Icetoolz 2 prong Suntour freewheel remover


If you followed my Coronado children’s bicycle restoration you may know I needed to get the freewheel off and replace some spokes.

Two prong freewheels are notoriously tricky to remove. As with any part installed for 20 years plus, removing it, even with the appropriate tool is often a challenge.

In the case of two prong freewheels, the purchase is fairly poor, relative to a more modern Shimano cassette removing tool, which has many more splines. Having only two prongs on the tool and freewheel places a high tension on these two points, resulting in a greater likelihood of damage, slippage, injury and all that stuff.

Many people suggest tapping the freewheel out with say a screwdriver or a hole punch, rather than bother with a dedicated tool, but this can irreparably damage the freewheel and result in the need for a replacement. Presumably tricky to find one that matches the hub thread etc…

I opted to get the proper tool, on the basis it would increase the chances of my freewheel surviving (on which the teeth are good for thousands more kms), and that it would be useable on all my bikes with Suntour 2 prong freewheels.

So I recently purchased a freewheel remover tool on eBay, made by Icetoolz, and thought I would give a quick overview.

The tool looked decent, and was proposed for a good price. The tool proposed by my local bike shop cost significantly more making it unfeasible for only occasional use.

The seller shipped quickly and it was received within a week or so, from Taiwan. The tool looked well made and solid, but on using it I found a couple of issues.

Firstly, due to the size of the tool, the axle nut cannot be screwed on top of it. This would help to avoid the tool slipping off the freewheel while being loosened. (I know the chain whip is not required, but the photo was taken before I figured that out…!).

photo 1 (1) photo 2 (1)

Secondly, on applying torque, the tool seemed to deform and lose some metal shavings into the body of my freewheel. Not good. Also the freewheel has been slightly damaged… Photos below.

IMG_2601.1 IMG_2603.1 IMG_2605.1 IMG_2606.1 IMG_2607.1

So, all in, not a great tool from Icetoolz.















In fairness, the eBay seller ( did refund me without requiring me to send the tool back to Taiwan. Nonetheless, this leaves me no closer to replacing the spokes!

Of course buying a new wheel would be so much easier….

Curb find of the week : Scott CX carbon fork


The curb finds continue! The latest one is a Scott carbon fork.


The fork is beautifully finished and extremely light as one would expect. The first thing to stand out is the addition of brake posts typically seen on mountain bikes, not road bikes. Which, along with the CX in the name, indicates this is a cyclocross fork, and the posts are for cantilever brakes.

Cyclocross seems to be having a bit of a renaissance, though it does seem a little odd to me to essentially use lightly modified modern road bikes for off-road use and forgo the benefit of suspension, wider tyre footprint and various other modifications integrated into the modern mountain bike. Cyclocross predates the MTB, so I guess it’s a bit like reviving real tennis or Queensberry rules boxing. Why not?

Now, being more of a classic bicycle fan than a weight weenie, I am not completely up to speed on the latest and lightest in the world of road bikes. Nonetheless, unless you’ve been living under the sea for the last 20 years, you’ll know the future is carbon-flavoured.

My first experience of riding with carbon bike parts was on a 2007 Lemond Chambery (carbon fork, seat post and rear stays) and it was very positive. The difference between riding a 1970s or 1980s steel bicycle and a more modern bike is phenomenal (though not just due to the addition of carbon, but many other developments). While I do love classic bikes, I think modern bikes offer real improvement in almost every area (comfort, speed, safety and performance) and are also a great pleasure to ride. But that comes with a downside, initially one of cost as new components seem horrendously expensive, but also due to the characteristics of the material itself.

When I found a carbon fork, thrown out with the rubbish, I was pretty pleased. The next thought to go through my mind was that it surely must be damaged, but a good close look revealed no damage whatsoever to the paint finish, no cracks and nothing to indicate previous crash damage.

Carbon, similarly to (but more spectacularly than) aluminium, is prone to failure and stress damage is difficult to detect. So it is not practically possible to be certain that a piece is safe to re-use. Which brings us to a real problem with modern components and materials.

If you can’t be sure a component is safely useable, then that will either kill or severely limit the second-hand market. Many early aluminium frames have a bad reputation for cracking and failure. I do wonder whether these fears are exaggerated through repetition, but the reality is these frames are relatively sparse today though they were an important part of bicycle frame history.

Either user confidence in carbon fibre will increase, and allay the fears of unpredictable failure, or we can expect to see far fewer “vintage” bicycles from the 90s onwards, 30 years from now.

I think that would be a shame, as these frames are really beautiful and an important part of our future cycling history.

I am unlikely to make a cyclocross rebuild as I’m unlikely to ever ride cyclocross (you never know…), but these forks could potentially be reapplied to a hybrid and used with v-brakes. That might make for a pretty sporty town bike. Or a horrible “Frankenbike”… We shall see!


IMG_2483 IMG_2487 IMG_2479 IMG_2476

Curb find of the week : A wolf for halloween!


Definitely the best curb find yet, I recently came across an abandoned MTB frame, partly stripped and left by some bins. At first glance it looked like an unloved low-end mountain bike, but a second glance revealed some nice components which would never grace a supermarket bike.

I had never heard of “Steppenwolf”, which isn’t perhaps the most inspiring name for a frame. Nonetheless, a little research revealed they are a German frame builder, based in Munich. There isn’t much talk of them on UK/US cycling forums, but what little I did find was positive.



The “Tundra” is one of their mid-level aluminium hard-tail all-mountain frames. This is a 2007 model, and was originally specced with a 100mm Reba front fork. Unfortunately, this one has lost its fork, wheels, stem, saddle, seat post and handlebar. So quite a bit of rebuild work needed! Still, scavengers can’t be choosers, right?


The aluminium frame has some nice braze-on cable guides, varied tube diameter, and interestingly allows for both v-brakes and disc brakes (not sure if this is normal in the MTB world, but it seems smart). The tubes have some fairly monstrous welds in them, and while aluminium does need larger welds than steel frames, the welding quality (or final grinding/finishing) on my 2007 Lemond Chambery does seem better. That said, a MTB will be subjected to more stress at the head tube, so maybe this is intentional.


While the bike needs quite a bit of work and lot of new components to resurrect it, it is a terrific piece of luck to have found such an interesting frame, and will inspire a rebuild that would otherwise not have taken place.

What a great find for halloween. Werewolf or Steppenwolf? Surely the bike was “born to be wild” (sorry, I just couldn’t help it…), now it’s on the road to be re-born to be wilder… or something like that =)


Curb find of the week : Deore DX shifter


For some reason I keep coming across tossed bike bits recently, most are in decent condition or need a bit of TLC. All of would be considered in need of an upgrade, or “vintage” depending on your point of view!

One of these finds is a set of Deore DX shifters attached to a rather horrific early 90s mountain bike. The left (front) shifter was in need of servicing, as it would not index on the upshift and would return to the smallest chainring.

According to Velobase, the Deore DX range was introduced in 1990 and was positioned under Deore XT in terms of spec. Incidentally the bike my shifters are attached to is considerably more ugly than the one shown in the Velobase photo.

The shifters themselves are pretty similar to modern shifters, if a little chunkier, giving a “heavier” feel. Both up and down shifting is performed with the thumb, whereas an index-finger downshifter is more comfortable in my view.


In my experience, unless Shimano index shifters have been opened, the various bits inside exploded and were incorrectly reassembled, all that is needed to restore 100% functionality is a little spray lube.

Nonetheless, I made the cavalier error (and I do know better by now…) to open the shifter body to get a better look at the insides, and clearer access for lubing.

As I was unscrewing the cover I could feel there was tension in the unit, indicating a high likelihood that various springs would come flying out and be nigh-on impossible to reassemble. Nonetheless, my logical reasoning clouded by a head-cold and misguided enthusiasm, I continued unhesitatingly. Until the obvious happened, the springs all pinged out of place, and I was left with a nice jigsaw puzzle to reassemble.

Catastrophe? Not at all! Thanks to the internet, or more accurately those kind souls that feed it with obscure guides on how to repair things that most normal people don’t want to fix, within 5 minutes I had found an excellent photographic guide on a complete reassembly of the shifter.

Reattaching the upshift lever along with the return spring proved extremely challenging, though Ian Graeme’s suggestion on removing the upshift trigger’s plastic cover was the way to go.

Within an hour, and with some cursing, the shifter has been reassembled, and now shifts correctly!

And no little pieces got lost in the process either…

Thanks again to Geoff Kuenning, for the super helpful guide!

UPDATE : Fuji Del Rey (1985!)


As it turns out, the Del Rey is not an ’83 as originally thought, but an ’85…!

The very helpful Classic Fuji website contains a collection of old scanned Fuji brochures, which allows one to date the bike, and also to work out which components have been changed since it left the bike shop.

Mine is clearly an 1985 model, based on the paint scheme (Star Silver), front fork (unfortunately no longer half-chromed) and the components, notably the main crank set. Pics at the end of the post for comparison.

Components which have been replaced prior to me getting the bike:

- Brakes (front and rear calipers, levers and hoods): Upgraded from Dia Compe G500N to Aero Compe/Royal Compe II with aero brake hoods.

- Rear derailleur: Upgraded from Suntour LePree to Suntour Superbe Pro.

- Rims: Upgraded from UKAI alloy rims to Matrix ISO C aero rims. Not sure if this is really an upgrade, and as they are brown they don’t really complement the dark grey colour of the frame. No reflectors on the wheels (nor on the frame), which is a visual improvement.

- Hubs presumably have also been replaced but have no markings on them.

- Freewheel has also been replaced as the cogs have far fewer teeth than the stock bike.

- Tires: Have obviously been replaced multiple times. The bike is currently wearing low cost Decathlon road tires, all black. While they do look pretty gnarly and ride well, they are not really visually in keeping with the vintage of the bike.

- Pedals: Replaced from MKS Sylvan Road black to unknown brand/model (not black). Toe clips are present, but are not the original steel cage variety, and have been replaced with plastic Cateye clips with Avenir straps. No reflectors here either…

The original brakes with black calipers and levers arguably look better than the white ones it has now, and would look great with the all black tyres and black bar tape, but at least the current brakes are higher spec and the aero hoods with hidden cable routing gives a cleaner look.

The original silver bar tape looks pretty smart, but I think the current black “pleather” bar tape looks a bit better (also same colour as the saddle), and should be more comfortable than a thinner tape. I can’t help but think the original tape looks a bit like Christmas wrapping tape…

So, if the brochures are to be believed, I guess owning the Fuji Del Rey makes me an “uncompromising recreational cyclist”. What an accolade!


My Fuji Del Rey

Fuji DelRey 002


1985 Fuji Del Rey brochure

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1983 Fuji Del Rey brochure

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And some extra photos for fun:Fuji DelRey 007Fuji DelRey 006Fuji DelRey 008Fuji DelRey 004Fuji DelRey 009Fuji DelRey 010Fuji DelRey 003

Fuji DelRey 005

Thule Round Trip Pro bike bag


Now this is a bike bag! I wish I had this when returning to Europe.

Then again 600USD is a lot of cash… I have never yet spent that much on a bike!!

Child’s Coronado racer : 1st update


Thanks to PeterMC’s timely comment I have returned my attention to the Coronado rear wheel.

It is missing four spokes which were broken by a wheel locking system intended to stop the rear wheel turning when parked and locked.

To replace the spokes, I need to remove the rear cassette (or freewheel?) and which seems to need a 2 pin cassette remover, that I don’t own.

Below are some photos of the rear hub, the rim showing some missing spokes and nipples, some other bent spokes, and (the presumably original) Hutchinson tyres. 65PSI seems pretty high for this type of tyre? The tyres are pretty perished, so will need to be replaced I think. The Dunlop/Woods valve inner tube was replaced with a cheap new Decathlon Schrader tube which is holding perfect pressure after 6 months unattended. Not as per original spec, but likely more effective.

I know it’s a rookie question, but any thoughts re: whether this is indeed a cassette or a freewheel? It is marked as a Suntour Perfect XH, and has a 16?mm cone nut on the axle (which also seems a little bent…). The teeth seem in perfect condition, though pretty dirty!

Of course, it would be much easier just to get a new wheel, tyre and hub, but then why make things easy when you can make them really complicated and drag them on for years!?