Wednesday, March 23, 2011


When I began thinking about building this bike up I knew I would be using friction shifting.  Aside from selecting the appropriate shifter, my thoughts turned to what speed cassette I would be using.  In previous posts I have said that I would be using a 6-speed cassette, which have pretty much perfect spacing for friction shifting.  The spacing between the 6-speed cogs allows for a better feel and control while friction shifting, which can be considerably more forgiving than say a 10-speed cassette.

Shimano Deore XT FH-M730-QR Hubset, 36H, 422g.  The rear hub pictured has been upgraded with a Hyperglide only freehub body, although this was not available from the factory.

Out of all of the gear/cassette/hub combinations, Shimano created the pretty much ideal hub in the form of the Deore XT M730.  This hub offers 130mm spacing, a one piece polished aluminum shell, sealed bearings with oil ports and a wider pawl design that lasts a really long time.  The 130mm spacing is perfect for modern road frames and allows for the rear wheel to be nearly dishless, meaning it will have symmetrical spoke lengths on the rear wheel.  This greatly strengthens the wheel making it extra durable.  I have been lucky enough after a few months of looking around to procure a NOS set of these hubs, but there are a couple of other Shimano hubs that I was also looking into that would also make a 6-speed setup with 130mm spacing possible.
Shimano Deore XT II, catalogue page with hub specs (top left of page) 

Around the same time period (late 80's/early 90's) as the M730 hub, the Ultegra 600, FH-6402 was also available.  This was apart of the first wave of 8-speed compatible hubs that were both Uniglide and Hyperglide compatible.  This means that you can use a Uniglide 6/7/8-speed cassette or if you like to tinker, you could theoretically use any 6 Uniglide/Hyperglide cogs using 6 or 7-speed spacers (3.65mm for 6-speed, 3.15mm for 7-speed) capped off with a regular track cog to achieve a well spaced friction shifting setup.  This hub is also spaced at 130mm, which again allows for super strong nearly dishless wheel build.

Shimano Ultegra 600, FB-6400 (212g) & FH-6402 (426g) 

Shimano Ultegra 600 data sheet

If the Ultegra 600 hubs aren't fancy enough for you, the Dura Ace FH-7402 hub also holds true to everything I said about the hub above, with the 130mm spacing and Uniglide/Hyperglide compatibility, with the exception that Dura Ace used an exclusive proprietary thread for their Uniglide hubs, so bear that in mind too.

Shimano Dura Ace, FH-7402 (460g)

Shimano Dura Ace FH-7402 data sheet


  1. I think you'll find all of these hubs do require some dishing to centre the rim.

  2. Your're right Sam, the dish would be pretty minimal though.

    1. Hi, just wondering which freehub you used for your conversion. Thanks!

    2. Hi, I actually ended up using these hubs on another bike. I was lucky enough to source a bunch of uniglide cogs and spacers. I'm pretty certain I have a lifetime supply now. A great source for uniglide cogs can be found at