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OK so I have a Peugeot Galibier bike that consists of a Reynolds 301 steel frame.

A while back the original derailer gave up the ghost while riding, bending the rear-wheel spokes in the process. I was told it wasn't worth re-truing the rear wheel so I bought a cheapo Raleigh wheel from the LBS. I also bought a new 7-speed freewheel and Shimano derailer which I managed to install myself (using the original chain) and has been working great for about a year now.

The bike is nice to ride but I wouldn't mind upgrading the wheelset to a lighter and better set that would help with climbs and longer tours. I have in mind the Mavic Aksium.

I know this wheelset, along with many others use the modern dropout spacing of 130mm. I am pretty sure my bike is has 126mm spacing. Being a steel frame I am fairly confident i can just squeeze a 130mm wheel in there but my concern is the cassette size and chain.

I am under the impression that an 8-speed cassette uses a narrower chain. Would this work with my original crankset and friction shifters? i would rather stick with a 7-speed. Is it possible to find a semi-decent road 7-speed shimano cassette to fit on a Mavic Aksium and still use the slightly wider chain?

Any advice greatly appreciated....

Edit: I have found this:

Would this fulfill my need?

Edit2: Some additional info:

My bike (not the best pic, sorry, it's just been taken up Boxhill):

(images not allowed yet? what?)

  • Wheels are definitely 700c - I know this having previously replaced the rear wheel and buying new tyres & tubes.
  • I would like to move away from the freewheel system to a freehub/cassette system. The idea is that I want to put a semi-decent set of road wheels on it. Mavic Aksium seems a good choice. This has a dropout spacing of 130mm. My bike has 126mm.
  • I would like to avoid cold-setting (bending) my rear dropout if I can. Sheldon says it should be possible but there may be a few issues.
  • Derailleur is modern so should hopefully take whatever chain is used.
  • Friction shifters mean no worries about indexing.
  • I would like to stick to a 7-speed cassette. Reasons: I doubt my shifters can do more than 7 (bike was originally a 6-speed); I assume this will help maintain chain compatibility between front chainrings and cassette. Am I wrong? Would the 7-speed cassette linked above need a spacer or would it just work out-the-box?

At the moment it seems like it should be OK. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and buy the wheelset and work to get it to fit....! Might help to borrow a friend's modern 700c 130mm hub wheel to see if that fits first though.

share|improve this question
Found this thread whilst looking for a correct wheel size of Paugeout Pantera. I'm a bit lost tbh. Some say it's 700c and I can go ahead and by the tubular on eBay and have no trouble with that, but the in the reply here it's mentioned that the bike most likely has 27" wheels which are wider than 700c.. Could you please shed some more light on this bit? Cheers! – user7462 Jul 13 '13 at 11:43
You need to accurately measure the bead seat diameter of your existing rims. This will involve taking the tire off, measuring the outer diameter of the rim, then subtracting off the depth from rim outer edge to the inner edge as seen in the diagram. Be sure to subtract this depth off TWICE since it's on both sides of the wheel diameter. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 13 '13 at 12:14
Thank you Daniel. Interestingly enough I found an almost completely worn off label on one of the tires I got at the moment. It said 700x25 (and then 622 25). So I assume I can go with 700C x 25mm. – user7462 Jul 13 '13 at 15:38
Welcome to Bicycles SE. This site does not function like a typical forum. It relies on a Q&A format. As this does not attempt to answer the OP's question, it should have been posted as either a question on its own. – jimirings Jul 13 '13 at 18:19
This is very helpful for me. I have a 1982 Miyata and will just use the frame and everything else will be all modern. – user13812 Sep 18 '14 at 12:14
up vote 7 down vote accepted

You're on the right track! My answer will be long, but I have a lot to say, so here we go!

  • Firstly, lets deal with your dropout spacing - there are two solutions I have used on my old steel road bikes. The first is to buy a 126mm freewheel hub which can be built up with sleek rims and will take a high quality 6 or 7 speed freewheel. The two manufacturers that come to mind are Velo Orange and Paul Components - both are very high quality, but the VO hub costs $75 and the Paul hub costs $184. They both use sealed bearings and are both very nice to look at (with their high flanges and windows.) The benefits of using a 126mm hub is you avoid having to respace your frame, but the drawback is that you're wedded to freewheels which, if you change out gear clusters frequently, can be troublesome.

(Random note: try to not lose or break the rear quick release for a 126mm hub. It is a HUGE pain to find another one on short notice as most QRs have threading for a 130mm hub, minimum. Plus, the threads are rolled, not cut, so you can't just run a die over a skewer and make it shorter!)

The second option is to swage out your stays to accept 130mm or 135mm rear hubs. There is an excellent thread here which will give you more info. I successfully respaced my 90s' Bridgestone from 126mm to 135mm so that I can run mountain hubs with cassettes. You could just try to squeeze a 130mm hub into your frame, but in my experience it is hard to close your QR enough to force the dropouts comfortably flush against the hubs locknuts (and this isn't a good thing for wheel bearings, especially cartridge bearings! It would be more of an issue as the dropouts get splayed wider. More and more bikes are now made with dropout spacing at 132.5mm so that you can go up to 135mm or down to 130mm easily.)

  • Being an older steel bike, it may use 27" wheels. 27" wheels have a BSD of 630mm, while 700c wheels have a BSD of 622mm. You will want to upgrade to 700c wheels because tire and rim availability makes it practically necessary (i.e. there aren't many mfgs of 27" rims/tires anymore!) The difference isn't important in terms of frame size and clearance, though you may run into problems with your brakes if they don't reach far enough to contact the smaller 700c rims. Brake reach is measured from the brake bolt hole diagonally down to the center of the rim braking surface. On cheap brakes with no vertical pad adjustment the pads would just eat into the tire's sidewall. Either long-reach brakes or a drop-bolt will solve this problem. (If you do replace your calipers, make sure you get nutted brakes or learn how to adapt a frame to accept recessed mounting bolts.)

Your bike has caliper brakes, but I want to add a bit of info regarding bikes with cantilevers as I've had to slog through this mess several times before. Since canti studs are brazed to a frame with a rim diameter in mind, switching from 27" to 700c rims will pull the braking surface down by 4mm which, when using brakes with limited adjustability, means you have to swap in some with lots of vertical and horizontal pad movement. Since canti stud placement has only recently been standardized, this makes upgrading old touring frames a crapshoot as brake availability is limited. One measure I took on a troublesome 1981 Miyata 1000 was to run caliper brakes and leave the canti studs alone altogether. (Another issue with upgrading wheels on an older canti-brake bike is the distance between the front posts. See this thread for more info.) ((A more final approach would be to braze on a new set of cantilever studs, but this is hardly a novice project.))

  • Finally, in choosing drivetrain parts that will be consistent and compatible, I don't think you'll have an issue. Friction shifters are compatible with (mostly) everything (good choice.) As far as chain width goes, with a new Shimano-compatible hub you'll be able to fit an 8 or 9 speed cassette - a 7 speed cassette will likely need a spacer to fit properly.

Your rear derailleur will have to be reasonably modern, but I haven't had any issues with running 9 speeds under an 8 speed derailleur. In general, it is easier to use 9 speed hardware on 7 or 8 speed cassettes than to use 7 speed hardware on 9 speed cassettes. Ideally, chain width should correspond with your rear cassette (ideally.) The only concern would be if the crankset and chainrings were designed to run 5 or 6 speeds originally. If the distance between the chainrings is too great the chain can slip between them, but I've never seen it happen, even on franken-bikes with mismatched drivetrains. Here is a great Sheldon Brown article about gearing.

Hope this helps!

share|improve this answer
Many thanks for all your comments. Some will be more helpful to others than me but I've updated my post above with further info – harryg Dec 20 '12 at 10:34

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