Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Six-Speed Cassettes and Six-Speed SIS

The main reason I put all that effort into polishing my Deore DX rear hub was my discovery of the existence of 6-speed Uniglide cassettes. For some reason I didn't know about them; and I definitely didn't know they would fit on commonly available 7-speed freehub bodies.

The reason I was at all excited about them is friction shifting. It's easier to shift with friction between the widely-spaced 6-speed cogs than it is between the narrower 7-speed—not to mention increasingly narrow 8, 9, 10, 11. Also, Uniglide doesn't have ramps, so you get better feedback on your shifts. The advantages of cassettes over freewheels (which I did know came in 6-speed!) are numerous and well-covered by Sheldon Brown here.

I was lucky enough to find a NOS 13-28 6-speed Uniglide cassette, which is photographed above. You can see how it fits on to the universal Hyperglide/Uniglide 7-speed body: the smallest cog threads on to the freehub body, and the 6-speed one leaves a little gap, just like a 6-speed freewheel would. Useful for those of you who attach fenders with eyebolts!

Below is a brochure that doesn't interest me all that much beyond the historical significance: is this the first SIS setup manual? It came attached to a 6-speed Shimano 105 downtube shifter. It's called "Quick Adjust Information":

Even the logo is six-speed!


Anonymous said...

8 speed isn't any narrower than 7 speed.

AH said...

Actually, it is -- very slightly narrower, but narrower.