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  1. #1
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
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    Touring gears on a Spcialized Expedition

    I have a 1983 Specialized Expedition bike. Currently I am running the original gears which are the front 26/44/48 and the rear of 6 speed 14-28. I know the front chain wheels is not touring savy but as I have been told by a few people that is how they built the bikes back in the day. And for the rear, I would like to have a better range.
    Here is my question: Is it possible to put a larger freewheel range on the back with my frame or am I limited? I do not know much about compatibility with all the different kinds of variables there are out there so I am shooting in the dark here.


  2. #2
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Yes you should be able to put on a better bail out gear. Using the 34 might (or might not) give you troubles with your current rear deraileur.

    Take a look at Harris cyclery, and note the info regarding swapping out to a 7speed freewhweel as well:

    Harris cyclery Freewheels page

    -Nice bike!
    mmmm coffeee!

    email: jfoneg (_"a t symbol thing"_) yahoo (_"period or dot"_) com

  3. #3
    Senior Member skinny's Avatar
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    That rear derailleur will handle a 34t cog no problem.

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    I'm guessing that's a freewheel and not a cassette back there ? Anywho what do you mean "better range" as that's a wide range of gears and all of them quite useful. If you need something bigger than 48/14 you could probably coast just as well. The jump from 44/28 to the 26 front will be a big jump but you shouldn't be changing gears under load anyway. The four tooth difference in front makes each shift in between each change in back.

    I think whatever "better" you'll get is better shifting with shimano cogs,derailleur and rings but the two close chain rings should be very quick and smooth. The problem is 'better' will be a whole new drive train from rings to wheel to derailleur, etc.

    I think you can get away with a 32 cog with that suntour derailleur but you'll find out. The challange is finding a freewheel,,maybe someone has a 7 speed Sachs(?) freewheel out there and you can get the equivalent gears plus one bigger,,but do you need that low of a gear?

    It's a good bike. I forget are the wheels 700c or 27"?

    one other thought, if you find a 7spd freewheel it might have a 13t cog so you'll end up with some larger jumps in the middle with the higher and lower gears.
    Last edited by LeeG; 09-20-08 at 07:41 PM.

  5. #5
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    I'd ride it the way it is currently-- don't make any changes until you ride it awhile.

  6. #6
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
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    I wish I had more time to reply to all your responses but it is 1:18am and I got to get up soon. From reading some of the responses I should tell the other half of the story.
    My stock Suntour Moutech derailleur that is on the bike now is bent, so I have to get a new one. Before I buy a new one I want to make sure I know what kind of freewheel and cogs I will be using so soon down the road I do not have to buy another new derailer to fit a new freewheel set. Make sense? Hopefully it does. I like always like posts that have pictures, it helps us visual people out there make sense to life when looking at the computer screen. Observe.

    Before you mention it... no, my hanger is fine. My LBS said my derailer just needs to be replaced. And being that is 25 years old I think it is time to have some upgrades as well.

  7. #7
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel View Post
    Yes you should be able to put on a better bail out gear. Using the 34 might (or might not) give you troubles with your current rear deraileur.

    Take a look at Harris cyclery, and note the info regarding swapping out to a 7speed freewhweel as well:

    Harris cyclery Freewheels page

    -Nice bike!
    Thanks Camel your link to Sheldon article is helping a lot. What he is explaining on the site is almost exactly what my scenario is. Also thanks for the compliment on my bike. I picked it up on Craigslist and knowing very little about bikes (but learning a lot real fast) I am always scared I made a bad purchase even though I got a great deal on it.

  8. #8
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    I'm guessing that's a freewheel and not a cassette back there ? Anywho what do you mean "better range" as that's a wide range of gears and all of them quite useful.


    The challenge is finding a freewheel,,maybe someone has a 7 speed Sachs(?) freewheel out there and you can get the equivalent gears plus one bigger,,but do you need that low of a gear?

    It's a good bike. I forget are the wheels 700c or 27"?
    Yes, As I just learned from Sheldon article what is on the bike now is a freewheel.
    What I mean by better range is something to climb better with and I felt that the 28 to 44 was to big of a jump.

    I am not sure how low of a gear I need. My plan with bike is to do a cross country loaded tour. But since I have never done one before I am not sure how low or I high I need to go.

    The wheels are 700. I am liking the bike. My current derailleur is bent (as you see above) but the only way it is effecting me now is I can not get in my high and low cog and sometimes it shifts by its self when I hit pot holes or high vibrating roads. Anyway, I am enjoying the learning process I have had with it so far. I am glad I bought it over getting a new Long Haul Trucker where I would just be riding something new without knowing much about it.
    Thanks for your input.

  9. #9
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    First off, I'm not sure there's anything wrong with your rear derailer save adjusting the limit screws. Your derailer hanger (thelittle part of the frame that attaches to the derailer), might be bent and need to be straightened. Without looking at the bike, I can't really tell what's wrong.

    I'd suggest taking the bike to a shop and getting it tuned up. You'll want to make sure the spoke tention is high enough-- you can destroy the wheels by riding on loose spokes. You might need a new chain and freewheel. The bearings in the hubs, bottom bracket or headset may be dry or loose. It's going to cost over $150 for a good rebuild+parts. Let the pros help you get your bike on the road.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Writing from the seat of my pants here, but I think one of the limiting factors for older bikes is the width of the dropouts. If it's a steel frame you can bend those out to accomodate today's wider hubs. Sheldon's pages tell how to do this. It's called cold setting. I bought my wife an old Schwinn racing frame and did the cold set thing to accomodate a newer wheel. It wasn't that hard. You have to do a little fiddling to get it right, but I had it done in about an hour. All I needed was a couple of 2x4's. Now she has a 9-speed cassette on the back.

    My LHT has a 9-speed "Cyclotouriste" cassette on the back (from Harris Cyclery - Sheldon's design), and a Sugino 26-36-46 crankset on the front. I swapped the 26 for a 24 (the smallest that crankset will accept.) Now I'm very happy with my gear range. I did a tour on the Northern Tier last summer, ending in Glacer N. P., and never felt like I needed a lower gear. It might be nice to have something higher for those long level roads with a tailwind, but I was very pleased with what I had.

  11. #11
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Ahh so you just bought it!

    First off, before you get into any upgrades or anything, make sure it fits you! It seems to be an odd size (tall person/shortish reach). Take it out for a longish ride, making fit adjustments as you go-like every few miles.

    Once you know it's an excellent perfectly comfy fit, then think about upgrades/modifications/spending money or time or both on it.

    -If you do need a new rear deraileur, then it may be a good time to think about a further drive train upgrade to 8/9spd at the same time. -$$$-

    -If you determine that the current rear deraileur is useable (or you can get an inexpensive replacement in like new condition), then your expense will be smaller-but likely more time consuming. Spend the time and learn how to do the maintenence on the freewheel/bearings. etc
    mmmm coffeee!

    email: jfoneg (_"a t symbol thing"_) yahoo (_"period or dot"_) com

  12. #12
    The Wheel is Turning The Figment's Avatar
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    I'll bet someone in C&V could help out here too.

  13. #13
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel View Post
    Ahh so you just bought it!

    First off, before you get into any upgrades or anything, make sure it fits you! It seems to be an odd size (tall person/shortish reach). Take it out for a longish ride, making fit adjustments as you go-like every few miles.
    To follow up just real quick before I have to leave....
    Yes I bought it about a month ago. I have put about 300 miles on it so far. My longest being a 75 mile day. From the set up from what the pictures shows above I did not have any knee or lower back pains. The only thing was I was always searching for a better hand position. I have adjusted the tint of the bars all over and what the picture shows seems to be the best.
    When you say it seems to be an odd size, do you mean because the saddle is so high comparison to the bars?
    The frame is a 58cm and I am 6'1. I know that is bit of a stretch I should be riding probably something more like 60cm instead. I went ahead and bought it anyway from the price I paid for it.
    Speaking of which... how much does one think this bike is worth? Minus the saddle and pedals. I am afraid to say how much I paid for it because it could bias people opinion of value. Also, it would be embarrassing to know I paid way to much for it, but if that were the case it would not make that much difference since we all have made stupid purchases.

  14. #14
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
    Writing from the seat of my pants here, but I think one of the limiting factors for older bikes is the width of the dropouts. If it's a steel frame you can bend those out to accomodate today's wider hubs. Sheldon's pages tell how to do this. It's called cold setting.
    OH MY, That looks and sounds scary!

  15. #15
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    don't worry about it, if it's 125mm then cramming in a 130mm wheel is no big deal, the drop outs will spring apart that much. For 135m you should have someone cold set the chainstays if you're shy to do it.

    It's a good bike. I had one for a short stretch and sold a few when I had a shop in the 80's. I'd have to A/B it with the LHT but i would think it's in the same league.

    Go ahead and replace the dereailleur. Any of Shimanos touring derailleurs should do it. That Suntour/cyclone derailluer is nice but they tried to expand the cage while sticking with the smaller cyclone model parrallelogram and have that long arm/spring take up all the slack and it's too much for it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bokerfest View Post
    Yes, As I just learned from Sheldon article what is on the bike now is a freewheel.
    What I mean by better range is something to climb better with and I felt that the 28 to 44 was to big of a jump.

    I am not sure how low of a gear I need. My plan with bike is to do a cross country loaded tour. But since I have never done one before I am not sure how low or I high I need to go.

    The wheels are 700. I am liking the bike. My current derailleur is bent (as you see above) but the only way it is effecting me now is I can not get in my high and low cog and sometimes it shifts by its self when I hit pot holes or high vibrating roads. Anyway, I am enjoying the learning process I have had with it so far. I am glad I bought it over getting a new Long Haul Trucker where I would just be riding something new without knowing much about it.
    Thanks for your input.
    If you get a 7spd freewheel you might need a thin spacer so that the chain can clear the dropout and the wheel re-trued to move the rim over the same amount. Don't know until you do it. Like other said my $.02 is to do nothing if the chain isn't worn but the derrailleur looks worth replacing to me. That long arm really isn't up to the job and some of the auto shifting is a consequence of the skewed angle and weak spring. Are you SURE the hanger isn't bent? It takes a particular tool to check and correct it.

    As it is you have lower than a one to one gear,26front/28rear,that's low enough or you're carrying way too much weight.

    The thing I'd be more interested in, besides replacing the derailleur is the crank length. If you're 6',,and by the way the seat is not up that high for a 6' person which makes me wonder if you have the seat at the right height. Check the crank arms. If they're 170mm it's servicable but if your inseam is more along the lines of 33" then 172.5-175 might be desirable were you to redo the whole drive train.

    personally for me I'd just put on another derailleur and ride it. 44/28 is a perfectly decent hill climbing gear and if you're loaded with stuff then you shift long time before you need to and pedal, pedal , pedal in that granny gear on the middle cogs as you need.

    Get the gears working before going whole hog on the drive train.

  17. #17
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bokerfest View Post
    OH MY, That looks and sounds scary!
    No, it's actually easy to do (having done it myself on two frames). Additionally, setting from 125 to 130mm (if 125mm is the correct width now) is only a 5mm change, which is about this long:

    |-.-|

    So very little spread is needed. Just be sure to check distance of spread for each side since you want it even.

  18. #18
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bokerfest View Post
    To follow up just real quick before I have to leave....
    Yes I bought it about a month ago. I have put about 300 miles on it so far. My longest being a 75 mile day. From the set up from what the pictures shows above I did not have any knee or lower back pains. The only thing was I was always searching for a better hand position. I have adjusted the tint of the bars all over and what the picture shows seems to be the best.
    When you say it seems to be an odd size, do you mean because the saddle is so high comparison to the bars?
    The frame is a 58cm and I am 6'1. I know that is bit of a stretch I should be riding probably something more like 60cm instead. I went ahead and bought it anyway from the price I paid for it.
    Speaking of which... how much does one think this bike is worth? Minus the saddle and pedals. I am afraid to say how much I paid for it because it could bias people opinion of value. Also, it would be embarrassing to know I paid way to much for it, but if that were the case it would not make that much difference since we all have made stupid purchases.

    I guess the bar setup threw me off. Doesn't really matter what I think though, as long as it fits you! You can extend the reach a bit by using a stem with a longer neck. Takes a bit of trial and error, and you might have to try out a few different length stems-bit of a hassle, and not worth doing rite now. Will help out though if you'd like to ride more in the drops, or get arm/shoulder pain.

    Price is another issue which really doesn't matter so long as you are happy with what you have. For folks shopping for used bikes, craigslist & e-bay are a good starting point to use as a general price guide. e-bay used to let you search closed auctions, so you could see what the selling prices were (don't know if you can still search that way). Again though, there are a whole bunch of variables. What would be worth 50$ to someone, might be priceless to me.

    -As to the original question of using a freewheel with a larger bailout gear: I'd go with a large bailout on that bike, 32 or 34. Gearing also depends upon a lot of factors, so the 26/34 or even 26/32 will be too low(slow) for some and both might be too high for others.
    mmmm coffeee!

    email: jfoneg (_"a t symbol thing"_) yahoo (_"period or dot"_) com

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