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Freewheel to freehub/cassette conversion
#1
Hi, I'm new to this forum, so I hope I' m posting this in the right place.
As a matter of general interest, is it any more difficult to change a 7 speed freewheel
to a freehub and cassette setup than by simply changing the wheel and putting the appropriate freehub and cassette on it? I've only recently found out there's a difference, and I'm currious to know more about it.
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#2
If you get a new wheel and cassette that should so it (assuming they are both shimano compatible or something else compatible so they will work with your shifter.) The wheel will come with the freehub. You'll want to get a new chain at the same time and you'll probably have to adjust the rear shifting, but normally nothing other than that. Make sure they have the same axle spacing.

A wheel made for cassette has a stronger axle than one made for a freewheel. Higher end wheels will usually be made for cassette. But getting a cassette wheel does not necessarily mean you're getting a better wheel.

It's a big change just to go to cassette unless you have something else you're trying to achieve. Why the change?
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#3
(10-16-2014, 01:28 AM)DaveM Wrote:  If you get a new wheel and cassette that should so it (assuming they are both shimano compatible or something else compatible so they will work with your shifter.) The wheel will come with the freehub. You'll want to get a new chain at the same time and you'll probably have to adjust the rear shifting, but normally nothing other than that. Make sure they have the same axle spacing.

A wheel made for cassette has a stronger axle than one made for a freewheel. Higher end wheels will usually be made for cassette. But getting a cassette wheel does not necessarily mean you're getting a better wheel.

It's a big change just to go to cassette unless you have something else you're trying to achieve. Why the change?
I haven't decided to change, I was asking in order to learn more about the difference.
It did occur to me though, that someday I might want to do something like this. I like the frame, a Schwinn Sidewinder. I've had the bike for ten years now and it's sturdy and fun to ride.Since I read somewhere that cassette/freehub setups are usually found on newer and higher end bikes I thought they might be better.
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#4
A cassette/freehub type hub has the wheel bearings farther apart. That supports the axle better so you are less likely to get a bent axle. But note that bikes had the freewheel style for about 100 years, so it's not exactly some horrible design.

Might be worth swapping over if you had to replace the wheel for some other reason. But not worth changing just to change.
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#5
I agree. The Sidewinder is a lower end bike, and upgrading it very much would not be cost efficient over getting a better quality used bike. Unless the wheel goes bad and you want to replace it (AND the shifters are compatible with the cassette you choose) then you'd be better off selling the Sidewinder and buying a better used bike.
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#6
(10-17-2014, 12:14 AM)cny-man Wrote:  I agree. The Sidewinder is a lower end bike, and upgrading it very much would not be cost efficient over getting a better quality used bike. Unless the wheel goes bad and you want to replace it (AND the shifters are compatible with the cassette you choose) then you'd be better off selling the Sidewinder and buying a better used bike.
I'll tell you something, I'm way past the point of cost efficiency with this bike, it would mostly just be a labor of love, like I said I like the bike.
But anyway, I don't have any imminent plans to do this, in fact just yesterday I bought a new rear wheel for it that has a threaded hub for a freewheel. Besides, any plan I would formulate for such a project would involve me getting a nice new Trek or something ( with money I don't have!) and spend some time tinkering with it after "retiring" it for a while.
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#7
I understand the sentimental attachment one can develop, but if you replace the crankset, rear wheel, etc. is it really the same bike? If you paint the frame it won't even look like the same bike.
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#8
I dunno much about or what year his bike is, but for me my newest bike the stable is a 1997 down to 89'. not including the ole rod brake roadster. I would rather throw a couple hundred on reviving a 20 year old Trek, Specialized, Univega, ..etc. Steel is real! If I bought a basket case for $40 and threw $200 at it I would still have a nicer riding bike than spending $600 on a new bike plus built the way I want. Also when done right my money invested is not so wasted because I retain more value. what I put in I could sell at the worst a break even. I sell 20 year old bikes all the time for 75% of original retail and even above original retail. In his situation it is not about retaining value or money, just a facelift and learning how to do it. I say go for it then. It is only money, I wasted more money over the years on supposed not so fine,fine dining! Smile
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#9
Both these peeceding replies make good points. I'd have to concider what to change, which is why I posted the question. I' d want to have some specific goal in mind with whatever I'd be doing. It'll all come together eventually.
As for the second reply, that's exactly right, working on a bike is a heck of a lot of fun just on its own, besides riding it. I've started posting on this forum because I jusr finished doing a pretty major tune up, replacing cables, brake pads, trueing wheels, ect., and I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it.
Oh yeah, and painting it might make it look different, but that's O.K.., see that would liberate the true inner spirit of the machine!
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#10
(10-17-2014, 01:56 AM)painkiller Wrote:  I dunno much about or what year his bike is, but for me my newest bike the stable is a 1997 down to 89'.

Bob; I didn't realize your stuff was so new Smile

My span is '76 (Nishiki International) to '95 (Trek 930)

And on topic, the Suzue 40H rear hub on my SR Sierra Sport just failed, which leaves me with just the Nishiki International with a freewheel. The flange of the hub failed so that two spokes pulled out. Sad The frame will get spread to 135mm, and the 40H Sun CR18 rim will be rebuilt on a Wheelmaster cartridge bearing hub. I just need to calculate the spoke length - the old spokes are a bit too long as the Suzue was medium-low flange, and the Wheelmaster is high flange.
Nigel
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#11
Sorry for your loss Nigel, but I think you can handle it! Yea, for now I have been riding the newer stuff, Smile I ended up selling my Univega, had too many in the stable. I try to keep an even number around 13 or 15 at any given time! ha
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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