and few manufacturers are still providing them (Phil Wood, but who else?)

--

David L. Johnson

__o | Enron's slogan: Respect, Communication, Integrity, and _`\(,_ | Excellence. (_)/ (_) |
 
D

David Damerell

Guest
David L. Johnson <David L. Johnson <[email protected]> wrote:
>On Mon, 27 Jan 2003 16:18:25 -0500, Bluto wrote:
>>Nonsense. Most of the bikes in the world have thread-on freewheels.
>Most of the bikes in the world have worn-out freewheels, too.

Plenty of new bikes in China and India, which I suspect is what is being thought of here.
--
David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
 
B

Bfd

Guest
David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<0bn*[email protected]>...
> David L. Johnson <David L. Johnson <[email protected]> wrote:
> >On Mon, 27 Jan 2003 16:18:25 -0500, Bluto wrote:
> >>Nonsense. Most of the bikes in the world have thread-on freewheels.
> >Most of the bikes in the world have worn-out freewheels, too.
>
> Plenty of new bikes in China and India, which I suspect is what is being thought of here.

I recall GP in one of the Rivendell Readers stating that India is currently producing something like
4,000 freewheels PER DAY. Of course, few of any of these will make it over to the US, but, the point
is freewheels are available, they just may not be "dura ace" quality and the ratio selection will be
limited....
 
A

A Muzi

Guest
> >> cas962 wrote:
> >> > I'm getting a new wheel for my road bike. Should I stay with the freewheel or go to a
> >> > cassette?

"David L. Johnson" wrote:
> >> There really should not be a debate about this. Freewheels are as scarce as hen's teeth
> >> already, and that will only get worse. Currently you _might_ be able to find 2 different
> >> freewheels from a big shop like Sheldon's. You can get dozens of different cogs in any brand of
> >> cassette you want.

Bluto wrote:> > Nonsense. Most of the bikes in the world have thread-on freewheels.

"David L. Johnson >" <David L. Johnson <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Most of the bikes in the world have worn-out freewheels, too.
>
> From Sheldon Brown's site:
>
> SRAM/Sachs Freewheels SRAM (Formerly Sachs) freewheels were well made and durable, but have been
discontinued by the manufacturer. Supplies very spotty.
> SunTour Freewheels SunTour freewheels are very high quality, very long lasting and pretty
good shifting. SunTour has been out of business since the early 1990s, so these are all old stock.
> SunRace Freewheels SunRace freewheels are made in Taiwan. We've had trouble with some other
Taiwanese freewheels, but these seem to be OK.
>
> So, with the exception of Shimano freewheels, there really is not a reliable supply. Sheldon does
> list more sizes than I would have expected, but still not very many in any given type, and they
> are not all univerally compatible. A 120mm axle only takes 5speed, or ultra-6 (with a nearrow
> chain). There is only one size (of cogs) in 8-speed, and only from one manufacturer. "Supplies
> very spotty". and that 8-speed freewheel costs $70.
>
> Sheldon seems to have quite a selection of Sun Tour freewheels, but I wonder about stock, since
> they are simply no longer made. Shimano makes 1 5-speed freewheel. Hope you want 14-28. Shimano
> makes 3 6-speed. Sun-Tour stocks are the only available ultra-6. Shimano has 3 sizes of 7-speed,
> all but one mountain-bike ranges.

Bluto wrote:> > Crack open a QBP catalog and observe a palette of freewheel options that
> > well exceeds that of cassettes, inasmuch as you can find a freewheel in 5, 6, or 7 speeds to
> > match an older bike.

"David L. Johnson" wrote:
> Unless QBP has a wider selection than this, that would be about it. But they are not available
> to the public directly, only through a dealer. Dealers don't have a huge stock of freewheels.
> Wonder why?

Bluto wrote:> > But for a 15 year old
> > cassette hub? More than likely you are out of luck; the cure will cost more than the patient.

"David L. Johnson" wrote:
> Well, 15 years old is old for a cassette. I think that, in 15 years, they will be a lot easier to
> find than any freewheel.

Bluto wrote:> > A freewheel thread forces very little in the way of assumptions upon the
> > hub that threads into it.

"David L. Johnson" wrote:
> True, except for that critical distance from the dropout to the bearings. That is forced by the
> design, and that is what causes freewheel axles to break. You can use oversized axles, but only to
> a point, and few manufacturers are still providing them (Phil Wood, but who else?)

David, your review is pretty accurate but for a couple of things:

"Most bicycles" are indeed freewheel. But the overwhelming bulk of bicycles are single-speed
freewheel roadsters, not the sort of bike you ride.

Bluto's point is that any nearly freewheel is suitable with a threaded hub but just try to get a
Shimano 5 cassette start cog, DuraAce 6 cassette start cog, a Suntour cassette cog, an early
Campagnolo cassette cog. These are not everyday items .

And good service shops _do_ stock a few choices in each of five, six and seven freewheel. OK There's
just the eight SunRace but hey, how many eight freewheel bikes are there? not many at all. Suntour
was so overwhelmingly dominant in custom freewheels that n.o.s. inventories are plentiful and will
be for several more years. When you need a custom range that ends in 38, what else is there? Out of
business for over ten years hasn't hurt availability too much yet.

Regarding Steve Flagg's house (QBP), he's garnered a strong following by printing consumer catalogs
so many riders think he's the only distributor out there. Au contraire. A few dozen distributors
cover essentially the same or wider product ranges, they just don't have a public presence. I don't
even have an account there and we stock over thirty different freewheels, plus custom builds.

We all agree that cassettes have some real advantages. Bluto points out their limitations and some
features thet freewheel hubs still offer. No one is saying that one format is clearly superior in
all respects. Let's agree that choice is good!
--
Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
 
T

The Pomeranian

Guest
A Muzi wrote:
>

> When you need a custom range that ends in 38, what else is there? Out of business for over ten
> years hasn't hurt availability too much yet.

That is because hardly anyone wants it, at least in the US. I have a garage full of SunTour stuff,
some of it brand new. At some point I expect to put it on the market.

> Let's agree that choice is good!

I think choice is good, but I don't cry too much for stuff that becomes hard to come by simply
because it is not very popular. For stuff I value, but the larger marketplace does not value, I can
expect two things:

1. Very low prices for the "unpopular" stuff being shed from people's garages and firm's inventory.
2. Very high prices once those "unpopular" things do become acutely scarce, but are still demanded
by a _few_.
 
B

Bluto

Guest
Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote:

Bluto wrote:

> > Thread-on hubs allow me to space wheels for zero dish and accompanying tight spokes that don't
> > break. Thus I don't have to pull my sprockets on the road to enact a repair.
>
> Huh? That doesn't make any sense to me. Cassette hubs generally have, if anything, less dish than
> corresponding thread-on freewheel hubs.
>
> Sheldon "Back Asswards?" Brown

My point is that you can neutralize the dish in a freewheel hub by shifting spacing from the right
side to the left side. If zero dish on a 130mm or 135mm axle is the object, that usually means using
a 5- or 6-speed freewheel. If right side spacing is reduced to the smallest possible dimension for a
7-speed freewheel, it is still possible in most cases to reduce the amount of dish to less than that
built into a cassette hub.

Since there's no narrow, reduced cogset freehub generally available, a Shimano-type cassette hub is
not retrofittable in this way.

I have heard of a Phil Wood 4-speed freehub body intended for dishless wheels, but if you're using a
Phil hub with a less-than-voguish number of cogs, then there's no reason not to use a thread-on
version, save about $200, and gain ubiquitous parts support. Phil freewheel hubs are no more prone
to axle or bearing problems than the very best cassette hubs, after all.

Chalo Colina
 
A

A Muzi

Guest
> > >On Mon, 27 Jan 2003 16:18:25 -0500, Bluto wrote:
> > >>Nonsense. Most of the bikes in the world have thread-on freewheels.

> > David L. Johnson <David L. Johnson <[email protected]> wrote:
> > >Most of the bikes in the world have worn-out freewheels, too.

> David Damerell <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<0bn*[email protected]>...
> > Plenty of new bikes in China and India, which I suspect is what is being thought of here.

"bfd" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> I recall GP in one of the Rivendell Readers stating that India is currently producing something
> like 4,000 freewheels PER DAY. Of course, few of any of these will make it over to the US, but,
> the point is freewheels are available, they just may not be "dura ace" quality and the ratio
> selection will be limited....

"Limited"?? They are single speed! And Grant was talking about just one factory.

--
Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
 
Q

Qui Si Parla Ca

Guest
<< I'm getting a new wheel for my road bike. Should I stay with the freewheel or go to a cassette?

Probably a casette as freewheels are gettin' scarce. Other advantages as well, like axle strength
and support, etc.

Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
(303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
 
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