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New wheels for old bike?

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New wheels for old bike?

Old 07-05-21, 12:56 PM
  #1  
SteveG23
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New wheels for old bike?

My wife has not ridden in many years until recently. She is now trying to get back into riding (just on local streets and paved trails). She is small and has an old 24" mountain bike that fits her correctly, but over the years the wheel rims have rusted enough that I can't make them smooth enough for really good braking. Two questions:


1. It's an old (probably late 1990s; we bought it used) Roadmaster with 15 speeds (3 chainrings, five rear gears, Shimano derailleur). Can I safely assume the five gears are a cassette that can be removed and mounted on a replacement wheel?


2. I am having a hard time finding a wheelset for as few as 5 speeds on the rear wheel; and it has 24 x 2.00 tires. Most say they are for 7, 8, or 9 speeds and 2 x 1.5 or 1.75. Any suggestions? I would not necessarily object to going to 24 x 1.75; I assume I can adjust the brakes to match.


Yes, we probably will wind up with a new bike, but I want to try the less expensive options first, to get this one in safe condition to ride a bit so we have a basis for deciding what she needs next.
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Old 07-05-21, 06:06 PM
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VegasTriker
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First you need to determine if your existing wheels use a cassette or a freewheel. https://pedalchile.com/blog/freewheel-vs-cassette
That is a very entry level bike (cheap) so it might have used a freewheel instead of a cassette. A new 5 speed cassette is pretty cheap but the replacement wheelset is not and even a cheap set is more than the bike is worth. You are probably far better off junking the bike. Spend some time looking for a used bike that fits her instead.

If you are bound and determined to use the old bike you can have new 24" rims put on the existing wheels but buying the rims and having the wheels rebuilt by a bike shop will probably still cost you more than the bike is worth. Figure needing a set of spokes too if you replace the rims.
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Old 07-05-21, 08:27 PM
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SteveG23
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
First you need to determine if your existing wheels use a cassette or a freewheel. https://pedalchile.com/blog/freewheel-vs-cassette
Thanks - I did not fully appreciate the difference. Now that I see, that's something I can check. If the gear cluster is freewheel type, I have found a replacement rear wheel that would make the bike almost like new for far less than I would pay for a new one. [[url]https://www.modernbike.com/wheel-master-24-rear-steel-cruiser-comfort-bolt-on-axle-5-6-7-speed-freewheel] But I agree with your advice to "Spend some time looking for a used bike that fits her instead," and if I can find that, so much the better.

Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
If you are bound and determined to use the old bike you can have new 24" rims put on the existing wheels
I certainly do not have sufficient attachment to this one to justify that effort and cost! But I appreciate you mentioning it. Thanks again.
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Old 07-05-21, 11:18 PM
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Like has been said, look for a complete bike first. Would she be ok on a 26 inch? There are many more of them.

If you do change the wheel on the existing, you don't have to stay with 5 speed. You could get a 6 or 7 speed wheel. You could probably set up the existing derailleur so 5 of those can be used.
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Old 07-07-21, 01:03 PM
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Try just sanding down the rust on the rims first. Aluminum foil makes an OK rust sanding medium.

Yes you can remove the freewheel and reuse it. Youíll need a special tool.

Yes you can buy a wheel for six or 7 speeds and remount your 5 speed freewheel. There will likely be an axle spacer that makes the difference. Reuse the axle spacer from the 5 speed wheel. You might have to redish the wheel.

Iím doing these steps to a bike right now. Way more of a PITA than itís worth. Iím only doing it to learn.

I also want to build a wheel- also more of a PITA than itís worth and only want to do it to learn.
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Old 07-07-21, 01:37 PM
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You should be able screw a 5-speed freewheel on any wheel that is marked 5/6/7 FREEWHEEL (or upgrade depending on your shifters).

The "Modern Bike" link above lists "135 OLD". That is the measurement between the dropouts on the bike. You should be able to adjust the width, especially with a 5-speed freewheel, but that is another potential complication. Ideally after adjusting spacers, you should also adjust the dish and truing of the wheel.

These are listed as having an aluminum rim, alloy hubs, quick release, freewheel. "135 OLD".

https://www.ebay.com/itm/124753028062

The anodized brake track will eventually wear some, but that is OK.
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Old 04-15-22, 11:05 AM
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Honestly, you'll spend too much on new rims. Find another 24" bike with aluminum rims and just swap or get another used, better bike is my $.02
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Old 04-19-22, 11:07 AM
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Roadmaster is the cheap Walmart brand. And a 20+ year old Walmart bike is not worth much. I would not bother to replace the wheels on that bike unless with some better 24" from a cheap used bike. Otherwise you probably pay more for fixing up than for a decent newer used bike. The classifieds are full of decent used bikes. I would also recommend getting a bike with 26" wheels. The 24" wheels are a bit of an odd size and not that common and tires and tubes can be more difficult to find.
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Old 04-21-22, 04:18 PM
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Mrs SteveG23 deserves a new bike, or at the very least a very good used one. One she can test ride beforehand or she likely won't like it.
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