adding more gears to vintage road bike

I have a 1968 claud butler super courer that i hold very dear and is my main method of transport and work! At the moment the bicycle has 6 gears on the back and a single speed crankset which has given out. Now that im looking into changing the crankset i wonder how viable it will be to add a double one instead of a single speed as i live in a really hilly area and feel i could really benefit from it. would it be as simple as adding the double crankset, setting up a deraileur and threading it to another friction lever next to the already present?

Thank you for your time!


Legendary Member
On 3 Wheels
Yep, although you may need to fiddle around with BB spindle lengths but nothing has been changed spec wise on standard BB shells.


Legendary Member
Accra, Ghana
I'm sure you could add a doublele without any problems. All you'll need is a double cable guide under the BB and you should be set.
You should be able to find a period related chainset on Evilbay or similar, someone might even have one on here if you ask.
If you'd be prepared to change the back wheel to a more modern type with a freehub and open up the rear triangle a bit you have even more.

BTW welcome the forum ^_^
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Thanks everyone! I am now on the search for the pieces on ebay and ill be ready to get to work! One last question is recommendations for the guides to put on for the cabling? I have a spare plastic one from an old bike that screws below the BB, although that means I would have to drill it in order to secure it. Any other suggestions? the already present ones for the rear cabling are made of metal and soldered onto the frame.

And thanks for the warm welcome to the forum! ill update with the progress as soon as everything is here


BITD we just slid the cable under the BB and it self guided lol. You could always use a clamp on cable guide for over bottom bracket routing.
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Hi and :welcome:
There are cable guide clamps that clamp to the bottom of the downtube near the BB . You may also need one on the seat tube depending on how the cable outer ends . If it goes all the way up to the front chainring mech a second clamp will not be required . If the outer cable finishes just before the BB a means of diverting the inner cable round the BB and up the seat tube will have to be found . This can be done by using another clamp and a short piece of cable outer which will allow the cable to bend round and clamp just before the front mech .
It is something which I have got to fit up on one of my bikes .


Legendary Member
On 3 Wheels
You can glue the plastic guide under the BB with double sided tape.


Smile a mile bike provider
No bracket required if you use a short length of outer cable guide
Nothing stopping with going a triple up front either
If you want a bracket then you can get one that will clamp around the down tube just before the bottom bracket and i know from experience Dave Marsh from Universal Cycles has them available
Nothing stopping you going to a 7 speed cog on the rear either so the world is your oyster

Ajax Bay

East Devon
1968 claud butler super courer - the bicycle has 6 gears on the back
Nothing stopping you going to a 7 speed cog on the rear
I suspect that the OLN (distance between the rear drop-outs) is only 120mm. You will not get a 7sp freewheel in there without some frame bending. If 126mm then OK. But a 14-28 6 speed freewheel should (continue to) provide the range needed: a 7 speed would just reduce the steps between gears.
OP - it would be worth checking the current bottom bracket spindle length and taking that into account when you source a double chainset.
Edited to add: Larger chainring will mean a longer (and therefore new) chain. A new chain will need a replacement (new) freewheel, probably (otherwise the new chain will skate on the old, worn block).
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Legendary Member
The possible downside of going with a wide range freewheel block is that the rear mech on a 60s bike probably won't be able to cope with the large sprocket.

The cheap fix is a basic Shimano MTB rear mech robbed from an old '90s MTB found in a skip somewhere near you. With friction shifters it will work perfectly.
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