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Internal hub conversion on old italian steel (7sp / 126mm? dropout spacing)

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Internal hub conversion on old italian steel (7sp / 126mm? dropout spacing)

Old 01-31-22, 01:57 PM
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Internal hub conversion on old italian steel (7sp / 126mm? dropout spacing)

Hi all

I've got this brand forgotten to time 7 speed which I'm contemplating a 8 or 11 speed internal hub conversion on. I've already got it set up as a poor man's 1-by and seven gears are fine for the riding I do but the whole drivetrain is worn and aching. The web is flooded with internal hub discussion but I've not had success learning what options exist for older frames with unusual dropout spacing. I need to strip the wheel off to get a better measurement but believe its 125 or 126mm.

[ I wanted to post a photo but apparently I need more posts first... stay tuned for that! ]
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Old 01-31-22, 02:05 PM
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To elaborate - I'm aware I can 'cold set' the frame to some extent. What is common or advisable? I see internal hubs with spacing of 130mm, 132mm, and most commonly 135mm.
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Old 01-31-22, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by somebikeguy
[ I wanted to post a photo but apparently I need more posts first... stay tuned for that! ]
Pic Assist - https://www.bikeforums.net/g/picture/23911912

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Old 01-31-22, 02:25 PM
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I will leave the IGH options to the IGH guru's, but as a practical question have you considered just getting a new freewheel (or cassette, they are NOT the same but both are available) and chain?

That may work and be easiest on the budget.

And informed sources say it's no big deal to spread the rear triangle from 126 to 130 on a steel frame like that.
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Old 01-31-22, 02:29 PM
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Thanks guys!

I like the internal hub also cause I like projects. This isn't a "need to" job, its cause I like trying new stuff and retrofits etc...
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Old 01-31-22, 06:40 PM
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The 90’s era Sturmey Archer Sprinter and Sprinter Elite five speeds have 120mm OLD. A couple of washers under the locknuts and you are in the 120 to 126 mm range. Most of the modern Sunrace/ Sturmey Archer Hubs offer OLD sizes in the 120 to 125 mm range. If you go to the their site;
sturmer-archer.com
and check the “Specifications “ pdf; they will list the model designation for either the 120 or 125 mm OLD.
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Old 01-31-22, 06:53 PM
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I agree that a good shop could cold-set that to 130 mm. You could built it up as 1x11 and have gearing similar to 2x7. You can also still scrounge up parts that will fit the bike as it is.

It looks like all of Shimano's Alfine and Nexus hubs are 132 (splitting the difference between road and MTB spacing) or 135 mm (MTB spacing). I'm not sure if any of those have spacers that could be removed. Sturmey Archer makes an 8-speed hub with a 120-mm OLD, but you could just stick some spacers in that to get up to 126 mm. I'll admit that aesthetically, it just seems wrong, but it's your bike.
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Old 02-01-22, 07:11 AM
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Much appreciated guys. I have the bike running 1x7 now and the gear range is fine for the coastal rides I've been using it for over the past few years.

The Sturmey Archer s80-xrf8 8 speed is interesting and has slightly higher gear range (325%) than the comparible Shimano (307%). To my eye the worse aesthetic offense on the Sturmey is the twist shifter. Does anyone know what cross compatibility exists between various IGHs and their shifters?

Can I ask you to elaborate on the 1x11 setup you mentioned? I presume that like the IGH conversion this would mean building a new wheel? I see rear spacing listed as 130mm for 10sp, I presume this too would require a bit of a cold set?
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Old 02-01-22, 09:10 AM
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Interesting looking at the shift-lever options for Sturmey Archer. They have bar-ends and even a downtube shifter for 3-speeds, but neither for 8-speed. They do have a thumb shifter for 8-speed. I would not be surprised if you could borrow parts from each to get an 8-speed bar-end shifter, but you should research that first. I know that for Rohloffs, which only come with twist-shifters, people using drop-bar bikes sometimes mount them to a stub sticking out of the stem. I don't know what other shift levers would play nice with it.

For a 1x11, yes, you'd need to have the rear triangle cold-set to 130 mm, and you'd need a new rear hub—a new wheel would probably be cheaper than relacing your current wheel. But you could get all modern and put brifters on the bike—in fact, I have been unable to find 11-speed downtube shifters at all. I have found 11-speed bar-ends from Shimano and Microshift.
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Old 02-01-22, 09:14 AM
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Much appreciated. I've rebuild a few old cars and find old frame - new part compatibility the most difficult thing to get right.

What about 1x(<11) ? Do you think 1x9, 1x10 would play nicer with downtube friction or index shifters?
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Old 02-01-22, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by adamrice
But you could get all modern and put brifters on the bike—in fact, I have been unable to find 11-speed downtube shifters at all. I have found 11-speed bar-ends from Shimano and Microshift.
Because: Velo Orange


Also, on Rohloff equipped drop bar bikes: Rohbox Gebla shifting system

I own one of each. The downtube shifters are about what you expect. Just a bigger barrel to pull more cable; The Gebla Rohbox is a fancy ratchet to increment the cable at the hub & not the shifter. The ratchet pawls in the shifter are then removed so that each shifter runs in "pull only" mode.

To the OP: What else you might do is a Nexus 7 mated to a 52/36 or a 50/34 crankset. You'll have 14 speeds, the middle 12 evenly spaced. A cheap Microshift trigger shifter has enough material at the bar clamp that a sufficient amount can be removed & the shifter then installed on 25.4/26.0 road handlebars. An added bonus is that minus the roller brake, the Nexus 7 can be configured as narrow as 126mm OLD.

The Alfine 8 & 11 speeds are not sort of heavy. The Nexus 7 is both lighter & cheaper with out a big gap in the middle of the gear spread.

Last edited by base2; 02-01-22 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 02-01-22, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by somebikeguy
What about 1x(<11) ? Do you think 1x9, 1x10 would play nicer with downtube friction or index shifters?
It's just a matter of finding the parts. I'm not sure what the newest indexed downtube shifter would be. Probably 8 speed. And maybe (maaaaybe) you could use bar-end shifters as downtube shifters--just take the lever off the bar-end bracket. Base2 already answered for friction levers.
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Old 03-30-23, 06:44 PM
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Regarding the Velo Orange Dia Compe ENE shifters - I can't find a drawing or clear picture of these but I presume they need a frame with brazed on studs to attach the shifters to?
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Old 03-30-23, 06:46 PM
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When I hit ten posts and am allowed I'll link to the thread I just started on the work I'm doing to this bike. Since I posted this thread about a year back I concluded that the 1x7 works just fine for me. I decided to build wheels from scratch since I've never done it. I'm using Velo Orange's 126mm threaded hub and Pacenti's Brevet rims, allowing me to go tubeless. I found a 13-28t cassette which gives me a tiny bit more range.
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