Converting Shimano 7900/7850 wheelsets to 11 speed (a guide)

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
petal666
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by petal666

With the introduction of Dura-ace 9000 and 11 cogs on the cassette (and SRAM 22), the 9000 Dura-ace wheelsets acquired a wider freehub body to match the wider cassette, making 7900 and 7850 wheels incompatible with 11 speed. It seemed like a waste of some very nice 7900 and 7850 tubular wheelsets I have so I set about modifying them to make them compatible.

The 11 speed Shimano cassette is 2.85mm wider than the 10 speed one. As the 10 speed cassettes have a 1mm spacer behind them, this makes the feeehub 1.85mm wider. Conveniently the 10 speed freehub has stops at the end of each spline which are nearly 1.85mm deep. If these are machined down, and then just a fraction of the lip at the back of the freehub, an 11 speed cassette will fit.

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However, this then puts the lip which acts as a stop for the cassette 'inside' the hub. The cassette would bind with the hub when the lock ring is tightened. Some modification to the hub is also required. I figured I needed to take off about 1mm of the drive side hub flange. Unfortunately, my freehub was off at a friends workplace getting accurately machined in a lathe, and I was limited to a dremel and no real means of measuring how much I was taking off the hub. Very carefully with a cutting disc on the dremel I went about taking 1mm of the inside of the hub.

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I did this only on the part of the hub flange nearest to the freehub. The 11 speed cassette has a 0.5mm lip on the biggest cog, which will push the cassette out by as much from the end of the freehub. From there the cog goes outwards away from the hub even further so only a small amount of the hub close to the center needed to be removed.

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I think I ended up take off more material than I needed. Being impatient to finish the work, and not having the freehub to test things, meant I took a stab at how much to take off. I also wanted these wheels to be backwards compatible to 10 speed, so I needed to take off 1mm in a large enough diameter to take the 1.85mm spacer that is required to run 10 speed. The result isn't particularly neat, but OK for a cutting disc. I plan to pull it all apart again and neaten and then polish it all now that I know the whole thing works.

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My freehub came back machined perfectly, exactly as I'd hoped. A quick test showed my 9000 cassette fit on.

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I bolted the freehub onto the hub and could see that I'd taken enough material off to prevent the cassette from binding.

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Next I tested the 9000 cassette on the wheel and it cleared all parts of the hub. Count them, 11 cogs on a 7900 freehub. Adding spacers and my 10 speed cassette I put the wheel in my bike with 7970 Di2 and no adjustment was required. Everything worked fine. The RD is no where near the spokes on this wheelset.

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I'm happy with the result, it worked first time and means I can start using 11 speed and not have to worry about the additional expense of new wheels.

http://benmanson.com/review/7900_to_11/7900_to_11.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

ewwhite
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by ewwhite

Sooo much work... But thanks for sharing.

by Weenie


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WMW
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by WMW

I wonder if the Wheels Manufacturing Accelerator 11 would have worked. Certainly much simpler. http://wheelsmfg.com/products/rear-driv ... sions.html
formerly rruff...

eric
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by eric

The wheels site says All wheelset-compatible with the exception of Shimano Dura Ace or Ultegra factory wheelsets (not hubs laced on standard rims), and Chris King.

So probably not.

Nice work petal666.

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WMW
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by WMW

Doh! Could work for other wheels, though.

I called WM to ask if they were going to make 11spd S Accelerators, and they were very non-committal. Granted C11 is nearly identical, but someone shelling out that kind of money for an Ultegra level cassette would surely prefer exact spacing. And the demand for a decent solution is pretty huge IMO. Many hub and wheel manufacturers are asking >$300 for the swap. And if you currently have excess derailleur or dropout clearance, the wheel will be stronger with the conversion cassette vs a swap, and won't need to be redished.
formerly rruff...

eric
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by eric

They really ought to make them. They'd sell a bunch, assuming they worked with most wheels.
But I suspect that if the clearances would allow that, Shimano would have done it.

mrfish
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by mrfish

Great piece of work. Thanks for sharing. However I don't really like the idea of dremelling the hub body. Would it be possible to machine the freehub body by only 1.3mm, then machine off the lip on the largest cog (0.5mm) to get the total 1.8mm spacing?

petal666
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by petal666

Sounds a lot harder.

walkerr
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by walkerr

Very interesting article thanks. Also planning to go 11 speed, and have a hand built wheelset with DA 7900, plus a Hope Pro3 wheelset - so very keen on converting rather than replacing. Have some good machine shops near here too, so I reckon your step-by-step will be a perfect guide for them. The ability to go back to 10spd on my other bike is also quite important too.

Before taking the plunge, very interested to know how you're finding the conversion is working out with some miles on it?

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PSM
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by PSM

:thumbup:

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ave
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by ave

>Would it be possible to machine the freehub body by only 1.3mm, then machine off the lip on the largest cog (0.5mm) to get the total 1.8mm spacing?

My idea is to machine off all the material from the cogs' carrier, and do leave the the hub and/or freewheel alone.
At the moment I'm unsure whether it would weaken the carrier too much, but will try it anyway, if I can find a machinist who can do it cheaply enough.

Causidicus
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by Causidicus

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Last edited by Causidicus on Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

maxxevv
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by maxxevv

ave wrote:>Would it be possible to machine the freehub body by only 1.3mm, then machine off the lip on the largest cog (0.5mm) to get the total 1.8mm spacing?

My idea is to machine off all the material from the cogs' carrier, and do leave the the hub and/or freewheel alone.
At the moment I'm unsure whether it would weaken the carrier too much, but will try it anyway, if I can find a machinist who can do it cheaply enough.


There's plenty of material to do that on the carrier.

BUT .. having looked at the actual hub, your best chance of it succeeding is to use a large cassette. A top 23T one will not work. It will hit the spokes. A 28T one will.
A 25T one is right on the borderline, and will have to be double checked.

excremanwu
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by excremanwu

not a piece of cake, but thank you for sharing!

dane476
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by dane476

I currently have ultegra 6700 wheels do I need new wheels or can they be converted to 11 speed?

Thanks in advance

A look in either the 'Road forum index' or using search would have provided your answer...

by Weenie


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