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Old 03-21-18, 08:49 PM
Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northern California
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Bikes: Cheltenham-Pederson racer, Boulder F/S Paris-Roubaix, Varsity racer, '52 Christophe, '62 Continental, '92 Merckx, '75 Limongi, '76 Presto, '72 Gitane SC, '71 Schwinn SS, etc.

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You can say that again, about the iffy quality of older wheels and spokes!

But I also recall seeing quality issues with hubs, such as the sort that Chas recalled about cones not sufficiently hardened, but also things like the slot in the axle being cut through to the core!
So I am sure that the quality of parts played huge in terms of some 6s conversions working well and others falling apart.

I tension the spokes of just about every wheel that enters my wheel service area, I look for bent axles, loose driveside cones and just about always find sloppy tensioning.

This was an interesting thread to read, I think a lot of the info is not so widely known.

I can add a few data points:

Campagnolo hubs left very little in the way of extra axle extension on their hubs, so even an Ultra6 freewheel usually needed at least a 1mm washer to be added to their 5s hubs.

Normandy or Atom hubs left a ton of extra room for wider freewheels, U6 was no problem and even standard 6s would fit on the 5s hubs with just a thin washer added to the driveside axle spacing (I've done this many times). These hub makers weren't so concerned about strong wheels and axles apparently!
Schwinn used 126mm spacing very early on in conjunction with 5s freewheels sporting an outer derailment shield/disc.

Space needed for a wider freewheel can be stolen by the nut used to secure a claw-type derailer hanger (or axle spacer), especially when a smaller top cog is used. I have "massaged" this type of stepped nut with a dremel stone to clear a freewheel body and/or chain's path. I have fitted freewheels with as little as 3mm from the outer face of the cog to the inside of the dropout when the frame's seatstay attachment and lack of claw mounting permitted, depending on use of narrow chain however.

The early-70's Peugeots seem to all be spaced at 121mm, and I have built crazy-strong 7s wheels for use with such frames by minimally increasing the axle spacing to just 124mm. Pictured below is one such wheel with 7s freewheel, note the minimalist axle/locknut protrusion, all that is needed with modern 8s chain!

Last edited by dddd; 03-21-18 at 10:55 PM.
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