New wheels, old frame


God Almighty
Looking at getting some more gears - one possibility is the shimano R500 wheelset.
Easy to spread the steel stays out wide enough to accomodate the wheels? If not then should I be looking at 7 speed?

My main question - am I ok to use the current rear derailleur with downtube shifters? The shifters aren't indexed


Über Member
montage said:
Easy to spread the steel stays out wide enough to accomodate the wheels?

if it's steel, yes. sheldon, as always, has the answer;)

Gerry Attrick

Lincolnshire Mountain Rescue Consultant
I have recently spread the rear stays of a BSA 531 frame following Sheldon's advice. Very easy job, but take your time and don't rush. Also check that you spread each side by the same amount. Check using Sheldon's string from rear drop out around the head tube to opposite drop out. I found my frame was out of alignment before I'd even set a spanner to it.

Oh...and you need very little effort to spread the don't go at it like a crazed elephant.


Chandler's Ford
Easy to overdo it with Sheldon's method.

Last time I had to do it, on a frame that had some value, I used a piece of M10 threaded rod, nuts and some big washers to push against the drop outs.
I did this in the bike stand - with the alignment string in place, and rechecked alignment and re-measured every few turns. Had to spread to about 140mm for it to spring back to 130mm though.


Well-Known Member
yes, just spread the frame....only 4mm and the wheel will pop in. i run a holdsworth that has 8 speed so need 130OLN
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