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Upgrading a 1970's Raleigh International

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Upgrading a 1970's Raleigh International

Old 10-10-20, 09:36 AM
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surveyman2020
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Upgrading a 1970's Raleigh International

I was wondering if someone has tried updating an older 1970's Raleigh Road bike for index shifting? My Raleigh International has the original Campagnolo Record drive train and it is about worn out. I understand that Shimano came out with index shifting in the mid 80's(?) for a 6-speed cassette/freewheel. Will a 6-speed cassette/freewheel fit on my Raleigh without bending the frame? I read something on another site that Regina had wide body and narrow body freewheels. I assume that was so that you could fit more gears in the rear? Is it even worth updating to index shifting? Would really appreciate some help on this one. Thank you!
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Old 10-10-20, 10:52 AM
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The International has a 120mm spacing between the rear dropouts which can only accommodate a 5-speed or Ultra-6 freewheel. I don't think either of these can be used with index shifting. You could bend the frame, either temporarily by springing it apart, or permanently by "cold-setting" to fit in a 126mm axle which would allow you to use a 6- or 7-speed freewheel or cassette that would be index-compatible. However, in my experience springing it apart or cold-setting without having the dropouts realigned is a bad idea that will likely result in broken axles or cracked dropout brazing due to the bending force created by clamping the axle into nonparallel dropouts. Also bear in mind that most current indexing gear uses 130mm rear axle spacing which IMHO is a bridge too far...you have a higher risk of damaging the frame by attempting to cold set it to that width. While I'm all for spreading an older frame to get a few more gears, my opinion is that it is not worth the hassle and cost to replace all the parts needed to create an indexing setup. To my mind, the biggest advantage of modern indexing drivetrains is having a modern freewheel with shifting ramps. I have these on all my friction shifting bikes and they shift fantastically. I see no significant advantage to having a shift lever that goes "click" unless you're racing.

Are you sure that your Campy (Nuovo) Record drivetrain is worn out? Other than the pulleys, which are cheap to replace, those components are close to indestructible.

Last edited by davester; 10-10-20 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 10-10-20, 11:01 AM
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Along with the dropout spacing issues. The rear wheel will need a longer axle and probable have to be re-dished.
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Old 10-10-20, 11:01 AM
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Campagnolo drivetrains don't wear out, realistically. Chains and freewheels do wear out. You can tell by measuring the chain. Also, the chain will start to skip off the teeth of a worn out freewheel under high loads.

If you want to convert to index shifting because you prefer it, that's another thing entirely. As already indicated, you will need to respace and realign the frame to 126, and replace the shifters, derailleurs, chain, and freewheel. The wheel will need a new axle and spacer, and redishing.
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Old 10-10-20, 11:14 AM
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Widening the frame to 126 or 128mm is not a big deal, and will give you a lot of options, plus a better potential selection of gear ratios.
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Old 10-10-20, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
The International has a 120mm spacing between the rear dropouts which can only accommodate a 5-speed or Ultra-6 freewheel. I don't think either of these can be used with index shifting.
Ultra 6 might be able to be hacked to use with index shifting. Spacing is 5mm C-t-C which pretty much what became the standard later. Anyone tried to hack this? Seems like someone must have. Would still require a new freewheel, chain and rear derailleur, and of course 7 speed shifters.
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Old 10-10-20, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Widening the frame to 126 or 128mm is not a big deal, and will give you a lot of options, plus a better potential selection of gear ratios.
It's not a big deal if:
1) you know what you are doing
and
2) you do it correctly

There's much more to it than simply spreading the stays apart.
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Old 10-10-20, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by surveyman2020 View Post
I was wondering if someone has tried updating an older 1970's Raleigh Road bike for index shifting? My Raleigh International has the original Campagnolo Record drive train and it is about worn out. I understand that Shimano came out with index shifting in the mid 80's(?) for a 6-speed cassette/freewheel. Will a 6-speed cassette/freewheel fit on my Raleigh without bending the frame? I read something on another site that Regina had wide body and narrow body freewheels. I assume that was so that you could fit more gears in the rear? Is it even worth updating to index shifting? Would really appreciate some help on this one. Thank you!
It's worth it only if you know what you are doing. Swapping out parts and shoe-horning a wider rear hub into a frame not designed for it will not necessarily improve the performance of the bike.
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Old 10-10-20, 11:35 AM
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I'd suggest replacing the freewheel and chain, giving the rest of the drivetrain a good cleaning and adjustment, and call it a day. That alone is going to be challenge enough unless you have a lot of mechanical experience.

You could install an Ultra 6 freewheel instead of the standard 5, but they tend to be expensive these days. Regina narrow freewheels were made but I've never seen one. They were rare. Ultra 6 were widely used.
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Old 10-10-20, 01:00 PM
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If you want index shifting, get a second hand wheel that has a 6 speed freewheel, get a second hand Shimano 105 or 600 rear derailleur, some new or used 6 speed shifters and a new 6-7 speed chain to see how you like it. Then fine tune or upgrade as your desires and skills become more refined.
AND Have fun. Get to 10 posts. Show us your International.
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Old 10-10-20, 01:16 PM
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I've outfitted a mid 70s International with 6-speed index shifting. As others have pointed out, it involves spreading the rear dropouts from 120mm to 126mm and making sure the dropouts are aligned. Any bike shop that does repairs should be capable of doing this. Alignment of dropouts and making sure the dropout hanger isn't bent are critical to indexing performance. The other issue is that you need clamp-on downtube 6-speed shifters, which aren't easy to find (and possibly never made?). But usually you can install those shift levers themselves on some other compatible clamp-on band made for friction. Or, if you're using bar-ends, then you need a cable stop with cable adjustors, something else you need to kludge from a band made for friction shifters and modern cable stops.

Aside from all of those challenges, my view is that 6-speed indexing is kind of the beta version of the concept. Shimano, in particular, did a much better job with 7-speed index setups, a couple of which I have on bikes in the current fleet. So go 7-speed (which is also spaced at 126mm).
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Old 10-10-20, 02:01 PM
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I have upgraded 120mm Schwinn Paramounts to 7-speed shifting as the posters above suggest. It is quite easy to spread the dropouts to 126mm by hand and fit a slightly wide hub in. Once you get to 7 speed you can use the Sunrace 7-speed downtube shifters which are commonly available online and work with (almost) any Shimano rear derailleur. I have mine set up with Dura Ace 7700, mainly because it's shiny.

Another option not discussed above is to go with a 120mm "short" cassette hub. These are sold by either Sunxcd or Grand Bois, though they look quite similar and maybe made by the same OEM. This will fit the International rear dropouts without spreading and opens up the whole world of rear cassettes. Once again you can use a modern derailleur and shifters for index shifting, though the spacing will be different. If money is not a constraint, this seems like the best option.
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Old 10-10-20, 02:52 PM
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I would start by deciding exactly what sort of gearing change is needed.

From there, the solution is what it is in terms of rework of the hub spacing, dish and dropout spacing.

The components to achieve the right gearing and shifting can be as simple as a new freewheel and chain in many cases.

Shimano SIS-6 works really well but needs a narrower/newer 7-8s chain to realize the potential.

Many times I have settled on 7s and 124mm spacing, no problem building a strong wheel for this.
Especially considering that any Shimano 7s cassette hub can be used with a 1mm washer removed from each end.

Last edited by dddd; 10-10-20 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 10-10-20, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DanBikeFan View Post
I have upgraded 120mm Schwinn Paramounts to 7-speed shifting as the posters above suggest. It is quite easy to spread the dropouts to 126mm by hand and fit a slightly wide hub in.......
yes it is quite easy, but there's no guarantee that the stays will each move exactly the same as the other. They need to be set permanently and precisely.
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Old 10-11-20, 10:11 PM
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I’m a little surprised that some folks think it’s too challenging. I put 2x10 on my 1971 International. Yes, it required resetting and aligning the rear triangle and dropouts. Takes some careful work but this isn’t rocket science. The drivetrain worked flawlessly. I swapped it over to my 1970 Professional when I bought that frame, same job and same results. IMO you get the best of both worlds, a great 531 frame and a better spaced, wide ratio drivetrain that performs better than my beloved Campy derailleurs.

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Old 10-12-20, 01:02 AM
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I agree with @ascherer on this one. While spreading the rear triangle isn't something I'd recommend doing on your own if you don't have the right tools, a shop will do it pretty cheap. It can be done with a threaded rod, some washers and nuts, and a couple of wrenches, but for the cost of having a shop do it right, I think that's the way to go if you're not comfortable with it.

Here's my 1974 International with a 2x11 drivetrain. Spreading the dropouts was the only modification needed to the frame. I replaced all the components, of course.

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Old 10-12-20, 05:58 AM
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Dios mio, @ascherer and @Andy_K! You need to take two cracked NR pulleys and seek immediate medical help!
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Old 10-12-20, 11:12 AM
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We converted my wife's Super Course mixte to index shifting without spreading the rear triangle. We used a 5 spd Shimano freewheel (with ramps etc) an inexpensive Shimano derailleur and 6 spd thumb shifters. The #6 "click" doesn't do anything obviously but it works perfectly as a 5x2.
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Old 10-12-20, 01:11 PM
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This is my 1974 Raleigh International. I painted the frame myself with a brush. I spread the rear to 130 and aligned the dropouts and derailleur hanger. The drivetrain is a mixture of modern components: Sora rear derailleur, Ultegra front derailleur, 105 shifters, Ultegra triple crank. I might have cheated and used a 2-speed shifter and 2-speed front derailleur, but I got them to work with the three chainrings, so I have a 3x10 drivetrain.


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