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Dismantling and assessing

June 14, 2011

Having decided on a course of action I had to take the bike to bits to work out what I needed for my conversion. I had read a few sites (see links) and had an idea of what I may need to do. Any possible route hinged on the type of gear and freewheel I had on the bike. Reading the excellent Sheldon Brown’s site, I found that there are more than one type of cassette/freewheel. I had briefly come across this but assumed it wouldn’t be much of a problem. It turns out I was wrong and I will need more tools than I originally thought to complete the job.

The freewheel problem

The two types of freewheel

There are two types of freewheel that my bike could have. Either a thread-on freewheel (left) or a freehub and gear cassette (right). If I had a more modern freewheel, I’d probably have a cassette and freehub, and would be able to modify this quite simply to give a single gear. I could either dismantle the cassette on the bike, keep one gear and pack it up with spacer elements in order to fit it onto the freewheel, or buy a conversion kit (like this) that fits directly onto the freewheel. If I had an older thread-on freewheel, I’d need a more extensive rebuild of the wheel, but could buy a single gear freewheel to attach.

I decided to investigate by taking the bike apart again.

Freewheel illustration from Sheldon Brown

Threaded freewheel!

Compare my freewheel (left) to the example from Sheldon Brown (right) and you see that I have an old-type threaded freewheel.

That result depressed me. This job was no longer an easy quick fix. It’d at least involve some redishing. On the plus side, I could use the same techniques as Need 4 Single Speed. On the down side, I realised I didn’t have the tools or a workshop to borrow them like Need 4 Single Speed did. Plus the insides of the freewheel and the bearings made me realise that there was a lot of work to do. Is the conversion even worth it?

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