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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Updated: Commuter Bike Dilema

I am faced with a dilema involing my current commuter/touring bike.

The bike is basically a stock 1983 Trek 620 that I have set up for touring with front/rear racks and a giant Kirtland handlebar bag. Works great as a commuter using one rear pannier and the handle bar bag for clothing and rain gear etc.

Now comes the dilema.
As of this morning I think the freewheel is on its last legs. While coasting it makes a ton of noise and the cogs wobble. While "power on" it is fine trasmits power with no noise.

I have come up with a couple of options , but please give me your input/ideas.

Background

My other bikes are a 2005 Felt F55 and a mid '90's Kona Lava Dome MTB

Commute is 14 miles each way... basically flat Michigan roads.

Options

1. Replace freewheel only, $100. (recently replaced 4 of the 6 cogs already)
and continue replacement process until old parts transition from expensive to impossible to find.

2. Begin upgrade process. Switch to 8 or 9 speed (from current 6 speed) thus all new driveline.Would probably lead to switch from 27" to 700cc wheels (if they fit)

3. Remove knobs from the mountain bike and install smoother tires. Install rack and use it for my commuter.

4. Get a backpack or a seatpost mounted rack pack and use the Felt for a commuter.

5. Look for another new/used bike with more modern components to use as a commuter and build the Trek into a fixie as a project bike

I'm not looking for the cheapest solutionm just the one that will be the best combination of short term needs versus cost.

So many options...

All advice will be appreciated.
 

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In the short term, I say take the Felt. If you already have a backpack or can borrow one, see how the ride goes.

Are you mainly riding Hines Drive for your commute (saw in your profile you are in Dearborn)? If so, seems like a road bike would be a good option, if you are comfortable on it w/ something on your back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Should have clarifed the information on the rear hub/freewheel.

The current hub/freewheel is a Maillard HelicoMatic. A popular touring hub back in the early eighties because you can remove the freewheel with a small wrench supplied with bike. Basically the cassette is retained by a very thin nut that has external splines on it (which are gripped by the wrench). The handy wrench also has two spoke wrenches and a bottle opener:thumbsup:

So.. to change to a Shimano freewheel will but me down the path of Option #2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
DIgitaljs said:
In the short term, I say take the Felt. If you already have a backpack or can borrow one, see how the ride goes.

Are you mainly riding Hines Drive for your commute (saw in your profile you are in Dearborn)? If so, seems like a road bike would be a good option, if you are comfortable on it w/ something on your back.
Yes, I commute on Hines drive from Dearborn to Livonia.

Not a big fan of the backpack (especially as the weather warms up).
I tend to sweat quite a bit.
 

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If the MTB has eyelets, put a rack and bag on it. Check to see if the wheelbase is long enough for panniers (heel clearance). Probably is. Replace the outer chainring with a 48 or 50T and put some 1.5" slicks on it. Should do just fine. If you wanted another bike, GVH has Soma Smoothies with 105 stuff for around $1100. That frame will take fenders and a rack.
 

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Depends on how much money you want to spend. Here are a couple ideas.

1) You could find a used 27 inch rear wheel that uses Shimano threaded freewheels fairly cheap. A lot cheaper than 100 bucks. Then replacement freewheels will be much cheaper.

2) Put the wheels from the Felt in the Trek to see if the brakes will adjust far enough down. If the bike currently has short reach brakes you will probably have to find some standard (long) reach brakes. If the brakes work, then set up the derailleur to see if it will shift across whatever speed cassette is on the Felt. If it works you can find inexpensive 700c wheels on Ebay. Then update the other components as you feel like it.
 

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How good of wheel do you want?

If you want a functional 27" wheel with generic QR aluminum hub, 36 spokes, single wall aluminum rim, and a 6 speed 14-28 or 14-30 freewheel I probably have one from a mid level 80's Raleigh. I converted it to a fixed gear and have a left over wheel that probably has less than 200 miles on it. I can send for shipping cost plus the price of a beer. PM me if you're interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It looks like the 700cc wheels will fit with minimal fanfare. The original Diacompe side pull brakes will work but I think I would consider a front brake upgrade.

So, it looks like updating the wheels may be the best long term solution. Now to decide whether to stick to the six speed setup or go allout and update the drivetrain. I am leaning toward sticking with the 6 speed as I just replaced the rear derailur two months ago.
 

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7 speed hyperglide may be same cost as 6 speed

UFO™ said:
It looks like the 700cc wheels will fit with minimal fanfare. The original Diacompe side pull brakes will work but I think I would consider a front brake upgrade.

So, it looks like updating the wheels may be the best long term solution. Now to decide whether to stick to the six speed setup or go allout and update the drivetrain. I am leaning toward sticking with the 6 speed as I just replaced the rear derailur two months ago.
You can get 7 speed freehubs or freewheel hubs that fit 126 mm spacing and will probably work fine with you derailleur. Shimano has new 7 speed freewheels that work on 126 mm spaced hubs available in several gear ranges--see Harris Cyclery for details.--only about $20. Good quality NOS 7 speed freehubs or freewhel hubs and nice 126 mm spaced wheels are frequently available cheap on Ebay. look for Shimano 600 hubs--very high quality, very low price.

The big upgrade isn't really the extra gear, it's the Hyperglide.

Even going to 8 speed and 130 mm spacing porbably isn't a big deal. You shouldn't need a new derailleur and you can simply spread your dropouts and put the wheel in. I've used 130 mm spaced 8 speed in a 126 mm dropout and didn't have to make any change except the limit screws on the derailleur with friction shifting, then installed 8 speed indexed barcons that worked perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the info Reynolds531.

It would seem that going to the 7 speed is pretty easy to find parts for.
I knew if i went to an 8 speed I would need all new drivetrain but does going to the 7 speed require a new chain as well ?
 

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probably no new drive train for 7 or 8 speed

UFO™ said:
Thanks for the info Reynolds531.

It would seem that going to the 7 speed is pretty easy to find parts for.
I knew if i went to an 8 speed I would need all new drivetrain but does going to the 7 speed require a new chain as well ?
Generally, 6, 7, and 8 speed systems use the same chains and derailleurs. You indicated that you recently installed a new derailleur. What derailleur did you use? Unless you used a derailleur from the 70's it is almost certain to work fine with 6, or 7 speed and very likely to work with 8 speed.

With friction shifting, switching to a 7 speed system should be as simple as replacing the rear wheel and adjusting the derailleur limit screws, unless the largest cog on your new cluster exceeds the capacity of your derailleur. An 8 speed will be almost as easy, but you'll have to spread out the rear dropouts to get the hub to fit in--not a big deal going from 126 mm to 130 mm. 9 speed means a whole new drivetrain.

If I were doing the conversion, I'd go 7 with speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Reynolds531 said:
Generally, 6, 7, and 8 speed systems use the same chains and derailleurs. You indicated that you recently installed a new derailleur. What derailleur did you use? Unless you used a derailleur from the 70's it is almost certain to work fine with 6, or 7 speed and very likely to work with 8 speed.

With friction shifting, switching to a 7 speed system should be as simple as replacing the rear wheel and adjusting the derailleur limit screws, unless the largest cog on your new cluster exceeds the capacity of your derailleur. An 8 speed will be almost as easy, but you'll have to spread out the rear dropouts to get the hub to fit in--not a big deal going from 126 mm to 130 mm. 9 speed means a whole new drivetrain.

If I were doing the conversion, I'd go 7 with speed.
The derailleur is a new Alivio (I believe a 7 speed), which I have adjusted to run my 6 speed .
Thanks for the info.

Haven't concerned myself with components much since I bought the 620 back in '83 and before that the BMX days were much simpler :)
 

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The alivio will work great

UFO™ said:
The derailleur is a new Alivio (I believe a 7 speed), which I have adjusted to run my 6 speed .
Thanks for the info.

Haven't concerned myself with components much since I bought the 620 back in '83 and before that the BMX days were much simpler :)
The alivio will work great with 7 or 8 speeds. no need to change your chain (unless it is worn out). You should be able to slip in a new wheel, adjust your limit screws, and be riding within 10 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Latest update:

Decided to upgrade the wheels to 700cc. Ordered some sweet wheels from Rivendell.
http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/webalog/wheels/18120.html
Rivendell talked me into staying with a freewheel. Now, I'm looking for a Suntour Winner 7 speed freewheel to go with these wheels.
The wheels have effictively doubled the cost of this bike from new but will certainely last another twenty years.

Thanks to all who took the time reply.
 

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UFO™ said:
Latest update:

Decided to upgrade the wheels to 700cc. Ordered some sweet wheels from Rivendell.
http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/webalog/wheels/18120.html
Rivendell talked me into staying with a freewheel. Now, I'm looking for a Suntour Winner 7 speed freewheel to go with these wheels.
The wheels have effictively doubled the cost of this bike from new but will certainely last another twenty years.

Thanks to all who took the time reply.
Have fun with the new wheels, but keep ahold of the Heliocomatic tool. That bottle opener kicks tushie!

- FBB
 

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Consider a new shimano freewheel

UFO™ said:
Latest update:

Decided to upgrade the wheels to 700cc. Ordered some sweet wheels from Rivendell.
http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/webalog/wheels/18120.html
Rivendell talked me into staying with a freewheel. Now, I'm looking for a Suntour Winner 7 speed freewheel to go with these wheels.
The wheels have effictively doubled the cost of this bike from new but will certainely last another twenty years.

Thanks to all who took the time reply.
Here's what Sheldon Brown has to say abouut the newly designed Shimano Freewheel:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/mega7/

I have purchased and am using one of these and am very favorably impressed. Your shifting will be dramatically better with this freewheel than it will be with a Suntour Winner 7.
 

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If you've been commuting on a bike since 1983 that means you'e had 23 years of good service out of it. Divide the price by those 23 years and you figure out pretty quickly that your money went a long way. If that is the case it should not be hard to justify the purchase of a new bike. I hate upgrading with dead-end technology, but that's just me.
 
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