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Conventional freewheel hub instead of track hub

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Conventional freewheel hub instead of track hub

Old 04-23-21, 08:25 PM
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Gresp15C
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Conventional freewheel hub instead of track hub

One of the bikes in the family fleet is an old Schwinn converted to single speed by replacing the multi speed cluster with a threaded single speed freewheel. So far so good. If we re-dish the wheel so the flanges are more or less equidistant from the centerline, it will improve the chainline, and I have the spacers needed to make it work. Other than the relative weakness of the longer axle, which is already a solid axle, is there any major downside to doing this, as opposed to using a real track hub? This is a "campus bike" so we don't want to throw a lot of new components at it, but still it rides pretty nice and is worth some attention.
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Old 04-23-21, 08:36 PM
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ofajen
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
One of the bikes in the family fleet is an old Schwinn converted to single speed by replacing the multi speed cluster with a threaded single speed freewheel. So far so good. If we re-dish the wheel so the flanges are more or less equidistant from the centerline, it will improve the chainline, and I have the spacers needed to make it work. Other than the relative weakness of the longer axle, which is already a solid axle, is there any major downside to doing this, as opposed to using a real track hub? This is a "campus bike" so we don't want to throw a lot of new components at it, but still it rides pretty nice and is worth some attention.
Should be fine. I have thousands of miles on a similar Schwinn SS conversion. The one difference is I have Superbe QR hubs, not solid axle.

Total weight of about 200 pounds and most miles are on mellow trails plus a few bits of road. Lots of rough trail bridge crossings and no issues. But I ride very light and unweight the saddle for any spot with the least roughness. And I ride fully taped touring bars so I have a lot of flexibility about hand and body position.

Otto
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Old 04-23-21, 11:02 PM
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Thanks! The bike came with a bent axle, and the solid axle is what we had in the bin. Oddly enough, I looked up the mechanical engineering formulas, and a solid axle isn't really much stronger than a hollow one.
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Old 04-24-21, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
One of the bikes in the family fleet is an old Schwinn converted to single speed by replacing the multi speed cluster with a threaded single speed freewheel. So far so good. If we re-dish the wheel so the flanges are more or less equidistant from the centerline, it will improve the chainline, and I have the spacers needed to make it work. Other than the relative weakness of the longer axle, which is already a solid axle, is there any major downside to doing this, as opposed to using a real track hub?
No. If you're running a single freewheel, a track hub will not offer any real advantage. A track hub allows you to safely run a fixed sprocket with a lockring to prevent it from loosening. A freewheel doesn't need this. Track hubs also offer slightly better lateral bracing by putting the non-drive side hub flange directly over the bearing race rather than offset slightly inboard, but that's unlikely to be an issue with the type of riding you describe. Be aware that even a single freewheel requires some dish, so don't just assume you can have the flanges equidistant from the locknuts.
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Old 04-24-21, 05:14 PM
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Thanks for the note about dishing. We'll follow the "make no assumptions" approach. I'm thinking, take care of the chainline and clearance of the cog first, then dish the wheel to put the rim where it needs to be.
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Old 04-24-21, 07:09 PM
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I too have done this. I believe I changed the cone to locknut spacers too. (less on drive side, more on the non-drive side. After re-dishing, the wheel is actually stronger than when it was dished farther out for the multi-cog freewheel.
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Old 04-24-21, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
I too have done this. I believe I changed the cone to locknut spacers too. (less on drive side, more on the non-drive side. After re-dishing, the wheel is actually stronger than when it was dished farther out for the multi-cog freewheel.
Yeah, I did this about a year ago for my Schwinn. Not only is the wheel virtually un-dished and stronger, but it had been a bit out of round and true beforehand, and now after the re-dish it seems to be round and true.

I seem to recall moving the chainline about 6mm and Iím using a chainring on the inner side of a 2x crank arm.

Itís a 126mm spacing hub and I think there is still room to run a 5-speed cluster if I ever want to go back to that.

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Old 05-04-21, 06:21 AM
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This was a 6 speed 27" wheel on an old step thru bike here in Cambodia that I took to the US after I had recentered the hub.
It is now a dingle speed.


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Old 05-05-21, 05:37 PM
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I think RJ the Bike Guy has a video on doing just that.
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Old 06-04-21, 04:22 PM
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Report: Success! It was easier than expected. I un-dished the wheel by loosening all of the spokes and starting from scratch with tensioning and truing. The wheel is pretty beaten up, so perfect truth was not a goal, but I think it's better than it was. Then I added enough width of spacer between the locknut and cone on each side, to match the dropout spacing on the frame of roughly 121 mm. Chainline is spot on, wheel centering likewise.
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