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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 07-07-14, 05:23 PM   #1
robo
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Rear wheel for 1990 tandem... anyone used Wheel Master hubs?

Our just-purchased 1990-ish Burley Bossa Nova has a 6 speed Suntour XC Pro drivetrain, with a non-Suntour (Specialized?) solid axle rear hub and a 6 speed freewheel.

When we bought the bike I noticed that the spokes seemed looser than ideal, but we went and rode it that day anyway because we were impatient and excited to have it. When we got home, alas, I discovered a broken spoke on the rear drive side. Stupid me.

Anyhow, not having any freewheel removal tools, I took the wheel to the local bike co-op, and asked them to replace the spoke and true the wheel. I got a call today saying that they were unable to remove the freewheel and in fact had broken it in their attempts to do so. (They also informed me that it was actually a 'single speed' wheel, since it had threads on both sides... they were looking at the drum brake threads. Not exactly confidence inspiring, but anyway... )

It's looking like we will need a new hub, and freewheel or cassette. As the wheel is a now-hard-to-find 27" and the rim appears to be in good shape, I was thinking it might be good to keep the rim and just rebuild the wheel with a new hub.

Any suggestions for a hub? It seems that tandem rear cassette hubs start at $200+, but there is this one very cheap model: http://www.amazon.com/Wheel-Master-A...dp/B004MEWSNW/

One obvious issue is that it lacks drum brake threads, but we don't have a drum brake and may not need one (no huge descents here, and our combined weight is about 320 lbs).

Would a new 6 speed cassette work on this, and be compatible with the XC-Pro index spacing?

Also, any experience with this hub? Is it total crap?

Thanks,

Robin
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Old 07-07-14, 05:36 PM   #2
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Do you know what the rear axle drop-out spacing is on your frame (distance between the inner faces of the drop-outs)? And also the number of spokes in the rear rim (the hub mentioned has 40 holes but I've seen Bossa Novas with 48-spoke wheels. If replacing a hub I'd consider switching from 27" to 700c for greater variety and availability of tires - especially if the brakes have enough adjustment for the pads to make the switch (the pads need to move down 4mm).
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Old 07-07-14, 08:45 PM   #3
robo
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I measured the dropouts and my calipers read 142mm between them... which from some googling doesn't seem to be a standard width. Although 2mm is pretty small, so possibly it's intended to be 140. As I don't have the wheel here I can't measure the OLD of that, which might be more conclusive.

I did get an update from the shop - the good news is that they managed to get the freewheel off the hub, with only the freewheel getting destroyed in the process! So if I can find a compatible freewheel, we should be back in business with relatively minimal cost, and the discussion on replacing the hub may have been premature.

Does anyone know if a 6 speed Shimano freewheel like this one (Shimano 14-28 Thread-on 6-speed Freewheel - Harris Cyclery bicycle shop - West Newton, Massachusetts) will be compatible with a 6 speed Suntour XC Pro shifting system? Also, will that freewheel hold up under tandem levels of torque?

I was thinking of a 700c conversion, BTW, but now that it looks like the wheel is OK, i think sticking with 27" makes sense for now, as there are decent tires available (we'll probably get some 27"x1.25 Conti Gatorskins to replace the somewhat aged looking rubber on there now).
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Old 07-07-14, 09:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by robo View Post
Does anyone know if a 6 speed Shimano freewheel like this one (Shimano 14-28 Thread-on 6-speed Freewheel - Harris Cyclery bicycle shop - West Newton, Massachusetts) will be compatible with a 6 speed Suntour XC Pro shifting system? Also, will that freewheel hold up under tandem levels of torque?

I was thinking of a 700c conversion, BTW, but now that it looks like the wheel is OK, i think sticking with 27" makes sense for now, as there are decent tires available (we'll probably get some 27"x1.25 Conti Gatorskins to replace the somewhat aged looking rubber on there now).
I believe the Suntour indexing 6-spd. freewheels used the standard 5.5mm spacing so you should be ok. Since you're getting it from Harris I'd check with them - their website has all the old Sheldon Brown information on compatibility issues.

I agree that since the wheel is salvageable there's no point in switching from 27" to 700c at this time. But if I had to build a wheel anyway I'd tend to opt for the more standard size instead of trying to save a rim.
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Old 07-08-14, 11:57 AM   #5
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New update from bike shop - while getting ready to replace the spoke they noticed some of the eyelets on the rim pulling through... however, they have a NOS Wolber Super Champion 27" 40 hole rim in stock, so they're going to rebuild the wheel with new (straight 14ga) spokes and new rim.

So it's going to be new rim, new spokes, and new freewheel! Whew. At this point I really hope the hub is going to last!

(and yes, it's a rebuild with 27", but since they have a nice NOS rim for a reasonable price on hand, and the front will remain 27", I figured it made sense to go with that. Also I ordered a pair of 27" tires last night, so I'm somewhat committed to that diameter for now!!!)

Last edited by robo; 07-08-14 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 07-10-14, 11:00 AM   #6
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Hi Robo;

To answer your initial question; I have. We have a set of wheels on our T50 (500+lbs team) with Wheelmaster 40H hubs, Velocity Dyad rims and Wheelsmith SS14 spokes. We have a thousand or so miles on them, and I am very pleased. The hubs are easy to service, and come apart with simple tools. I built up two sets of wheels, one with black hubs and one with silver so my wife could choose which went on the T50. I have also purchased more sets of these hubs for my other bike projects. They roll very freely, are low cost, and are well made. They appear to copy Phil Wood in general design, but with compromises for volume manufacturing.

They are also available in 48H. Amazon.com : Wheel Master Hub Rr Aly Sf Qr 48X135 9Scas Tdm Sld Bk : Bike Hubs : Sports & Outdoors

Please note that these are 135mm OLD hubs, no threads for a brake on the left side.

I have 2mm of shims on each side to bring it out to 139mm for the 140mm space dropout on the T50.

I used these hubs to convert our T50 from 7 speed Suntour cassette (LBS broke a chain whip trying to remove it...) to 9 speed; when the original Matrix rim developed a circumferential crack.

Regarding "They also informed me that it was actually a 'single speed' wheel, since it had threads on both sides... they were looking at the drum brake threads." The threading for the brake is the same as the threading for the freewheel - and identical to what is used on flip-flop hubs for SS/fixie.

I hope that the bearings were replaced, cups and cones inspected and fresh grease installed in your hub.
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Old 07-10-14, 01:31 PM   #7
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Thanks for that info Nigel... Good to know there's a low cost option available anyway.
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