I was just told that my wheel is toast. Really -- it's just the rim. I had another broken nipple and, when they opened it up, they said the aluminum oxide rained out of it like a salt shaker. I guess it was a while ago when I built the wheels. Ahh well, I guess that's what you get when riding year-round in Chicago where they put down two grains of salt for every snowflake.

I really would like to build up a whole new wheel as the hub has some issues. I spent some time looking around for a new hub and was stymied. Hoping someone here might have a lead.

The wheel is 6 speed and uses a freewheel. Six speeds is all I need in flat Chicago and I have a whole pile of very nice 6-speed freewheels already. Plus, my bike fits a 126mm rear wheel.

So, does anyone know anyone making a nice 126 rear hub? 40 (or 48) holes please. I carry lots of groceries and the the roads in Chicago are terrible. Cartridge bearings please. I find cartridges fare way better in salty slush that dominates the streets for months out of the year. I'm pretty good at repacking bearings, but I really don't have the time to do it repeatedly.

thanks for any leads or insights!

  • is your frame steel? if so, you could space its rear out to 130 mm and probably have a slightly larger search space.
    – Paul H
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 20:28
  • It is -- and that's true. I would prefer a 126, but can use a 130 in a pinch.
    – toddg
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 16:03
  • Good luck getting a 40- or 48-hole 126 mm hub today. I can find 36-hole, but no higher. You'd probably do better getting a 130 mm hub with a freehub instead of a freewheel, assuming you're have friction shifters. While 6 speeds might be sufficient, if you're using friction shifters you can change speeds easily, and it's really easy to find 8-speed freehub cassettes. 8-speed cassettes are pretty cheap - a quick internet seach shows current prices around $20 US. Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


I believe that freehubs became mainstream long enough before cartridge bearings became the default for hubs such that I think the only cartridge-bearing rear hubs you'll find with a threaded interface will be for singlespeed freewheels or fixed sprockets, and none will have 126mm OLD width.

Since it sounds like you are a utilitarian (rather than leisure) cyclist, the best value for money would be to sell the nice 6-speed blocks to vintage enthusiasts and get a cassette hub with cartridge bearings. Cassettes start from 7-speed, but if you're using an unindexed shifter you should be fine.

  • Yah. You're right. I should, but 6 speed work great for my situation. Chicago is very flat. It also works better when my gears get packed with snow and ice (which happens during the most wonderful time of the year!). I have other bikes, with narrower cogs (both freewheels and cassettes) and they just don't shift as well as my 6 speed. I'm not a retro-grouch, but sometimes older things really do work better.
    – toddg
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 15:37

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