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Old 06-22-11, 07:33 PM   #1
3speed
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Does it matter how far you spread the drops on the rear of one of those old cruisers?

I've got an old SS that I was told(previously repainted) is a Murray hanging in the storage unit. I've also got a set of aluminum MTB wheels with 9 speed set-up that would make the bike lighter and more versatile. Would it be safe to spread it far enough to fit those wheels? MTB spacing is 135mm. Otherwise maybe I could re-lace the rim onto a 9sp road hub if 135mm is too far but 130mm would be OK. It would probably make a really cool little 1x9 town cruiser/grocery getter if I can figure out the crank situation.

If it helps answer the question at all, my bike looks pretty much like this, but without the tank or racks.
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Old 06-22-11, 09:13 PM   #2
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You spread her that far, she'll complain for sure, and probably rub somewhere.

Going from what is likely 120 or 126 to 135 is a Lot. Even going to 130 from 120 is a stretch. (I can't escape the puns)
However, it's an older bike and may work. Most likely, if it does, you'll have chain rubbing on the outer cog.

Try to guage the clearance, then trial and error is your friend. It's steel, she'll recover. Maybe even be grateful.
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Old 06-23-11, 04:56 AM   #3
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if you want to make it a multispeed, I would go IGH. if you just want to lighten it up, look at Niagara or Bike Island for alloy cruiser wheels. how are you going to attach the RD?


don't forget, once you spread the rear triangle you have to make sure the frame is now straight and the dropouts parrellel.
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Old 06-23-11, 06:08 AM   #4
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If you are using a QR hub I don't think it will work out to well, if you get a solid Axle though I would try it using a hanger claw for the RD. The trick is opening both sides up evenly a little at a time. If you have a one piece crank you can either get a square taper BB adapter and use a 3 piece crank or rob a one piece triple crank from a cheap MTB. I have a old Royce Union 3sp frame that I want to put a 7spd MTB wheelset in some day and don't see why I couldn't make it work. If you know someone at a LBS that can help set it up so everything is square when you are done spreading it that would be the ticket.

Most likely it has 110 or 120 spacing stock.

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Old 06-23-11, 06:20 AM   #5
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If it's 120 going to 135 isn't really much of a stretch... 7.5mm each side isn't a huge amount, not much more than a 1/4". I doubt the dropouts and frame were made to very high tolerances anyway.
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Old 06-23-11, 11:33 AM   #6
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if you want to make it a multispeed, I would go IGH. if you just want to lighten it up, look at Niagara or Bike Island for alloy cruiser wheels. how are you going to attach the RD?
I was thinking of using an old SA 3sp hub I have and building it with the MTB rims as lighter wheels for it, but I know she has at least one pretty good hill and she's not a strong rider yet. This bike would be basically getting her to start riding(A Peugeot mixte I upgraded didn't end up being a good fit for her). I was gonna use a claw to hang the RD. Hopefully alloy wheels, bars, stem, and seat post will lighten this thing up and the gears will make it so she can use it without having to struggle on hills.
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If you have a one piece crank you can either get a square taper BB adapter and use a 3 piece crank or rob a one piece triple crank from a cheap MTB.
I didn't know cheap MTBs had those. Thanks. I know some BMX bikes did, but they seem to be hard to find. And I actually just found a shop that I'd love to take the bike to to have the drop outs aligned, etc. I took a bike there for something but didn't end up having it done, but I think it's the best shop I've ever found. The guy seemed awesome and really nice. I'd love to give them some business.
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If it's 120 going to 135 isn't really much of a stretch... 7.5mm each side isn't a huge amount, not much more than a 1/4". I doubt the dropouts and frame were made to very high tolerances anyway.
That's what I was thinking. And this old thing is definitely a sturdy build. Pretty sure I could drop a grenade on it and it would be fine. I just wanted to double check here before I went bending anything.
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Old 06-23-11, 12:12 PM   #7
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I was thinking more along the lines of a 7 or 8spd IGH

this sounds like a huge undertaking. have you considered cable routing and how to afix them to the frame? sounds like you may have zip ties everywhere when you get done. maybe a 8spd Nexus with a coaster brake is the to go.

have oyu considered finding a nice MTB and putting slicks and tighter cassette on it?
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Old 06-23-11, 12:33 PM   #8
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If you haven't taken it apart yet, you probably don't realize how heavy that frame is. Lighter wheels wouldn't hurt on this bike, but the bare frame and crank will already weigh more than many complete road or mountain bikes.
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Old 06-23-11, 12:44 PM   #9
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Bending the stays apart to make room for the wheel is probably okay, but when you're done you have to make sure the dropouts are perfectly parallel, which will probably mean bending them both back a bit. Bike shops have a tool for checking this; you might want to have them do the job. Parallel dropouts are really important if you're going to use an internally geared hub, otherwise you'll have terrible shifting. Any hub, IGH or otherwise, is guaranteed to suffer uneven cone wear and probably a broken axle before very long.
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Old 06-23-11, 01:19 PM   #10
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I was thinking more along the lines of a 7 or 8spd IGH

Have you considered finding a nice MTB and putting slicks and tighter cassette on it?
I figured you meant a IGH with more gears, but I don't really have $100 to spend on a hub for this and she may end up deciding she doesn't want to ride it much anyway. I have considered the MTB route, which I may end up going with. Maybe I'll think on this some more before I go ahead with anything.
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Old 06-23-11, 03:02 PM   #11
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3speed, Is this a coaster brake bike? I think they're closer to 115 mm.

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Old 06-23-11, 03:08 PM   #12
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If it's 120 going to 135 isn't really much of a stretch... 7.5mm each side isn't a huge amount, not much more than a 1/4". I doubt the dropouts and frame were made to very high tolerances anyway.
+1 and honestly if its just a slap-together and ride kinda thing I wouldn't even bother trying to set the rear. Just use some caveman strength and muscle the wheel in. It'll snap right back to whatever it was when you take the wheel out.

If you're gonna do a 1x9 be sure to get your chainline nice and centered up on the 4/5 gear so you get OK chainline throughout the range.
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