My grandpa gave me his old 1974 Raleigh International (all original Campy) as a graduation present. Since the stock wheels are for tubular tires, and I do want to ride it around town, I want to get wheels for clincher tires so I can change the inner tube when I flat rather than having to mess with glue jobs.

A new rear wheel means that I can have an option of getting a rear wheel with shimano hyperglide so I can choose modern cassettes. Because the shifters are friction shifters rather than indexed shifters, does it matter how many cogs are in the cassette? Do I have to stick with 5 or could I even go to 10?

I stand corrected that the frame is steel and not alumninum. I was mistaken because the bike is significantly lighter than other steel-framed bikes I have dealt with. I apologize for this error.

  • 1
    All original Campagnolo parts are very collectible in good condition. You may want to reconsider making major changes, especially if they are not reversible.
    – zenbike
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 11:03
  • @zenbike I have no intention of making permanent changes. I understand what this bike is, but at this point I'm not looking to sell it to a collector, I'm looking to ride it. Sure, I could sell it and get a pretty decent road bike with modern technology, but that's not the point of the gift. I plan to keep the current wheels but ride on other wheels.
    – raabidfun
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 17:18
  • Cool. Sorry, not trying to be pushy. Swapping for a 130 OLD wheel can spread the frame permanently, which is what I was talking about.
    – zenbike
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 17:36
  • Yeah, I know. I really home I'm not sounding rude with my comments -- I have no intention to -- I just want to stay as true as possible to the original while making it possible for me to have the be able to repair the inevitable flat without having to get a friend to follow me around in a car with spare wheels with already-set glue jobs. And since wheelsets can be expensive, I don't want to get the wrong one and be SOL.
    – raabidfun
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 20:36
  • 1
    FWIW, I ride tubbys most days, and just carry a spare tire. You don't need to glue it up on the road, a dry tire will hold fine on the residual glue from pulling of the damaged tire. So you install it dry, and then glue or tape when you get home. I also rarely get flats, and tubbys are much more common in Dubai than in most other places I've been, so it may not be practical for you. But it works for me. And no, I don't think you're being rude. It would really be a shame to separate that group, though.
    – zenbike
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 20:42

3 Answers 3


Unfortunately, your 1974 Campagnolo 5-speed hubs are likely to be 120mm spaced - you can see them in the 1974 Campagnolo catalog. You're going to have a difficult time finding even old road hubs to fit that spacing.

I'm extremely doubtful that you have a 1974 Raleigh International in aluminum, since they were originally built with Reynolds 531 steel and Raleigh didn't list any aluminum frames in their 1974 catalog. A quick test with a magnet should confirm for you.

Fundamentally, you're left with a limited number of options for the rear wheel, most of which have been hashed out above:

  1. Continue using the current tubular wheelset. Simple, but you'll have to get more practice working with tubular tires.
  2. Re-space the rear triangle. It's steel so, with caution, it should be straightforward. You'd need to add 6mm just to get to old 6-7spd hubs, and 10mm to get to a modern road cassette hub. If you're clever with moving spacers and wheel dishing you might be able to eke out another couple mm in there. A big disadvantage here is that you'd need to re-space the frame back if you wish to restore it to the stock hubs.
  3. Find a NOS, used, or expensive Phil Wood 120mm freewheel hub and build it up with a clincher rim. The only limitation there is that of eBay and the fact that 90% of 120mm hubs you'll come across are modern single-speed track hubs, unsuited to your intended goal. Also a disadvantage, you'll still only get up to 6, maybe 7 gears total. That said, building it up around a very similar wheelset to the one on there now except for clinchers is probably a good option - you might pay a bit of a premium for identical Campagnolo hubs of the same vintage, but you'll keep the aesthetics.

Your outside locknut dimension is likely to be less than 135mm, at a guess you are on 130mm and there is an outside chance you are on 126mm. Only so much can be achieved by spreading the stays and removing washers to get a 135mm hub to fit in there!

I would recommend having a search for NOS hubs and freewheel of that period, if you can get hold of a set of 36h hubs you will be doing well, don't expect 32h. Regina freewheels in 6 speed do exist in NOS, getting the removal tool is a lot easier as they are still made.

If you are successful in NOS land, look out for some Mavic MA2 (Silver) or MA40 rims. They should be sufficiently period.

Personally I shift gears in multiples of twos and threes, you should be able to survive on 6 speed and not feel two deprived.

If the NOS market does not bear fruit, consider getting cheap 8/9 speed Shimano hubs + cassette. Then if it does not fit you can either force the chainstays open, however that will possibly ruin the track (as only one stay will bend). Or cut down the spindle by 5mm and the spacer on the left hand side. You can then build the wheel around that with different dish to what you would normally get.

  • This bike is 5 speed campy friction. It has an O.L.D. no wider than 127.5mm. Most likely it is 126mm. It will not be 135mm, as that is a current mountain bike hub. A 126 usually has no problem being stretched to a 130mm, which is current road standard. You will likely need to replace the shifters as well.
    – zenbike
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 8:19
  • @zenbike - thanks for the clarification. Maybe he should stick with the hubs and freewheel and just get some square section Mavic rims, Open Pro will probably be a reasonable compromise. Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 12:00
  • @ʍǝɥʇɐɯ: I think it's very reasonable to do the swap, but it will require chain, crankset, wheels, cassete, and a fairly rare shifter, or a very expensive Campy Ergoshifter. The rims is probably the better choice. Or a new bike, if he wants better gear range...
    – zenbike
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 12:05
  • where should I look for NOS parts? Should I look to lace my own wheels (which I have done on numerous occasions) or should I look for whole wheels? Would whole wheels be likely to have old, worn spokes which would render them basically useless? Should I go to bike cooperatives to look there? So many questions! Naturally, I'm very interested to know.
    – raabidfun
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 20:26
  • With the aluminum frame, unfortunately, I'd say leave it alone. You risk cracking it by spreading enough to accept a current O.L.D. Hub, and rebuilding the hubs on new rims destroys the originality and collector value. But if you still want to do something, lace a set of Mavic Open Pro hubs to the original rims, and ride clinchers with the original gearing.
    – zenbike
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 20:38

You need to measure the distance between the rear dropouts of the bike. Current road wheels are 130mm between the dropouts. 126mm or 127.5mm were common. 5 speed will likely be 126mm. Assuming a steel frame, you should be able to put a 9/10 speed wheel in the frame, but you may have to spread the frame for it to fit.

This bike is 5 speed campy friction. It has an O.L.D. no wider than 127.5mm. Most likely it is 126mm. It will not be 135mm, as that is a current mountain bike hub. A 126 usually has no problem being stretched to a 130mm, which is current road standard. You will likely need to replace the shifters as well.

The shifters may or may not have the range for a 10 speed cassette, but Dura-Ace 9 speed friction shifters are still available around, and they may have ten speed. If you go Campagnolo, you should be able to get 10 and 11 speed shifters, although the wheels my cost you as much as a new bike.

Depending on the bike, you may want to consider its collectors value and condition, before you make major irreversible modifications.

At the least, keep the original parts so you can return it to the original condition of the bike for the purpose of a collector.

  • the bike has an aluminum frame, and I want to replace as few parts as possible. I want to get it working properly again because it had been sitting, unused in his attic for most of my life, with most of its use coming before I was born. I don't want to force anything, and I don't want it to look tacky. I think I would get more pleasure out of riding this bike, given its history and sentimental value, than I would riding a carbon bike with dura ace or sram red.
    – raabidfun
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 20:19
  • I can fully understand that. Since it is aluminum, I definitely would not risk spreading the frame, which would risk permanent damage. Steel would likely work, but aluminum is a major risk. Which pretty much limits you to the original gearing. You could change the rims on the original hubs, to go clincher, but then you lose original parts, permanently. Your call. But I'd leave it alone.
    – zenbike
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 20:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.