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  1. #1
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Thinking about switching to 5-speed -- is this madness?

    So this might be kind of a dumb idea/thread, but when I rebuilt the rear wheel on my '88 Bianchi (6-speed, 126mm), I felt it was kind of a shame to unbalance the spoke tensions so much to dish the wheel. It occurred to me recently that since I don't need super-close gears for the riding I do (commuting, randonneuring, and group rides), I could switch to a 5-speed cluster and move 5mm worth of spacers to the NDS. Despite being obsolete for 40 years or so, there's still plenty of 5-speed freewheels around, and I could have a nearly-symmetrical wheel.

    Has anyone here done this? Or should I just quit thinking about it and ride my bike?

    Thanks.
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    I did that for a heavy guy who also rode with loaded panniers.
    Basically you move 2.5-3 mm of hub spacers over to the off drive side and keep the wheel at 125-126 mm.
    You are effecting your chainline a bit, but not drastically.
    Big to big should be avoided, but you probably already know that.
    Be sure to re-adjust the rear derailleur limit stops and cable.
    You could space the hub over the full 5-6 mm BUT make sure you are spoke length safe on both sides upon the re-dish.
    I don't like the chain line with the full movement.
    The drive side will be getting longer and the off drive side shorter by about 3 turns at the full 5-6 mm of translation.
    If the spoke heads are not fully filled with spoke you may be setting up more problems later.
    If it is an original wheel, you also might find the spoke nipples not that happy to move that much on every spoke.
    Last edited by repechage; 08-15-12 at 02:25 PM.

  3. #3
    MIKE is my name! puchfinnland's Avatar
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    also consider an ultra six freewheel with this change, they are 2mm wider(27mm) then a 5-pack(25)
    a forumite in mexico had one at a very fair price-i was going to use it on a 24" but it just does not work in this application.

    I would love to build a shimano sis 6 speed freewheel that would fit in a 120mm spaced hub
    My name is Michael, and I am a recovering bike addict, It has been 11 months since I purchased a bicycle for myself..
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  4. #4
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback, repechage!

    The wheel was originally built with equal-length spokes, and I used the same length (and new nipples) when rebuilding the wheel -- there's good engagement for all of the spokes. I recently replaced the bottom bracket with a shorter one that comes very close to aligning the crankset with the freewheel. It's still about one gear outboard from being perfectly centered. I'm thinking that with a 5-speed, it'll be so close to perfect that I won't need to worry about cross-chaining being an issue.

    Puch, that's a good idea, too. I'll keep an eye out for Ultra-6 FWs...
    Last edited by ThermionicScott; 08-15-12 at 03:24 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Captain Blight's Avatar
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    I don't think it's a bad idea at all. In fact, this would be a good time to think about making the move to half-step; with proper cog spacing, you could easily have 10 evenly stepped gears; you would, in point of fact, gain useable range.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    I have done this on numerouse bikes I have built at the local bike coop in order to use the realy great suntour, sachs and regina freewheels colecting dust and it works fine. For a 5/6 speed friction setup I find it is Ok to set the key gear where the chain is strait one off high or low. I have been riding one off gearin for about year on personal daily rider no problems.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Paramount1973's Avatar
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    The older freewheels just don't shift as well as newer ones with HG teeth.

  8. #8
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blight View Post
    I don't think it's a bad idea at all. In fact, this would be a good time to think about making the move to half-step; with proper cog spacing, you could easily have 10 evenly stepped gears; you would, in point of fact, gain useable range.
    Now you're thinking! Hmm, if I went to 50/46 chainrings, I wouldn't lose much off the top or bottom from my current setup...
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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  9. #9
    MIKE is my name! puchfinnland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paramount1973 View Post
    The older freewheels just don't shift as well as newer ones with HG teeth.
    we know- please find me a 5 or 6 freewheel shimano w/ hg teeth!!

    I got 120mm spacing and would love to have a tight 6 in there.
    they dont exist as far as I know-
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Paramount1973's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by puchfinnland View Post
    we know- please find me a 5 or 6 freewheel shimano w/ hg teeth!!

    I got 120mm spacing and would love to have a tight 6 in there.
    they dont exist as far as I know-
    Sunrace makes a 14-28 freewheel. The photo looks like the teeth are HG-type:
    http://www.amazon.com/Sunrace-Freewheel-14-28T-5-Speed-Black/dp/B000AYB57S

    They make a slightly more expensive one that is plated.
    http://www.amazon.com/Sunrace-5-Spee...ef=pd_sbs_sg_2

  11. #11
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I can just barely get the ratiometric range (mid-40 gear-inches to mid-90, e.g. 42/26 or 38/23 to 50/14 or 46/13) and progression (6 or 7 percent) I want with 6 cogs in back. A 10-speed setup never did quite cut it for me. Having said that, I do understand your concern about dish-induced weakness. Ultra-6 is the solution I used on the Peugeot and Capo #2.
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  12. #12
    iab
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    I don't understand, why all the hand-wringing about spoke tension on a 6-speed?

    I never had a problem with a 8, 9, 10 or 11 speed on a 130 spacing.

    Sounds like looking for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

  13. #13
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    I don't understand, why all the hand-wringing about spoke tension on a 6-speed?

    I never had a problem with a 8, 9, 10 or 11 speed on a 130 spacing.

    Sounds like looking for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.
    True, there isn't really a problem, since I'm really easy on wheels. Just retro-dorking a little and wanting to shake things up.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Captain Blight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    Now you're thinking! Hmm, if I went to 50/46 chainrings, I wouldn't lose much off the top or bottom from my current setup...
    46/50 pairs very nicely with 13/15/17/20/24/28 for near-perfect halfstep, and will fit in 120mm with Ultra spacing. The Sachs LY and ARIS freewheels shift very smoothly and are all over eBay.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member peazweag's Avatar
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    Maybe not but they shift good enough IMO
    Quote Originally Posted by Paramount1973 View Post
    The older freewheels just don't shift as well as newer ones with HG teeth.
    1980 MIYATA 610

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    I did this a very long time ago, about 1990, and it works great, took almost all the dish out, makes for a stronger wheel, stays true better due to lack of dish. Did it for a different reason though. Because I had a 15 speed with 120 mm spacing, and I forced a 126 mm Campy hub into it, but kept the 5 speed freewheel, instead of switching to a 6 speed. Re-spaced it by moving 3mm from the freewheel side to the other non-drive side. Looks like almost no dish at all.

  17. #17
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    I recommend IRD for 5 speed freewheels. I pulled an old Peugeot mixte out of a dumpster and put an IRD freewheel on it. It shifted and rode beautifully.

    http://store.interlocracing.com/fr76and5sp.html

  18. #18
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    I'm with iab, sort of. Why worry too much about the 6-speed spacing? Yeah, the wheel is probably stronger as a 5-speed but unless you have a history of thrashing wheels to death I wouldn't worry about it.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by x201 View Post
    I recommend IRD for 5 speed freewheels. I pulled an old Peugeot mixte out of a dumpster and put an IRD freewheel on it. It shifted and rode beautifully.

    http://store.interlocracing.com/fr76and5sp.html

    x201, Did your Peugeot have a Normandy rear hub?

    I have a Peugeot I'd like to change the 6 speed freewheel out to one that will give me lower gearing. I haven't removed the freewheel yet, but I wasn't sure if a new freewheel would need to be French threaded. I absolutely love Peugeots but sometimes I think the French workers building them may have had a little too much wine with lunch.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by RosyRambler View Post
    x201, Did your Peugeot have a Normandy rear hub?

    I have a Peugeot I'd like to change the 6 speed freewheel out to one that will give me lower gearing. I haven't removed the freewheel yet, but I wasn't sure if a new freewheel would need to be French threaded. I absolutely love Peugeots but sometimes I think the French workers building them may have had a little too much wine with lunch.
    Couldn't tell you the brand of rear hub--that bicycle is long gone. But it was iso threaded and took an IRD freewheel with no troubles. Actually removing the original freewheel was the trouble. I went to a couple bike shops before I found one that was able to scrounge up the right tool to take it off.

  21. #21
    Senior Member peazweag's Avatar
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    I built an old SR bike up using an old shimano 5 spd freewheel,suntour VX rear derailleur,1/8" chain,and a old set of hawthorne 165mm cottered cranks with a 46 tooth 1/8" chainring .Works great even with the 1/8" chain its my beater bike
    1980 MIYATA 610

  22. #22
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    *bump*

    It occurred to me that I never posted the results of this bit of restlessness. I ended up replacing the 16mm DS spacer with a 12mm that I carefully sanded down to 11. On the NDS, I added 6mm worth of spacers and scootched everything over to the right before redishing. Yes, this comes out to 127mm, but I didn't have the right mix of spacers to make it perfect, and I like how a little extra axle holds the wheel in place while I center it.

    C&V deserves a good picture, but this will have to do until I get a camera:



    Overall, I'm pleased with the change. My OCD likes the nearly-symmetrical wheel with healthier NDS spoke tensions, and I'm digging the challenge of making do with fewer cogs in the back. I have a 14-28T SunRace and a 15-24T SunTour that I can use, depending on the conditions.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Captain Blight's Avatar
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    Cool, glad it worked out! Did you go with half-step or did you leave your rings as-is?
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  24. #24
    iab
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    Overall, I'm pleased with the change. My OCD likes the nearly-symmetrical wheel with healthier NDS spoke tensions, and I'm digging the challenge of making do with fewer cogs in the back. I have a 14-28T SunRace and a 15-24T SunTour that I can use, depending on the conditions.
    Get a flip-flop hub with 115mm spacing. I believe there was only a 1mm difference in spoke length between the the drive and non-drive spoke length. Dish is nearly identical as the spoke tuning was nearly identical. I would have to dig out my wheel-building notes to confirm if you are really interested.

  25. #25
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    Interesting idea Iab. Is that a Premio?
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