Trying to improve a vintage Shimano 600 drivetrain - questions.
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  1. #1
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    Trying to improve a vintage Shimano 600 drivetrain - questions.

    Hey everyone. I do about 30 miles/day here in rural/suburban S. Carolina for a workout. It gets quite hilly in a few places, and I do 4 or 5 long steep climbs each day ranging 1/2 to 1 mile each. Getting fairly strong at climbing after 3 years. My main daily rider is old but solid, quiet and well-maintained Schwinn Super Sport (butted Tenax steel, Shimano 600 tricolor, six speed 14-24 freewheel). Can I switch to a seven speed freewheel with that derailleur? Is that worth doing? Changing the freewheel, I could select a 13-20 seven speed or go to a 14-28 seven speed. As I understand it, the former would make cruising and climbing more anaerobic. Are there better choices? I've only shopped on Ebay so far. I have the tools I need, but maybe it wouldn't change things very much. What do you think? Worth it, or not? Thx.

    Shimano 600 Schwinn Super Sport, late 80's, Miami Vice paint job
    Lotus Legend Compe, '84, Compagnolo Nuovo Record

  2. #2
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hallsey View Post
    Hey everyone. I do about 30 miles/day here in rural/suburban S. Carolina for a workout. It gets quite hilly in a few places, and I do 4 or 5 long steep climbs each day ranging 1/2 to 1 mile each. Getting fairly strong at climbing after 3 years. My main daily rider is old but solid, quiet and well-maintained Schwinn Super Sport (butted Tenax steel, Shimano 600 tricolor, six speed 14-24 freewheel). Can I switch to a seven speed freewheel with that derailleur? Is that worth doing? Changing the freewheel, I could select a 13-20 seven speed or go to a 14-28 seven speed. As I understand it, the former would make cruising and climbing more anaerobic. Are there better choices? I've only shopped on Ebay so far. I have the tools I need, but maybe it wouldn't change things very much. What do you think? Worth it, or not? Thx.

    Shimano 600 Schwinn Super Sport, late 80's, Miami Vice paint job
    Lotus Legend Compe, '84, Compagnolo Nuovo Record
    Yes, the derailleur will handle 7 cogs, you'll just have to adjust the limit screws. It might take a 28, you'd have to experiment...I think their spec'd max cog was 27. Is it worth it? Only you can answer that.
    #promechaniclife

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    Assuming friction shifters, should be no issue assuming you don't exceed the maximum cog or tooth capacity limits of the RD. I took my Schwinn Sports Tourer, which came with 5sp-14-34 stock, and converted that to 6sp-13-24 among other combinations. Then later on, I changed to 700C wheels and now run a 10sp-11-36 on it and it works just fine:

    14-34:
    https://www.4crawler.com/Photos/104_pana/Schwinn/8.html

    11-36:
    https://www.4crawler.com/Photos/104_...chwinn/10.html

    Just had to reset the limit screws and change to a 10sp chain.

    On my Raleigh Competition road bike, I changed from 5sp to 7sp again with no issues aside from opening up the frame a bit to fit the wider freewheel:
    https://www.4crawler.com/Photos/104_pana/Schwinn/9.html

    Since you are starting with a 6sp frame, should be an easier fit.

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    I have a 600 tri-color RD on an old bike of mine, and it's handling 8-sp with indexing just fine. I thought that wasn't possible, and was pleasantly surprised when I found that it worked.

    BTW, when you are looking at upgrading from 6-sp to 7-sp, often that means switching from an old-fashioned freewheel setup to a modern freeHUB unit. Seven speeds also uses a different chain width.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    I have a 600 tri-color RD on an old bike of mine, and it's handling 8-sp with indexing just fine. I thought that wasn't possible, and was pleasantly surprised when I found that it worked.

    BTW, when you are looking at upgrading from 6-sp to 7-sp, often that means switching from an old-fashioned freewheel setup to a modern freeHUB unit. Seven speeds also uses a different chain width.
    SRAM PC-830 and 850 chains can be used with 6-8 speed. There are plenty of 7 speed freewheels out there (if anyone has them in stock).

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hallsey View Post
    Hey everyone. I do about 30 miles/day here in rural/suburban S. Carolina for a workout. It gets quite hilly in a few places, and I do 4 or 5 long steep climbs each day ranging 1/2 to 1 mile each.
    Tackling hills and age I took the different approach ..... other than going back to the original cassette (sorry didn't count the range) I changed the chain rings from 50/40 to 46/38. That did the trick for me, no getting out of the saddle on either the test loop or the "killer" on the 25K loop.
    Cheers

    HJ
    ------------------------------
    Hans-Joerg Mueller
    Coldstream, BC Canada

  7. #7
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Crawler View Post
    Assuming friction shifters, should be no issue assuming you don't exceed the maximum cog or tooth capacity limits of the RD. I took my Schwinn Sports Tourer, which came with 5sp-14-34 stock, and converted that to 6sp-13-24 among other combinations. Then later on, I changed to 700C wheels and now run a 10sp-11-36 on it and it works just fine:

    14-34:
    https://www.4crawler.com/Photos/104_pana/Schwinn/8.html

    11-36:
    https://www.4crawler.com/Photos/104_...chwinn/10.html

    Just had to reset the limit screws and change to a 10sp chain.

    On my Raleigh Competition road bike, I changed from 5sp to 7sp again with no issues aside from opening up the frame a bit to fit the wider freewheel:
    https://www.4crawler.com/Photos/104_pana/Schwinn/9.html

    Since you are starting with a 6sp frame, should be an easier fit.
    OP isn't asking about changing derailleurs like you have done. He's asking if his old 600 rear derailleur will work. Of course an XT derailleur will work.
    #promechaniclife

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=No Time Toulouse;5425501]I have a 600 tri-color RD on an old bike of mine, and it's handling 8-sp with indexing just fine. I thought that wasn't possible, and was pleasantly surprised when I found that it worked.

    BTW, when you are looking at upgrading from 6-sp to 7-sp, often that means switching from an old-fashioned freewheel setup to a modern freeHUB unit. Seven speeds also uses a different chain width.[/QUOTE


    Thanks. I too had thought going up to 8 speed wasn't possible with my RD. Interesting - more options, perhaps.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    OP isn't asking about changing derailleurs like you have done. He's asking if his old 600 rear derailleur will work. Of course an XT derailleur will work.
    I only did the 11-36 conversion after installing the XT RD. The 5->6sp was done with the original 1974 vintage RD (I think it was SunTour brand) and that worked fine, although that did come with the 14-34T freewheel from the factory.
    Last edited by 4Crawler; 3 Weeks Ago at 09:54 AM.

  10. #10
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    Quote Originally Posted by 202cycle View Post
    SRAM PC-830 and 850 chains can be used with 6-8 speed. There are plenty of 7 speed freewheels out there (if anyone has them in stock).
    Yeah, there are 7-sp freewheels available, but not many that are either good or light. Mostly for cheaper hybrids and Wally-World bikes. Even in cassettes, today most of the 7-cog versions are pretty heavy-duty.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

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