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  1. #1
    darn training wheels... gothelin's Avatar
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    Changing a SS chopper to 3 or 7 speed?

    Hi there,

    I'm new to these forums, but I've been lurking for a few days. I have to say - your bikes are just amazing! You've all given me the chopper bug!

    Unfortunately I don't have the equipment (or probably the imagination!) to make my own, so I've been looking at manufactured ones. I've found one that I like, but its a single speed. There are many hills around here - most are pretty mild on my old road bike with gears, but I'm not sure how I'd go when riding a fairly heavy single speed bike. How hard would it be to change it from a single speed to either a 3 or 7 speed? Is it actually possible? Would I need any specialist tools?

    Any thoughts you can give me on the matter would be appreciated!

    CJ

  2. #2
    Ride for Life wearyourtruth's Avatar
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    probably hard, because you'd most likely have to find a replacement wheel, then you'd have to deal with figuring out how to attach a derailer, then figure out how to hold the shifter cable on, then figure out where to put a shifter... the shifter might not be too hard, and you might be able to get clip on cable holders, depending on the diameter of the tube on the bike... any pics of the bike you are thinking about?

    if it's a 26" you might look into an internal 3 speed?

    i dunno, i live in flat flat lubbock so i'm generally converting the other way
    before posting, a "noob" should always ask themselves "could this have been answered by first visiting Sheldon Brown

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Mate, you'll need a Nexus 3, 4, or 7 speed hub. Hard to find here, but available from the US. They're heavy, so find someone that can post to you by USPS surface mail (1-3 months by boat) and have your local shop lace it to your current rim. Most are 36 spokes, so just make sure the hub and rim are compatible. You could also try to find an old bike with a 3 speed hub, but that would be hard to find here as well. Shifters are cheap if you get the grip shifter. The ultimate cool is the Shimano click gearshift, mounted low like a "Suicide" shifter.

  4. #4
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    Have you considered a Giant Stilleto, they can be bought with a 3 or 7 speed gear train.
    That been said I am tossing up fitting a 21~24 speed deraillier system to one of my choppers, bear in mind you will have to spread the rear triangle to fit derailiers or most hub systems above 3 speed.
    Also if you bike of choice has a wider than normal hub you may not be able to fit either option.
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  5. #5
    darn training wheels... gothelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expatriate
    Mate, you'll need a Nexus 3, 4, or 7 speed hub..
    Yeh, that's exactly what I was thinking about! I was reading Sheldon Brown's page about internal gear hubs, which is what made me wonder if it would be possible to put gears on the bike in the first place. Thanks for that info, Expatriate, its exactly what I needed to know. There are actually some sturmey archer 3 speed hubs on ebay at the moment. I'm wondering if they would do the job?

    I'm going to go back and look at the bike again on saturday - this time with a tape measure. I had worried about not having the room to fit the hub in, Geebee. I'm pretty sure I couldn't get any kind of derailier system in there, so I was thinking hubs - I'll just have to get a better handle on the dimensions I've got to work with. Thanks so much for your help guys. Now at least I know it is theoretically possible and what I need to look for to see if it can be done on this bike.

    Geebee, I did actually look at the Giant Stiletto online the other day and I do really like it. However, I really fell for this other bike the second I saw it. Its just one of those irrational things that I can't really explain. It is actually fairly similar in looks (if not colour) to the Stiletto but there are just enough small differences that I'd really like to try and exhaust all my options trying to get some gears on this thing before I give up on it. The Stiletto is definitely a bike I'll be looking at if I can't manage to squeeze gears into this one.

    The only concern I have about getting the Stiletto is that it would have to be sight unseen. I've had the chance to actually sit on the other bike, adjust things to suit me, ride it, etc and I know that it fits me (I'm a fairly short woman), but I've yet to find a Stiletto in any of the LBS that I've visited. In fact I've only found one bike shop (out of all 7 I've visited in a 100km radius - I live in the boonies! ) that had anything other than pretty much standard mountain or road bikes. Guess I know which shop I'll be going to get help with my new acquisition, huh?

    Wow, that ended up being really long. Sorry about that!

    Short version: Thank you so much for the advice, to everyone who replied. Thanks to you guys I'll be able to find out the info I need to work out if this is possible. I really appreciate it. I'd be happy to update you on my progress if you're interested.

    CJ

  6. #6
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Come to Newcastle, and I'll sell you a Stiletto. The SA hub should work fine, just not as common as a Shimano.

  7. #7
    darn training wheels... gothelin's Avatar
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    Its a deal. I'll make the 600km round trip to Newcastle for a Stiletto if I don't manage to wrangle some gears into this thing. I just found a shimano hub on eBay too. I'm guessing I should go for the shimano over the SA? I've emailed the sellers to find out some dimensions, so I guess it all depends on which is the better fit.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Spacing shouldn't be a big worry, as long as the drilling is the same. 600km? That may be a bit far. And a long train ride too.

  9. #9
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    Old English 3 speeds are common as dirt here in Minnesota USA, so I assumed they would also be common in AU. Raleighs went from 40h rear hubs to 36h in 1973. Schwinn 3 speeds were always 36h as far as I know.

    Better yet for a chopper would be a 2 cable Sturmey 5 speed with the top tube Stick Shifters.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Assume nothing about Australia. We have a limited selection of everything, but they make up for that by charging us at least 2x the US price.

  11. #11
    darn training wheels... gothelin's Avatar
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    The train ride is long - but there's some very pretty scenery along the way. We do seem to get royally buggered when it comes to both selection and prices. But really, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else, so I can deal with that. Well, I wouldn't mind living in Alaska or Antarctica either, however I suspect I would have more problems with selection and prices in either of those places than here. And it also might be a smudge difficult to cycle in Antarctica...

  12. #12
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Nope. They make some really sweet bikes with low gears and super fat tires. Look them up - they're good for sand too. I just got a box of parts from the US, and paid about AU$10/lb for postage by air. That's about $22/kg. A Nexus hub from the US would probably be in the 2 kilo range. If you can source one locally, that may help soften the sticker shock. What bike are you looking at?

  13. #13
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    Another possible source is the tip shop if you have one in your area, I picked up both a shimano and sturmey archer 3 speed still in the original bikes for $18 the pair (complete old road/cruiser style bikes). the shift levers were ruined but I have the shimano in 1 of my choppers using an old 5 speed deraillier thumb shifter (just use 3 of the positions, works great) and I am trying to decide where to use the SA one,if I don't go the deraillier route on the other chopper it will end up in that.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Re: Riding your bike in the snow.

    CLICK ME!!!!

  15. #15
    darn training wheels... gothelin's Avatar
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    That is amazing, Expatriate. I never thought I'd see a bicycle on the snow in Antarctica.

    Geebee, that's a great idea! I'll have to investigate.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Yeah, they work on sand too. I'll search for the other one that I saw - it's a bit less extreme.

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