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Old 03-19-18, 03:57 PM
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What Thermionic Scott said.

I purchased a bike with six speed freewheel in 1967. In Chicago, USA. It was a bit of a hunt for the shop to find that freewheel, they ended up sourcing it from the Paramount Room. They did know perfectly well what I was asking for and at the tender age of 15 I knew enough to ask for it. The wheel was built to 124mm on a respaced five speed hub with not much axle engaging the dropout. Did not break any spokes. (I was a lightweight back then.)

Six speed became popular when Eddy used it. Once Eddy was on a six the entire planet had to update inventory. What year was that? I don't know for certain, but if you must know there are photo galleries. Never underestimate the influence of Eddy.

One of my main riders is a 1950 Bates, verified with current marque owner as May 1950. With somewhat less certainty I am pretty confident the bike had had no significant mechanical work done since late 1950s when I received it. The hubs fitted are Siamt/FB which makes them 1940 or earlier. The hubs and the rear triangle are set to 122mm. Neither frame nor hubs were that way when new. It could happen. People do fiddle with bikes. From what I know Regina had 6 speed freewheels from 1962. I don't know of any earlier than that but would be very surprised if there were not enthusiasts fabbing up their own before the manufacturers came around.
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