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Changing gearing on my Raleigh

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Changing gearing on my Raleigh

Old 04-14-21, 07:48 PM
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Nick 93
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Changing gearing on my Raleigh

Hey guys I have a 7 speed 1993 Raleigh RT500 with really high gearing. I live in a flat area but prefer higher cadence and have been struggling to use some gears. Currently I have a 53/42 chainring combo and a 13-23 cassette. I was planning on changing out the cassette since its usually pretty cheap and recently gave me good results with another bike. Unfortunately it seems the availability of 7 speed cassettes is pretty low especially if you want lower gearing. I have considered going to 8 or 9 speed and have done some research but I definitely need some help. Also I would like to keep downtube shifters since I do think they are fun and its different from my other bike.

I have found on ebay Shimano Dura-Ace SL7700 9 speed shifters and they seem to be common enough I could snag up a pair. I also saw microshift downtube shifters and was wondering if they're any good? Are these any good and what else will I need? I'm pretty sure I'd need a new rear wheel that'll accept an 8 or 9 speed cassette and possibly cold set the rear. I know I'd also need a derailleur but is that all? Any other issues I'd run into? Any recommendations for alternative setups appreciated.

I have considered changing the crankset to a 50/34 or 46/30 but ultimately I'd like to do that in combination with adding more gearing combinations to the bike.

Last edited by Nick 93; 04-14-21 at 07:52 PM. Reason: addition of content
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Old 04-14-21, 08:09 PM
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Narhay
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I don't know much about your rt500 but make sure you know whether it is a cassette or freewheel. It is also close to the uniglide era so another issue you should look into. 7 speed could be either and I couldn't see much detail in the photos I saw.
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Old 04-14-21, 08:14 PM
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Nick 93
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
I don't know much about your rt500 but make sure you know whether it is a cassette or freewheel. It is also close to the uniglide era so another issue you should look into. 7 speed could be either and I couldn't see much detail in the photos I saw.
I know for a fact that its a cassette and it says Hyperglide on it so I'm assuming it isn't uniglide.
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Old 04-14-21, 08:23 PM
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Ok. If you've you've 126 dropouts you may be able to squeeze a 130 wheel in there without cold setting. Many frames of that era came as 128mm.

To go up to 9 speeds you may need a new rear hub. The 7 speed specific freehubs were narrower than the subsequent 7,8,9,10 speed ones. You may need a longer chain if you get a taller cassette. The dura ace shifters you listed are great. Personally I'd find a 7s cassette with better gearing and stick with what you've got. Once you start changing all the components it may end up cheaper just to buy a different bike with what you want.
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Old 04-14-21, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
...Once you start changing all the components it may end up cheaper just to buy a different bike with what you want.
I appreciate the advice and I know this is a fact. I have two other bikes I mainly ride and this one is mostly for fun. Perhaps a compact crank would get me close enough to what I want. I'll start there.
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Old 04-14-21, 08:34 PM
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First thing you need to do is check your rear wheel OLD. If it's only 126mm then, you won't be able to squeeze a 8 or 9 speed cog set on it. If it's 130mm then you're good to go. Otherwise........... just buy a 130mm OLD rear wheel. It will come with a free hub pre-installed. Pop a 8 or 9 speed cassette on it. And, even if your rear spacing is 126mm it will go right on. (Spreading 126mm steel chainstays out to 130mm is no big deal). (I mean 4mm is like 3/16 of an inch).
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Old 04-14-21, 08:58 PM
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Try looking beyond Shimano, Sunrace and SRAM are both Shimano Compatible. I think Sunlite too....

Sunrace 12-28: https://www.amazon.com/SunRace-7-Spe...0AWDIKG6&psc=1

SRAM 12-32: https://www.amazon.com/SRAM-PG730-Sp...s%2C220&sr=8-9
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Old 04-14-21, 09:19 PM
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Yeah, that SRAM cassette is the way I’d go. Pair it with pretty much any long cage Shimano RD (the XTR group is a favorite of mine), install a new SRAM chain, and spin away.
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Old 04-15-21, 08:13 AM
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Thank you everyone for the information and help. Its fun turning the large gears but I'm worried about injury and prefer to spin as it feels more natural to me.
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Old 04-15-21, 10:52 AM
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53-42/13-23 is pretty stiff gearing. If you have a 130mm BCD crankset, you can substitute a 38T inner, which is a very noticeable 10 percent lower. Likewise, I'll bet you can switch to a 26T low gear cog, for another 10+ percent ratio reduction.
I would suggest something like:
46-38/13-15-17-19-21-23-26, which still gives you 96 gear-inches on top

I currently run 46-38/13-15-17-19-22-25 on the 1959 Capo, and I am delighted with the combination. I run 50-42/14-16-18-20-23-26 on the Bianchi, taking advantage of having 6 cogs instead of the 5 I had back when I was 20-something and immortal, with 50-42/14-16-18-20-23.
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Old 04-15-21, 04:20 PM
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Spa Cycles in the UK stock an 11-32 Shimano 7-speed cassette (in fact they're out of stock of the 11-28) - found it last week when I was considering how to build up a 1977 Carlton Ten frameset. No use to you as such since you're in Florida, of course, but just so you know they do exist (if you can source them in the US) if you can't get the SRAM one suggested by jamesdak and your rear derailleur can handle it. Only problem is, these ones look like they're not nickel plated (Alivio?) - like the ones which tend to be fitted as OEM, are prone to rust and maybe wear out quicker, although they're perfectly ok otherwise.

https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m8b0s150...-7spd-CS-HG200

Also, as John E suggested: I've got an 8-speed (Halfords) Carrera TdF road bike which came with a 52/42 chainset and a 13-26 cassette; I fitted a 38T inner ring (the lowest the BCD would allow) and an 11-32 cassette - same gearing as Chris Froome now (if you don't follow pro cycling he's won the Tour de France but uses lower gearing than almost all of his peers)!

You should certainly be able to sort yourself out without going to 8 or 9 speed, but if you don't mind me offering my tuppence worth of advice, FWIW (although you might well be at least as proficient and fit a cyclist as me), any time you find yourself too high geared, get out of the saddle if you can, don't just sit and grind - I ride with some folk who never, ever stand up even when they need to, they just moan, struggle or get off and walk. I was 'stuck' for a couple years with an early '90s Raleigh that wasn't just as high geared as yours but still quite a lot higher than I've been used to, and I probably developed more physically as a cyclist than in previous years and maybe even since. It's hilly around where I live and a lot of the time I wasn't strong enough then to sit so I just stood up, sometimes for minutes at a time on the steep climbs. Your gearing is just too high, though, as you know, so I think you're wise to be looking for alternatives - there is a limit!
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Old 04-16-21, 08:19 AM
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If you do want to change the shifters to the 9 speed ones you mentioned, you can run an 8-from-9 set up, using 8 sprockets from a 9 speed cassette. These will fit on a 7 speed freehub. Usually the best and simplest option is to ditch the 11 tooth sprocket, but you may need to find a lockring designed for a 12 tooth sprocket as the one that comes with the cassette will be for an 11 tooth. I have set-up a few bikes this way.
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Old 04-16-21, 08:23 AM
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Modern compact road cranks with 34-50 are excellent. I picked up a Tiagra model on sale (can't remember the $$). THe added advantage of an integrated spindle and external bottom braket are great too. IT would work out about the same or less than a cassette, chain, shifters, etc.
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Old 04-16-21, 10:49 AM
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eBay may be your friend here. Hyperglide Deore XT 7sp 13-30 for $55 all in ($45 BIN price, $10 shipping) available here.

If you go this route, you will likely need a new chain and a longer cage rear derailleur, but you were going to need those regardless.
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