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Old 02-15-10, 04:59 PM   #1
rdrk
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swapping solid, bolt-on axles for QR-- how easy is this?

I want to put 26" wheels on a road bike, and the wheels in question are bolt-on. How easy/cheap is it to swap out the solid axles for hollow QR? Brake reach is not an issue here. Any thoughts appreciated.
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Old 02-15-10, 05:09 PM   #2
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Its not too expensive, but kind of a pain in the butt. You should be able to find hollow axles for around $5 each and the skewars for about 15 a pair. If you have ever serviced a cup and cone hub before then go for it. If you have not serviced a hub before then you might be biting off more than you can chew. Also make sure the thread pitch on the new hollow axles is the same as the old axles. You may have to trim down the new axles to fit the bike, then you will need to clean the threads in order to get the various parts to screw back on. Keep in mind QR axles are slightly shorter than the outside dropout spacing, if you make them too long the QR will not work.

Why on earth would you want to put 26" wheels on a road bike? You will probably have all kids of brake reach issues if you do this.
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Old 02-15-10, 05:21 PM   #3
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I'm looking to build a bike that'll be comfortable enough on trails, too. Couldn't fit anything larger than 28mm tires on the bike with 700c wheels. Brake reach isn't an issue. Thanks for your answer-- it's something I want to do as cheaply as possible, and knowing all of that helps.
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Old 02-15-10, 05:27 PM   #4
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Soop is right, it's just a little harder than an overhaul. I'd make sure you just got the right length axles to begin with, rather than try to trim them down. In fact, I'd let an LBS help you with this, unless you have the tech documents handy to make sure you get the right parts. Width is fairly standard, with only a few choices, but there are dozens (I guess) of different threadings, and the front and rear are often different.

I want to see more about this project, at least about how brake reach isn't an issue.
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Old 02-15-10, 05:33 PM   #5
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If you decide to do it take a good look at how the QR works on another bike. If you can get a hold of an old wheel I suggest taking the hub apart so you can familiarize yourself with how it works before you ruin the wheels you plan to use. Make sure you do the work over a towel or something else to catch loose bearings that may try to escape. If you are lucky the bearings will be caged which will make your first hub servicing easier to handle. You will need some grease, I use regular automotive grease and any grease will do. Check out Sheldon Brown's page on servicing hubs here http://sheldonbrown.com/cone-adjustment.html . Its not too hard, but it does take some finesse. I am going to guess the wheels you want to use are the old cup and cone type hubs, before you buy the new axles take the nut from the original axle with you to make sure it threads smoothly on the new axle. Obviously you wont be using this nut on this axle, but it has the same threads as the cones on the original axle and will make it easy to check if the threading is correct. If you still have skewars from the old wheels you wont need to buy new ones, so you may be able to do it for about 10 bucks and an hour or two of work. Good luck
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Old 02-15-10, 05:41 PM   #6
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yes Fuzz is correct about the threadings.

When Bikes were coming into the US from all over the world there were different standards for each bike, French, Swiss, Italian, Japanese English etc. Those older wheels, typically the ones with bolt on axles, have a cone which threads onto the axle. Since the threading can be different from hub to hub, yes even front and back, you really need to make sure you bring the nuts from the old axle with you when you buy the new axles. With luck you are using newer wheels that were made in the last 10 years since they have been standardized. You can still find bolt on hubs on some of the department store bike, and that stuff has been standardized now.

You may have to get new cones and locknuts to go with the axles if they cant get the right threading for the cones you already have. Maybe another 5 bucks per axle.

Also someone at the shop might tell you that you need cone wrenches to do the job-this is hogwash and they just want to sell you service or tools. You can do this with regular wrenches, it is just a little trickier thats all.

The cheapest option is to get a 15mm wrench, cut it down to 3 inches long and carry it with you. Then you dont need to muck with the QR stuff. I keep nuts on my bike and carry a wrench.

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Old 02-15-10, 05:58 PM   #7
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Quickest and easiest way:

Buy complete axle sets - not parts...

Make sure you are buying Joytech compatible for Joytech hubs, Taiwan generic compatible for Taiwan generic hubs, Shimano compatible for Shimano hubs.

M9 x 108mm x 100mm w/ cones
M10 x 140mm x 130mm w/ cones
M10 x 145mm x 135mm w/ cones

Quick releases are separate and rear will be either 160mm or 165mm depending upon whether you rear spacing is 130mm or 135mm.

Going with parts instead of sets can get very messy for a beginner - especially when settings the spacings for offset correctly.

=8-)
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Old 02-15-10, 06:02 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of the information. I have some long-reach Tektro R556 calipers and they grab the a 26" rim at their furthest reaches, so that'll take care of the braking concerns. What this thread has helped me decide is it'll probably be easier for me to just get a cheap set of used 26" wheels if I can find them. The wheels (solid axle) are from the early 80's, so I think it'll be best if I don't do any overhauling. I'll leave them be and look for a cheap, less headache-y solution. I really appreciate all of the advice.
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Old 02-15-10, 07:39 PM   #9
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You can buy a whole used MTB for $40 with functional alloy wheels. Those parts are going to cost about $30 or so right? Buy a MTB- put the bolt on wheels on it-sell it for $40-free wheels-less work
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Old 02-15-10, 07:52 PM   #10
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+10 Find a decent MTB donor. I find them in the $20 to $30 range fairly often. You probably will be able to use other parts off the MTB as well. I picked one up recently for $10. So far I have reused the grips, shifters, and freewheel.
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Old 02-16-10, 03:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sooprvylyn View Post
...Also someone at the shop might tell you that you need cone wrenches to do the job-this is hogwash and they just want to sell you service or tools. You can do this with regular wrenches, it is just a little trickier thats all.
???how are you able to set bearing play w/o a wrench thin enough to fit underneath the locknut?
IME unless you can create some counter-torque the cone will just keep on tightening down.
Sure, there are hubs with tabbed washers and grooved axles, but they're pretty rare these days.
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Old 02-16-10, 08:08 AM   #12
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Converting the axles is fairly trivial, but what are you doing about brakes? Make sure your brakes will reach low enough to accommodate the smaller rim before you invest too heavily in this project.
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Old 02-16-10, 11:34 AM   #13
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Converting the axles is fairly trivial, but what are you doing about brakes? Make sure your brakes will reach low enough to accommodate the smaller rim before you invest too heavily in this project.
It pays to read post #1.
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Old 02-16-10, 08:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdrk View Post
I'm looking to build a bike that'll be comfortable enough on trails, too. Couldn't fit anything larger than 28mm tires on the bike with 700c wheels. Brake reach isn't an issue. Thanks for your answer-- it's something I want to do as cheaply as possible, and knowing all of that helps.
The 29" wheel is the same rim size as a 700c (622mm) and you can get some seriously fat tires in those.
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