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Upgrading a 5 speed freewheel to a 8/9 speed freehub - index shifting question

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Upgrading a 5 speed freewheel to a 8/9 speed freehub - index shifting question

Old 11-02-07, 01:42 PM
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andreubat
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Upgrading a 5 speed freewheel to a 8/9 speed freehub - index shifting question

Now, I was perfectly happy with 10 speeds but my wheels were stolen. I can't find cheap road wheels that have threaded hubs - the only thing I can find under 70 are shcrader drilled hybrid wheels. I figure if I'm going to be spending money on new wheels I should buy a system that is not being phased out.

The old rear wheel used a 5 speed freewheel. I want to buy a wheel with a freehub so that I can use a 8/9 speed shimano cassette. My concern is that the bike uses index shifting. Would it be possible to use index shifting that was previously used on a 5 speed freewheel on a 9 speed cassette?

My rationale for thinking this would work is that it would just keep "indexing" since there would be more tension from the deraileur. I don't know if the shifters are necessarily 5 speed or if they can index more than 5 times.

edit: I'm aware that I need to check the spacing on the rear dropouts
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Old 11-02-07, 02:55 PM
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rhenning
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The indexing cassette makes no difference if you friction shift. The rear wheel hub will be way to wide for your frame. This will be especially true of hybrid wheels. 120mm width (5 speed) verses 135mm width (8-9 speed). This will require bending the rear of your frame. Roger
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Old 11-02-07, 04:18 PM
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Al1943
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With indexed shifting the shifters must be compatible with the number on cogs on the cassette or freewheel. The spacing between cogs is specific to the number of speeds and brand. For 9-speeds you'll need 9-speed shifters, or you could go with friction shifting. And I don't believe 5 or 6-speed rear derailleurs are compatible with later shifters.

Al
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Old 11-02-07, 04:36 PM
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yes, I suppose I could switch it to friction. Will my old derailleur be compatible with a 9 speed cassette if I set the limit screws all the way open?
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Old 11-02-07, 06:06 PM
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Maybe. The only way to know is to try. If not, there are plenty of cheap derailleurs out there.
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Old 11-03-07, 04:29 AM
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You may be able to set the limit screws, depending on the derailleur, BUT the derailleur may not be able to
properly handle a narrow 9-speed chain. The pulleys could be too thick, or the cage too wide.

8 speed has a better chance of working. But as you mentioned, it's being phased out. 7 and 8 speed equipment is scarce these days.

Sometimes you just can't force a square peg though a round hole.
Your frame's dropout spacing is too narrow, the derailleurs may not work, your crank may be spaced too far for a 9-spd chain, and index shifting is out of the question. The old stuff can't index play with the new stuff.
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Old 11-03-07, 06:15 AM
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I think Sora is still 8 speed, although there is some talk it is or has moved to 9, Shimano's site still lists it as 8, so it is still available.

Also, it is my understanding (based on reading in the forums, and no real knowledge) that 9 and 10 speed chains are the same width inside the links, they differ outside the links by having narrower plates, so older rear derailleurs should even work there too.

In a pinch, an old RD may work with a newer cassette and simply not use one or two of the cogs. A little wasteful, but not a big deal. But as stated, a fairly modern RD can be bought for pretty cheap as long as you don't need this year's model to impress your friends.

Tiagra hubs can be had for pretty cheap, and with a Sora cassette you could build a reasonable 8 speed rear wheel that should be able to be used by many vintage RDs as long as your frame can handle 130mm spacing... and if it is steel, it should be fine.
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Old 11-03-07, 07:16 AM
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If you have a steel frame you could have the LBS spread the rear triangle to 126 or 130 mm without damaging the frame. That would allow you to use some newer wheels. As far as friction shifters go, not all will have enough travel to accomidate a 9 speed. I have an older 7 speed DA downtube shifters on my old road bike and in friction mode they will only accomidate up to 8 speed. So if you go to nine speed, you will probably have to change the shifters as well as the rear dr.
 

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