Upgrading 1980's 10-speed to modern 18-speed possible?

Srsmith_1977

Retro Newbie
Hi, I was after some advice on upgrading a 1980's 10-speed Reynolds to a modern 18-speed keeping the original friction shifters. Basically I have been offered a really nice 1980's Dawes Ultra with a Reynolds frame for nothing with a damaged rear wheel, I have a 700x28 9-speed hub wheelset which I would like to fit. I understand I may need to cold set/widen the rear triangle and adjust the brake callipers but I'm concerned about the shifting and chain alignment, will it work in principal and do I need to replace any other parts?
 

pigman

Old School Grand Master
I think your 2 main problems are first, fitting the wheel in a narrow frame, which you have already identified and second operating friction levers with narrow spaced cassettes. You will need to be very precise with your shifts, so no quick panic changes when it gets too steep. The old 5 and 6 speed stuff was much more agricultural and tolerant to rough shifting and things working even if slightly out of line.
 

foz

Gold Trader
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You might need to change the chain to a 9 speed one, depending on the current one, it might be too wide for the 9 speed cassette. Or you could swap to an 8 speed cassette, which would possibly help things
 

Srsmith_1977

Retro Newbie
You might need to change the chain to a 9 speed one, depending on the current one, it might be too wide for the 9 speed cassette. Or you could swap to an 8 speed cassette, which would possibly help things
Thank you, I'm happy to throw some money at it or even change the groupset. as the frame is immaculate I guess what I'm concerned about is if it is at all possible and could it turn into a money pit? Wheels hubs are a 9 speed minimum.
 

jim haseltine

Retro Guru
Friction shifts will work though it takes some time to overcome the muscle memory of shifting wider spaced sprockets. As I'd ridden friction shift for over 20 years I was reluctant to change to indexed gears but once I did there was no way I was going to change back.
Not all 9 speed chains are the same - I fitted a KMC X9 to a Campag 9 speed cassette as the chain was listed as Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM 9 speed compatible. Wasn't great - on any sprocket with more than a couple of teeth difference to the next sprocket the weird design of the 'X-bridge' outer links picked up on the face of the larger sprocket causing the chain to 'drag' a little then jump slightly - not a pleasant feeling when pedaling, especially when climbing.
 
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