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rec for replacing Shimano 600 6sp freewheel with 7sp cassette (and repairing)

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rec for replacing Shimano 600 6sp freewheel with 7sp cassette (and repairing)

Old 04-01-22, 02:15 PM
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seanrooney
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rec for replacing Shimano 600 6sp freewheel with 7sp cassette (and repairing)

I have a 1986 Univega with a Shimano 600 EX groupset. The rear hub is the HB-6207-R, i'm not able to post links to the Shimano website with the service manual and exploded view yet, but can be found by going to the si.shimano website and searching keyword HB-6207-R. It is a 6 speed freewheel.

Recently, my rim became untrue. When I took it to a LBS to true the wheels they found a broken axle, not too surprising as a heavy rider on bad streets with a freewheel.
LBS said trueing+axle+labor would get me closer to a new budget wheel.

I think my options are
  1. Find an entirely new wheel with a 7-speed cassette that fits the 126mm dropouts. Possibly just a swap with some derailleur adjustments.
  2. Get the tools to strip down the freewheel/hub myself and replace axle, then pay for for a wheel truing (if it isn't too bent)
I'm joining my local bike co-op this weekend, who has the tools for me to do 2, which I would like to do for my own education. But I'd also like to get riding and a 7speed cassette could be nice.

I could use any feedback, and have a couple questions:
  1. Any recommendations for getting a 126mm 7sp cassette wheel? Do I need to buy the wheel and cassette separately? I'm having trouble finding a 126mm. I also could go for 130mm but didn't want to make the choice to cold set to a larger size right now
  2. Where should I buy a new axle? I see Wheels Mfg recommended, but the Shimano 10mm x 1mm x 137mm option is $40. Is that worth it or should I just scan ebay?
  3. Is it worth sticking with a QR axle or just go with a solid bolt on axle that may reduce risk of more bent/broken axles?
any advice is appreciated, first foray into fixing my bike up
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Old 04-01-22, 02:38 PM
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Just replace the axle at the bike COOP.
It's just so much simpler. Axles are relatively inexpensive (they probably have used ones for a $ or similar)

After you get a bit of experience, you can decide then.
Sometimes there are unforeseen pitfalls, such as the end cog interfering with the chain stay.
Little things that can be a PITA for someone inexperienced, but relatively simple with a bit of know how.
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Old 04-01-22, 02:55 PM
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thank you. I was actually hoping when I go tomorrow, I can swap the axle and have them help me true the wheel and ride out on a working bike, but didn't want to get ahead of myself

The 600 freewheel remove tool is apparently a hard to find one these days, as I've found from many posts on here, but the co-op has one in stock. Freewheel already had some penetrating oil in it at home since i doubt it's ever been removed.
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Old 04-01-22, 07:17 PM
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You probably know that one of the advantages of the more modern cassette hub over the freewheel hub is a better supported axle. If you are a strong rider, do a lot of miles and want a more reliable axle, you might want to consider changing to a cassette hub. And you are right that there are not a lot of 126 mm cassette hubs about. I have an Edco but it was unusual to find. I think I have seen a Suntour and Campagnolo example as well ( Ebay ). But all these seem rare. If you could find a used Shimano 126 mm cassette hub ( I'm guessing they were made ), that would probably be the most economical option, as well as having one of the best axle supports ( at the time ).

You could also buy a more available ( and cheaper ) 130 mm cassette hub and insert it into your 126 mm frame ( without cold setting ). Many people have done it and report no problems, although the preference is cold-setting as you can also align the rear drop-outs at the same time. Putting a 130 mm hub into a 126 mm frame, without cold-setting, does mean the axle ends are not evenly clamped, but it seems unlikely you will have a problem, especially if you can find a hub with oversize axle.
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Old 04-01-22, 09:14 PM
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I agree that trying to fix the old wheel is a good thing. The experience is worth it alone. How well will this wheel last, true or axle wise, we can't say. Still you will learn a lot and if the local non profit has the parts you won't spend too much.

I also agree with ending up with a cassette hub/wheel. Even prior to the C19 supply challenge the bike industry didn't support the 126mm cassette spec. well. I might suggest looking for something used. I know of people who buy a used bike for the part and flip it later. If you're lucky the non profit place might have a hub or wheel.

I would strongly suggest that you do set the rear end of the bike to 130, if mine it would be set to 135 as that further opens up options. Fix the old wheel right now, plan for the next step of cassette 130+ wheel and frame widening so all is ready when you have time or need. Andy
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Old 04-01-22, 09:25 PM
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Here's a used 126 mm Shimano 600 cassette hub on Ebay and in the U.S.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/16540387155...EAAOSwvoRiP7Ua

Also this is a preferred Hyperglide cassette model, as opposed to Shimano's Uniglide cassette model ( also produced in 126 mm ) because you can still buy the former cassettes but the latter are obsolete and hard to find. Hyperglide also shifts better.

Last edited by redshift1; 04-01-22 at 09:34 PM. Reason: Add information.
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Old 04-02-22, 06:35 PM
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I think the last time I broke an axle on my old 6sp FW bike (in 2003) I got a new one from loosescrews.com.
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Old 04-02-22, 11:20 PM
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+1 to Andy's post.

As great and robust a system as 7-speed cassette was, it's not well-supported anymore, so it's mostly enthusiasts with a deep bench of spare parts running it these days.

I think you have two possible paths forward: replace your axle and keep using 6-speed freewheels (Shimano and others still make decent ones), or respace your bike to 130mm+ in order to convert to cassette hubs. If you want to use indexed shifting, this will of course require new shifters.
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Old 04-03-22, 08:42 AM
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If you respace to 130 mm it opens up the entire range of 7, 8, 9 and 10-speed cassettes. You can use a 7-speed cassette with a 4.5 mm spacer from nearly any bike shop or 8+ fitted directly. Assuming you are using friction shifting any of these will work with the appropriate chain.
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Old 04-03-22, 11:13 PM
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Thanks all

Bike co-op was great. I replaced with a spare axle and QR skewer for $1. It was about 2mm longer than my original but a worker helped me get the cones/spacer/nut all set correctly for my dropouts. Unfortunately their TL-FW10 removal tool couldn't get the freewheel off, as the teeth on the tool were mostly worn out. Had to re-pack the hub bearings and grease like a ship in a bottle.

For now, seems to be riding great without needing to spend money on a new wheel, and it was a great learning experience. I can take my time to upgrade to a cassette later. This has been my only bike for a while, and been doing rides up to 50mi on it, but am interested in getting a nicer road bike and keeping the Univega close to stock as my city commuter.
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Old 04-17-22, 03:22 AM
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Ehi there, does someone know how to put back a 600 Shimano rear derailleur? Finding some troubles in trying to do it...
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Old 04-17-22, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Astelen View Post
Ehi there, does someone know how to put back a 600 Shimano rear derailleur? Finding some troubles in trying to do it...
From Shimano. SI-N26-000-00-ENG.pdf (shimano.com)
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Old 04-17-22, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
From Shimano
thank you!! Iíll try to follow this guide
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Old 04-18-22, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
From Shimano.
Itís weird, further the fork end I have a screw and a sort of flat bullet that I donít find in the guideÖ
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Old 04-18-22, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Astelen View Post
Itís weird, further the fork end I have a screw and a sort of flat bullet that I donít find in the guideÖ
You now have 10 posts so you can post pictures.
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