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Old 06-19-12, 08:41 PM   #1
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130mm wheel in 126mm rear dropouts

I've got a 1990s vintage Trek 1400 aluminum road bike with 126mm rear dropout spacing. I want to upgrade my wheelset and have a decent set leftover from another project, the problem is that the rear wheel has a 9-speed not-Shimano freehub and I have been unable to locate a 7-speed freehub for it. I know I can put the 7-speed cassette on with a spacer, but that means I can't narrow the wheel beyond 130mm or maybe 129. I've asked some experienced and well respected techs from two LBSs and am getting mixed responses. I've had one say absolutely do not force a 130mm hub into a 126 aluminum frame, an "I wouldn't do it", a couple "should be OKs", and a "no problem".

Just 4mm (1/16") doesn't sound like much to me, but I've always ridden steel, this is my first vintage aluminum frame. If I narrow this wheel as much as possible, is it safe to flex the rear dropouts to run this wheel or am I asking for cracks/frame failure. I'm asking this here instead of the mechanics section because I want suggestions based on a solid understanding of frame materials and geometry. My other option is a frankenwheel born of my 7-speed hub and the better rim, but as the wheelset I have matches and is in good condition, I'd rather not cobble something if I don't have to. Unfortunately, a completely new wheelset is out of the question for now.
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Old 06-20-12, 06:11 AM   #2
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4mm is almost 3/16" Assuming the rear triangle isn't undersize, it should be possible to just put the wheel in. It probably isn't a great idea to align the dropouts.
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Old 06-20-12, 07:29 AM   #3
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Never mind...posted too quick

Last edited by Live Wire; 06-20-12 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 06-20-12, 02:03 PM   #4
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The difference between 130 and 126 standards is small. Many people have squeezed a 130 hub into a frame made for the 126 standard without issue. Back in the day of 130 emerging, the outer locknuts were beveled so that the act of spreading the drop outs while inserting the rear wheel would be easier. So major manufactures (the big "S") thought this spreading was ok. And back then there were a lot of bonded Alu frames from their biggest few customers (Spec and Trek) built to the old 126 standard.

Now if there's other issues in place, like off standard spacing, damage from an incident or odd hub spacing the bet is less secure in the long term. Andy.
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Old 06-21-12, 10:41 AM   #5
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Thin the spacers on the left end of the axle, to make the hub narrower..

others have mentioned, lock nuts with chamfered edges..
pull in tight dropouts, a bit easier.

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-06-12 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 06-21-12, 01:15 PM   #6
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Old 07-01-12, 09:49 AM   #7
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I've got a 1990 Trek 1500 (aluminum frame) that I stuck a 130mm wheel on without any problems.. It didn't really take any force and there have been no issues riding/shifting for the last few months
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