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Old 12-10-09, 02:37 PM   #1
Andy Mail
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Front wheel mounting - does direction matter?

Just got my first bike in probably 28 years - 198? Centurion Ironman with Shimano 600 components. The guy I bought the bike from kindly disassembled it and put it in my trunk after I had done a test ride. When I got home and tried to reassemble it, I ran into a glitch. It's easy to tell which way to put on the rear wheel, but the front wheel can go on with the quick disconnect on either the right or the left.

So - does it matter which way I put it on? How would I know the correct orientation if there is one?
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Old 12-10-09, 02:40 PM   #2
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It depends on the tire. Often the tire is treaded such that it should a certain way. You can usually find an arrow on the tire-wall that points the the direction of rotation.
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Old 12-10-09, 02:48 PM   #3
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Most people put the quick release on the left, just like the rear wheel. And despite what those German engineers at Continental say, there's no real difference to the tread direction on a road tire. CX and MTB tires, yes. But not road tires.
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Old 12-10-09, 02:54 PM   #4
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I know with raleigh 3 speeds it is specific how the wheel is put back on. If put on wrong, the cone can tighten up and the ensuing problems will become obvious.
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Old 12-10-09, 03:09 PM   #5
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doesn't make any difference. Mount it any way you like. Tire direction doesn't matter either. Regardless of what's on the tire sidewall. For reference, it was listed on Sheldon Brown's site. Too lazy to look it up for you.

Edit: this is outside of what caloso and Bob are talking about. I'm talking about a regular road bike type of front wheel/tire like what you have.
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Old 12-10-09, 03:21 PM   #6
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Excellent! Thank you all for your responses. These are regular road wheels/tires, so I'll keep the quick release on the left.
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Old 12-10-09, 03:25 PM   #7
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It doesn't really matter.

But install it the "correct" way regardless (lever on the left). One reason to do this the standard way is that, if you make a mistake (like not closing the lever), it makes it easier for other people to notice.
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Old 12-10-09, 04:08 PM   #8
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Ride it both ways and see which you like best. You can always switch the skewer so that the QR is on the left, if you want to do that.
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Old 12-10-09, 05:21 PM   #9
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The above about it doesn't matter is correct, but there are traditional ways to put it on. Like above, quick release is on the left. If there is writing on the hub, you should be able to read it while sitting on the bike or on the right side. If the rim has a label on the side, that side should be on the right when sitting on the bike.

But this won't affect performance, it's just tradition.
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Old 12-10-09, 06:18 PM   #10
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The hub doesn't care which direction it's rotating. But if you have a magnet on your spokes, make sure it ends up on the same side as the speedo sensor.
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Old 12-10-09, 10:04 PM   #11
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Regardless of what has been said so far, some road tires have a direction, even though it may not be obvious. Look at the tread and see if there is a herringbone or otherwise diagonal pattern to the tread. If so, then "arrow point" of the raised tread pattern should point in the direction of rotation. Why, you ask? Well, that works best for clearing water from the middle of the tread to the outside. If you think about it, if the point touches down first when rolling forward, as the rest of the arrow makes contact with the road, it sweeps water outward.

:)ensen.
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Old 12-10-09, 10:32 PM   #12
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Some dynamo hub manufacturers list a required direction of rotation. Normally the electrical connectors are on the right as you sit on the bike.
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Old 12-10-09, 10:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
The above about it doesn't matter is correct, but there are traditional ways to put it on. Like above, quick release is on the left. If there is writing on the hub, you should be able to read it while sitting on the bike or on the right side. If the rim has a label on the side, that side should be on the right when sitting on the bike.
But only north of the Equator. Which way does your water swirl?



Quote:
If you think about it, if the point touches down first when rolling forward, as the rest of the arrow makes contact with the road, it sweeps water outward.
The "tread" of the road surface itself dwarfs the tread on any road-racing tire I've seen, though. Chipseal is an extreme example.


As for the original question: as a matter of tradition & cosmetics, I use the hub labels as the tiebreaker, matching the front to the rear.

Last edited by mechBgon; 12-10-09 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 12-12-09, 10:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
The above about it doesn't matter is correct, but there are traditional ways to put it on. Like above, quick release is on the left. If there is writing on the hub, you should be able to read it while sitting on the bike or on the right side. If the rim has a label on the side, that side should be on the right when sitting on the bike.

But this won't affect performance, it's just tradition.
This is what I learned 40 or so years ago--essentially, everything on the bike should be installed so you can read it from the saddle or the right side. Functionally it doesn't make any difference--even the tire tread doesn't matter on a road bike--but I still do it anyway.
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Old 12-12-09, 11:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
The "tread" of the road surface itself dwarfs the tread on any road-racing tire I've seen, though. Chipseal is an extreme example.
That might be true, but even the fair weather cyclists get caught in the wet and something as small as a wrong-way tread can lead to a "rash" of problems when traction starts to get sketchy. The case you've given illustrates this, since contact is not continuous and maximizing your traction on the slick ridges of the road irregularities becomes that much more critical.

:)ensen.
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Old 12-13-09, 06:46 AM   #16
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It shouldn't matter but often it does.

1. Traditionally, the quick release lever goes on the left.
2. Some tires have a direction of rotation arrow on the sidewall. Frankly, I don't think that it makes much difference on a mountain bike and I doubt it makes any difference at all on a road bike.
3. Here's the biggie: If your front wheel isn't dished perfectly, your brake can rub if the wheel is installed backward. I know that shouldn't happen, but in real life it's common.
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Old 12-13-09, 10:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplepeople View Post
That might be true, but even the fair weather cyclists get caught in the wet and something as small as a wrong-way tread can lead to a "rash" of problems when traction starts to get sketchy. The case you've given illustrates this, since contact is not continuous and maximizing your traction on the slick ridges of the road irregularities becomes that much more critical.

ensen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplepeople View Post
Regardless of what has been said so far, some road tires have a direction, even though it may not be obvious. Look at the tread and see if there is a herringbone or otherwise diagonal pattern to the tread. If so, then "arrow point" of the raised tread pattern should point in the direction of rotation. Why, you ask? Well, that works best for clearing water from the middle of the tread to the outside. If you think about it, if the point touches down first when rolling forward, as the rest of the arrow makes contact with the road, it sweeps water outward.

ensen.
Here's what Mr. Brown had to say on the subject.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html

Tread Directionality

Some tires have an asymmetrical tread, for instance "V" shaped tread blocks that could be oriented with the point of the "V" facing forward > or backward <. The question then arises, which way should they face?

Road Applications

With tires for road use, it really doesn't matter, since tire tread patterns serve no function on hard surfaces. Tires with "V" patterns are common for motorcycles, and are generally installed so that the point of the "V" hits the road first. This is to help "squirt" the water out ahead of and to the side of the tire contact patch, as a protection against hydroplaning . Since hydroplaning is impossible on a bicycle, there's no need to observe this custom.
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Old 12-13-09, 08:21 PM   #18
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I like to be able to read "Phil" on my hub while I'm over the top tube.
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