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  1. #1
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    8 speed freewheel

    I'm aware that the issue with 8 speed freewheels is they can cause axles to bend, however, if I'm building a bike for my girlfriend who only weighs 135lbs, is this still going to be a major issue?
    use.
    My gf is new to cycling having only rented a bike once and ridden her moms comfort bike. She liked how upright she was on her moms comfort bike so I'm thinking flatbar is the way to go for her.
    Kindly refrain from telling me not to go the freewheel route for the time being. I recently did a rebuild of an old nishiki to get my feet wet with wrenching again. I'll be taking the drop bars and stem from that bike and putting it on my current flatbar bike and taking the 8 speed shifters from my flat bar and putting it onto whatever frame I acquire for her. I am aware I can use my 8 speed shifters with my existing 7speed freewheel but i figure if i can get her an extra gear safely I might as well since freewheels are so much cheaper than casettes.

  2. #2
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    Since you already have the wheel, go ahead and use it. Yes there is an increased axle bending risk, but it's not like it'll happen tomorrow. As you say she only weighs 135#s.

    Note that the greatest bending force isn't from weight but from chain tension. When hill climbing in low gear the chain tension usually is much higher than the axle weight, and is inboard of the axle ends creating bending load. One thing that helps improve axle strength is a broad locknut on the right side, which provides some cantilever strength off the right dropout.

    BTW- be aware that you'll have to respace the axle for the wider freewheel, and re-dish the wheel accordingly.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdaddy10028 View Post
    I'm aware that the issue with 8 speed freewheels is they can cause axles to bend, however, if I'm building a bike for my girlfriend who only weighs 135lbs, is this still going to be a major issue?
    .

    Probably not, though it depends on the quality of the axle on the hub used also. A Phil Wood has no issues of axles breaking because they're oversized.

    The value of more speeds though , is highly debatable.

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    as for the respacing issue, this is a new wheel, not a vintage replacement wheel. That means I shouldn't have to redish or respace the wheel correct? the nishiki was a 10 speed but i just bought a brand new 130mm freewheel and put the 7speed freewheel on and haven't had any issues.

    As for the value of more speeds, she and I won't be doing any crazy amounts of riding together but I can think of a couple of routes we would take that might get a bit steep. Current 7speed freewheel is 14-34 with the big jump from 24-34. Personally i find the 28tooth cog quite useful so I'd love to be able to use a 13-32 8speed freewheel for her and give her back that 28 tooth gear.

  5. #5
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garthr View Post
    Probably not, though it depends on the quality of the axle on the hub used also. A Phil Wood has no issues of axles breaking because they're oversized.

    The value of more speeds though , is highly debatable.
    Lol.

    Obviously the reason he isn't going freehub is because of cost issues. And you tell him to put a phil wood on there. Save your money and buy a modern 8/9/10 freehub. Cheaper and you have the option of putting 9/10 on that same hub in the future.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  6. #6
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    lol, my gf doesn't necessarily WANT a bike, but she likes us to do things together. I'm in the fitness biz, she comes to bootcamp classes all the time and I train her in the gym a lot but we never do anything athletic TOGETHER. I hate running and then to compound it I blew out my ACL in the winter so i bought a bike and totally fell in love with it and I really think that once she gets comfortable enough with riding in a bit of traffic and has a bike that fits her she would also love it. So far she has ridden two bikes, The first was a giant cypress rental special. It's probably about 35 lbs, has annoying gripshifters , humongous 38mm tires and mtb gearing. She is in great shape but couldn't keep up with me when I wasn't even pedaling. The other bike was her moms specialized crossroads which is similar to the cypress, ridiculously heavy and made for cruising. We live on the 5th floor and her bike is going to have to be carried upstairs. I figure I could easily build her an aluminum frame flatbar down around the 22lb range for relatively short money. I think a huge part of her getting into this is going to be getting on a proper bike. When I bought my giant in february it was eyeopening! I hadn't ridden a bike since my teenage years and I never rode anything fitted to me. One test ride and I was in love with my bike. So yeah, no need for phil wood hubs and crazy amounts of gears.

    I already have a wheelset, bars, stem, flat bar brifters. Ijust bought a truvativ elita 30/42/52 crankset from ebay for $35 and I already have the appropriate bottom bracket. So ultimately I just need a frame and fork which I can get each of them from nashbar for $100 each and i figure they always have crazy deals going on so probably get them both for 80 each. and should be able to build this thing nicely for cheap.

  7. #7
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    reminder. 8s freewheels are wider than 7s freewheels so, unless there was about 5mm extra between the 1st 7s sprocket and the frame, you will need to respace or replace the axle.

    Then you have a choice, you can re-dish the wheel to offset 1/2 the added right side spacing, or you can use a 135mm axle and spread the frame, but probably not have to re-dish the wheel. IMO, the wider axle is the better choice, and if you don't do your own wheel work the axle and QR skewer might come out cheaper.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 08-04-10 at 12:26 PM.
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  8. #8
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    thanks for the info, very useful. I'll just stick to the 7 and should we decide to get her to 8 speeds I'll make the transition over to freehub.

  9. #9
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    8th cog , same space between cogs,N+1, is why frames were made with 130 wide dropouts when 126 was OK before.

    Its not how many gears, It's the Ratios.. build wheels around Phil Wood's freewheel hubs and the axles will not Bend.

    from what I read , consider getting a Tandem, that will be something you can do together, and share the effort ,
    rather than you perhaps dropping her , [and she getting pissed, as a result]

    and if you want drop bars for yourself, but she wants an upright position that can be accommodated.

  10. #10
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    the cost of building wheels with phil wood hubs is more expensive than buying entry level freehub wheels. I can get an entry level freehub wheel for 30 bucks but since i already have a freewheel, I'm just going to build her bike with it.

    Tandem is never going to happen. Lets not forget the coolness factor when dealing with a woman!

    I think what FBNY was getting at was if i was attempting to put an 8speed freewheel on a 126mm frame i could def have issues. In this instance i'd be using a 130mm freewheel hub wheel on a modern 130mm spaced frame. I didn't think the wheel would need to be redished for this but I will defer to you veterans. ultimately it's not that big of a deal, I can still get her a 13-28 7 speed freewheel instead of the 14-34 and it will match the gearing on my 8 speed which is 11-28 (i have the extra top end gear this setup gets me up most hills plenty easy but the 34 tooth bailout is a nice option.)

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