What derailleurs do I need?

  • 2x6 speed
  • 52 and 42 tooth up front.
  • Crank set is Shimano 600

I believe the bike is a Raleigh Road Ace. I came here a month ago asking to identify the bike and now I'm aiming to restore it. I know nothing about road bikes so I don't know if all 6 speed derailleurs fit all 6 speed cassettes. Please explain as if I'm five years old haha.


These images will explain more than my words can. https://i.stack.imgur.com/kZpGH.jpg

  • Do you intend to keep the six speed freewheel and down-tube friction shiftters, or upgrade to indexed shifting? Nov 16, 2017 at 20:52
  • I intend to keep the current spec. Nov 16, 2017 at 23:55

2 Answers 2

  1. There's no such thing as a 6-speed cassette. Back in the day, we used freewheels.
  2. Indexed shifting was a new thing when this bike came out, and from the looks of it, this bike didn't have it. It has what I'm guessing are Campagnolo Triomphe or Veloce shift levers, which were not indexed.

Because shifter/derailleur/gear compatibility is necessitated only by indexed shifting, and you currently don't have that, you could throw any short-cage derailleur on this and it would work (or long cage, whatever).

If you want to get indexed shifting, then we're talking about something much more complicated.

For starters, your rear triangle is almost certainly spaced 126 mm, but you'll have a hard time finding a hub for an indexed-shifting system that will fit that--they did exist, but the bike industry moved up to 130-mm spacing pretty quickly (indexed shifting came out around 84-85, and 130-mm hubs a few years later), so either you'll need to get lucky hunting old parts or you'll need to have the rear triangle cold-set to 130 mm (you could maybe jam a 130-mm hub in a 126-mm triangle--different people report different results). Once you've done that, you'll need to buy a new rear hub, new cassette, new derailleurs, new chain, and new shifters. And some 11-speed drivetrains will require that you get a new crank to work well, if you go that route.

  • All that effort is if I wanna go indexed? As in have gears that will click rather than friction shifters? Thank you for your detailed answer. I don't care about indexed gears I just want it up and running, so any derailleur will work? Sorry for all the questions! Nov 16, 2017 at 23:17
  • Yeah. Any derailleur will work, barring some weird edge case.
    – Adam Rice
    Nov 16, 2017 at 23:53
  • @AdamRice I had a 6 speed cassette. bicycles.stackexchange.com/q/33036/19705
    – Criggie
    Nov 17, 2017 at 1:03
  • Personally I'd try to find period derailleurs to match the rest of the bike, if such things can be found for cheap on EBay. Nov 17, 2017 at 14:48
  • @Criggie I stand corrected.
    – Adam Rice
    Nov 17, 2017 at 14:56

Sheldon Brown’s site is your friend. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/k7.html

I put my 1980 Made in Japan, Rayleigh Super Course back together a few years ago. One of my kids liked it enough to bring it bring it to Europe with them but was too broke to bring it back. He got 350 Euros for it so it wasn’t junk.

My bike was 2 by 5. There are a number of different things to do. I kept the original front Suntour BL derailer but the rear wheel and derailer needed to be replaced. The spacing between the rear drop outs on the bike is 126mm. It was a little hard to find a 126mm rear hub and I’m not a wheel builder so I needed a built wheel which made it a little more hard. My bike was steel so I could have stretched the drop outs to 130mm. Your bike might already be 130mm. You should measure what you have. You should determine if you need to replace your hubs or not. Your hub looks OK in your picture so read the section on hubs at Sheldon Browns site and make a judgement. Trueing your wheels is a good idea. If you do want to replace your wheel, I would look for a decent aluminum rim. Given the weight of the rest of the bike, Carbon, if you. can find it, would be a waste.

Look at your freewheel and see if there are notches on it. Contemporary drive trains can be shifted while pushing on the pedals. The old system required letting off during shifts. You can buy new 5, 6,and 7 speed freewheels with the notches. I got a 5 speed from Sunrace.

I replaced my rear dereiler with a medium cage 8 speed shifter. If you stick with a friction shifter, it will work. I had to spend some time to adjust it but it was a lot more sensitive than the old one.

If I still had the bike, I would get friction bar end shifters.

I also got a taller quill stem, wider handle bars, a new front brake, and a new Brooks saddle (which I kept).

This is a lot of work but the bike had value to me. I also like a steel frame and your Raleigh probably has Reynolds 531 steel.

The 126mm rear drop out is the current standard for fixie/single speeds. Personally, the last fixie I rode, had two little wheels in the back. I like mechanical advantage but it is an easier path

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