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Help! The rear wheel spacing on my Vitus is funny.

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Help! The rear wheel spacing on my Vitus is funny.

Old 04-16-13, 01:11 AM
  #1  
swisscheese
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Help! The rear wheel spacing on my Vitus is funny.

So a few weeks ago I bought an old Vitus 979 off Kijiji, on inspection it looked and rode great, I even rode it home after buying. Since buying I haven't been able to ride it or any of my other bikes aside from commuting because I'm currently finishing my last semester of school. Tonight I decided that since I had been looking around for a wheelset to use instead of the tubulars on it now, I had better make sure that the spacing was indeed 126mm in the back.

Not so much the case...according to my very elementary ruler technique it's somewhere very close to 140mm





At this point I'm bewildered and completely confused. I compared with a wheel that was definitely 126mm and it didn't come close to fitting the frame. Here's some photos of the wheels that were fitted to the Vitus that I rode home after purchase.





Anyone have an idea of what's going on here?
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Old 04-16-13, 02:38 AM
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It must have experienced some type of trauma. If something fell on the bike and struck the chain stay it could cause it to become wider. It could have been widened to accept modern wheels at some point.

I assume you checked to see if the frame was broken or a bond line had failed?

You should be able to tell if a wide hub was used by the wear pattern in the face of the dropout.
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Old 04-16-13, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ftwelder View Post
It must have experienced some type of trauma. If something fell on the bike and struck the chain stay it could cause it to become wider. It could have been widened to accept modern wheels at some point.

I assume you checked to see if the frame was broken or a bond line had failed?

You should be able to tell if a wide hub was used by the wear pattern in the face of the dropout.
I was thinking it might be something along those lines, but couldn't figure out why it would have been widened to 140 mm. Also it seems to be pretty straight, i'll measure it some time later tonight or tomorrow when I have time, but from the short ride I did have there was no noticeable pulls or anything.

As for the bonding, the ones on the bottom bracket appeared fine, I just checked them again and it kind of looks like a little bit of separation maybe on the brake bridge. Only on the bottom half and very small, fractions of a mm.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 04-16-13, 08:55 AM
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That extra aluminum spacer on the rear wheel axle assembly is not typically there. Plus it looks like they have added an extra piece to make up for the wider spacing.
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Old 04-16-13, 09:04 AM
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Am I counting 8 cogs? that would explain the axle respacing, it is likely a Wheelsmith 146 overall length. I agree with Frank that someone likely wisedn this frame to accept the wider 8spd FW. If you have an 8spd cassette wheel I would use that be just keep an eye out for frame issues.
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Old 04-16-13, 09:05 AM
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Well, it does have an 8 speed hub whaich are typically 130mm over the locknuts. It would not be uncommon to find them spread slightly wider, but 10mm over is quite a bit. I supect somebody was simply over aggressive when setting the stays to accommodate an 8 speed upgrade and then couldn't be bothered to correct the issue.

Provided the setting isn't assymetrical and it rides OK, it's not really a big issue. The dropouts are probably out of alignment but this generally isn't a concern with freehubs. The area where it is most likely to cause problem would be the shifting. If you are using an indexed system, a hanger that is no longer parallel to the cogs can cause inaccurate shifting, depending on far out out of alignment it is. Typically, you can set it up to shift well for only a portion of the cog range and it starts getting noisy and/or misses shifts beyond that range.
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Old 04-16-13, 09:43 AM
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Great responses guys, yes the owner I purchased this from did say he had replaced the original 6 speed campy freewheel with the sachs-maillard on there now. Although he said it was 7-speed so it didn't really raise any red flags. i did notice the spacers on the one side of the hub.

The interesting thing about it is that the dish on the wheel is pretty extreme to one side to center the wheel, which makes sense. However, last week I was adjusting the derailleurs and could never get it to a spot where it wasn't rubbing the fd in one gear or the other.
I think because it is spread to 140mm the freewheel is actually too far off center from the crank and chainrings. is it bad to put spacers from the one side on to the freewheel side if the wheel is re-dished to make up for it?
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Old 04-16-13, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Well, it does have an 8 speed hub which are typically 130mm over the locknuts. It would not be uncommon to find them spread slightly wider, but 10mm over is quite a bit. I suspect somebody was simply over aggressive when setting the stays to accommodate an 8 speed upgrade and then couldn't be bothered to correct the issue.
One concern I have with this is the fact that it's aluminum. From what have read about these frames is that lots of people have fit 130 mm modern wheels into them, but it's not cold set like a steel rear triangle. It spreads due to frame flex, but as soon as the wheel is taken out it springs back to 126.
This is really why I was concerned because as far as I know there isn't a real solid way to reset the width on these frames.

I also just found this, to be completely honest I was unaware that 8 speed freewheels existed before this.

Sheldon Brown
"[h=3]8 Speeds[/h]In the early 1990s, the industry moved to 8-speed clusters with 130 mm spacing. 8-speeds were available in both freewheel and cassette hubs. As with the move from 4- to 5-speed, and from 5-speed to 6-speed, this required adding spacers to the right-hand end of the axle to keep the chain from rubbing on the frame.

As it turned out, the increased length of unsupported axle sticking out from the right side of the hub was just too long for traditional 10 mm threaded axles. 8-speed freewheels were sold for several years, but a very large percentage of the riders who bought them wound up having problems with axle breakage/bendage. As a result, 8-speed freewheels eventually pretty much disappeared from the market."

I'm currently at school, I'm going to try to measure aligned as soon as possible as well as doa bit of a better inspection of the frame connections.
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Old 04-16-13, 09:58 AM
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Yep. I do think Sachs was the only one who made them (atleast marketed widely in the US, Regina may have made them but never saw one) and they were great for smaller smooth riders.

I unfortunately fell into the below category and went through 3 axles in one summer.

As it turned out, the increased length of unsupported axle sticking out from the right side of the hub was just too long for traditional 10 mm threaded axles. 8-speed freewheels were sold for several years, but a very large percentage of the riders who bought them wound up having problems with axle breakage/bendage. As a result, 8-speed freewheels eventually pretty much disappeared from the market."
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Old 04-16-13, 10:06 AM
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They are still out there, for example, Sunrace still offers 8 speed freewheels. And 9 speed

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...ewheel+8+speed
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Old 04-16-13, 10:17 AM
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Alright, so this is basically a non-issue as long as the frame is still intact (tube bonding and alignment) right? Because I was looking to get an alternate wheelset to ride from the tubulars on there right now anyways.

Because I now know I'm not limited to 126 mm wheelsets, I can just get a modern 130 mm cassette hub wheel set and add spacers right?

However to make the hub on there now work out better, can some of the spacers be moved to the other side and the wheel redished?
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Old 04-16-13, 10:49 AM
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It's pretty much too late now to worry too much about the "cold set" done on the rear triangle. You pretty much have to live with it as a second cold setting would just make things worse for a possibility that cracking could start with the tubing.
If anything, I'd be more worried about the separation you think you noticed at the bottom of the brake bridge. I don't remember if the bridge just screws on the stays or if there is a glue bond involved but if it's just a dry gap appearing there and no glue bond is compromised you might be OK but if there is glue, then it's a different story Your bike should still ride OK if the bridge anchorage to the stays would fail but it might not be pleasant heaving you caliper and brige fall into the rear wheel while you are riding....
JMOs

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Old 04-16-13, 11:31 AM
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Respacing 130 wheels would be require a longer axle. Unless your worried about weight I would look for 'cross wheels that might be 135 spaced and just use them as is.
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Old 04-16-13, 01:22 PM
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Hmm. didn't think this bike would be this big of a can of worms. At least it won't be a loss regardless of what I do at $100.

I think I'm going to get it rolling as is for the moment and find out how well it really rides. I'm a really light guy (145 pounds on a good day) so as long as there's no issues with the frame now I'll either try to find just a rear rim or eventually if I like the bike enough take advantage of the rear spacing and swap in some new 10 speed material or something. I originally thought the aluminum frame and 126 mm spacing was going to stop me from upgrading the rear rim, but this changes that.
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Old 04-16-13, 01:56 PM
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Use a 4mm offset rim and you could have a near dishless rear wheel.
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Old 04-17-13, 02:53 AM
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If the frame modification didn't cause a bond failure then it may be best to leave it alone. Dropout alignment may not have a big effect on the hub but the hub will eat away at the dropout a bit.
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Old 04-17-13, 04:34 PM
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So I got around to taking a few more pictures of the frame. There's two photos of the brake bridge, I can't really see much separation and there is some sort of bolt holding it on as well.




In this shot there might be a bit of separation, but I'm not sure if that will affect the ride or frame integrity enough to worry about it.




This is what's actually causing me problems though, because of the extra width, the cogs are pushed so far out that even in the gear combination shown, the chain line is very angled.




I think what I've decided to do is just get a new wheelset built on some sort of 135 mm touring or mtb hub. Probably wrong forum, but does anyone have any tips or know what ones are good?
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Old 04-17-13, 04:44 PM
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Why don't you just buy a normal 130MM wheel?

Your big small chain-line looks normal..I fail to understand the issue
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Old 04-17-13, 05:30 PM
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The glue looks pretty good to me. usually you will see some black residue in failed joints. I think the MTB hub would be a good choice if you want the frame to last.

Chris, the issue is that currently the frame is 140mm. Aluminum work hardens when manipulated. It survived the widening with no issues but may not respond the same way if bent back. He has doubts that using the frame under constant stress is going to reduce it's fatigue life (if I may be so bold). I think a 135 hub is the best choice.

Perhaps we are "picking fly **** out of the pepper" but speculation is certainly interesting.
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Old 04-17-13, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cbresciani View Post
That extra aluminum spacer on the rear wheel axle assembly is not typically there. Plus it looks like they have added an extra piece to make up for the wider spacing.
Might also be that when the 8s FW was added, spacers had to be added to the drive side axel. Rather than re-dishing the wheel to accomidate the extra spacer, they likely threw another spacer on the non-drive side to keep the rim centered between the dropouts.

Do a string test, from 1 dropout, around the headtube and back to other dropout, measure gap on each side of the seattube to check if the dropouts were spread symetrically or asymetrically. Aluminum is very likely to develop cracks prematurely when cold-set like this, not a good thing.

It is pretty easy to find used 135mm MTB hubs for cheap since most all MTB have since adopeted disk hubs as standard equipment and the non-disk hubs are largely considered obsolete.
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