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SS freewheel question(8 posts)

SS freewheel questionBranbant
Dec 12, 2001 8:25 AM
Why can't I get a freewheel for the front of the drive, like, for the BB?
and what purpose would it serve?Jack S
Dec 12, 2001 8:31 AM
They're out there...TJeanloz
Dec 12, 2001 9:08 AM
You can get one- but I haven't seen one around for some time.

There are a couple of different options. One is the PowerCrank, where the cranks are set up so that you need to pull the crank up (instead of having it just rotate the upstroke). Another edition that was used on Schwinn bikes in the 1970s-1980s had the chainrings on a separate freewheel type system. The advantage there was that when you stopped pedaling, the chain still spun around, and you didn't have to pedal while you shifted. They're fun bikes to play with in the stand- but not really a necessary invention.
They're out there...Beaver
Dec 12, 2001 10:28 AM
I saw one for the first time last week when I was in the LBS. One of the mechanics was giving it a tune up. Weirdest setup I have ever seen on a bike. This bike not only had a freewheel in the cranks, but also in the cassette, only the lowest gear was fixed. If you shifted up the cassette, you had 2 freewheels on the bike. i.e. when the bike was in the 13 or whatever it was, the chain kept moving if you stopped pedalling and if you went up one on the cassette and stopped pedalling, both would freewheel and the chain would not move. Seemed kind of redundant and useless. I forget the brand, wasn't a Schwinn, just a older ladie's step through.

Of course this shop gets a lot of unique bikes. They have one lady that uses only a 63 in the front. When they test ride it, it takes 2 employees. One to ride the bike, the other to give him a push.
They're out there...cyclaholic
Dec 14, 2001 9:49 PM
The only time I ever saw one of these front freewheels was on that goofy autobike that was hyped on an infomercial. Strangely enough, I saw that bike in a department store and was quickly impressed by the fact that this was a piece of junk marketed to people who knew nothing about bicycles.

Anyway, the front freewheel was essential to the automatic transmission system on the autobike.

I hope those things are no longer sold.
Front Freewheel SystemKerry Irons
Dec 12, 2001 4:37 PM
I'm not sure what you mean by SS freewheel, but a front freewheel system was on the market for a couple of years (early 80s?, maybe before that). The argument was exactly as noted - it allowed you to shift while coasting because the chain kept moving. Nobody really wanted this feature, since people who ride the cheap bikes it showed up on never get shifted anyway - ever notice that they are "always" in the small-small combination? It added a good 2 lbs to the bike weight and vastly complicated the BB area, so nobody interested performance or reliability wanted either. One more failed experiment in the long line of attempts to change what has been refined over 70 years - the highly efficient chain drive/derailleur system.
Front Freewheel Systembiknben
Dec 14, 2001 12:24 PM
I owned a bike with that system. It was a Shimano drivetrain on an early 80's Ross 10 speed. It was my first multi-speed bike. I was 10 years old.

It's what got me started. Scary thought! :-0
Trials bikes use them...ohio
Dec 12, 2001 8:58 PM
They'd be dangerous on a geared bike because they'd tear up the whole system if you dropped a chain, but on SS that shouldn't be an issue.

MTB Trials bikes have been using them for a long time, because they can backpedal the cranks without moving the bashring, and I guess you can fit more pawls in there for fster response. They also are never going fast so the rear wheel locking up from a stuch chain isn't an issue. I can't think of any reason to use one on any other kind of bike, but I think you could if you wanted to. Check out some of the trials specific sites, and i'm sure you'll find a store that carries them.