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your views on the 7-speed?

Old 07-27-14, 08:23 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by etherhuffer
Seven is the golden mean for me. Freewheels though, in big cogs, are hard to find. And the Shimano megarange is hard on the eyes.

Something no one mentioned: 126 dropouts are usually horizontal. If you stand and stomp, you can pull your rear wheel left. I am 200 pounds, and even with a tight skewer I sometimes pull the wheel. When you do that just a bit, your rear won't trim well. It starts with a little buzz as you go then the shifting goes less smoothly. Given my choice I would have all 7 speed. Double or triple up front matters not. Its a lot of gears.
For me it's implicit that proper setup means a QR that can be tightened enough and then doing it.

I don't know if this was a problem in historical (i.e. friction-age) TdFs, but I have to believe those riders had more pressure to bring to the pedals than any of us do, unless we are also sprint monsters. If a steel vintage Campy-style QR was adequate for professional racing in the '60s, it should be adequate now.
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Old 07-27-14, 08:36 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by eschlwc
john hood, funny you mention bent axles. on this davidson (pre-build), i found the axle was broken when i went to remove the rear skewer for the first time.

i was riding it today to the post office and broke my first spoke on the rear. walking home is not fun.
I've bent the freewheel axle twice on my Raleigh Carlton that I converted to a 7 speed and once on an 8 speed freewheel mountain bike as well. Using freehubs/cassettes I haven't had that problem. I haven't noticed it on 5 speed freewheels either, but to be honest, I don't ride those nearly as much. I've upgraded most of my bikes to freehubs as I found the wheels, including that Raleigh. It just makes sense though that the fewer gears in the rear the less likely you will be to bend an axle. On a freewheel hub, the bearings on the right side are located right where the freewheel screws on, so the more gears you put on there the further from the frame the bearings will be located and the greater the bending force exerted on the axle.

The way I see it, if your axle is bent then your bike is out of alignment and that will make it less efficient, slower and less rideable. Even if you're unaware of it, you have the wheels pointing in slightly different directions and tracking on slightly different lines.

I switched wheels out on the Raleigh after breaking spokes myself, but that wasn't the fault of the 7 speed freewheel, but rather my lack of skill in re-dishing wheels and original spokes that had seen better days.
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Old 07-27-14, 08:50 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by John E
I recently put an 8-speed freehub on my mountain bike and control it with a 7-speed thumb shifter in friction mode -- works like a champ.

I have had mixed results putting 7-speed freewheels on rear wheels designed for standard 6-speed (126mm OLD). Depending on the hub, axle, and spacers, sometimes I need to add 1-2mm more spacing on the drive side, redishing the rear wheel accordingly.

I currently run 2x6 gearing on all of my road bikes and find it adequate, but I would definitely not go back to the old 2x5 setup, which did not give me the tight 6-7% progression I wanted across the 2:1 range I wanted.
I'm running two seven speed freehubs with friction shifters myself, (Schwinn World Sport, Raleigh Gran Sport), but I find them more difficult to shift accurately and to trim than on my Varsity with a five speed freewheel. I've no doubt that someone out there is happy and competent running an 11 speed with friction shifters, but with that many gears I'd want indexing.
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Old 07-27-14, 08:58 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by JTTDF
Don't know if this will be any help to you or not. I was running an ultra spaced Suntour Winner 13-24 fw on a Ciocc carrying a Super Record rear derailler. The bike had a 6-7-8 speed chain and it was cog shy especially when shifting down. It would skip a cog in the middle cogs and I would have to shift back up to find my gear. I went to a 9 speed chain and problem was solved. The bike shifts flawlessly up and down now. Might be worth a try.
I haven't tried this yet but think I might. I have the same problem on my RRA with a Winner 13-24 and Super Record (or NR) rear D. Running a SRAM PC68 chain currently, but also did it with a SRAM PC830 or 850. I'll probably use a KMC chain as I'm beginning to agree with the sentiment that the SRAM chains are not as good as they used to be (and as the Sedisport chains were).
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Old 07-27-14, 09:02 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Kactus
Why would a 7 sp tend to bend axles more than 6 sps if they are both 126 spacing?
It wouldn't. I've just experienced the problems with 7 and 8 speed freewheels and didn't think before I typed.

One other thing which may be coloring my perceptions is that I ride the 7+ speed bikes MUCH more and demand MUCH more of them. To be honest, I'd probably never notice or even care if the axle on my 2x5 Varsity were slightly bent, (but I don't think it is).
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Old 07-27-14, 09:31 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Pars
I'll probably use a KMC chain...
I am using KMC. It was inexpensive and the snap on and off link makes it easy to remove for cleaning. My theory, fwiw, is that the slightly narrower (1/128?) width than the 8 speed chain and the link pins that are flush to the plates allow to chain to drop down between the narrow spaced cogs just a bit easier.
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Old 07-27-14, 09:50 AM
  #57  
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^By the way, my chainrings are also SR and they accept the narrower chain just fine. I can't speak to other makes of rings.
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Old 07-27-14, 09:50 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by browngw
This is not going to be a technical comment, but practical none the less IMHO. Some C&V people do not have a requirement for more or closer spaced gearing. Its the top and bottom gears for the type of riding we do that matters. I ride my bikes for fun, old and new, and would not bother changing a 6sp to 7sp if not necessary. Most times I don't care if I'm riding my late model 9sp or my 40 year old 5sp as long as I'm having fun.

+1
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Old 07-27-14, 10:59 AM
  #59  
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I certainly like 7-speed, and with a cassette hub (I live in Shimano-Land and can't speak to how well Campy or Simplex handle 7-speed ) there aren't any tradeoffs that I can name versus 6-speed. Friction and indexed shifting both have a wide "sweet spot" and work well. There's a wide variety of cassettes still in production, and the consumables are cheap and last a long time (probably not much less than 6-speed assuming the same amount of care.) So compared to 5- or 6-speed, you can have a little tighter gearing or wider range with no drawbacks. My "go-fast" bike uses a 13-14-15-17-19-21-23 cassette and my "touring" bike uses a 13-15-17-19-21-24-28 cassette.

(All of that said, I suspect it's all relative, and if my first road bike had been 10-speed with brifters or 6-speed freewheel with friction shifters, I probably would have cottoned to that system and set my expectations for usability and component life accordingly.)

Anecdotally, my SRAM PC850 and 870 chains last a lot longer than the one PC830 I tried, but that may be tangential to this discussion...
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Old 07-27-14, 04:38 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
...To go to 7-speeds there were two concepts: use narrower cog spacing and use 126 mm spacing, or use the original 5-speed spacing but add two more cogs. The former needed a narrower chain, which we now call "7-speed," and the latter needed more space between the frame ends - 128 or even 130. I think Sun-Tour went narrow and Shimano went "standard," but I'm not sure of that. The Italian brands did not succeed at making the transition to 7. The French muddled along, eventually becoming Sachs and then SRAM.

Clearly the 128 or 130 mm early designs were sometimes too much for the existing axles. I don't know how early cassette hubs fit into this "world according to Road Fan" picture, but we do know they were stronger in terms of axle durability. I think the viability of 8-speed depended on the better axle support inherent in the cassette concept.
I don't think anyone made a "standard spaced" (i.e. 5-speed-spaced) freewheel with more than 6 cogs. All 7-speed freewheels require "narrow" chain that is no wider than 7.3mm, the width of the original "UG Narrow" chain or the "Ultra" chain (Made for Suntour by DID).
Regina of Italy did produce narrow-spaced 7-speed freewheels. Some if not all were index-compatible, and many if not all of these were Synchro-7 compatible, slightly different in spacing from SIS-7 or Accushift-7.

Freewheel hubs spaced on the axle's drive side for 7-speed freewheels were rarely also spaced for greater than 126mm frame widths, except in the case of some that were intended for MTB use. Many 7-speed cassette hubs were produced for 130mm road use however.

Axle breakage would seem to be mainly a function of the drive-side axle extension, irrespective of the overall axle width and frame spacing. Wider frame spacing does allow for a better-supported, stronger rim though, by better centering the rim between the flanges, thus reducing the dish dimension.

The tip of the driveside axle cone is where the highest stresses usually result in axle failure. I haven't seen one fail anywhere else.

Narrower chain widens each cog's shift lever position window, within which the drive is silent. Thus, shift lever positioning is less critical and shifting becomes "easier".

Narrower chain also passes through the front derailer cage with less chance of rubbing, so less if any "lever trimming" required.
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Old 07-27-14, 04:47 PM
  #61  
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I'm happy with a 13-24 seven speed Suntour Winner. Having the 13-14-15-17... cogs in the 17 to 25 mph speed range is really enjoyable and helps me stay in a narrow cadence range.
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Old 07-27-14, 04:57 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
I think he means there's not a lot to say...
and yet, you wrote over 500 words. and others have contributed three pages of great information. so, thank you.

and this is certainly not usually the kind of trade-off you suggest.
actually, it is. it's not at all as bandera suggests with his "definitive" opinion aimed to quell all others.

what i've come to learn in this thread is ...

- 7 is not always better than 6. "more is [not always] more."
- just because the old is 126mm, doesn't mean the setup is fit to "cram" in a 7-speed.
- a 13-25t 7-speed serves some better, while a 14-28t 6-speed is better suited to others.
- "fun" trumps (or can trump) "efficiency."
- campy nr can serve the spread of 7 cogs.
- i'm not the only one having trouble trimming a 7-speed.
- 7 cogs are more narrow than a 6.
- and (most importantly for me) 9 speed chains better serve a 7-speed freewheel.

hope i can learn a bit more...
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Old 07-27-14, 06:16 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by eschlwc
and yet, you wrote over 500 words. and others have contributed three pages of great information. so, thank you.



actually, it is. it's not at all as bandera suggests with his "definitive" opinion aimed to quell all others.

what i've come to learn in this thread is ...

- 7 is not always better than 6. "more is [not always] more."
- just because the old is 126mm, doesn't mean the setup is fit to "cram" in a 7-speed.
- a 13-25t 7-speed serves some better, while a 14-28t 6-speed is better suited to others.
- "fun" trumps (or can trump) "efficiency."
- campy nr can serve the spread of 7 cogs.
- i'm not the only one having trouble trimming a 7-speed.
- 7 cogs are more narrow than a 6.
- and (most importantly for me) 9 speed chains better serve a 7-speed freewheel.

hope i can learn a bit more...
I agree, it's funny how much I wrote. Been working in companies where several languages are used but English is the official one, and I'm getting a lot of experience trying to make things clear to a lot of people at once, even ideas that I don't necessarily agree with. Unfortunately it can take a lot of words to break it all down.

"fun" is a very personal concept. I'm not a high-performance rider. I don't have a "fast" mode where I apply all the little tricks for speed, whatever those are. I have fun on the bike when I can go without pain, injury, or worry about injury, and that has a lot to do with keeping within my cadence range. For me, fun and efficiency are closely related. Pain is not fun and and neither is anxiety. If your riding has different modes, enjoy it. YMMV, clearly.

I don't agree that "7 cogs are more narrow than 6." I may have badly worded something that leads to that conclusion. What I tried to say is that for some 7's the distance between cogs is less than for some 6's.

I'm not sure what your goal was to start this discussion unless you're a new fan of vintage who did not grow up with them, and this of course is not a problem. I hope you've found some of my 500 words helpful. Thanks for reading it all.
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Old 07-27-14, 06:26 PM
  #64  
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Thanks for the clarifications. I'm sure I heard about the greater width of Shimano cog pitch somewhere on the Webz that seemed authoritative, but I could have been mislead. I have a long history with bikes, but did not pay attention to the rise of Shimano.

Originally Posted by dddd

Narrower chain widens each cog's shift lever position window, within which the drive is silent. Thus, shift lever positioning is less critical and shifting becomes "easier".

Narrower chain also passes through the front derailer cage with less chance of rubbing, so less if any "lever trimming" required.
I like these explanations a lot -- thanks!

I think there's a limit to chain narrowness, that it may take a lot of over shift to get a chain to pick up by the next larger cog, or that the tooth may be wider than the available space between the chain plates is best suited for. Can you use an 11-speed chain on even a Sachs ARIS 6 or 7-speed freewheel, which has a sharp little tooth?
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Old 07-27-14, 06:38 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by eschlwc
^ i don't know. this axle broke right at the end of the cone where it sits below the cartridge bearings.
...have you checked and reassured yourself that the rear dropouts are aligned and parallel ?
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Old 07-27-14, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by eschlwc
- and (most importantly for me) 9 speed chains better serve a 7-speed freewheel.

hope i can learn a bit more...
...this is not in keeping with my own experience. The KMC 8 speed chains with the fancy dancy x plates
on them seem to shift pretty well on everything I have from 5-6 on up through 8. Maybe I'm just really lucky.

You can buy them a little cheaper in bulk packages of five, if you do a lot of this stuff.
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Old 07-27-14, 07:08 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
...have you checked and reassured yourself that the rear dropouts are aligned and parallel ?
yes, davidson actually checked the frameset.
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Old 07-27-14, 07:18 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
...this is not in keeping with my own experience. The KMC 8 speed chains with the fancy dancy x plates
on them seem to shift pretty well on everything I have from 5-6 on up through 8. Maybe I'm just really lucky.

You can buy them a little cheaper in bulk packages of five, if you do a lot of this stuff.
I also like the KMC X-series chains, and some of their 7-8-speed chains are a little narrower than Shimano's 7.3mm, but of course 7-8-speed chain works reasonably well on all 7s freewheels.

I have noticed improvement however in the more "forgiving" shift feel offered by narrower chain in general, particularly when using Suntour 7-speed and Ultra-6 freewheels. Here, the narrower 9s chain offers quite-noticeable improvement over any 7-8-speed chain. This is true with both indexed and friction shifting.

Given that 9s chain works perfectly on Suntour and Uniglide standard-spaced 6-speed freewheels, I'm confident that 10s chain would likely work very well at least on 7s freewheels, but I have not yet tried 10s chain with any freewheels, mainly because I would expect possible skating/slippage problems using 10s chain with any crankset from the pre-9sp era, and I don't have such modern cranksets on any of my bikes that use freewheels.
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Old 07-27-14, 07:22 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by eschlwc
yes, davidson actually checked the frameset.
Thus, my post on tweaking the rear wheel when you stomp. Davidson guys are really good. If the rear is not true, or the wheel out, you lose the smooth shifting.
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Old 07-27-14, 07:37 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
... I'm not a high-performance rider. I don't have a "fast" mode where I apply all the little tricks for speed, whatever those are. I have fun on the bike when I can... Pain is not fun and and neither is anxiety.
neither am i that kind of rider. what i do like about this suntour 7 is the 13t cog though. i use it twice for big stretches on my normal daily ride, so i can really get after it. the desire for the 13t limits me to a 7-speed freewheel unless i shell out the big bucks for an ird or similar 6-speed offering.

I don't agree that "7 cogs are more narrow than 6."
my learnin's as summarized above are based on the entire thread, and that was the general sentiment so far. i will assume that on a 7-speed, either the small cog sits further out or the cog spacing is tighter. i assume this is why so many prefer a narrower chain (3alarmer excluded).

I'm not sure what your goal was to start this discussion unless you're a new fan of vintage and did not grow up with them...
i tried to be very clear in my op. with only one exception, i've been given the great advice i've come to expect from this community.

but no, i "did not grow up with them." i rode bmx as a kid and mountain bikes until five years ago. i've rebuilt 13 beautiful c&v road bikes over the last three years. i couldn't have done it without the people of c&v as a major resource.
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Old 07-27-14, 07:55 PM
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i've decided to buy a new sunrace 7 (13-25t), and, after testing it, to buy a new chain if i'm still uncomfortable with noise, trimming, or shifting.

are kmc chains finished in that wonderful waxiness that lasts weeks like sram chains?
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Old 07-27-14, 10:47 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by eschlwc
are kmc chains finished in that wonderful waxiness that lasts weeks like sram chains?
Yes.
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Old 07-28-14, 03:06 AM
  #73  
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@JTTDF and @dddd (and kactus or anybody else who already mentioned kmc in this thread), @3alarmer writes that the kmc "x8" series chains work well with a 7-speed. would that be your choice as well with a sunrace 7?

i noticed the kmc x8.93 chain is priced very reasonably in comparison to the sram pc830 i normally buy. maybe i need to make the wholesale switch over to the kmc x8 for all my bikes regardless of 5/6/7 speed?
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Old 07-28-14, 08:27 AM
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.
...just buy one, try it, and see how you like it. They do have to be put together with the link that comes with, because peened.

I started buying the cheap chains back when Sedis came out with the Sedisport, in days of yore. Those worked really well too.
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Old 07-28-14, 10:34 AM
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Kactus
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I've been happy with them so far. They are cheap enough that you can give one a try and if it doesn't work for you, you're not out any big money.
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