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Old 05-26-21, 12:06 PM
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JohnDThompson 
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It can be done in principle, at least. You'll need to re-dish the wheel so the rim remains centered between the locknuts, and you may find you need excessive spoke tension on the drive side and inadequate tension on the non-drive side to get it properly dished. Assuming your wheel is threaded for a freewheel, rather than using a freehub system like modern wheels (5-speed freehubs are quite rare, and went out of production several decades ago), the additional unsupported axle length extending beyond the bearing to get room for eight sprockets means it will be more susceptible to bending and breaking axles. Modern freehub systems prevent this by locating the bearing closer to the dropout, so there is less unsupported length.

Before proceeding, I would price a replacement wheel with a freehub designed to use at least eight sprockets and determine if that route might be more cost effective to pursue.
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