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Freewheel vise

Old 10-12-19, 07:52 AM
  #1  
Narhay
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Freewheel vise

Anyone have experience with this tool?

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Bicycle-Chai...8AAOSwjSldeSNE

Am I crazy for wanting to pry my freewheels apart? I've got about 10 that could probably use a good disassembly.
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Old 10-12-19, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
Anyone have experience with this tool?

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Bicycle-Chai...8AAOSwjSldeSNE

Am I crazy for wanting to pry my freewheels apart? I've got about 10 that could probably use a good disassembly.
I have no experience with that one, but I made one myself years ago - kind of the same principle but way less complicated - that worked great. Personally I liked being able to disassemble the cogs. Also, I had a Regina CX freewheel that came in a "kit" - multiple cogs, body, remover tool - so I was, maybe, changing cogs more frequently that I really needed to (?) because I could. I don't have that "tool" now, but wish I did for ease of cleaning the cogs.
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Old 10-12-19, 08:12 AM
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That tool on eBay looks like a decent tool for short money. I personally pull all my freewheels apart using two chain whips, but that vise would certainly put some joy back into the task. You could always send them to Pastor Bob for the whole workup: https://www.freewheelspa.com/
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Old 10-12-19, 08:14 AM
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-----

This is a new-to-me one.

It appears that one must bolt it down to a flat surface in order to use it: inconvenient.

Have VAR and Maeda on me workbench and they do just fine.

Their design is intended to drop into the jaws of a bench vise.

-----
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Old 10-12-19, 09:14 AM
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I agree with NoControl . I have used Pastor Bob and for a very reasonable price he will take care of your freewheel needs. It is not something I do often enough to want to do for myself. Plus he has not only the tools but a bunch of spares, again at a very fair cost. He has done a couple of mine and the smoothness and range of cogs is perfect! Joe. joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
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Old 10-12-19, 09:35 AM
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that's an interesting tool and if you take freewheels apart may be handy to have. The main reason you'd want to do that is to replace cogs, so you'll then need to accumulate an inventory of cogs.

the modern Chinese made Shimano freewheels work pretty well, they are riveted together so this tool really is not needed.

Mark Petry
Bainbridge Island, WA USA

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Old 10-12-19, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

This is a new-to-me one.

It appears that one must bolt it down to a flat surface in order to use it: inconvenient.

Have VAR and Maeda on me workbench and they do just fine.

Their design is intended to drop into the jaws of a bench vise.

-----
Is this the Maeda tool you're referring to?



Although I've never used it, I can see how a freewheel would fit:



It does seem to be able to do more than just hold a freewheel, but I haven't found out what yet.
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Old 10-12-19, 12:01 PM
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I love my Bicycle Research freewheel tool. Up until very recently, you could buy direct for like $25. Seems like their site is no longer active. They are on eBay but pricey:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-RAR...L/152780731660

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Old 10-12-19, 12:09 PM
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I like that one. You could just put some holes in your bench and use bolts as pins to keep the tool in place when in use. I've just used scrap wood and deck screws but always wanted an official tool.
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Old 10-12-19, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
Is this the Maeda tool you're referring to?



Although I've never used it, I can see how a freewheel would fit:



It does seem to be able to do more than just hold a freewheel, but I haven't found out what yet.

-----

Ja machen mein herr Oberst.

The semi-circular bits form an axle vise; two sizes for two diameters of axle.

---

Outillage VAR Nr. 365 -




-----

Last edited by juvela; 10-12-19 at 03:03 PM. Reason: insert image
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Old 10-12-19, 12:53 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
I love my Bicycle Research freewheel tool. Up until very recently, you could buy direct for like $25. Seems like their site is no longer active. They are on eBay but pricey:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-RAR...L/152780731660

That Bicycle Research tool was my usual go to BITD when making up custom freewheels, if I needed a freewheel vise. 9 of 10 times I used two chain whips, cuz it's faster. I think the shop where I worked had a VAR as well, and one other weird one I can't remember.

A freewheel vise isn't necessarily required. Two chain whips you will need regardless. I'd start with that and see how it goes. Might be enough. However, after several decades the freewheel cogs could well be much more stuck on that they were when new, and a vise will help with that.

Last edited by Salamandrine; 10-12-19 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 10-12-19, 02:28 PM
  #12  
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I just use two chain whips. I clamp one to the bench and just yank on the other.

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Old 10-12-19, 02:51 PM
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Old 10-12-19, 02:52 PM
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Narhay-

Not crazy, but no need for big expense. Get a slab of wood, place the freewheel and screw down (use 4 screws not just 2 as shown), use your chainwhip to loosen the locking cog and remove (after loosen the bearing cone). Disassemble.

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Old 10-12-19, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

Ja machen mein herr Oberst.

The semi-circular bits form an axle vise; two sizes for two diameters of axle.

-----
Danke, Herr General!

I figured it would be something like that. Now I need to think of a reason to actually use it. It is a nice tool, BTW. Very elegant and minimalist. I like that. Very much.
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Old 10-12-19, 03:16 PM
  #16  
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The "Bicycle Chain Vise" of the OP's post looks like a real pain to use unless you use exactly one size biggest cog I have the VAR tool which is similar to the Maeda. With a good bench vise, it is a joy to use.

Ben
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Old 10-12-19, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
I like that one. You could just put some holes in your bench and use bolts as pins to keep the tool in place when in use. I've just used scrap wood and deck screws but always wanted an official tool.
Mine is bolted to the wall, about chest height. Allows a lot of torque.
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Old 10-16-19, 07:36 PM
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-----


On gear blocks where all of the cogs are threaded it can be a challenge to remove the last one.

For this VAR offers freeewheel vise Nr. 368 which clamps the cog threads on the body:



One seldom seen gear block vise is the VAR Nr. 03. Its tooth holders can be adjusted far enough apart to accept chainwheels. The chainwheel application has always seemed to me superfluous. It assembling or disassembling a set of chainwheels it is simple enough to place things on a flat surface and proceed. The one advantage is that it leaves both hands free; there is no need of steadying the parts. Purchased one new about forty-fives years back and have fired it up exactly twice - when it first arrived. Just to give it a try. It is oddly finished for a VAR tool in hammertone gold.



-----
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Old 10-17-19, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by bertinjim View Post
Narhay-

Not crazy, but no need for big expense. Get a slab of wood, place the freewheel and screw down (use 4 screws not just 2 as shown), use your chainwhip to loosen the locking cog and remove (after loosen the bearing cone). Disassemble.

That will work if the cogs are a little bit too tight for the two-chainwhips approach, but it doesn't work if the cogs are really tight. I don't fool around anymore--I just go straight to the Suntour vise clamped in a big bench vise. It's never failed me.
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Old 10-17-19, 07:48 AM
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I was thinking of bolting it onto a piece of 2x6 and then placing in the jaws of my vise so it does not need to be out all the time.

I've tried two chain whips before and am jealous of you all that that was all the leverage one needed.
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Old 10-17-19, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post

Am I crazy for wanting to pry my freewheels apart? I've got about 10 that could probably use a good disassembly.
...for a long time I thought it was crazy to do all the work of changing out cogs on freewheels. That was when they cost ten bucks, and there were plenty of 5 and 6 speed close ratio freewheels available for purchase new. then there was a period when I could still find the smaller 5 speed ones with a 24 tooth largest cog in the used parts stream over at the co-op. So it still seemed like more work than I was willing to do.

Now the supply has grown thinner at the co-op, and they're selling for prices in the ridiculous range on e-bay. So it seems less crazy to me to have a box of old Suntour and Shimano freewheels to strip for usable cogs and to mix and match them to repair my old ones where one cog has gone bad. Fortunately I have one of those BSR tools, which works well as long as you also have a MAPP gas torch to apply some heat and a can of CRC Freeze Off. The majority of those I have worked on did not come apart easily.
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Old 10-17-19, 10:05 AM
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Good post there 3 alarm. I am fortunate enough to have a lifetime supply of replacement cogs and bodies for what is arguably the best freewheel ever made (Dura Ace MF-7400) and the tools to disassemble and replace cogs. These units are very long lived. HOWEVER - I've done an A/B comparison of the DA freewheel and current issue chinese made Shimano freewheel - the kind you can find on ebay for under 20 bucks - and I gotta say that they are almost indistinguishable from a shifting / performance standpoint.

But I do take your point - that good quality freewheels in desireable ratios are bringing silly money on ebay.

Hopefully we won't need to resort to cryogenics or plasma cutters to keep our old freewheels on the road.

Mark Petry
Bainbridge Island, WA USA

Last edited by mpetry912; 10-17-19 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 10-17-19, 11:49 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
I was thinking of bolting it onto a piece of 2x6 and then placing in the jaws of my vise so it does not need to be out all the time.

I've tried two chain whips before and am jealous of you all that that was all the leverage one needed.
Not that much to be impressed with in reality. Most of my cog swapping during the freewheel era was done making up new custom freewheels for people, using brand new cogs and bodies. Even when there was a need to swap cogs on used freewheels, they were typically only a few months old. Decades later, it's a different story. Lots of corrosion and decades of torque. Some sort of vise is a good idea, and BITD we did have them if needed. Even if you get a vise, IMO you should always have two chain whips. This was just sort of standard -- like how cone wrenches were always sold in pairs.

All that said, working regularly as a bike mechanic did tend to give you forearms like Popeye.
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Old 10-17-19, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mpetry912 View Post
that's an interesting tool and if you take freewheels apart may be handy to have. The main reason you'd want to do that is to replace cogs, so you'll then need to accumulate an inventory of cogs.

the modern Chinese made Shimano freewheels work pretty well, they are riveted together so this tool really is not needed.
For decades I have custom built my own freewheels to obtain the ratio progressions I want. I use the Suntour tool in my bench vise, along with a chain whip -- the combination works like a champ.

Those pesky rivets in modern freehub cassettes are what Dremel tools are for. About a year ago I merged cogs from two of these "spiders" (one riveted, the other screwed) to make new 8-speed setup for my mountain bike.
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Old 10-17-19, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...for a long time I thought it was crazy to do all the work of changing out cogs on freewheels. That was when they cost ten bucks, and there were plenty of 5 and 6 speed close ratio freewheels available for purchase new. then there was a period when I could still find the smaller 5 speed ones with a 24 tooth largest cog in the used parts stream over at the co-op. So it still seemed like more work than I was willing to do.

Now the supply has grown thinner at the co-op, and they're selling for prices in the ridiculous range on e-bay. So it seems less crazy to me to have a box of old Suntour and Shimano freewheels to strip for usable cogs and to mix and match them to repair my old ones where one cog has gone bad. Fortunately I have one of those BSR tools, which works well as long as you also have a MAPP gas torch to apply some heat and a can of CRC Freeze Off. The majority of those I have worked on did not come apart easily.
This is so true. And of course all this is doubly true for French-threaded freewheels!!
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