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  1. #1
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    Fuji Saratoga and 145mm dropout spacing.

    I recently purchased an early 90's Fuji Saratoga touring bike and after removing the rear wheel, I measured the dropouts at 145mm. It appears to currently have a 135mm hub on it, with 5mm or so of spacers on it which leaves almost no axle sticking out, and requires the QR to squeeze the frame to get the wheel in securely. In addition, the hub that's on it is an old 7 speed freewheel so I'd kind of like to replace it anyway.

    I have a Deore XT hub, and I'm wondering how practical it would be to replace the axle and space it out to 145mm. I'm fairly confident I could do the work, but I'm looking some advice on whether or not it's the best idea, and what I'd need to do it. I've been looking around, and Wheels Mfg is the only place I've found that sells replacement axles, and they also sell axle spacers in various widths. However, they only sell to dealers.

    I'm not sure exactly how I'd want to space out the hub, but it would give me the advantage of being able to build a wheel with little or no dish. It's my understanding this might have some effect on the chainline, and I have no idea where the original hub would have put the chainline. I'm thinking that if I go this route, it's probably best to get spacers in a variety of sizes, so I can adjust the chainline easily. Then I could decide if I wanted to go with a normal rim, or an offset rim, depending on where the hub ended up on the axle.

    Does this seem like a reasonable route? Any idea on where I might be able to buy this sort of thing?

  2. #2
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Yes that is a reasonable route. I have an old 7spd (126mm) hub that I really love (its a shimano silent clutch hub) and I am putting it in a frame with 135mm spacing. I basically bought 10mm worth of spacers and swapped an axle with an old 8/9 spd hub and made it work. Works fine. I didn't have any problems but I'm still dialing it in. I thought of the ability to rebuild with little to no offset in the wheel, and I really like it. We'll see what reality looks like though. I am having it rebuilt over the winter with a heavy duty rim. It'll be used for touring.

  3. #3
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    Is the frame steel? If so you could cold set (fancy world for take a 2by4 and bend) it to the 135mm spacing......Sheldon Brown has this listed on his site http://sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html

    good luck

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    Yeah, it is steel, but I don't really want to cold set the frame unless there is a good reason. You can't generally make a hub narrower, but you can make it wider. Worst case I could buy a tandem hub, but they're fairly expensive and I already have an extra hub.

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    I wonder if the first owner cold-set the frame to handle a tandem rear wheel as I don't know of any touring bike with factory dropouts set that wide except the Co-Motion Americano.

    You could fit a tandem axle (156 mm) to the XT hub and space the wheel to achieve a useful chainline while minimizing, or even eliminating dish. That's what I'd do as I would not want to cold set the frame that far.

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    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    I've always wanted to try a mad scientist type experiment: Take a fixed gear hub (which can accept a standard freewheel) and put a multi speed freewheel on one side. Then get a longer axle and space the heck out of it. You'd end up with a multi speed wheel with NO dish. Of course, the dropouts would have to be mega-wide, but with some tandems already at 160mm it shouldn't be too bad

    Of course, I'll NEVER get around to doing this, but it *sure would be fun*!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rykoala
    I've always wanted to try a mad scientist type experiment: Take a fixed gear hub (which can accept a standard freewheel) and put a multi speed freewheel on one side. Then get a longer axle and space the heck out of it. You'd end up with a multi speed wheel with NO dish.
    And this thing would break axles at weekly intervals. Standard width (120 or 126 mm) 5 and 6/7-speed freewheel hubs had a long unsuported section of axle that was vulnerable to breakage. That's why there were very few 8-speed and no 9-speed freewheels.

    Your concept would make that unsupported axle a lot longer and make the axle breakage situation far worse.

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    Any ideas on where I might find a 155mm or so axle, and a variety of spacers? I've found people online selling Wheel Mfg's versions of both, but the spacers only come in bags of 20 that way, and I need a variety, not 20 of one kind.

    Well, I guess I could get 20 1mm spacers, but I suspect it would be stronger with a smaller number of appropriately sized spacers.

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    Try your LBS for the spacers. Most of them have boxes of miscellaneous spacers liberated from a variety of trashed wheels and hubs and they will probably give them to you for the asking if you are a good customer.

    Theoretically you need 5 mm of spacers on each end of the 135 mm hub so a total of 10 mm is the most you will need.

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    So you don't think I'd have to worry about breaking an axle with it extended like that? I called around to 3 different LBSs this afternoon, and one thought I'd have a problem with it, but the other didn't. (It didn't come up at the first place).

    If I did break an axle, is it the sort of thing that's going to be catastrophic, like breaking a fork, or minor, like breaking a chain?

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    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    I rode around on mine for a couple of days without incident, and I"m NOT a light guy. Uber-clydesdale at 325lbs. If I didn't have a problem, I doubt you will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coneill
    So you don't think I'd have to worry about breaking an axle with it extended like that? I called around to 3 different LBSs this afternoon, and one thought I'd have a problem with it, but the other didn't. (It didn't come up at the first place).

    If I did break an axle, is it the sort of thing that's going to be catastrophic, like breaking a fork, or minor, like breaking a chain?
    The drive side bearing is almost all the way out to the locknut for the 135 mm OLD XT freehub and even with an additional 5 mm of overhang, that is a lot less than freewheel hubs used to have.

    A broken axle usually isn't a catastrophic failure as the QR skewer will hold everything together for a while. A friend rode with a broken axle for several days until we noticed it. A nutted hub would be a different story.

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    Thanks for all the great feedback. I found a LBS that sells tandems, and they can order a longer axle, and they've got a variety of different washer sizes in stock they'll sell me for a reasonable price.

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    So I've managed to acquire longer axel, and I'm planning to rebuild the hub with the new axle some weekend soon. One problem I've run into is that it looks like the axle is about 2-2.5mm too long. I'd probably ignore this, except that the quick release skewer is just barely not long enough to deal with this. In addition, it's my understanding that the ends of the axle should be flush with the dropouts, and it's definitely not.

    I'm wondering if it seems practical to cut off the end of the axle? I'm kind of dubious how good of a job my dremel would do at this, and I don't have a bench grinder to do this on. I'm also concerned that I'd need to chase the threads on the end of the axle after doing so, and I don't have a tap and die kit.

    Any suggestions?

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