Old 10-25-09, 08:49 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Bikes: '96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '20 Surly Midnight Special, All are 3x10. It is hilly around here!

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I did exactly what you are proposing to substitute a newer cassette hub into an existing freewheel hub wheel. The original was a Maillard freewheel hub and the rim was a Trek house brand (Matrix?) 36H 700c. The wheel was quite old (from an '89 Trek 560) but in low mileage, low wear condition.

I replaced the Maillard hub with a Shimano Acera X 36H freehub that was originally 7-speed and replaced its freehub body with an 8/9-speed body. I got the Acera -X hub at no cost from a trashed wheel my LBS was going to discard and the 8-speed freehub body was a surplus in my parts box so the parts cost of this swap was zero. I compared the two hubs and, to my pleasure, the flange diameters and spacing were nearly identical so the original spokes could be reused

I gradually detensioned the original wheel 1/2 turn at a time until it was loose and the removed all of the nipples and spokes. Then I laced in the Acera-X hub following the original spoke pattern, tensioned and trued the wheel and it's been fine ever since.

I intended this wheel for use on a bike mostly used on an indoor trainer but it has been ridden on the roads many times with excellent results.

So, if your rim is in good condition and the spoke count matches, go for it. You may even be able to use the same spokes if you use the same cross pattern as hubs are often very similar in dimensions despite being different makes and models.
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