upgrading british eagle crusader

jimmyhorns
jimmyhorns Posts: 17
edited April 2019 in Workshop
Dear All

I have an early 90's crusader and 'need' to upgrade the gearset. The shifters are the traditional old style, non indexed and on the downtube, and very different from what I am now used to using (brifter/grifter type change).

I have shimano ultegra on my 'proper' road bike, and am used to similar systems from the past.

The crusader is a very nice commute bike, all apart from the gear changing.


It currently has simplex on the front and rear derailleur and its a 6 speed cassette. The wheels are a 700 32C , but apart from that there are no markings on the wheels to guide me further.


Can anyone explain how I can find out:

1) what the space/'thread' is for the rear cassette on the wheel
2) what will then be compatible with this
3) how to work out what will be compatible with the bottom bracket?

Many thanks

James

Comments

  • The Rookie
    The Rookie Posts: 27,812
    1/ Its likely the OLD (Over lock nut dimension - space between the rear dropouts) will be 120mm
    2/ any 120mm rear wheel
    3/ depends what cranks you have and what BB shell in the frame

    While they do exist I very much doubt you have a 6 speed cassette, much more likely it's a freehweel
    Currently riding a Whyte T130C, X0 drivetrain, Magura Trail brakes converted to mixed wheel size (homebuilt wheels) with 140mm Fox 34 Rhythm and RP23 suspension. 12.2Kg.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,260
    I don't understant what is that you need to upgrade. If you have downtube shifters, just keep it as it is
    left the forum March 2023
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Wot Ugo said. Aside from a good service, any changes over and above that will only make the bike worse, not better.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • jimmyhorns
    jimmyhorns Posts: 17
    I don't understant what is that you need to upgrade. If you have downtube shifters, just keep it as it is

    There are two issues

    1) The location of the gear levers is awful for me. On the downtube means I have to take my hands off the bars and means I also struggle using the brakes and downshifting, something which I commonly do on my other two bikes.

    2) The gears are not indexed, so you have to mess about getting the centre point each time and often it jumps two rather than a single gear. I like the simplicity of being able to simply click up and down to run through the gears.

    I guess updating is probably a better word rather than upgrading. - I want to update from downtube lever non indexed gears to an on the brake lever indexed system.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,260
    Short answer is a waste of money and time and most likely the frame would require cold setting... I would strongly advise against
    left the forum March 2023
  • bondurant
    bondurant Posts: 858
    What about getting an indexed down tube shifter?
  • jimmyhorns
    jimmyhorns Posts: 17
    Short answer is a waste of money and time and most likely the frame would require cold setting... I would strongly advise against

    I dont have an issue with having to go through the cold setting process - it seems relatively straightforward and I have appropriate tools for this kind of work (or can make them as required).

    To me it wouldnt be a waste of time, as I would like to ride this bike again, its only the gearing system that i dont like in terms of the safety of having hands of the handle bars to change. I wouldnt see it as a waste of money, as im not trying to 'add' value to the bike for resale, only have it more usable for me.
  • jimmyhorns
    jimmyhorns Posts: 17
    Bondurant wrote:
    What about getting an indexed down tube shifter?

    having brifter type shifters is the main point of this - there is nothing actually wrong with the current drivetrain - just my ability to use it properly and safely, so an indexed down tube shifter would be marginally better but not much.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,260
    You'll need a whole new groupset AND new wheels... you are looking at 600 pounds worth of upgrades.

    Have you considered single speed? No more gears to shift and much much cheaper conversion...
    left the forum March 2023
  • jimmyhorns
    jimmyhorns Posts: 17
    You'll need a whole new groupset AND new wheels... you are looking at 600 pounds worth of upgrades.

    Have you considered single speed? No more gears to shift and much much cheaper conversion...

    Single speed would be a disaster on my commute route - my legs wouldnt have a hope!

    Well I have an old but perfectly functional Shimano RSX gearset that I could potentially use.

    The space between the dropouts is 126mm (unsprung) - so I guess the first step is to see what the same measurement is on the GT bike I would be sacrificing to pull the gearset off....
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,260
    jimmyhorns wrote:
    You'll need a whole new groupset AND new wheels... you are looking at 600 pounds worth of upgrades.

    Have you considered single speed? No more gears to shift and much much cheaper conversion...

    Single speed would be a disaster on my commute route - my legs wouldnt have a hope!

    Well I have an old but perfectly functional Shimano RSX gearset that I could potentially use.

    The space between the dropouts is 126mm (unsprung) - so I guess the first step is to see what the same measurement is on the GT bike I would be sacrificing to pull the gearset off....

    Got to be 130, all STI indexed gear systems work on 130. STI was introduced in 1991 and by then the standard was already 130
    left the forum March 2023
  • jimmyhorns
    jimmyhorns Posts: 17
    jimmyhorns wrote:
    You'll need a whole new groupset AND new wheels... you are looking at 600 pounds worth of upgrades.

    Have you considered single speed? No more gears to shift and much much cheaper conversion...

    Single speed would be a disaster on my commute route - my legs wouldnt have a hope!

    Well I have an old but perfectly functional Shimano RSX gearset that I could potentially use.

    The space between the dropouts is 126mm (unsprung) - so I guess the first step is to see what the same measurement is on the GT bike I would be sacrificing to pull the gearset off....

    Got to be 130, all STI indexed gear systems work on 130. STI was introduced in 1991 and by then the standard was already 130

    Well in that case hopefully I can cold set it without too much difficulty. At only 2mm a side its a very minor adjustment :)

    Did it stay at 130? or has it changed again since?..
  • edward.s
    edward.s Posts: 221
    my understanding is current standard is 130mm for rim brakes and my two road disc machines are 135mm.
  • jimmyhorns
    jimmyhorns Posts: 17
    edward.s wrote:
    my understanding is current standard is 130mm for rim brakes and my two road disc machines are 135mm.

    Thanks - I think my defy is 140mm but there are spacers on either side of the hub to take the wheel from 135 to 140mm - this is a disc brake machine...
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,260
    jimmyhorns wrote:
    jimmyhorns wrote:
    You'll need a whole new groupset AND new wheels... you are looking at 600 pounds worth of upgrades.

    Have you considered single speed? No more gears to shift and much much cheaper conversion...

    Single speed would be a disaster on my commute route - my legs wouldnt have a hope!

    Well I have an old but perfectly functional Shimano RSX gearset that I could potentially use.

    The space between the dropouts is 126mm (unsprung) - so I guess the first step is to see what the same measurement is on the GT bike I would be sacrificing to pull the gearset off....

    Got to be 130, all STI indexed gear systems work on 130. STI was introduced in 1991 and by then the standard was already 130

    Well in that case hopefully I can cold set it without too much difficulty. At only 2mm a side its a very minor adjustment :)

    Did it stay at 130? or has it changed again since?..

    It hasn't changed. 130 mm is for rim brakes

    The problem with cold setting is not spreading the triangle, which is easy enough, but realigning the dropouts afterwards. As you spread, you create an angle, which means the quick release is no longer sitting against vertical surfaces and loses grip. This is particularly important if your dropouts are horizontal (as they surely are in a 126 mm frame) as the wheel can easily slip, typically resulting in a slow speed crash going uphill.

    To realign them, you need some tools
    left the forum March 2023
  • jimmyhorns
    jimmyhorns Posts: 17
    jimmyhorns wrote:
    jimmyhorns wrote:
    You'll need a whole new groupset AND new wheels... you are looking at 600 pounds worth of upgrades.

    Have you considered single speed? No more gears to shift and much much cheaper conversion...

    Single speed would be a disaster on my commute route - my legs wouldnt have a hope!

    Well I have an old but perfectly functional Shimano RSX gearset that I could potentially use.

    The space between the dropouts is 126mm (unsprung) - so I guess the first step is to see what the same measurement is on the GT bike I would be sacrificing to pull the gearset off....

    Got to be 130, all STI indexed gear systems work on 130. STI was introduced in 1991 and by then the standard was already 130

    Well in that case hopefully I can cold set it without too much difficulty. At only 2mm a side its a very minor adjustment :)

    Did it stay at 130? or has it changed again since?..

    It hasn't changed. 130 mm is for rim brakes

    The problem with cold setting is not spreading the triangle, which is easy enough, but realigning the dropouts afterwards. As you spread, you create an angle, which means the quick release is no longer sitting against vertical surfaces and loses grip. This is particularly important if your dropouts are horizontal (as they surely are in a 126 mm frame) as the wheel can easily slip, typically resulting in a slow speed crash going uphill.

    To realign them, you need some tools

    Yes I have seen a couple of videos - I should be able to make the tools quite easily to do this - but thanks for the tip about the risk of the quick release not gripping well if not done properly - im keen to avoid crashing, which is part of the motivation for doing this in the first place...!
  • me-109
    me-109 Posts: 1,915
    Just buy another bike.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    There's a lot to be said for just learning how to use the tools you already have!

    And if you have the mechanical nowse to be able to make tools to cold set a frame correctly, how on earth are you not capable of learning how to use downtube shifters?!! :wink:
    Faster than a tent.......
  • craker
    craker Posts: 1,739
    Got to be 130, all STI indexed gear systems work on 130. STI was introduced in 1991 and by then the standard was already 130


    i don' think you're right there
    https://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html

    126 was used for 6 and seven speed bikes in the early nineties. My old Peugeot 7 speed had STIs and I always thought that was 126 - didn't they just spread the frame to get to 8 speed? And then make the chain thinner for 9, 10 and 11...
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,260
    craker wrote:
    Got to be 130, all STI indexed gear systems work on 130. STI was introduced in 1991 and by then the standard was already 130


    i don' think you're right there
    https://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html

    126 was used for 6 and seven speed bikes in the early nineties. My old Peugeot 7 speed had STIs and I always thought that was 126 - didn't they just spread the frame to get to 8 speed? And then make the chain thinner for 9, 10 and 11...

    Were STI born 7 speed? Campag were born 8 speed... Pretty sure Dura Ace 7400 from 1990 was 8 speed too...
    left the forum March 2023
  • craker
    craker Posts: 1,739
    That bike died long ago and for a moment you had me doubting it. ebay still do 7 speed stuff though (RSX - that's what I had )
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Shimano-STI-Shifters-RSX-Triple-3-x-7-Seven-Speed-ST-A410-Rebuilt-Guaranteed-/112448042607?hash=item1a2e6cf66f:g:lZIAAOSwnONZBlrD
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,260
    craker wrote:
    That bike died long ago and for a moment you had me doubting it. ebay still do 7 speed stuff though (RSX - that's what I had )
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Shimano-STI-Shifters-RSX-Triple-3-x-7-Seven-Speed-ST-A410-Rebuilt-Guaranteed-/112448042607?hash=item1a2e6cf66f:g:lZIAAOSwnONZBlrD

    But were these not contemporary to 7400 and therefore bikes were already 130 mm, regardless of the cassette? I don't recall 126 mm dropouts in 1990
    left the forum March 2023
  • Rolf F wrote:
    There's a lot to be said for just learning how to use the tools you already have!

    And if you have the mechanical nowse to be able to make tools to cold set a frame correctly, how on earth are you not capable of learning how to use downtube shifters?!! :wink:

    Being able to make tools, and being able to use them are two different things....

    I used to ride the bike with downtube shifters, and looked on in awe at the guys in the cycle club who had the latest and greatest brifter type shifters. I used to use them 'ok' but remember the uncertainty at gearchange (would it actually change, would it skip a cog, would it change but be clicking and need further adjustment).

    While im sure there is an 'art' to using non indexed down-tube shifters, it is no longer on my to do list. I simply want to ride the bike to work as safely as I do my road bike. This project is simply to give me something else to ride when I need to carry a reasonable amount to work or when the weather is less perfect than my skinny road bike tyres prefer.
  • Anyway - a quick update....

    Im stripping the rsx system of my GT ZR4000 - I never ride it anymore, so may as well make use of the parts.

    Im going to cold set the frame on the british eagle - its 126mm to accept the 130 wheel from the ZR4000.

    If this all goes to plan (including the brakes having enough pull on the cable) then I will re-rim the rear wheel to accept the 700 32 tyre.

    Total cost (excluding making the cold setting tools) £20ish - so wont be too bad, although im likely to install some new cables.
  • Hi

    I wondered if you were still out there, with your Crusader. I’ve just got one, also a commuter hack and I wondered if we could compare notes on a few points?

    Mine’s got indexed down tube levers - it sounds like these were an upgrade, if you had friction levers?

    My canti brakes are Modolo - I wonder what you’ve got?

    If your wheels are original, the rims are likely to be Rigida Rush - a robust touring rim.

    Did you go through with the upgrades in the end? I’ve done this several times on old steel frames - it is a labour of love, you’ve got to want to do it and be prepared for some trial and error. If you just want it to work, you may be better off with a more modern bike that’s set up for brifters and the current OLN.

    You are likely to have to have a new back wheel to take a cassette, although you might get away with it if you stick to 8 speed.

    I run 10 and 11 speed Shimano and I’m not a total fan of these, nor of indexing generally. I also run friction levers on 10 speed - it works fine. But I don’t commute in traffic, with changes of gradient, where I can see simplicity and ease are key. I tend to shift mainly the front chain wheel for the section of climbing on my commute.

    You can widen the rear triangle to 130mm - trap a drop out in a sturdy draw and bear down repeatedly on the front end - measure; when it changes, invert and repeat. From 126mm, obviously that’s 2 mm each side.

    BTW, Thorn touring bikes have an OLN of 132.5 mm so they can run either 130 or 135 mm wheels - I’ve never heard of any issues with the +/- 2.5mm.

    You need to take a firm grasp of the drop outs with a suitable tool to ensure they are parallel, as they should now be facing inwards slightly. Check the derailleur hanger is true when you’ve got your wheel in.

    You want your new wheel to go in smoothly - you’ll be glad of this when you are replacing an inner tube at the roadside. You don’t want the QR to be pressing on an assembly that’s straining not to go together.