[Build idea] 1941 Hiawatha...... 10 Speed?

Aug 21, 2019
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As you know, I had managed to pull an old 1941 Hiawatha (Shelby Flying Cloud) bike out of the weeds in my own backyard. Well, I had been thinking some possible directions to go with it. One involved simply using 1960's schwinn pedal cranks and pieces to replace the rusted pieces.


This got me thinking. Has anyone did a 10 speed conversion on a prewar bike? I have several junked mountain and road bikes, and I found an old 1980's Huffy 10 speed mountain bike with good cranks, rims, and derailleur. It's all chromed, and it has the older style levers by the handlebar stem. I do plan on riding it often.
 
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Jun 13, 2019
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If that's the way you want it, I'm sure it's been done.

But I'd look for a wheelset with an internal gear hub. Cause I just hate deraileurs. And an IGH is a super simple add-on. Though rumored to not be as rugged for serious off-roading.

Although I do catch myself looking at some of the newer mountain bikes with the long top tube now and then, and deraileurs.

And....as much flak as the gripshifters take around here, and albeit there is always some concern with their fragility, they sure are convenient and work well for me.
 
Aug 21, 2019
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Hmm, never thought of an IGH. Maybe something to look into. Also, I do agree that Index shifters are easier to use. The only thing I have against the grip shifters is I feel they are too big and plasticky, just would look way too out of place. I did mock it up with a set of those, and I didn't care for how it looked. The 10 speed stuff I plan to use is pretty much all metal.

If I can find a chrome metal set that would look more at home, I would.
I had thought of using the Shimano index shifters with the thumb lever, but I dunno. I have several different setups I can use parts from.
 
Jun 13, 2019
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Hmm, never thought of an IGH. Maybe something to look into. Also, I do agree that Index shifters are easier to use. The only thing I have against the grip shifters is I feel they are too big and plasticky, just would look way too out of place. I did mock it up with a set of those, and I didn't care for how it looked. The 10 speed stuff I plan to use is pretty much all metal.

If I can find a chrome metal set that would look more at home, I would.
I had thought of using the Shimano index shifters with the thumb lever, but I dunno. I have several different setups I can use parts from.
It's certainly understandable to use what you have. And the aesthetics and plasticity of the grip shifters don't have much charm.

I just got lucky and found a couple of lightly used, inexpensive women's bikes with nice Nexus-4 and Nexus-8 wheelsets in the past few months. Might've just got lucky. Those deals may not be so common.

Here's the 700c Nexus-8 on an old 10-speed.
20190613_190905.jpg

Gonna put some low moto bars on it so I can ride it. And a mini banana seat.

And here's the Nexus-4 on the Cruiser.
20190908_152842.jpg

I like the clean look a lot.
 
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No matter which way you go, 10-speed geared or IGH, you'll have to spread the dropouts a little or a lot. With the exception of the 3-speed freewheel, which I believe will fit in the normal 110mm space.

My 4-speed with coaster brake was 135 I believe. Others have said 120, but maybe freewheel?

My 8-speed freewheel is a little under 135. And I believe can be made a little narrower with thinner locknuts.
 
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Feb 20, 2018
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If you decide to go with the Nexus 7 they also had this shifter, which looks a bit better than the one they offer nowadays:
95957a55bb061ccfcf2d7b342f5a8d5c.jpg

I don't know the model and they are discontinued, but perhaps you get lucky and find one. Rapid fire shifters are also discontinued, but quite easy to find (if a bit expensive).
Actually I think tthe grip shifters that were used on the derailer gears (Tourney?) were bad, perhaps because on a derailer type bike people tend to shift more so they wear out quickly, but I was perfectly happy with my grip shifters for the Nexus hubs. My only complaint is that they are massive and make for either a short right grip, or a brake lever too far. As far as function goes they are nice, never had a problem with them.
 
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Dec 2, 2018
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At a glance it looks like that frame is rusted through on the drive side chain stay so look it over closely before you start spending money. It will be a super cool mod if there's enough frame left to build it.

I used a Nexus 3speed on Miss Thunderbolt paired with a 70's era Shimano thumb shifter. for the look of it. I never got on with grip shifters, but know a lot of guys who used the high end versions on winter fat-bikes because they are ski glove friendly. I have no idea the expence, just that some of them work real well.
 
Aug 21, 2019
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At a glance it looks like that frame is rusted through on the drive side chain stay so look it over closely before you start spending money. It will be a super cool mod if there's enough frame left to build it.

I used a Nexus 3speed on Miss Thunderbolt paired with a 70's era Shimano thumb shifter. for the look of it. I never got on with grip shifters, but know a lot of guys who used the high end versions on winter fat-bikes because they are ski glove friendly. I have no idea the expence, just that some of them work real well.
Yeah, it does have a couple holes there, but that's it. The rest is mostly surface rust. Hopefully, I should be able to tack in some metal there. I do have the fenders, chain guard, and handlebars painted, and I want to get the frame stripped and ready.