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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Jul 2013

    Questions about swapping diff wheels with diff freewheels..

    Hi everyone, this is my first post and I hope I put it in the right section. To give you a little backround on me I was a bike mechanic in the early/late 80's, worked at several shops along the east and west coast. Stopped working in shops in '89 and stopped then riding, too.

    Well fast forward to 2013 and I decided to get back into riding. So I picked up a nice, late 90's Specialized Rock Hopper today that's missing it's wheels.
    It's in pretty good shape other than that, but here's my question: It obviously had a 7spd FW on it and I plan on buying some used replacement wheels. Do i have to get a wheel with a 7spd FW? What happens if I put one on there with say 6 cogs? is it as simple as just adjusting the rear deral. or would I have to dish the rear wheel as well?

    It's been a long time since I worked in a shop (24 yrs) and my memory is a bit fizzy on certain things lol, so I hoped to get help here.

    In any case I'm looking forward to rejoining the world of cycling..
    Last edited by rockhopper2; 07-27-2013 at 04:57 PM. Reason: forgot something

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Modern derailers are "indexed" and are indexed to the number of cogs -no more fine tuning with the shifter lever. Chains are also matched to the number of cogs. The freewheel is now called a cassette.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    I still have a 7-sp rockhopper somewhere. Those RH/Stumpy frames have great geometry. With indexed shifting it is important that the shift displacement is matched between the sprockets and derailleur. Here's some discussion of mixing 9sp and 10sp. drivetrain components as a means to start digging up potential issues:

    Dyna Sys 10 speed compatability with 9 speed (Shimano systems)

    One practical approach to answer your question would be to make sure any new cassettes you get have the same spacing between sprockets if you want to keep using the same shifters/derailleur.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    The freewheel is now called a cassette.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    You're in the wrong forum, which is why you are getting some goofy answers. (Might want to ask this question in the vintage forum). But anyway, 7 speed is way outdated and decent parts are hard to find. If you really want to waste money on this bike, buy a set of used wheels and then upgrade to a 9 speed drivetrain using used parts. You might be able to mix and match a few parts, but things will go smoother if you completely replace the drivetrain (cassette, front and rear derailleurs, shifters, crankset, chain).

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