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Vintage Bike Components

TrustyjustyTrustyjusty Posts: 3
edited September 2015 in Road buying advice
Hi guys and gals,

I've just inherited a 1979 Dawes Atlantis which isn't in the best shape. I'm looking to try and modernise it a bit and am after a bit of advice. It's currently got a 5 speed cassette and old school hand gear changers, is it possible to change the 5 speed to an 8/9 speed cassette along with new bar mounted levers?

Cheers for the advice!

Posts

  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Take out the rear wheel and measure the distance between the dropouts = OLD (over locknut dimension). That will determine what will fit.

    It's likely to be 126mm. If so, you'll be restricted to a 7 speed screw-on freewheel. Modern road bikes with 8-11 speed cassettes have a 130mm OLD.
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    edited September 2015
    Personally, I would keep it old school themed and celebrate that. I have a bike from 79 with downtube shifters (the Shimano Durace ones are quite nice) and I still get out regularly on it. If you go friction shifting then you don't have to mess around indexing so you can mix/match the groupset if needed and it will always be perfect (albeit you need to change by feel). Many of the older components can still be had (quill stems, etc.) and when matched with some nice handbuilt modern wheels (like Open Pro laced with DT Competition) the bike will ride/look just great.

    Retrobike is good for parts, there is always someone emptying their shed (so that they can fill it up again).
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    Take out the rear wheel and measure the distance between the dropouts = OLD (over locknut dimension). That will determine what will fit.

    It's likely to be 126mm. If so, you'll be restricted to a 7 speed screw-on freewheel. Modern road bikes with 8-11 speed cassettes have a 130mm OLD.
    Admittedly I haven't actually tried it yet on my vintage bike, but my understanding and expectation is that it'd be easy to fit a 130mm OLD wheel in a 126mm frame - we're not talking about much distance here, and steel is pretty flexible.

    For sake of argument/comparison, my Fuji disk-braked bike had a 132.5mm frame OLD distance in order that it could be used with both 135mm OLD disk wheels and 130mm OLD standard road wheels, and that was a modern Alu framed bike, Alu not being a material that lends itself so readily to a bit of bending, but still perfectly happy to spread/contract by an extra couple of mm as required.
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    My old alu frame flexes just enough to get a 9 speed wheel in without any issues. The friction shifting probably helps with any slight misalignment in the hanger, etc.
  • Cheers for the help and advice. I'll have a look when I get home and scour the internet for parts :)
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    I've just got back from Norway riding a 130mm spaced tourer. I used a 135mm axled wheel (which I already had) but had the axle shortened to fit (rather than strain the heavily loaded frame for 4000 miles). The shifters are friction and the gearing went up from the original 6 speed freewheel to a 9 speed cassette - controlled by downtube shifters. It took a bit of a while to get the hang of the narrow gaps of the 9 speed(and the ramping on the cassettes means you have to be even more precise) but once I had it was great. Less hassle and just as much fun shifting as with a modern system.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • g00seg00se Posts: 2,221
    With a steel bike, you could possibly 'set' the rear to accept a wider hub. The advantage of doing this is that it's easier to remove and replace the rear wheel - otherwise, the frame squeezes on the hub. See: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html

    However, be aware that using a wide cassette can cause chainline issues on old frames. The position of the front chain-rings, in relation to the rear sprockets, can be quite different. I did just what you're suggesting to an old Raleigh steel frame - but with the largest sprocket being further 'inboard' that with the original 5-speed wheel, when it was in the lowest gear under load, the severe chainline would derail the chain off of the front chainring and down onto the bottom bracket.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    1970's 5-speed vintage more likely to be 120mm OLN - springing to fit a 130mm hub might be tricky. Suggest you take it someone with a frame-jig to re-set it
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Bobbinogs said pretty much what I was going to. It is possible that your frame is spaced 126, which will happily cold set or spring to 130 if you really want to run modern gearing, but if I had to guess, I would go with 120. I would keep it as is, friction shifting is great.

    Unlike quite a lot of old bike fans, I think there's a place for modernising because a 531 frame with modern components can make a fantastic bike, but I personally wouldn't spend the money unless it was a really top frame. (and I'd do the whole lot in that instance - spacing, steerer column, transmission, components, wheels, paint, everything)
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