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5 speed freewheel

Old 10-25-10, 10:57 PM
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5 speed freewheel

I have an old ten speed road bike that I use as a commuter. I was wondering if an old 5 speed rd could be swapped for a modern six speed sis indexed rd along with changing the shifters?
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Old 10-25-10, 11:34 PM
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I'm not sure Exactly what you're asking, but I'm pretty sure you just want to know if you can go from 5sp friction to 6sp indexed.

You may just need to add indexed shifters and a 6sp freewheel and get lucky and have it work fine, or you may need to change out basically everything that helps shift the gears to get smooth indexed shifts out of it. It's kind of hit and miss.

You might try searching the internet to see if others have found indexed shifters that are compatible with your RD. Just a start, but maybe this will end up easier than you expect.
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Old 10-26-10, 06:50 PM
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I wanted to keep my 5 speed freewheel but replace the old rear derailleur with one like this that's made for 6-7 speeds:



And shifters like these:

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Old 10-26-10, 07:07 PM
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What doe you have on it now? Many Shimano deraillers will hook right up to any Shimano 6 speed shifter. Some Suntour stuff will do that too.
What's you real spacing? Is there room back there for the 6th gear? A quick measurement will tell you. If you've got the space, swap the freewheels and well go from there.
Step two, swap the shifters and see if you can get the derailler to work with it. You'll have to adjust the thing. The best info on that can be found here;
https://sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html
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Old 10-26-10, 07:35 PM
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I have shimano friction shifters and a skylark derailleur on it right now, but I want it indexed. I don't want to buy a new freewheel because I want to keep cost as low as possible. It's just a beater/commuter.
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Old 10-26-10, 08:51 PM
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I had typed a long and thoughtful response, which got blown into cyberspace on one false keystroke, so here are the key points in bullet form:
  • changing from a 5 spd to 6 spd freewheel is common, but typically involves changing to a longer axle, longer quick release, and spreading the frame chainstays +6mm. I can donate a quick release, an axle you'll have to find & install in your hub, spreading the chainstays ("cold setting") you should search on and then post back if you have questions.
  • you need a matched 6 spd indexed shifter, derailleur, & freewheel, and probably a 6mm longer axle
  • any 6 spd freewheel except Suntour Ultra spaced should work
  • any Shimano indexed shifter & index-capable derailleur except Dura Ace should work
  • relevant parts vintage to look for is late 80's-early 90's
  • each of these items can be found on Ebay for <$15 apiece shipped
  • if you are lucky you can find a combo and save on shipping
  • other good places to check are local bike co-op & used bike shop if you have them in your town, and the ISO/trade thread on this forum
  • I have a Shimano Exage 6 spd derailleur I can let go cheap if it helps you out
  • the 6 spd cluster you choose should have ratios that compliment the ratios of your crankset and has the range/spacing you need. I suggest you post a separate thread if you need help with this.
  • I'm not an expert on indexed shifting, so take my info with a grain of salt. Since nobody else has responded in detail so far, I figgered I'd try to help.
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Old 10-26-10, 09:14 PM
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Thank you for your help and all the detail, but if I have to do all that, I'll just leave it as 5 speed friction for now. I just need to know if the tourney rd above would be able to shift through five gears with five speed spacing.
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Old 10-26-10, 10:10 PM
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in friction mode? yes. no problem.
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Old 10-26-10, 10:13 PM
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But not in index mode?
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Old 10-26-10, 10:20 PM
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probably not, but that's not a function of the RD capacity, rather a function of how the cogs are spaced and how an indexed system has to move the RD the correct distance between each cog with each click. Try it out: worst case you'd have to set it back to friction and keep it there, best case is you might get it tuned to where it works "OK" and you have a ghost shift at the end.
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Old 10-26-10, 10:26 PM
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I might try that out...thank you for your help.
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