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126mm frame with a 5 speed freewheel

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126mm frame with a 5 speed freewheel

Old 10-01-10, 11:39 AM
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126mm frame with a 5 speed freewheel

Hello all, I just bought a Trek 400 Elance triple with the original 5 speed freewheel (Shimano MF Z012). Replaced the chain and the bike seems loud when pedaling, especially in lower gears so I figure the freewheel is worn and needs replaced. I just measured the frame spacing and it is 126mm. Arent 5 speeds usually 120mm? I dont mind getting a new 5 speed freewheel but I could put a 6 or 7 speed one on since the spacing is 126 right? Will any be compatible? Any recommendations? Looking for something cheap. Thanks.
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Old 10-01-10, 11:50 AM
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You will have to add an axle spacer to a long enough axle, of course ..
if you add it to the left side the wheel re-dish is towards the center of the hub, less difference in tension.
add it to the right side and the rim has to be re centered a scosh to the right,
but yes 6/7 speed freewheels can then be used.

I added a spacer on the left, wheel trued, as needed, to use 6/7 speed stuff on a 130 spaced frame.

Wheels of Boulder makes decent aftermarket axles, I've gotten longer life from theirs than original Campag.
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Old 10-01-10, 05:02 PM
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Thanks for your reply, I dont really want to deal with changing anything but the freewheel so I will probably keep it 5 speed. But I am still confused why the frame is 126mm when it came with a 5 speed freewheel?
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Old 10-01-10, 05:33 PM
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By the 1980's, decent road bikes all used 126mm spacing, 120mm hub spacing for road bikes was considered obsolete. There was no compelling reason for trek to produce both 120mm and 126mm variants of basically the same frame for different models. The Elance 400T looks to have been sold as a sport-tourer bike with half-step+ granny gearing. The rational for the (narrower) 5-speed freewheel on a 126mm hub was probably that it allowed the rear hub to be less offsett, reducing the drive side distance of the axel from the hub bearings to the dropout and reducing the amount of dish needed for the rear wheel (more even spoke tension). This all contributes to make for a more sturdy wheel and axel which would be valuable if you were going loaded touring. THe half-step+ granny gearing somewhat overcomes the difficulty of large jumps between rear cogs and limited high/low gear range but requres a lot more shifting of the the front derailler in order to achieve smooth progression of gear ratios.
Note that the "racier" versions of the same Elance frame used 6-speed freewheels.
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