I finally bit the bullet and got an alloy freewheel from Areaware. The item is not listed on their site but they do sell it for $60. Just call or email them.
After replacing the old plastic freewheel with the new one, pedaling became easier and acceleration faster. A happy camper here! I don’t know if it’s because the alloy freewheel is that much more efficient or my old one is defected/low-quality. So your millage may vary.
Yes, mine is a 5 too. So the upgrade should work for you. I think all Strida 5.x share the same plastic freewheel. “Type B” and dual speed, from what I’ve heard, are already epuipped with the alloy one. Not sure about the new LT (probably plastic to keep the price low).
Interesting observation about the wheel, fwb-bwd. I bought the alloy freewheel some weeks ago and finally had an opportunity to install it this past weekend. I was actually reluctant to install it because the action was stiff, not because of the noise (more on that below). Turning the two wheels against each other was very difficult. Yesterday was my first commute with the new wheel, and it was so stiff, while coasting it actually slowed me down! I’m hoping it will loosen up with time. This morning’s ride seemed a little better, but with the weather so cold now it’s hard to say for sure.
Click-click-click. This is a good thing, as far as I am concerned. Here’s why. I bought my Strida 5 in Taiwan just over two years ago (when they were not sold in the US). The freewheel always went “click-click-click”. I was in Taiwan again this summer and took my Strida* with me to upgrade to 18" wheels (couldn’t get the wheels here at the time). The freewheel that came supplied with the 18" wheels was the new plastic one – the one that oozes grease. It was silent. I’ve broken three of these freewheels. From the get-go I thought the silence was very, very odd. If you compare the new plastic one with the old plastic one the difference in quality is apparent. When I heard the alloy wheel go “click-click-click” (despite the stiff movement), my first thought was, “Ahh, something is right here.”
One other note of interest. The alloy freewheel is wider that the plastic one. When I first installed it was rubbing against the rear frame. I then removed a large washer that was situated between the freewheel and the brake disk, and the alloy wheel fit perfectly. I also had to loosen the belt a lot. I might add at this point that I also upgraded to the alloy crank wheel set this summer, and this tends to change the crank-belt-freewheel dynamics.
Fabulous bike paths all around Taipei. With the 18" wheels and the Schwalbe Kojak tires I really picked up speed.
Yes, when coasting or pedaling backward, there’s more resistance. However, I think it may be gradually loosened up after I put in more miles over time. Lubrication may help too. The thing I care most about is still the freewheel’s performance when pedaling forward. And it delivers.
I’m a bit puzzled by all the references above to “plastic freewheel”. My Strida 5 has the usual plastic rear pulley BUT the cast-in freewheel is a standard BMX steel unit. If you buy an aluminum rear pulley, what has that to do with the separate freewheel element in the hub?
Incidentally, an engineered plastic rear sprocket may well outlast an aluminum one, the rubber belt seems to like a lubricious plastic surface to rub on. I have a 10 year-old Bridgestone (Japanese) commuter bike with >6000 miles on it, and the front plastic sprocket (and belt) look just fine. Like Strida, Bridgestone have been using belts for 20 years.
You are right Minkair. The plastic portion of pulley/freewheel assembly is the pulley not freewheel. Unlike the Gates Carbon Drive System, Stida’s rear pulley is not sold separately. Ming Cycle and the few distributors that I know all advertise the assembly as “freewheel”—be it plastic or alloy.
I don’t quite understand how a plastic surface can be “lubricious.” Care to elaborate? Anyway, Ming has been billing the alloy freewheel as an upgrade and my experience confirms it as such. Even if the alloy pulley offers no real advantage over the plastic one, the higher price along affords better quality freewheel.
The real question though is who actually makes the freewheel in the alloy pulley? The standard one (plastic pulley) is ‘Dina’ (from memory), manufactured in Taiwan. I have a blown-up photo of the freewheel inside face marking at home which I will post. What’s yours?
Judging from the markings on the freewheel, each was made by a different manufacturer. The two alloy pulley/freewheel assemblies that I know of (links posted above) do not have any markings on them, therefore it is more likely that their freewheels are not the same as the ones used in the plastic versions.
Great pictures and disassembly hints, Fwd-Bwd!
Wish I could read Mandarin - though the photos are fairly self-explanatory.
My Ming-built Strida has a third make of freewheel - Dicta brand, made in Taiwan by Lida Co.
So, with at least 3 types out there, there must be differences in longevity and smoothness, even in the “plastic sprocket” category. Maybe some other smart riders can share their experiences with this humble, though critical, component…
I got the Dicta / Lida pulley as a replacement under warranty for the original which wore out after one season of winter riding(in Germany). Unfortunately, I don’t know what brand the original was.
Now I am ultra-paranoid about any little skip that I experience. Recently, the frequency of skipping has increased, so I had a look at the teeth on the pulley. I could swear they have already worn down quite a bit after just 9 months of use! (I do about 9km a day, 5 days a week in all weather.)
So I am thinking that maybe I should get the alloy freewheel. Surely it would be less susceptible to corrosion from sand, salt, etc on the roads? On the other hand, I wonder if it would cause the belt to wear faster …
Anyone have any longer-term experience with the alloy freewheel?
Since alloy pulley only has been around for around a year, I don’t think anyone has had long-term experience with it yet. That said, the majority of industrial cog belt pulleys or timing belt pulleys seem to be made of metal. So I guess it should be okay.
BTW, it just came to my attention that the 3rd generation of alloy pulley-freewheel assembly for Strida is available in Taiwan. It looks identical to the 2nd gen but according to reports its ratcheting noise is much lower. I don’t know if Strida Europe sells it though.
I had very similar experience at November.
Teeth of rear sprocket wore after ~1600km riding at Warsaw from June till November. I ride to work and back totally 20km per day. In my opinion most of this drilling was autumn rides at October and half of November. Full set of freewheel were replaced as warranty repair by polish Strida distributor to aluminium alloy set. From some more investigation on Google and on polodeluxe photos on Flickr I fond such example: flickr.com/photos/polodeluxe … 597171984/
It looks that some production lots of Stridas have bad quality sprocket on freewheel, wearing fast in bad conditions - rain and some sand and mud on roads, sidewalks and bicycle tracks. Even often cleaning wouldn’t help if you get some mud on belt on the start of the ride.
Other examples as 3000km on Strida thru Sahara shows that plastic rear sprocket can be resistant for wearing.
With alloy sprocket I didn’t ride to much - maybe totally ~250km and I don’t see wearing, but longer distances will show the real resistance.