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  1. #1
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    Convert road bike 6spd-->10spd

    Just got a new old bike (1984 Trek road bike) with a 6 speed free-wheel. I'm upgrading to 700c wheels, want to put a 10 speed cassette on it. I have a new 10 spd chain and laying around an 8 spd derailleur. Bike has original downtube friction shifters. So once I have a 10 spd cassette, what else do I need... new derailleur (can i use the 8 spd)? new shifters?

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    You will need new wheels at a minimum. There are no 10-speed freewheels so you will need a freehub and a 10-speed cassette.

    Your frame is spaced 126 mm and current 8/9/10-speed hubs are 130 mm so you will either have to force the new hub into the dropouts or have the frame "cold set" to the wider spacing. This can be done with steel frames but is not recommended for aluminum.

    Your downtube shifters will most likely still work if you are content with friction shifting. Otherwise you will need new shifters. There are 10-speed indexed downtube shifters and they would be the lowest cost upgrade. Your 8-speed rear derailleur should still work.

    BTW, be sure your brakes will adjust down far enough to match the 700c wheels if the bike now has 27" wheels. You need to lower the brake shoes by 4 mm.

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    this project is a great deal of work and it might be worth you while to sell the bike and buy a new bike from one of the many bike shops that are currently looking to get rid of their 08 models.

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    1 bike 2 many. Butterthebean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crocodilefundy View Post
    this project is a great deal of work and it might be worth you while to sell the bike and buy a new bike from one of the many bike shops that are currently looking to get rid of their 08 models.
    Completely depends on the bike in question. I think Hillrider hit the nail on the head in the previous post and showed how simple it really can be. He touched on the key issue though....is the OP willing to stick with downtube friction shifters? If so, it can be as simple as a new rear hub and chain (the rear end has to be respaced).

    However, it seems to me that most people who feel they need 10 speeds in the rear usually do want brifters.
    Last edited by Butterthebean; 01-26-09 at 02:57 PM.
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  5. #5
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soyned View Post
    Just got a new old bike (1984 Trek road bike) with a 6 speed free-wheel. I'm upgrading to 700c wheels, want to put a 10 speed cassette on it. I have a new 10 spd chain and laying around an 8 spd derailleur. Bike has original downtube friction shifters. So once I have a 10 spd cassette, what else do I need... new derailleur (can i use the 8 spd)? new shifters?
    You can fit a road 10 speed hub into the dropouts without too much trouble just by forcing them in place. It's only 4 mm difference and there's plenty of spring in the rear triangle for that. If you stick with friction shifters, you should be able to get away without changing too much. The 8 speed derailer will do just fine.

    There might be some issues with the chainwheels (they are slightly thicker) but I'd try them before changing them.

    Think long and hard before you go doing much else, however. Don't invest too much in an old bike unless it's something special.
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    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    If that's an aluminum-framed bicycle, forget it. You can't bend aluminum to fit a 130mm set-up. It would break, rather than spread & snap back like a steel-framed bicycle.

    If it's steel, you shouldn't have much trouble. And friction-shifters don't care if you have 2 cogs, or 10. Neither do RD's. You'll have to adjust them to fit the Hi & Lo on the new cassette. And, probably the FD as well.

    Good luck!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cateye View Post
    Only panthers007 is stupid enough to believe that this is a good idea.

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    Older r/ders may not have sufficient chain wrap or lateral movement and can often only accommodate a pretty small largest cog.
    Doubt the chain will fit the old rings...

  8. #8
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    Are we sure that friction shifters pull enough cable to cover 10 speeds? I know people do it all the time with levers intended for 7 going up to 8 or 9. But 6 to 10? My guess is that it would work, but I don't know.

    jim
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  9. #9
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    someone in road asked a similar question about modernising a bike. here is my reply which might be relevant here too. Note i did not have a freewheel. i had a freehub and cassette as you will need for 10 speed.

    i upgraded my 7 speed downtube shifting steel bike from early 90's last year to 10 speed shimano 105. I didn't need to increase the spacing on the rear as it was 130 already. I bought the necessary parts gradually and only if what i had was incompatible after trying. By the end of the process this was what i had to get/change.

    1) STI shifters
    2) cable stops with adjusting barrels to go on the bosses where the downtube shifters are
    3) New 10 speed compatible wheels (you only really need a new freehub body but then you will need to redish the wheel, but my old wheels were coming close to needing replacing anyway and i don't have a truing stand. if you do this i suggest leaving this bit to lbs).
    4) cassette
    5) Front derailleur. You probably don't need to change this. All the advice i read said i shouldn't need to but i found my rx100 fd was designed differently from modern fds. mine had an angle so some of the cable pull translated into a backward movement so the full push of the sti was not all translated into the same amount of lateral movement
    6) rear derailleur. You probably don't need to do this but my rx100 did not have a range of movement to reach all 10 cogs. It was just one cog short
    7) chain. needed the narrower 10 speed chain

    my crankset worked fine. shifted clean as a whistle
    Last edited by coasting; 01-26-09 at 05:04 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterthebean View Post
    Completely depends on the bike in question. I think Hillrider hit the nail on the head in the previous post and showed how simple it really can be. He touched on the key issue though....is the OP willing to stick with downtube friction shifters? If so, it can be as simple as a new rear hub and chain (the rear end has to be respaced).

    However, it seems to me that most people who feel they need 10 speeds in the rear usually do want brifters.

    brifters was my main motivation. the extra cogs was an added plus but in itself would not have been worth the effort. i never felt the 7 speed was inadequate and the range i got with 10 speed i could have got for 7 speed. I love the ease of shifting of the new stuff but i miss the downtube too

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    I have experience with doing this so let me add my 2 cents.

    You can easily get a 130 spaced 10sp wheel into 126 spaced dropouts with a steel frame. Aluminum is a different story. You don't need to cold set a steel one.

    The only limitation on shifters and rear derailleurs is whether there is enough throw to make all the gears. But consider this, the spacing on a modern 10 is only slightly wider than an old 6. That's how we got to 10 in the first place, by making it narrower.

    A modern Hyperglide cassette and chain will shift much better than the old 6 speed ever did with the same shifters and derailleur. In fact, it shifts so much better that you may even not care about the indexed shifters. Try it before you buy the expensive shifters.

    With narrow spacing on the cassette, you no longer get stuck between gears like you did in the old days. It only takes a small shift to move the chain, and it always goes on solid.

    The front chainrings MAY be a bit wider than the 10speed chain likes it to be. On my bike the small ring in front is a bit noisy, but the large ring is fine. Try it and see.

    There are no compatibility issues. You can run Campy shifters with Shimano Derailleurs with SRAM cassettes or any other combination.

    The big improvement in shifting over the last 30 years isn't the indexing. It is the ramps on the cassette and chainrings, and the chains. These make shifting much better, and if they had been invented before the indexing craze would probably have delayed the move to indexing. The shifts are smoother and quieter with friction shifters, no clunk, no click.

    And lastly, here's a pic of my setup. The wheels, cassette and chain are Shimano 10sp, the shifter/derailleur is vintage Campy, with a Zeus crank for good measure.


  12. #12
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    Damn, now I want to try it.
    Cross Check Nexus7, IRO Mark V, Trek 620 Nexus7, Karate Monkey half fat, IRO Model 19 fixed, Amp Research B3, Surly 1x1 half fat fixed, and more...
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    OP Update

    Thanks for all the advice... I've decided that an 8 spd cassette will probably fit my needs adequately, and am leaning towards that instead. Buying tomorrow, so if anyone has any last words one way or the other they would be much appreciated. I want to go with 8 spd because components are cheaper, supposedly more durable (thoughts?), and I think it will be a little easier to friction shift between fewer gears. Also since I have a perfectly good 8 spd derailleur I might as well use it on an 8 spd cassette.

    Side note: If I want to later convert to brifters are they available for 8 spds? I've been hearing confusing reports on this.

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    8-speed is two generations (soon to be three) out of date and components are getting harder to find. Brifters for 8-speed will, of course, be available for years and years (hey, 5 and 6-speed stuff is still around), but harder to find and more expensive.

    You might as well go with 9-speed. The cassettes fit the same hubs, shifting won't be tricky and, since all MTB groups are still 9-speed, the components will be easier to find for quite a while.

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    Was told that 9 and 10 spd things are for racers only, and 8 speed is perfectly good. Counterpoint?

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    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Make sure the 8-spd. cassette is compatible with the hub. And the rest of the drivetrain - including your shifters.

    I have an 8-spd. Miche cassette on a Campy 8-spd. hub. And a 52 - 42T Campy SR cranks. I use a friction, downtube, shifter. And my 16-spd. bicycle shifts flawlessly. I think you'll enjoy this set-up.

    Happy Trails!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cateye View Post
    Only panthers007 is stupid enough to believe that this is a good idea.

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    Hub compatibility

    Well my hub is at a shop right now getting built into a wheel. How do I know what speed cassette it's built for? I looked online but couldn't find any specifications for that detail. Did find a couple sites wehre people described their set-up with that hub and 9 speeds. Can I put an 8 spd with a spacer? Or should I try to use a 9 spd cassette with the 8 spd derailleur, might be harder to shift a speed further from 6 spd shifters? (I'll have to get a new chain either way.) It's a 2009-made touring hub if that makes any difference.

    And yes it is a steel frame, and it's nice, and I plan to love it for a long time.
    Last edited by soyned; 01-26-09 at 10:35 PM. Reason: update

  18. #18
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
    If that's an aluminum-framed bicycle, forget it. You can't bend aluminum to fit a 130mm set-up. It would break, rather than spread & snap back like a steel-framed bicycle.
    That's just wrong. You can't cold set aluminum but you can flex the stays. 4mm is around 1/8" and even a bike with super short stays like a Cannondale 2.8 frame can be flexed from 126mm to 130mm without breaking. Aluminum may not be as tough as steel but it's not that fragile either.

    I doubt that a 1984 Trek is aluminum anyway.
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  19. #19
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgedwa View Post
    Are we sure that friction shifters pull enough cable to cover 10 speeds? I know people do it all the time with levers intended for 7 going up to 8 or 9. But 6 to 10? My guess is that it would work, but I don't know.

    jim
    8, 9 and 10 speed cassette fit in the same space. If the derailer will shift 8, it'll do 10.
    Stuart Black
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  20. #20
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    I was taught that this was a very bad idea. That one should only use that which an aluminum frame is designed for. If it's 126 - use 126. Etc. But I doubt it's an aluminum frame also.

    As for your questions, ask at the LBS when you go to pick it up. I'll wager it's a Shimano-compatible hub. Which means it will accept SRAM cassettes as well. If it's a campy hub - your choices become much more limited - and expensive.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cateye View Post
    Only panthers007 is stupid enough to believe that this is a good idea.

  21. #21
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    Finally dug the answer out of a technical page I didn't read carefully before.

    "Can I use a 10spd Shimano or SRAM cassette on my FSC Cassette hub?
    - Yes you can. Our cassette hubs will accommodate 8/9/10 speed systems."

  22. #22
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Good news! What brand of 8-spd. cassette do you have your eye on?

    And, as an aside, my Puch frame from 1982 is spaced 130mm in the rear dropouts.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cateye View Post
    Only panthers007 is stupid enough to believe that this is a good idea.

  23. #23
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    I don't know, maybe a shimano xt? I like the aluminum fitting. Whatever the LBS has in stock.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by soyned View Post
    Was told that 9 and 10 spd things are for racers only, and 8 speed is perfectly good. Counterpoint?
    8-speed is perfectly good but it's obsolete. 9 and 10-speed are not "just for racers", they are the current standards and used by racers, tourists, fitness riders, commuters, etc., Right now 9 and 10- speed components are much easier to find and have a better choice of components.

  25. #25
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    But if you can find the shifters, finding chains and cassettes for 8 speed is a breeze. And you can expect better longevity in the drivetrain with the wider spacing. Not as good as the 6 speed, but better than 9/10.

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