Orlandi 8 speed custom build Posted on 2 Nov 00:23 , 0 comments

The Orland is such a good platform for customised builds. We got a phone call from Gareth in France. He loves the look of the Orlandi, but lives in a mountainous area of France and wanted an 8 speed Orlandi! The Orlando comes as standard with a 2 speed Sturmey Archer "kick shift" hub, so naturally we offered him a Sturmey Archer 8 speed hub, which slips right in to the dropouts and is available with a range of shifter options. But Gareth was insistent that he wanted a Shimano hub. I had no experience of Shimano hub gears, but did a bit of research and ordered up an Alfine Premium 8 speed hub. This would not be such a straightforward project as a Sturmey Archer hub...

Firstly the Alfine 8 hub is for 130mm OLN frames and the Orlandi is 120mm. However the "road" version of the Alfine 8 has space for a "roller" hub brake as an option, so by removing the a spacer and thick lock nut from the left hand side and replacing the locknut with a thin one, the hub is reduced to 122mm OLN and slides right into the Orlandi dropouts. The hub comes with a neat plastic cover for the roller brake splines which I wanted to retain. so I also had to trim that back by 10mm. Of course the axle was then 10mm too long so that needed to be have 10mm sawn off the LHS. Then just the small matter of building the new wheel.

Those of you have been up close and personal with hub gears know that anti-rotation washers (aka as no-turn washers) are needed) to keep the hub axle from spinning in the drop outs. there are various versions of these for different  types of dropout but for the Orlandi rear facing "track" dropouts you need a white one and a silver one. At this point I found the at the flats for the washers did not go far enough inboard on the LH axle, so the axle needed some attention with a file. That done, 10 minutes later the 8 speed rear wheel was fitted.

Just the matter of fitting the shifter now. The Alfine 8 has only a "twist grip" shifter available and this only fits 22.2mm diameter handlebars, so you need to make sure that the bars you choose are available in 22.2mm. 

Gareth said he wanted to keep the reverse brake levers that are a feature of the Orlandi and had expressed doubts that these could be fitted in conjunction with twist grip shifter. This was an issue, but past experience with Campag bar end shifters on 60's racers, gave us a simple solution: back in the day for neatness and comfort we used to hide the cabling for bar end shifters inside the handlebars. No reason why this wouldn't work with bar-end brake levers, so a couple of holes were drilled - one at the bar end and another at the cable exit point and the shifter was by-passed.

Just a matter of running the gear cable to the rear wheel (28.6mm Dia Compe Cable Clamps are handy for this) and adjusting, the gears on this hub is simplicity itself.

Half an hour after I finished the job Gareth turned up to collect his new bike and was delighted with the finished job.

This was a first time job for me and I have a bike shop full of parts and all the right tools. If I hadn't, then  the few snags that I hit might have cost me days, but if you want to do this conversion yourself , we can put a kit together with all the parts you need, including a modified hub and the right bars and brake levers.