Components

Best Freewheel For Single Speed: Will You Be Rockin’ In A Freewheel?

Woaoahhh rockin’ in a free worrrrld…..Sorry.. I mean.. wheeeel. Sorry.. I mean.. What’s the best freewheel for single speed bikes?​

Sorry. I don’t know what came over me there. Just a bit of Neil Young giving it the big one.

Anyone else sing that song when thinking of freewheels? Just me?

SO. Freewheels, they’re easily forgotten about.

The reason for this is because they’re a bit of a boring topic, aren’t they? I can’t imagine many raucous stories ending with... "and then I got a White Industries ENO" -  (best option btw).

Now. I've gone through the best freewheels and listed their pros and cons. I've then packaged it nicely into this cheeky blog post. Legendary aren’t I.​


Comparison Chart

Rank

Product

Rating (0-10) 

Price

1

White Industries ENO Freewheel (16T)

9

2

ACS: Crossfire BMX Freewheel Gun Metal (14 - 22T)

7

3

Shimano: SF 1200 (16T)

7

See More Single Speed Freewheel Options On Amazon 

Who Are Freewheels For?

When my friend was looking to build a single speed recently, he came to me. And being incredibly knowledgeable about all things bike related I was able to give him absolutely no help what so ever.

I'd never investigated the freewheel before, and I didn't know what was best. WELL, THAT HAS ALL CHANGED MY FRIENDS. I gone and done me some learnin'. Step aside Sheldon Brown

Right then, let’s dive into this mess and pick out what’s important when looking at the freewheel for a single speed.

Before you invest any of your hard earnt cash you gotta ask yourself why do you want a new freewheel? Is it because you’re building a new bike, replacing an old freewheel or do you want a new medallion for your gold chain.

If it’s the gold chain, then you’ll want the Shimano 1200 (it's shiny).

If you're a casual cyclist and your current freewheel is working fine, I wouldn't bother getting a new one. You'll not use it enough to get the benefits and unless you're a bike nerd like me, you'll probably not notice the difference.

If you just want so swap out your old freewheel as it's gritty, and a bit crap then get the Shimano SF 1200 or ACS Crossfire. They're both widely used, come in various sizes, and are affordable.

However, if you're looking for THE best freewheel in existence of man. IF you're looking to upgrade to THE greatest freewheel everrr.

Then read on. You're in for a treat.


What Kind Of Result Are You Going To Get?

Ever let one of those hotdogs from a can slither down your throat without chewing it?... Me neither.

But. That's the food equivalent of how riding with a decent upgraded freewheel feels. Silky, smooth and smooth. (That's right. Double smooth).

Related Post  Best Sleeping Bag For Bike Touring: Like Sleeping In A Cloud

I was inspecting Youtube for some freewheels tips and came across many videos that were demonstrating the incredible clacking sounds a freewheel makes.

Perfect, as that's exactly the criteria I use when choosing a freewheel. The Dicta makes a particularly nice sound.

Although, Google Dicta Freewheel and the number one result to come up is a forum titled "How sh*t are Dicta Freewheels"...

Anyway..

I've added a video below so make sure you crank your speakers up. 

..So clacky.

A comment from another fellow Youtuber:

Actually, I think Dicta freewheels are the perfect loudness right out of the box.

Lol. Yeah me too. 

What's the bottom line?

Unless you're really into biking like the man above, ​I wouldn't worry about the sounds it makes too much...

Other than the noise it makes you should look at things like "teeth."


How Many Teeth Does It Have: Um, What?

The number of teeth a freewheel has is pretty important and a little confusing. Basically, the teeth represent your gear ratio, and it’s written like 44:16.

The 44 represents the number of teeth you’ve got on your chainring at the front, and the 16 is the number of teeth you’ve got on the back.

Not surprisingly there are lots of possible gear ratio combinations you can go for. To pick the best ratio for you, give a "gear inch calculator" a look.

Remember the smaller the number at the back, the harder it’ll be to push. My personal recommendation is to go for around 16/18 on the back and 42/44 on the front.

If you live in a hilly area, I’d go easier, and if you’re badass, you can go harder.


Chains

White Industries (which are by far the best freewheels) are NOT compatible with 11/128 chains. Don't forget to check your chain before you make any purchases.


What To Look Out For​

​Proper maintenance of your freewheel is essential to keep it running nice and smooth. There are several different ways to do this, but the simplest is to:

  • Place the bike on its side
  • Dribble some oil between the cover and freewheel while turning the wheel.
  • Allow oil to seep through to the ball bearings and pawls. 

If you're feeling confident, it's possible to remove the bearings/pawls and body to get access to the rear bearings..... BUT tread with care my pretties...

Re-fitting it back together can be horribly awkward, and you may break everything. It's best to practice on your mates without him know first 😉

Related Post  Shimano Sora Vs 105: Who Will Win This Groupset Showdown?

Pro tip: Never use grease to rebuild a freewheel as it'll jam everything. 

Use heavy duty SAE40 car oil, it's heavy enough to stick to the internals, but light enough not to interfere with the workings.

Here's a great video by RJ The Bike Guy if you ever fancy disassembling/assembling your freewheel


Rank

Product

Rating (0-10) 

Price

1

White Industries ENO Freewheel (16T)

9

2

ACS: Crossfire BMX Freewheel Gun Metal (14 - 22T)

7

3

Shimano: SF 1200 (16T)

7


White Industries: ENO Freewheel (16T)

Quality 
Price 
My Rating 

10 

8

10 

Summary:

Oh, my. Oh my, oh my.. avert your eyes children this is not a toy. Now, I don’t expect many of you out there to purchase this spectacle. But those that do. Phwoar.

I’ve got chills.

So we all had that one friend at school that was incredible at sport, good with the girls and clever. Well, White Industries is the freewheel equivalent.

​It's stated that the freewheel has notoriously been the Achilles heal to the drive chain system. WELL NOT ANYMORE!

I realize I'm just talking a load of crap without substance so here's a bit about them.

Typically freewheels get dirt inside them which clogs up the mechanism, and a cheaper freewheel is made with less precision and the bearings are compromised.

White Freewheels have superior seals keeping everything in check with little maintenance. However, this means that they’re much harder to rebuild unless you really know what you’re doing.

So unless you’ve had lots of practice with these, it’s best to leave it to the pros

Cheaper freewheels also tend to have different engagement angles. For example, sometimes it may engage at 15 degrees, and sometimes it may engage at 9 degrees.

A proper, proper good freewheel will engage at 10 degrees every time. This is important for things like training and conditioning.

Pros

  • ​The Gold Standard all other freewheels are forced to compete with. 
  • Well sealed meaning they're easy to maintain and rarely get grubbed up on the inside.

Cons

  • ​Saying this freewheel has a weakness is like saying The Rock needs to work on his shoulder definition a little. BUT nobodies perfect. 

    The freewheel is about x3 more than the others in this review.

    Can you justify it? 
  • They need to be installed and taken apart by someone who knows what they're doing.

ACS: Crossfire BMX Freewheel Gun Metal

Quality 
Price 
My Rating 

6

8

7

Summary:

This freewheel wins an award that has nothing to do with being the “top freewheel for a single geared bike”. It wins another very special prize instead.

Related Post  Want A Timbuk2 Spire Or A Rogue? Here I Discuss The Two.

It wins the “how many cool words can be combined in one sentence" award. Just look at it! Every. Word. Is. A. Corker!


Let's be honest, if any of us were to change our names, it would be to this. Mike Crossfire BMX Freewheel Gun Metal. Yeah! I like it! I like it a lot.

So if I were you I'd get this freewheel on its name if nothing else.

They’re deemed to be on par with Shimano hubs and around the same price. The only downside (or upside if you're into the wheel clacky thing) is that they’re quite noisy.

Pros

  • Sweet as hell name that will make loads of people want to hang out with you. 
  • I actually own one of these so you can be like me.

    That should be the number one reason to get this freewheel. 

Cons

  • ​Some reviewers have said it rides a little noisy which may or may not get on your nerves.

    I don't mind it so much as it becomes a great topic of conversation. 

    "Oi, mate, your freewheel's a bit clacky......." "Oh... is it...."

    Bam, hello new friend.


Shimano: SF-1200

Shimano Single Bicycle Freewheel Sprocket - SF-1200
Quality 
Price 
My Rating 

5

8

7

Before we jump into reviewing this freewheel in too much detail. I'm to go right out and say that Shimano 1200 and the ACS are fairly interchangeable.

The only difference is that the ACS has a cooler name as we've already discussed, as well as more choice of sizing options.

If the 1200 has the size you're after, and you like it, then go for it! 

There's nothing wrong with it but there's nothing that makes it stand out either.

Pros

  • ​Great hub for those looking to replace an old one or want an upgrade from the factory standard.
  • It's shiny so would make a nice neckless  

Cons

    • Nothing wrong with it but doesn't have a cool name and I don't own one. 
    • Doens't come in lots of different sizing options.


Let's Call It A Day Shall We

I'm guessing it's fairly obvious that I'm of the opinion White Industries freewheel's are head and shoulders above the rest of it's competitors.  

The other's will do a job but if you want the best you know which one to go for

Related Posts:

See Through Cycling Shorts: Are You Guilty?​
Road Bike Cassette Sizes For Climbing: How Do You Choose
How Much Does A Bike Tune Up Cost: What's The Average
Best Cheap Protein Powder: A Buyers Guide To Keeping In Shape