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  1. #1
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    can you replace 5 with 6 speed freewheel?

    How do you make sure you can replace a 5 speed freewheel with a 6 speed one? This is on an 80s Fuji Regis. There is about 8-9mm of space between the smallest gear and the dropout, if that matters.

    I ask only because 6 speeds seem easier to find than 5 speeds.

    I replaced my chain and cranks/chainrings recently and now the 16T gear (next to smallest) skips. All the others are fine.

  2. #2
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    What brand of freewheel do you have? You MAY be able to find a replacement cog here on eBay.

    There are two widths of 6-speed freewheels: conventional, designed for 126mm-wide rear dropout spacing, and "ultra," designed for a 5-speed bike's 120mm-wide spacing. If you shop for a 6-speed freewheel, make sure it is an "ultra." A standard 6-speed freewheel is almost as wide as a 7-speed.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  3. #3
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Yes. The reason you have skipping is because chains and freewheels/gears wear together. When you replace a worn chain, you need to replace the freewheel, as well. Just make sure the rear spacing between locknuts on your hub is 126mm.

  4. #4
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peripatetic
    Yes. The reason you have skipping is because chains and freewheels/gears wear together. When you replace a worn chain, you need to replace the freewheel, as well. Just make sure the rear spacing between locknuts on your hub is 126mm.

    Replacing the freewheel/cassette with the chain is only necessary when both have been abused by letting the chain wear for too long. If the chain is replaced when it should be, your freewheel should long outlast your chain. An old 5 or 6 speed freewheel should see at least 3-4 chains over its lifespan, probably 5 or more.

    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    What brand of freewheel do you have? You MAY be able to find a replacement cog here on eBay.

    There are two widths of 6-speed freewheels: conventional, designed for 126mm-wide rear dropout spacing, and "ultra," designed for a 5-speed bike's 120mm-wide spacing. If you shop for a 6-speed freewheel, make sure it is an "ultra." A standard 6-speed freewheel is almost as wide as a 7-speed.
    Yep, what you said. If you can't find an "Ultra" freewheel (and they might be harder to find than a 5-speed), going to 6-speed will require re-spacing your frame and re-dishing your wheel. This isn't a huge deal, but it is time-consuming work.

  5. #5
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby
    Replacing the freewheel/cassette with the chain is only necessary when both have been abused by letting the chain wear for too long. If the chain is replaced when it should be, your freewheel should long outlast your chain. An old 5 or 6 speed freewheel should see at least 3-4 chains over its lifespan, probably 5 or more.
    So we're ignoring symptoms like gear skipping, which is indicative of that situation now?
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  6. #6
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    Thanks, I'll check the dropout spacing. The freewheel says "Maeda Industries" on it. It's 14-28. Most of it works fine.

    I picked up the bike at a thrift store, so I don't know its history or how the previous person rode it. It's possible the chain needed replacement long before I got it.

    I thought maybe it might be a derailleur or chain link problem, but both seem okay, and it's just that one gear, which skips when I work it hard.

  7. #7
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    As I said, it sounds like the gear is worn and no longer matching up with the chain, which is new. In this case, it sounds like the previous rider mainly rode the bike on the single, second-high gear. You can probably do a visual inspection of the cog, compare it to the others, to see this. Sheldon Brown's site has pics of what worn gear teeth look like. Even if you find a 126mm freewheel and the dropouts are 120mm, you can probably just cram it in there. Alternatively, you can 'cold set' the dropouts, but really don't need to. This is really no big deal.

  8. #8
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    I upgraded an old Suteki bike from a 5-speed to 7-speed freewheel by replacing the axel (which was bent) with a longer one and spreading the dropouts for the required spacing for the new 7-speed setup. You can check Sheldon Brown's site on spreading the rear dropouts and you can purchase new axels here.
    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...-Axle&tc=Axles

  9. #9
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    Am I right in thinking that only HT rear ends can be widened by cold-setting; that CroMo ones can't?

  10. #10
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    CroMo will cold-set nicely; ANY steel frame will.
    Top

  11. #11
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    So we're ignoring symptoms like gear skipping, which is indicative of that situation now?
    Nope. The freewheel is obviously worn out. I was only contradicting the statement about cassettes/freewheels and chains needing to be replaced together, since it sounded to me that you were saying that both should always be replaced at once. This is emphatically not true, if you take proper care of your rear cluster. If the chain is allowed to wear too much before being replaced, yes, the freewheel will need to be replaced as well (as in this case, if it is skipping in a couple gears).

  12. #12
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    I've looked around, and it's harder to find a 6-speed ultra than it is to find a 5-speed!

    So I decided to order a NOS Shimano 5-speed online for $23 total. My LBS has used freewheels of varying quality, but I thought new was a better investment since 1) the chainrings and chain are new; 2) I plan to do a lot of riding in the next few months to prep for the STP.

    I hope grolby's right--I'll watch my chain as I put some serious mileage on it. It does seem absurd to replace your freewheel and chain together every single time!

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