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In 2011, I bought a cheap bike from Walmart. It's done fine by me on the ride or two I take per year, but I'm looking to enhance my home gym a bit and was looking to grab a direct drive trainer. The big thing here is I'm more concerned with being able to work out at home than I am with having a nice bike, and I'm looking to avoid the mounting costs of getting both a trainer and a bike.

The direct drive trainer I have my eye on has says it supports 9 / 10 / 11 speed cassettes - my bike only has 7 speeds on the rear wheel. I was planning on buying a 7 speed cassette and just using spacers, but the LBS said that I might have issues with a freewheel vs freehub if the bike was that old and cheap. Turns out he was right - I have a freewheel on the bike.

So here's my question - with a direct drive trainer, does it matter what the rear wheel has? I'm taking it off - my thinking was that as long as I get a 7 speed freehub cassette with spacing the same as my current setup, it should be fine.

Is that correct?

  • That sounds reasonable - the gotcha might come on the Overlocknut Dimension (OLD) which is the width in MM between the insides of the two dropout faces, and is the same as the outside locknut dimension of the hub. 7 speed stuff is old enough to be harder to find in shops, so look at ebay or used, and get a rear hub + spares that way. – Criggie Nov 16 '17 at 3:59
  • The direct drive trainer most certainly has a cassette interface which is very likely to take 7-speed cassettes as well 9/10/11-speed, You'll probably just need the correct spacer(s). It's worth a try. – Carel Nov 16 '17 at 11:44
  • As a follow up question - if I were to get a 7 speed cassette, would I need to ensure that I get the same size cogs that I have on the current bike? It seems like my rear wheel cluster has 14 teeth in the smallest cog, and 29(?) teeth on the largest one. It doesn't seem like they make that size cassette, as best I can tell – btoconnor Nov 16 '17 at 13:20
  • Shimano have a 12-28 teeth 7-speed cassette. If you search the net you'll find plenty of sellers. Or since you mention your LBS take the trainer (and the bike) to the store and have them fit a cassette with the correct spacers. And you may fit any cassette that is compatible with the range of your rear derailleur. – Carel Nov 16 '17 at 17:16

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