Originally posted by oceanrider
I'm talking to the owner of an LBS about doing a partial rebuild on my Nishiki 10 speed. First I want to start with a good wheelset. He recommends a change to a 7 speed cassette vs. a freewheel.
Can someone explain the difference between a freewheel and a cassette? I know what a cassette is but I guess I don't know what a freewheel is. And why go to 7 speed vs. 8 or 9 speed?
You'd have to debate whether it's a good idea to buy a new bike (probably too expensive, from your other comments), or a good used
one (through a LBS or garage sale), or to improve your bike. I'd suggest you look carefully at the last two options and only upgrade yours if its geometry truly suits you well.
If you buy new wheels, a cassette is better than a freewheel, as you will see on Sheldon Brown's website (at this page
Another factor to consider is the OLD
, or the width between dropouts.
To put it simply:
- You have a 5-speed freewheel.
- The axle of a cassette-based wheel is stronger because bearings are better placed.
- You probably have 120-mm OLD, which is too narrow for anything modern. It's fairly easy (for LBS) to space a steel frame from 120 to 126 mm, but harder -- sometimes impossible -- to do from 120 to 130 or 135 mm. Alternatively, a 7-speed wheel may be done on a 120-mm OLD, although it will be a bit weak (too much dishing in the wheel).
- If you go for 7-speed cassette, your wheel will be stronger than it was with a freewheel. 7-speed cassettes are also easier to find than 7-speed freewheels (a nice thought if you need to change it in a few years).
- Going all the modern way to 9-speed cassette involves too much frame spreading. You might also need a new deraileur.
- With 7-speed, your current deraileurs and shifters will work. The deraileur might be a problem if you replace a 14-28 freewheel by a 12-32 cassette.