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I'm trying to get a pair of training wheels to swap out for my race wheels. I dug up a pair of freewheel compatible wheels and I'm trying to buy freewheels now to fit the bike. The bike's drivetrain is 11s (Shimano Ultegra) but it looks like freewheels only go up to 8s. Would these be compatible with my bike? If not is there an easy way to make them work?

  • Just checking - you want training wheels for real riding, right? Not trainer wheels for use on rollers? – Criggie Feb 25 at 21:44
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No sorry, this is not practical. Freewheels mostly stopped at 7 speed, and 8 speed was rare because of excess unsupported axle causing bent axles due to leverage.

Your suggested plan would require fitting 8 speed shifters and an 8 speed rear mech. That's too much faffing about when you want to swap wheels.

Instead, you could find an 11 speed hub with the same spoke count, and buy an 11 speed cassette. With luck the donor wheel's spokes will suit, and you can reuse the 8 speed wheel's rim in a new wheel.

The front wheel should be a direct swap, other than checking brake pad alignment.

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    Honestly, replacing a wheel is unlikely to be favorable, in terms of cost and hassle, to just saying "whoops", throwing the 8 speed wheel in the parts bin, and just finding a new 11 speed whell. – whatsisname Feb 25 at 20:14
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    @whatsisname yeah - depends on your locality, finances, and time availability. Just buying stuff is an effective solution, but a little too consumerist. Really depends on what parts OP has to hand. – Criggie Feb 25 at 21:43
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Nope, not compatible, no way to make it work.

The reason is that as the number of sprockets on the rear hub went up, the sprocket spacing and sprocket thickness got narrower, and the chain external width also got narrower. An 11 speed shifter will not be able to index properly on an 8 speed freewheel. Additionally the 11 speed chain will not shift properly on the 7 speed sprockets.

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