Freewheel or Cassette?



kaikane

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I'd like to upgrade an old 18 speed Univega Alpina Uno for fun (and practice). I'm planning on first replacing wheels/hubs/freewheel. Should I replace the old freewheel with a new one or should I go with a cassette? Thanks for any help.
 

kdelong

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Dec 14, 2006
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I would go with a cassette. It is getting difficult to find good freewheels these days.
 

kaikane

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kdelong said:
I would go with a cassette. It is getting difficult to find good freewheels these days.
I was wondering about their availability. Thanks.
 

garage sale GT

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Jun 6, 2006
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Is it a steel frame? If it's 3X6 speed it will be too narrow. A steel frame can be easily respaced but some experts advise against trying it with aluminum.

is it index shift? It won't work with a modern 9-speed cassette if it is. My old, upgraded Schwinn works pretty good with an 8-speed cassette and friction shifters.

You can get 6-speed freewheels on Amazon. The system is durable enough if you stay on top of the cone adjustment.
 

p38lightning

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Apr 19, 2004
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You are replacing the wheel and the freewheel even if you stay with the freewheel correct?

1. There are very good freewheels available. Shimano makes the 6 and 7speed Hyperglide. Even if your old hub has Italian threads on the freewheel side an English thread (Shimano) freewheel can be threaded on but after you do, you can no longer use Italian thread freewheels. (Big deal)
2. Most modern wheels have 130 milimeter axle nut spacing. Even if your frame has the older 126MM spacing (probably does) there is no need to resize the frame. Simply spread the frame a little when you mount the wheel.(I do this on my old Bianchi and it is no big deal).
3.Avoid the "Megarange" freewheels which have a 34tooth "Bailout" gear. Your rear derailler will probably not have the throw to shift on to this gear.
4. If you don't want to spread the frame when mounting you can probably respace the axle nuts by removing a thin washer on both sides of the axle.
5. Current cassettes that you would consider are probably 8 or 9 speed. ( 10s have 135MM axles and require differen chains etc. No good). While you can go this way your derailler will probably not allow you to shift into the largest sprocket, so you won't get the use of all the gears.
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/freewheels.html This link has more info.
 

kaikane

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Jul 2, 2005
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garage sale GT said:
Is it a steel frame? If it's 3X6 speed it will be too narrow. A steel frame can be easily respaced but some experts advise against trying it with aluminum.

is it index shift? It won't work with a modern 9-speed cassette if it is. My old, upgraded Schwinn works pretty good with an 8-speed cassette and friction shifters.

You can get 6-speed freewheels on Amazon. The system is durable enough if you stay on top of the cone adjustment.
It is steel. Too narrow for a cassette? Then I guess I'll have to try and find a decent freewheel set.
I was going to keep the old 3x6 setup as it works well for how little I use it (now that I have a new road bike).
Thanks for the info. I'll check out Amazon.
 

kaikane

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Jul 2, 2005
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p38lightning said:
You are replacing the wheel and the freewheel even if you stay with the freewheel correct?

1. There are very good freewheels available. Shimano makes the 6 and 7speed Hyperglide. Even if your old hub has Italian threads on the freewheel side an English thread (Shimano) freewheel can be threaded on but after you do, you can no longer use Italian thread freewheels. (Big deal)
2. Most modern wheels have 130 milimeter axle nut spacing. Even if your frame has the older 126MM spacing (probably does) there is no need to resize the frame. Simply spread the frame a little when you mount the wheel.(I do this on my old Bianchi and it is no big deal).
3.Avoid the "Megarange" freewheels which have a 34tooth "Bailout" gear. Your rear derailler will probably not have the throw to shift on to this gear.
4. If you don't want to spread the frame when mounting you can probably respace the axle nuts by removing a thin washer on both sides of the axle.
5. Current cassettes that you would consider are probably 8 or 9 speed. ( 10s have 135MM axles and require differen chains etc. No good). While you can go this way your derailler will probably not allow you to shift into the largest sprocket, so you won't get the use of all the gears.
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/freewheels.html This link has more info.
Thanks for the info. You don't think I could just replace the old 6 gears in the back? Or are they too hard to find?
 

p38lightning

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Apr 19, 2004
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kaikane said:
Thanks for the info. You don't think I could just replace the old 6 gears in the back? Or are they too hard to find?
Absolutely you can. You will see on the link that 6 speeds are available. As I noted you may have Italian threads on your hub. Do you have a Regina freewheel? If so you will need a special tool to remove it (Park tools have) but this will be a one time use. Then you will need a Shimano tool to install the English thread freewheel which will recut the slightly different threads. Normally you don't need a tool to install a freewheel as pedaling tightens it. (Be sure to grease the hub threads). Because of the need for the tools it may be to your advantage to have you local bike shop do the removal and installation.
 

garage sale GT

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Jun 6, 2006
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A few points:


*MTB wheels with 8-speed and 9-speed cassettes are 135mm

*steel can easily be respaced a lot more than we're talking about here. I personally went from a 126 mm freewheel to a 130 cassette by just pulling the frame apart by hand while installing the wheel.

*Freewheels are durable and it may not need changing; you didn't specify the problem. If you do have to pull it off, just tap out the reverse thread lockring with a screwdriver, take off the sprockets, and bust the hub off your wheel hub with a pipe wrench. Or, if it is slotted for a two prong removal spanner like suntours, you don't need a remover. Of course, if you don't have a pipe wrench, the freewheel remover may be cheaper.

*learn to adjust cup and cone bearings so you can keep the left hand cone snug and your wheel will last. use a tiny bit of preload. Otherwise the axle is easy to bend, then the bearing surfaces and balls **** out because they become misaligned.
 

kaikane

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garage sale GT said:
A few points:


*MTB wheels with 8-speed and 9-speed cassettes are 135mm

*steel can easily be respaced a lot more than we're talking about here. I personally went from a 126 mm freewheel to a 130 cassette by just pulling the frame apart by hand while installing the wheel.

*Freewheels are durable and it may not need changing; you didn't specify the problem. If you do have to pull it off, just tap out the reverse thread lockring with a screwdriver, take off the sprockets, and bust the hub off your wheel hub with a pipe wrench. Or, if it is slotted for a two prong removal spanner like suntours, you don't need a remover. Of course, if you don't have a pipe wrench, the freewheel remover may be cheaper.

*learn to adjust cup and cone bearings so you can keep the left hand cone snug and your wheel will last. use a tiny bit of preload. Otherwise the axle is easy to bend, then the bearing surfaces and balls **** out because they become misaligned.
I'll look over the conditrion of the freewheel. Maybe I can keep it and just replace the wheels and hub. Thanks for all the help, GT.
 

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