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6 speed to 7 speed

Old 08-20-22, 09:49 AM
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gna
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6 speed to 7 speed

I have an early '80s Raleigh Wyoming. I converted to 700c and cold set the frame for 130mm. I tried a 7 speed freewheel, but there's not quite enough clearance for it. I'm using the 6 speed version now, but I gather that I could try a 1mm spacer on the axle and it may give just enough room to get it to work. I thought I'd give it a try, but I asked a couple of bikes shops if they had spacers but they said no, and the only ones I can find on-line come in a bag of 20. Anyone have a source for one? Will I need to redish?
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Old 08-20-22, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by gna View Post
I have an early '80s Raleigh Wyoming. I converted to 700c and cold set the frame for 130mm. I tried a 7 speed freewheel, but there's not quite enough clearance for it. I'm using the 6 speed version now, but I gather that I could try a 1mm spacer on the axle and it may give just enough room to get it to work. I thought I'd give it a try, but I asked a couple of bikes shops if they had spacers but they said no, and the only ones I can find on-line come in a bag of 20. Anyone have a source for one? Will I need to redish?
I had a similar issue, and the two LBS I tried didn't have spacers.... so I did the Amazon thing, figuring it can't hurt to have some extras in the toolbox for the future. IIRC, I needed 2mm for enough clearance for the chain to not rub the seat stay when on the small cog. The centering difference wasn't enough that I felt the wheel needed redishing, at least for now. I'll probably throw it on the truing stand and redish it over the winter.... if I remember.
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Old 08-20-22, 10:09 AM
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There's not a single bike shop in the twin cities that will give you a 1mm axle spacer?

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Old 08-20-22, 10:18 AM
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I'd give Express Bike Shop a try. Just off Lexington on Selby. By far my favorite shop in the Cities.

They had spacers when I went in there this spring.
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Old 08-20-22, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by gna View Post
I have an early '80s Raleigh Wyoming. I converted to 700c and cold set the frame for 130mm. I tried a 7 speed freewheel, but there's not quite enough clearance for it. I'm using the 6 speed version now, but I gather that I could try a 1mm spacer on the axle and it may give just enough room to get it to work. I thought I'd give it a try, but I asked a couple of bikes shops if they had spacers but they said no, and the only ones I can find on-line come in a bag of 20. Anyone have a source for one? Will I need to redish?
This is going to sound like retro-grouch resistance at first, but what is your goal in switching from 6-speed to 7-speed? New freewheels tend to come in 14-28 or 14-34 either way, so there isn't much of a gain in my book. The extra cog is added where it is least needed in the progression.

Now that your frame is already 130mm, you might as well upgrade a little further into 8+ speed cassette hubs.
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Old 08-20-22, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
This is going to sound like retro-grouch resistance at first, but what is your goal in switching from 6-speed to 7-speed? New freewheels tend to come in 14-28 or 14-34 either way, so there isn't much of a gain in my book. The extra cog is added where it is least needed in the progression.

Now that your frame is already 130mm, you might as well upgrade a little further into 8+ speed cassette hubs.
I disagree about the "extra cog" being essentially unneeded. I can do most of what I want with a 2x6 setup, but 2x7 or 3x6 works out better for me, with good range and no gaps.

You are right about the benefit of an 8-speed cassette. My mountain bike started 3x6, was evidently upgraded to 3x7 by the first owner, and I have since upgraded to a 3x8 cassette, which gives me a delightful set of gears spanning almost a 4:1 range (26 to 100 gear-inches), with 6-7 percent progression most of the way up.
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Old 08-20-22, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by thorstein View Post
I'd give Express Bike Shop a try. Just off Lexington on Selby. By far my favorite shop in the Cities.

They had spacers when I went in there this spring.
Thanks, will give 'em a try.

Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
This is going to sound like retro-grouch resistance at first, but what is your goal in switching from 6-speed to 7-speed? New freewheels tend to come in 14-28 or 14-34 either way, so there isn't much of a gain in my book. The extra cog is added where it is least needed in the progression.

Now that your frame is already 130mm, you might as well upgrade a little further into 8+ speed cassette hubs.
Well, I have the 7 speed already. I do have the 14-34 6 speed, but the jump from 24T to 34T can be a little tough. Be nice to have that gear in between.
Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
There's not a single bike shop in the twin cities that will give you a 1mm axle spacer?

The two I tried said they didn't have any. Didn't have, or didn't want to sell them, I guess.

Last edited by gna; 08-20-22 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 08-20-22, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
This is going to sound like retro-grouch resistance at first, but what is your goal in switching from 6-speed to 7-speed?
For me, it's a lot easier to find the 7-speed Sunrace freewheel in all-chrome (the only Sunrace configuration I will use) compared to their 6-speeds. Just looking on ebay, there's two 6-speeds, starting at $48, both outside the US. I can get a 7-speed for $20 and pick from a few more offerings under $30.
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Old 08-20-22, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
I disagree about the "extra cog" being essentially unneeded. I can do most of what I want with a 2x6 setup, but 2x7 or 3x6 works out better for me, with good range and no gaps.

You are right about the benefit of an 8-speed cassette. My mountain bike started 3x6, was evidently upgraded to 3x7 by the first owner, and I have since upgraded to a 3x8 cassette, which gives me a delightful set of gears spanning almost a 4:1 range (26 to 100 gear-inches), with 6-7 percent progression most of the way up.
What I mostly had in mind are the new-production Shimano freewheels. One can choose between 14-16-18-21-24-28 or 14-16-18-20-22-24-28, oh joy.

With old-stock or custom freewheels, one could definitely get a lot more out of that extra cog, but that's a rabbit hole I doubt I'd go down in 2022 with a 130mm bike.
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Old 08-20-22, 11:22 AM
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Common washers are all that is really needed to add 1-2mm to the right-side axle extension.

3/8" washers can be reamed or filed to fit in just a minute or two and are available in many thicknesses.

Often I just use a thicker locknut, from my parts bins.

If you put a lot of static and/or dynamic loading on your rear wheel, a cassette hub may spare you broken or bent rear axles and driveside dropouts.
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Old 08-20-22, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
What I mostly had in mind are the new-production Shimano freewheels. One can choose between 14-16-18-21-24-28 or 14-16-18-20-22-24-28, oh joy.

With old-stock or custom freewheels, one could definitely get a lot more out of that extra cog, but that's a rabbit hole I doubt I'd go down in 2022 with a 130mm bike.
Too much math; this is one for experts.
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Old 08-20-22, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
What I mostly had in mind are the new-production Shimano freewheels.
Can you get them without the ugly big cog?

I needed a 5-speed a few years ago for a keeper, and found a good looking one in China, like this:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/18534047304...temCondition=3

Not ramped, but works fine for my grocery getter.
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Old 08-20-22, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Can you get them without the ugly big cog?
Not that I know of!

But if I were in the market for freewheels at all, I've considered masking off the smaller cogs and spraying or brushing some kind of copper/brass-colored paint on the biggest cog. That way, even if not an exact match, it would look way better. The cogs on SunTour freewheels didn't always match exactly either.

I needed a 5-speed a few years ago for a keeper, and found a good looking one in China, like this:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/18534047304...temCondition=3

Not ramped, but works fine for my grocery getter.
Interesting! Are these NOS from [checks vintage-trek.com...] 1995, or recent production?
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Old 08-20-22, 02:20 PM
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Wait a minute.
You cold set to 130mm? I did that once so I could use a 7 speed cassette with a spacer on a 130mm OLD freehub. If you put the OG wheel back in your 130 drop outs, they will come back to 126 and you are back to square one.
get a longer axle or a new hub.

edit: the spacer is behind the cassette
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Old 08-20-22, 02:25 PM
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If you went to 130 I think you can go 8, 9 or 10 in back.
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Old 08-20-22, 04:08 PM
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Thicker locknut as mentioned, or check the spacer stack on each side, see if you can swap them around to give you 1mm more on the drive side. Whatever you do, you'll need to have 1mm less on the NDS anyway. And yes, you'll have to re-center the rim between the locknuts.
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Old 08-20-22, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Interesting! Are these NOS from 1995 or recent production?
Assume recent.
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Old 08-20-22, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
Wait a minute.
You cold set to 130mm? I did that once so I could use a 7 speed cassette with a spacer on a 130mm OLD freehub. If you put the OG wheel back in your 130 drop outs, they will come back to 126 and you are back to square one.
get a longer axle or a new hub.

edit: the spacer is behind the cassette
No, the OG wheel is gone. The hub was shot. I found a Dia-Compe ENE 130mm freewheel hub on sale, so that's what I got. I cold set to 130mm. In retrospect, maybe I should have looked for a freehub instead, but it seems to work fine. I thought I could fit a 7 speed freewheel in, but it rubs.
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Old 08-20-22, 06:05 PM
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Another vote for the Sunrace 7 speed freewheel (13-15-17-19-21-24-28) MFM30 7CS,
which is all chrome finish and I've fitted it on 127mm OLD (Campag nuovo tipo hub).

It's £21 on ebay (UK).
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Old 08-20-22, 06:20 PM
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Some bikes with 126mm OLD at the rear triangle cannot readily accommodate 7 speed FW's.
I found that out when I tried to install a 7 speed freewheel on my 1984 Peugeot PY19FC. The smallest cog could not clear the drive side seat stay bottom end.
It turns out that the frameset was designed by Peugeot to have seatstays are a bit closer together, above the dropouts, compared to other bikes with 126mm OLD spacing. So I'm stuck with just a 6 speed FW on the bike.
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Old 08-22-22, 06:37 PM
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As an update, I dropped By Express Bike Shop. They sold me four spacers for a dollar, in a variety of thicknesses from .8mm to 3mm. Then I checked my 7 speed freewheel, and it also jumps from 24T to 34T. I could have sworn it had a 28T cog on it. So there's really no need to replace my 6 speed now, but if I find a suitable freewheel I can give it a try.
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