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Old 09-20-06, 09:24 AM   #1
jgedwa
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freewheel question

I have an older Nishiki that needs a freewheel. It is currently a 10 speed with friction shifting.

The replacements I am seeing are 6 or 7 rings. Can I put this on my current wheel as is? Seems like it will have to be wider and therefore will at least change the dish.

In a related question, I may need new wheels altogether for this bike, can I use a cassette instead of a freewheel? I am getting conflicting answers from LBS guys.

thanks in advance,

j
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Old 09-20-06, 09:59 AM   #2
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1) There have been several 5/6 to 7-speed conversion threads on this forum within the past month. A quick search will answer most questions you will have.
2) New wheels might require coldsetting the rear spacing. If you can fit a wheel with a freehub, there's no reason you can't use a cassette.
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Old 09-20-06, 10:07 AM   #3
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Your frame and wheel wheel are likely to be 120 mm between the rear dropout faces and hub locknuts. 6/7-speed hubs and frames are 126 mm and current 8/9/10-speed hubs and frames are 130 mm.

Assuming it is 120 mm, you will have to add spacers to the drive side of the hub to change the locknut spacing so it will fit a 6 or 7-speed freewheel. Your current axle may be usable but the axle protrusion into the dropouts will be reduced from 5.5 mm to 2.5 mm on each side. You will also have to spread (cold-set) the frame wider to accomodate the wider hub and you will have to redish the rim.

You cannnot fit a cassette to your current hub. You could purchase a complete 6/7-speed freehub wheel that would allow you to use a cassette. It would avoid all of the respacing and redishing but still require widening the frame.

A
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Old 09-20-06, 04:26 PM   #4
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Here is a source for a custom built 5-speed that will fit: http://www.loosescrews.com/index.cgi...=441162512819\

And an LBS can order a cheap Prymiad freewheel from J&B.
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Old 09-20-06, 06:50 PM   #5
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thanks

thanks all. Especially the last poster who linked to the custom-build freewheel from loosescrews. That may be the solution right there. Watch out, you may soon get passed from behind by a guy on an old steel frame and nearly-round wheels. j
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Old 09-20-06, 06:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgedwa
thanks all. Especially the last poster who linked to the custom-build freewheel from loosescrews. That may be the solution right there. Watch out, you may soon get passed from behind by a guy on an old steel frame and nearly-round wheels. j
I'd say doing the upgrade to 7 speed. It's not that hard, basically you just have to respace your rear axle and do a tiny bit of redishing... you can ignore the difference in dropout size and just squeeze the wheel into the frame as is (I do this on both steel and aluminum bikes for 1000+ miles w/o any problems).

With 7-speed, you'll have more gear combinations, and you'll be able to get modern shift ramps (e.g. Hyperglide) which make shifting much smoother even in friction mode. I upgraded my girlfriend's 1983 Nishiki from a 6-speed SunTour freewheel to a 7-speed Nashbar freewheel, and it shifts SOOOO much better now.
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Old 09-21-06, 02:50 AM   #7
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I changed from 5 to 7 speed on an old road bike with a straight swap, no respacing or redishing. The critical space is between the small cog and the seatstay. If you have room for the chain to move on and off the cog it will work.
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Old 09-21-06, 02:53 AM   #8
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5 speed freewheels are often found on 126mm spaced frames and hubs - presumably for manufacturing economy in the 1970s and 1980s. I've (like MichaelW) done straight swaps from 5 to 6 and 7 speed with no changes except derailleur limit screws.

- Joel
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