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Hub widths, cassettes, and freewheels
#1
I'm restoring an old bike (70s or 80s Murray) that was stripped and repainted by a local artist as part of a fundraiser by our local transportation choices group, but have run into one sticky point.
The bike came with a bunch of its old parts, including the wheels, which are rusty and ugly beyond use for this purpose. The rear wheel has a 6-speed freewheel-style hub that is narrower than the 8-speed cassette-style hub I'd like to put on the bike.
***So, the dropouts are too narrow to fit the newer/nicer/cassette wheel.***
My first choice on solving this issue would be to find a narrower freehub body (6 speed or otherwise) to attach to the nicer wheel/hub. Is this possible?
Second choice would be to remove the hub/freewheel from the old wheel and rethread it onto the nicer wheel, but this seems like it would be a huge hassle. Thoughts on that?
I don't care much about speeds/ratios, as this is going to be a bike I don't ride more than once a month or so, I just want the parts to honor the great work of the artist.
Can someone please help with the hub width issues?
Than You,
John
In case you're interested, here's the frame.

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#2
On an old steel frame like this you can 'cold set' (bend) the frame to fit the wider hub. Either by hand or if you want to be more precise:
- get a threaded rod and several nuts and washers.
- Clamp one dropout between two nuts
- put another nut inside the other drop out and thread it out to spread the rear triangle
- go slow and check your progress until you get the needed width for the new hub

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