first time so bear with me please. I recently had to replace my rear wheel. Went to LBS and the only options available are 130mm spaced. I have a nice Specialized 1980s frame that measures 126mm. It's a steel frame so squeezing in the new wheel is no problem. However, I'm curious how this will affect the feel of the bike. By essentially widening the "stance" of the bike, will I lose some responsiveness and agility or will it feel the same? Followed up by how will this affect the tension of the shifter cables that travel along the chainstay? Thanks for your help!

PS. If anyone knows where to find a 6 speed 126mm QR rear hub that I can build a wheel around (or a complete wheel) let me know. I've not had much success searching for one. Thanks again!

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    You probably won't notice it. But note that "freewheel" 7-speed hubs can be narrowed by removing some axle spacers and installing a 6-speed freewheel. – Daniel R Hicks Aug 2 at 2:43
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    It won't affect the cables as the distance between the cable stops has not changed. – mattnz Aug 2 at 3:11
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    Normally people widen the rear stays to get a physically wider wheel in, so it has more gears and/or to get a cassette-based wheel. What happened to your old hub? Can it be rebuilt into a new rim with new spokes ? – Criggie Aug 2 at 7:06
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    BTW - welcome to SE, thank you for joining. Excellent question too, well written with enough detail straight off. Please feel free to have a crack at answering any other questions on the site - its obvious you've got decent riding experience. Do have a browse through the tour first - being a Q&A site things are a bit different to a chatty forum-style site. Or when you get a bit more reputation join the Bicycles Chat for less-structured discussion. – Criggie Aug 2 at 7:10
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    A serious LBS will have the required tools for widening the rear stays and adjusting the dropouts correctly. Note that this operation is only suitable for steel frames. – Carel Aug 2 at 7:36

Not sure what you mean by 'stance' of the bike, but rear wheel will not be moved relative to the bottom bracket by a perceptible amount. No change in handling will result.

Similarly, shift cable will not be affected, but can be adjusted anyway.

I'm not sure where you are located, but I believe SJS will ship worldwide. Alternatively this hub may be available from a local to you supplier:

SJS Cycles Diacompe Hub 126mm OLN

Spa cycles in Harrogate (UK) also offer this one in 126mm OLN spacing as well:

SPA Cycles 126mm OLN Zenith Rear Hub

I should point out that I am using one of these hubs in the rear of a 1989 Dawes Galaxy Touring bike with 126mm OLN spacing.

  • Awesome thank you all very much for your help! Headed over to the mech section to learn how to adjust the gear indexing. – user38810 Aug 8 at 14:29
  • Of the two suggested hubs, which do you recommend as a good commuting option? Speed is the preferred attribute but a bit of strength never hurt when a pothole comes out of nowhere. Thanks again! – user38810 Aug 8 at 17:14
  • I only have the Zenith hub, I'm afraid, and I can't verify the suitability for speed as it is on my old steel framed touring bike. Built for comfort, not speed! ;-) – tubadaz Aug 11 at 13:44
  • What I can vouch for is the strength, I have been bouncing it in and out of potholes, trenches and gulleys here in the UK for over 3 years now - and our road surfaces would embarrass most of the developing world, they are that bad!! :-( – tubadaz Aug 11 at 13:46

Widening the spacing of the rear dropouts by 2mm either side will have a very minor effect on the feel of the bike. I don’t expect you would notice.

Theoretically though, as you widen the spacing, the distance from the bottom bracket to the rear hub axle will decrease, if anything. Generally, shorter chain stays are said to increase a bike’s responsiveness/agility. Happy days.

If you source a 130mm spaced wheel and you like it, then you can have the frame spaced permanently (‘cold-set’) and the dropouts aligned parallel again by LBS for long-term use.

Any change in the rear derailleur cable length will be similarly small, at worst this would mean a small adjustment to indexing. A new hub and freewheel might mean small adjustment anyway, so not a drama. If you don’t know how to adjust derailleur cables this would be perfect context to learn how.

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    Chainstay length >> spacing change. The distance the hub is moved toward the bottom bracket would be imperceptible. – Argenti Apparatus Aug 2 at 20:08
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    I second what @ArgentiApparatus said: The effect on the distance hub-BB will be on the order of micrometers, much less than the tolerance of the drop-outs... – cmaster Aug 2 at 20:11
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    If chainstays are 400mm, √ ( 400mm² + 2mm² ) - 400mm ≈ 5µm – Argenti Apparatus Aug 3 at 1:51

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