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7-9 speed upgrade on aluminum frame(4 posts)

7-9 speed upgrade on aluminum frameDMKiefer
Aug 5, 2002 9:20 AM
I understand its not a good idea to spread a 7 speed aluminum frame to fit a 130mm 9 speed hub. Could I possibly remove the 4mm spacer from the non-drive side on the axle and possibly trim the axle then re-dish the wheel? If this can be done, then why did manufacturers go to the wider spacing?
The first thing I'd doSpoke Wrench
Aug 5, 2002 10:41 AM
would be to measure the distance between your rear dropouts. Lots of 7 speed bikes were built with dropouts that are already spaced at 130mm. If that's the case, your problem is solved.

I wouldn't bet on modifying a 130mm 9 speed hub to fit into a 126mm frame. The issue you will encounter will be the difference in spoke tension when you try to redish the wheel. In order to get the left side spokes tight enough you are really going to have to crank down on the spokes on the right. My prediction is that you are going to round out all the nipples and maybe even pull a nipple or two through the rim.

If you don't get enough tension on the left side spokes, you will be continually plagued with spoke breakage on the non-drive side. Lots of 8 and 9 speed wheels suffer from this problem even with 130mm wide hubs. It looks to me like 130mm is on the marginal side for the amount of dish it takes for a 9 speed freehub. I think that's why mountain bikes have 135mm hubs and tandem hubs can get seriously wide (145mm - 160mm).
7 to 9 Upgrade vs STI upgradeKillerQuads
Aug 5, 2002 11:57 AM
I have a steel framed Fuji Roubaix (1996?) with a 7 speed 600 Ultegra free hub and down tube shifters. I use this bike as my commuter hack and it shifts and rides great, although it lacks the convenience of STI shifting. Since I also ride an STI Ultegra equipped bike (too nice for commuting), I sometimes get confused as to shifting. The rear wheel spacing on the Fuji Roubaix is 126mm. It would be possible to cold set (spread) the rear to 130mm and then bend the drop outs so they are parallel again. This would weaken an aluminum frame, so I don't recommend that you have it done, unless your bike's maker offers it as a service.

If I go the 130mm route for 9 speeds, it will be costly:
New rear wheel with 9 speed free hub
New 9 speed cassette
New 9 speed chain
New 9 speed STI shifters
Probably need a new rear derailleur
Possibly need a new 9 speed crank
This would be a lot of money to throw on my commuter hack, in fact this upgrade would cost more than the original cost of the entire bike.

In the end I have decided to go the cheap route and just get 7 speed STI shifters. Shimano makes the Sora line with both 7 speed and 8 speed STI shifters. The 7 speed Sora shifter is supposed to be compatible with all Shimano 7 speed cassettes. It comes with all needed cables and housing as well as cable stops that attach to the braze-on, down tube, shifter studs.

The Sora shifter set is $91 from which is the cheapest source I could find. This is a popular upgrade for older 7 speed bikes and 7 speed STI shifters are becoming a rarity, so I hope they are in stock. I just ordered them, so I cannot attest to their quality or function.

Unlike Shimano's other STI shifters (Dura Ace, Ultegra, 105) the Sora shifters are designed more like Campy Ergo shifters with the brake lever for upshifting, and a thumb operated lever for down shifting. Many people prefer the Campy system, so I look forward to putting these puppies on my bike. It should make the bike easier to control in traffic situations.
another option..julio
Aug 5, 2002 4:46 PM
Other than the Sora shifters would be to use barend shifters (~$50 for DA) and a new rear derailler (~$40 Ultegra 9), and buy a 9 speed rear wheel w/ cassette (used if you can). Yeah I know this isn't as nice as STI but it's pretty cheap and reliable. I was thinking of doing this to my older downtube shifting bike.