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replacing rear wheel freewheel cluster

replacing rear wheel freewheel cluster

my road bike is to hard to pedal up the steep hills where I ride. I need a larger rear gear. has anyone replaced the rear wheel gear cluster? do I also have to replace the derailleur and chain? where would I get parts and approx. how much $ can I expect to pay? I'm very handy and fix about anything, so I'm probably going to do this myself unless I have to buy a bunch of specialized tools. Thank you for any advice

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Re: replacing rear wheel freewheel cluster

hi Bob,

Well, I guess, the easy answer is that changing a cassette is not too complicated and I'm sure you could handle it fine.
However, there are many variables with parts and those make a difference. Here we go:

If you switch to a cassette with larger gears be sure it has the same number of gears as your current rig or the shifting will not work.
If you go from a cassette with a smallish (say, 24 tooth) low gear to one with a 34T low gear that is a big change and will require a rear derailler that has a longer cage to take up the slack in the chain and will likely need a longer chain.
You should be able to work with a jump to a 28T and maybe a 30T.
If you have an older bike with a freewheel cluster you will need an inexpensive tool that unscrews the freewheel.
If you have a newer bike with a freehub and cassette then you need an inexpensive tool to unscrew the cassette nut and a chain whip (also pretty cheap)
Check your local bike store or these sites for more details.
http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help
http://sheldonbrown.com/gearing/index.html

Ask more questions here if you run in to problems. good luck.

    -Bob

bobwag@gmail.com
4130 on 28's @ 15
http://randoramble.wordpress.com/

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Re: replacing rear wheel freewheel cluster

Bob, thank you for the advice and helpful web sites. Bob J

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Re: replacing rear wheel freewheel cluster

I agree with everything Bob said. I have done several swaps of 7,8 and 9 speed cassettes to "improve" my gearing, not that I actually need to make it easier (cough,cough).

I have not had to change my derailleurs because of the swap and shifting remained relatively unaffected, just some minor tweaking.  However chainlength was an issue on my last swap when I enlarged the rear cassette and shrunk the front chainring.  I had to remove several links to keep it from wrapping the derailleur and causing the jocket wheels to rub the cassette teeth.  And the shifting to granny was not as smooth as I would like but works good enough for my riding style.

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